Book Review - The Swimsuit by James Patterson

Tagged as his ‘most shocking and seductive story yet’ Swimsuit is the latest stand alone book from the ‘world’s best thriller writer’ James Patterson. Co-written by Maxine Paetro (who also co-wrote many of the books in Patterson’s Women’s Murder Club series) Swimsuit is a story that combines breathtaking beauty with untold horrors.

Kim McDaniels is one of the world’s most beautiful supermodels and she as the top of her game, that is until a psychopathic killer abducts her from her latest shoot at the most glamorous hotel in Hawaii. A terrifying phone call to her parents begins the hunt her and cop turned reporter Ben Hawkins is assigned the story. Unable to let his past go and faced with severe ineptitude on the part of the local police force, Ben begins his own investigation into what quickly turns from a missing person case to a murder inquiry. Ben soon becomes completely and utterly involved in the case and is confronted by a psychopathic killer who has no morals and takes great pride in setting the stage for his next killing.
Swimsuit bears all of the unmistakable characteristics of a typical James Patterson thriller – it is a high octane, page turner that is easy to read but that will keep you hooked until the end. The layout of the book is Patterson’s usual style, with large print and short chapters that make it easy to read the whole book in, more or less, one sitting.

The protagonist Ben Hawkins is again similar to Patterson’s previous heroes – a former good cop who hit a brick wall and got tired of the force. He’s a strong character and makes a good lead character for this kind of story. It is easy to warm to Ben, who is not quite squeaky clean, but has high morals and good instincts none the less. The only criticism, and this is one that I often have with Patterson’s leading men, is that he is supposed to be rough and ready but he just isn’t quite gritty enough for the role. You get the impression that he does have a somewhat darker side to him, but it doesn’t quite come over in the story.

The serial killer is portrayed as a ruthless and swarthy man who takes a lot of pride in his work. He is a completely believable character and I think that is what makes him so scary – he could be a real person.

Anyone who is familiar with Patterson’s work will not be surprised by the storyline in Swimsuit. The premise is that the good guy finds himself in the middle of a murder case without the support of his peers but his great instincts see him through, in a someone unorthodox fashion, to the end. The fact that this is so similar to other Patterson stories (the Alex Cross novels and the Women’s Murder Club series, for example) is not a negative point for me. I know exactly what I’m getting when I pick up one of his books and that is exactly why I pick them up in the first place. The familiarity is what makes me come back to Patterson time and time again.

Patterson’s own slogan is that ‘the pages turn themselves’ and that couldn’t be a more accurate description in my opinion. It is true with Swimsuit as well, I literally read it in one go and I enjoyed every page of it. As stereotypical as it sounds, I couldn’t put The Swimsuit down. Even despite the somewhat cheesy nature of Patterson’s style that Swimsuit has in bucket loads – the characters are sometimes a little too good, the setting is a little too perfect and the turn of events a little too convenient – it still makes a really good read.

The ending of the book is typically climatic and does the story justice, although I do think that it is begging for a sequel. The loose ends aren’t quite tied up. Again this wasn’t a negative for me. I think that there will be a sequel somewhere along the line, but if there isn’t I didn’t feel short changed.

Overall, I think Swimsuit is typical Patterson; some might say that he is just writing to a set pattern now and that all of his books (this one included) are very similar, but I say that this is what keeps him at the top of his game.


Stacy said...

wow what a great review! and so thorough...i used to read patterson but then got tired of the cookie cutter style but now i think i'll try him again thanks to your review!

magicdarts said...

Nice one - glad to see things are flourishing for your blog!

the pages turn themselves, has Patterson some kind of Harry Potter talent I wonder!?

Julie--I am Reading Without Restraint! said...

I really like Patterson--a quick, easy read that doesn't require a lot of thinking!

dkm1981 said...

Ah thanks for the comments guys, I'm glad you are enjoying the reviews!

MarceJ said...

I enjoy James Patterson, you know exactly what your getting. I enjoyed this one, so many twists.

Thanks for visiting, glad to have found you.

Felicia S. said...

I have heard nothing but good things about this book! I hope you enjoy it!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

This is the first Patterson audio book I listened to and as I drove the 4 1/2 hours to the North shore last fall I was totally engrossed! Great book and I think this is where I became a big fan of Patterson. :)

Anonymous said...

I read a James Patterson novel and immediately went off him. This book sounds great though, so I'll give him another try ;)

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