Tuesday, October 23, 2012

"Kill Me If You Can" by James Patterson & Marshall Karp

Matthew Bannon is a struggling artist who finds a way to turn his fortunes around when he stumbles across a bag full of diamonds, likely worth several million dollars. Unfortunately, he has taken them from Walter Zelvas, a member of the Diamond Syndicate, who has just been murdered by top international hitman The Ghost.

By skipping off with the diamonds to start a new life with his girlfriend Katherine Sanborne, Matthew has angered the high ranking members of the Diamond Syndicate, who want him killed and the diamonds returned. Not only do they have The Ghost on his tail, they also hire Marta Krall, a hitwoman, and two crooked detectives.

Matthew must find a way to stay one step ahead of multiple assassins and assorted killers in order to get the diamonds valued and sold to the highest bidder.

I guess I was a little over-confident after enjoying Patterson's "The Beach House", as "Kill Me If You Can" is a predictable, underplotted affair, which I doubt would convince many readers to give Patterson's other works a go. I guess the biggest problem is simply the stupidity of a person taking off with a bag full of diamonds in the first place, especially when you've just witnessed the current owner's vicious assassination. Right from the get-go, I simply wasn't in Matthew Bannon's corner. He deserved the mess he brought down on him. His girlfriend Katherine wasn't developed enough for me to give two shits about her fate.

The plot twist that is delivered half way through the proceedings didn't really help either. I admit I did not see it coming, though I probably should have. I guess if you have low expectations it is easier to be surprised, but I digress. All the twist does is lower the suspense level even further, as it no longer involved the protagonist being out of their depth. Later chapters involving Bannon's mates were particularly cringeworthy.

Speaking of cringeworthy, we have a charming subplot involving Nathaniel Prince, another member of the Diamond Syndicate who is carrying on an incestuous relationship with his daughter Natalia Prince. We get plenty of smarmy, far-too-detailed accounts of their lovemaking. Yuck, yuck, yuck. Actually, the sex scenes between Matthew and Katherine were pretty yucky too, and quite frequent. If this were a movie, it would probably wind up being a soft-core porno flick.

Nevertheless, like any James Patterson offering, it moves quickly from one plot point to the next, leaving little time for the reader to get bored. Plenty of action sequences and plenty of sex. Pity the sex is so gross. I'll likely give Patterson a bit of a break, until I'm once again bored by plucky female forensic investigators, world-weary cops and brave alpha males.

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