THE POSTCARD KILLERS by James Patterson and Liza Marklund
The premise of The Postcard Killers by James Patterson and new co-author Liza Marklund is a no-brainer for suspense fans looking for a new serial killer to chase. Someone is killing couples around the world and taking pictures of their conquests. One of those victims was the college age daughter of NYPD detective Jacob Kannon, who sets off on a vendetta to find the murderers (although how he does this on a cop’s salary stretches credulity).
I wasn’t familiar with Liza Marklund, who is a bestseller in thirty languages. I wonder why she agreed to the co-authored book, but I was definitely appreciative of her skills. Even with the way James Patterson insists on chopping down his novels to stimulus/response clipped sentences, Stockholm came to wonderful life in several scenes. I’m now curious enough to go pick up one of Marklund’s novels and see what she does on her own, so that’s at least in part what this pairing was supposed to do.
I felt sympathy for Jacob. Any parent would in a situation like this. But he just wasn’t very likeable or realistic. He kept waving his badge around, acting like a madman, and thinking he had all the answers. The first time or two was okay, but then the behavior became too repetitive and bordered on obnoxious.
I also think that a guy who can be this driven and stay with a case this long for personal reasons would also realize that his appearance, his calm, would be his greatest weapon when dealing with law enforcement professionals – especially given the paranoid state of the world regarding outsiders these days. Jacob might have been more acceptable to me if he’d managed a thin veneer of self-control that we could have seen crack from time to time.
As always, the pacing in the book is totally frenetic. Pages turn at a rapid progression and ramps up toward the end when the final confrontation is in sight. I really liked Dessie Larsson. She’s a character I think I’d like to read more about, something on her own, because she came alive for me and has an interesting world. I liked the struggles she had within her profession, and I enjoyed the different take on media that Stockholm has that created even more friction.
I have to admit that the relationship left me cold. I really just couldn’t see these two characters hooking up even though you knew it was coming.
The villains are truly despicable, though, and their take on modern art was truly a kink I didn’t see coming.