TMR Book Review: Swimsuit by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

We have known Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, John Wayne Gacy, and of course, Jack the Ripper. None of these real-life psychopaths compare to the calculating madness that is Henri Benoit, James Patterson’s villain in his upcoming novel, Swimsuit.

To say that Benoit is a hired killer is like saying that Mount Everest is just a little hill. Benoit works for an elite group who he refers to as “The Alliance”. He picks the victims, usually very young women, toys with them, drugs them, rapes them in a variety of manners, and then finds very different ways of killing them. Each kill gets videotaped and sent to “The Alliance” for a handsome payment.

Swimsuit opens with the heart-pounding kidnapping and murder of Kim McDaniels, a gorgeous swimsuit model on location in Hawaii. After Benoit tortures and kills her, taping the whole episode, of course, he then calls Kim’s parents to tell them that he has their daughter. Just a little added bonus for his sick and twisted mind.

The McDaniels’ immediately hop on a plane and fly to Hawaii. Little did they know that he had his own plans for them. There, they meet ex-cop turned reporter Ben Hawkins who wants to help them find Kim. As more bodies appear across the globe, more pieces start falling together and soon, everyone realized that Kim isn’t missing, she’s dead.

At the same time, Benoit hires Hawkins to write his life story. He’s looking for someone to chronicle all of his murders, in grisly detail, starting with his next door neighbor when he was twelve years old, all the way up to the many, many young women he has raped and murdered for “The Alliance”.

Now, back on the mainland, Benoit wants to make sure Hawkins does his life-work justice. To do this, he makes sure that he knows he can reach his girlfriend, Amanda, anytime, anywhere. In order to keep Hawkins on his game, he demonstrates this on more than one occasion.

Swimsuit may be unlike any book you’ve ever read. While parts of it are somewhat predictable, most of it still manages to be suspenseful as Patterson takes us on the thrill-ride of a lifetime.

We witness Ben Hawkins try to satisfy the needs of a madman while trying to keep both himself and his girlfriend alive. At the same time we delve into the mind of a madman while we watch him satisfy the needs of his own demons. The real anxiety lies in watching them both attempt to rationalize every move they make.

Patterson has stepped this one up a notch or two in the graphics department, both in sex and violence. While some of it seems somewhat gratuitous, none of it feels like it doesn’t belong, and besides, what’s wrong with a little gratuitous sex and violence, anyway? That being said, this is a great book for a summer read, either to throw in your pool bag or to take with you to the beach.

Swimsuit will be available in stores on June 29th.