Literally two of my three book-related New Years Resolutions for 2018 were to stop reading James Patterson and I’ve already failed. It’s only March! What is wrong with me?!
Don’t answer that.
My only consolation is that this wasn’t totally fucking awful.
Candice Fox is an excellent writer on her own. She’s obviously the reason this book is at least relatively well written, if not still an emotional flatliner that is full of logic-holes.
It maintains the typical Patterson style of short chapters and colourful characters who lack depth, plus the typical “detective chasing a serial killer” plot that doesn’t attempt to bring anything new to the genre.
But what this book does have, that other Patterson novels don’t, is more realistic dialogue and a female lead that doesn’t irritate me because she calls everyone “butterfly” and has hugs her friends because she hasn’t seen them for a whole five minutes.
Detective Harriet “Harry” Blue has a more uniquely drawn personality; something fun and feisty, independent and purely reactionary, at times, which lends some emotion to her scenes.
Also this series is set in Australia.
That’s cheap gif usage. I apologize.
Harry, from Sex Crimes, has a bit of a Debra Morgan from Dexter vibe to her which works for me – both non-sexually and sexually. Seriously if I was into girls, I’d be into Debra Morgan.
All the characters around Harry, however, were entirely washed out and under-developed. Perhaps that was an artistic choice to allow her to shine more brightly? But I highly doubt it and it didn’t work anyway. Harry had nothing to play that attitude of hers against. And that’s the whole point of that kind of personality – the friction it causes with other people.
In the Outback, miners at a Uranium sight are going missing. Harry is sent out to investigate in order to get her away from the media shitstorm about the engulf her life when word hits the media that her brother has been arrested – he’s the worst serial killer in Australia’s history.
That’s some luck.
At first, the local police aren’t sure there’s really a problem at the mining camp. And with all the drug usage and prostitutes just prostituting around and doing their drugs while they prostitute high on drugs and the miners do drugs and pay prostitutes – the cops turn a blind eye….like they would???
Chalking it up to employees who just didn’t give a shrimp-on-the-barbie’s ass anymore, the company also doesn’t pay too much attention to the missing miners. The mining work being done is tough. Sometimes their employees quit without a word. But when one young man disappeared from camp, and never makes it home to his family, that family wants some answers, mate!
It’s likely he just disappeared into the Never Never – a stretch of barren, sweltering desert near the mining camp that is easy to get lost in and difficult to survive. But when the bodies of three other missing miners turn up dead, the realization occurs – there’s more than just one serial killer in Australia to worry about.
(If you look at this gif long enough you might have a seizure.)
My biggest problem with this book is that the story line of Harry’s brother being a serial killer was wayyyyyyy more interesting than some boring miners and sniper in the desert. And unfortunately, it’s more of a plot device to get Harry into the Outback than it is an actual plot line. The actual plot unfolds with a pretty obvious sense of being contrived; nothing organic or natural about it.
It’s a super flat book in spots, with Harry’s attitude being the only saving grace. The investigation into the missing miners is all-around boring, and seemed to require a lot of filler scenes that were mostly pointless. So while it is a typical fast James Patterson read in terms of length and chapter size, the scene quality was pretty bland, creating a sedate pace.
…And if I had to hear the word donga one more time, I might have developed a facial tick.
I’m split on this one, so I’m just going right down the middle at 3 stars. It’s not as bad as the typical Patterson fair, but it also isn’t as good as what Candice Fox is capable of. Overall it kind of feels like a talented, smart female writer had to dumb herself down in order to produce something that fit the quality that the Patterson Machine is known for.
The feminist side of me is taking taking a half star away just for that.
2.5 stars *slams gavel*