The Postcard Killers, James Patterson & Liza Marklund

Little, Brown and Company, 2010

This week I entered the world of James Patterson. And I’m kind of amazed at its scope. After he retired from his job, he’s written or co-written 64 books. In 2010 he came out with eight novels. The list could go on and on – this guy’s got it made.

I should really be saying I’ve entered the world of Patterson and Liza Marklund, since they co-wrote The Postcard Killers. Being my first Patterson novel, I don’t want to draw any premature conclusions about his empire, but I think I have a pretty good idea of what it holds. And it was exactly what I expected from this book.

The novel begins with the descriptive POV of our killers – an attractive couple who love art and explore Europe’s most popular cities. Oh yeah, and they kill other couples who are in love. Jacob Kanon is a NYPD detective who is determined to find them after they murdered his beloved daughter. He meets Dessie Larsson, a journalist in Stockholm, after she’s received a postcard – one of a series which the killers send to newspapers with a photo of the crime. We stayed in Marklunds’ native Sweden for most of the novel, where Kanon and Larsson work with police to try to catch the serial killers.

For those who haven’t read Patterson before, his novels are very easy reads. Great summer books with easy plots that don’t take very long to get through. My interest was held throughout the fast-paced novel, but the book is what it is. It’s meant to be simple and suspenseful and that’s what I got. The characters were somewhat lacklustre, but there were enough twists and intrigue to keep the story going. At first I was thrown off by the numerous, short chapters – a Patterson trademark. It made it easy to take breaks and compelled me to continue reading, while at the same time jilted all the storylines and prevented any depth to the story. I guess they work for this sort of novel.

I’m not sure if I’ll read any Patterson again. The downside of producing so many books or co-writing them is that there isn’t as much effort put into it. And I love a simple summer story, but this was perhaps a little too dumbed-down. For what it’s worth I’ve heard that his more popular Michael Bennett, Alex Cross or Women’s Murder Club series’ are much better reads.

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One response

  1. I agree. Patterson writes books that are easy reads – good for those of us who have a busy life and love the distraction or reading fiction without having a dictionary or thesaurus at our side when we read.

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