The Coast to Coast Murders by James Patterson and JD Barker #BookReview

Michael and Megan Fitzgerald are siblings who share a terrifying past. Both adopted, and now grown — Michael is a long-haul truck driver, Megan a college student majoring in psychology — they trust each other before anyone else. They’ve had to. Their parents are public intellectuals, an Ivy League clinical psychologist and a renowned psychiatrist, and they brought up their adopted children in a rarefied, experimental environment. It sheltered them from the world’s harsh realities, but it also forced secrets upon them, secrets they keep at all costs.
In Los Angeles, Detective Garrett Dobbs and FBI Agent Jessica Gimble have joined forces to work a murder that seems like a dead cinch. Their chief suspect is quickly identified and apprehended –but then there’s another killing just like the one they’ve been investigating. And another. And not just in Los Angeles — the spree spreads across the country. The Fitzgerald family comes to the investigators’ attention, but Dobbs and Gimble are at a loss — if one of the four is involved, which Fitzgerald might it be?
From coastal California to upstate New York, Dobbs and Gimble race against time and across state lines to stop an ingenious and deeply deranged killer — one whose dark and twisted appetites put them outside the range of logic or experience.

Title: The Coast to Coast Murders | Author: James Patterson and JD Barker | Publisher: Little, Brown and Company| Pages: 560 | ISBN: 9780316457422 | Publication date: 21st September 2020 | Source: NetGalley

Einstein famously said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. By that measure, in my dealings with the work of James Patterson at least, I’m fucking nuts. Admittedly, I quite liked his first few books. ‘Along Came a Spider’ came along in 1993 at the height of the serial killer boom and I enjoyed it. I liked the next few Alex Cross novels as well. But then Patterson decided to turn himself into a brand and it all went wrong. I think that Tom Clancy was the first author to do this with the ‘Op Center’ books, the model being that the famous writer has just enough input into a book to justify their name being on the cover, but someone else provides the words. Given the number of ‘James Patterson and…” books there are, Mr P is clearly a heavy smoker. He must be to have built up enough fag packets to write plot outlines on before chucking them at whatever up and coming scribe his publishers have found him that week.

To my eternal regret I’ve read a lot of these books. The first five or so of the ‘Women’s Murder Club’ series, a number of the earlier standalones and the first of the ‘Private’ books. They were all crap. What’s worse I have a shitload more either on my Kindle or in my attic book hoard. I bought the first TEN of the ‘Private’ books in a Kindle deal. SOMEBODY STOP ME.

I think what pulls me back to them, like a moth to a flame, is the same thing that has made them so shamefully popular. They promise a quick, gripping read that will keep you flipping the pages and won’t tax the brain too much. The fact that they generally fail to deliver on all but the last of these things is something I forget every time I see one in a charity shop or a Kindle deal. The blurbs suck me in and I line myself up for another disappointment, Charlie Brown style.

So OF COURSE when I saw there was one of these damn books on NetGalley I requested it. And INEVITABLY it was dreadful. The opening is intriguing (guy finds body in his bathtub, police arrest him, turns out she was his girlfriend although he has no memory of her), but the book completely fails to explain that mystery in a credible or satisfying way. Perhaps Patterson ran out of room on his fag packet. The result is frequently ridiculous, never that interesting and completely uninvolving. It’s also over 500 pages long FFS.

Reader, I read this one so you don’t have to, so please don’t.

1/5

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