Wednesday, July 27, 2011


© 2005 James Patterson
400 pages

Nora Sinclair is the perfect seductress: utterly charming, beautiful beyond compare, and a classy success in the world of interior design. She fills the homes of the wealth with superior decor, and the hearts of wealthy men with longing for her. Then she kills them.

Not at first, mind you. First comes the sex -- lots of sex. Depending on long it takes her to find and access your bank account so she can arrange for it to be wired to her various offshore accounts, a given victim might enjoy weeks or even months of the best sex of their lives.  They might even live long enough to get married to her, provided gifts of expensive jewelry and cars distract her ambitions. Eventually, though,  she strikes. Fortunately for the ranks of bachelors, even black widows are prey for someone else.

This was my second Patterson novel, though it falls short of the fair-ish expectations I had of Patterson after reading Judge & Jury. I couldn't take it seriously. There are two main characters, Nora and Craig Reynolds, a man who introduces himself as an insurance agent. Patterson uses the first-person for Reynolds alone, which would lead readers to think he's the main character -- but most of the attention goes to Nora, whose breasts and legs the authors are fond of describing. There's also a third character, "The Tourist", who stands in the shadows and exchanges threats with other people standing in the shadows and sometimes kills pizza boys. Eventually his story intersects with Nora's and Craig's, though their final confrontation fizzles out before it explodes. Less Honeymoon, more Coitus Interuptus.

Essentially this is a sex novel where the characters take themselves seriously. The dialogue is painfully flat, which I'm starting to think is characteristic of Patterson's writing since Judge and Jury's writing wasn't exactly ample itself.  There are a couple of moments in which the 'hero' hunting Nora is likable, but he mostly comes off as a tool who I almost HOPED would die. There were other disappointments, too, like well-set up dramatic confession which....told the readers what they already knew, unless they were skipping the scenes of Nora and her mother to get back to a scene where Nora is in bed or walking around naked.

With the possible exception of the 16-book Left Behind series by Jerry Jenkins and Timothy LaHaye, this is the shallowest bit of fiction I've ever read. I used it to kill some time yesterday afternoon, though I'll probably have forgotten about it in a month or so.

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