The Barnes & Noble Review
James Patterson's novels are unpretentious thrill fests, narrative roller coasters that keep you glued to your seat by the centrifugal force of his rapid-fire, pithy chapters and his unadorned yet effective prose. The megabestselling author of Kiss the Girls, 2nd Chance, and Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas sets out to tell a story, plain and simple -- and always does so with irresistible chemistry.
In The Beach House, Patterson reunites with his writing buddy Peter de Jonge (Miracle on the 17th Green) to tell the tale of one man's search for his brother's killer. Columbia law student Jack Mullen has just about everything going for him: He's a summer associate at a prestigious law firm in New York City; is dating the drop-dead-gorgeous daughter of Barry Neubauer, one of the richest men in the United States; and spends weekends at Neubauer's home in the Hamptons. But Jack is no spoiled rich kid. He has blue-collar roots, and his father and grandfather do their best to keep him grounded in reality.
The same can't be said for Jack's brother, the handsome, devil-may-care Peter. Peter works as a valet in the Hamptons, parking cars for the rich and famous, and tools around town on his $20,000 Mercedes Benz motorcycle. When Peter's body is found on the private beach of Neubauer's estate, the police call it an accidental drowning -- maybe even a suicide. Jack's not buying it, though. He begins his own investigation and soon discovers that his brother was involved in some kinky sex games with many of the richest and most powerful people in town. The more Jack probes into the dark secrets of the town's residents, the more he finds his life in danger: Someone wants him to shut his mouth and walk away and will do anything to make that happen....
Overflowing with action and suspense, The Beach House is a thrilling story of beautiful people, money, power, sex, murder...oh, and let's not forget revenge. This grab-you-by-the-seat-of-your-Ralph-Lauren-khakis tale is an adrenaline rush that makes the perfect beach read -- all year round. (Stephen Bloom)
Patterson's latest beach read, a break from his Alex Cross series, is a revenge fantasy set in the East Hamptons. Townie roustabout Peter Mullen is barely introduced before he's found dead outside the posh home of billionaire media tyrant Barry Neubauer during a celebrity-packed Memorial Day blowout. Peter's brother Jack doesn't believe that Peter killed himself, and he enlists the help of his motley band of friends to find out what really happened. Standing between Peter and the truth is a crooked police department, Jack's girlfriend (who also happens to be Neubauer's daughter) and a goon called The Fixer. Much of the book is breezy and lighthearted, devoid of the sadism that characterizes Patterson's thrillers. By the end, fans may start to miss Alex Cross, whose presence could have given this flyaway story some weight.
Patterson's second coauthored novel of the year (after the current bestseller 2nd Chance, written with Andrew Gross) is a relatively rare stand-alone for this immensely popular writer. Unlike some of Patterson's stand-alones, however, including the most recent, Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, this doesn't move Patterson into new territory: it's a slick, vastly enjoyable yet far-fetched thriller i.e., typical Patterson. Its hero is a Columbia University law student, Jack Mullen, who's out to avenge the death of his younger brother, Peter, found dead on the Amagansett, L.I., property of the immensely wealthy Neubauer family, a few miles from Jack and Peter's Montauk home. The cops say Peter drowned; a glance at the corpse tells Jack that his brother was beaten to death. The rest of the novel traces Jack's efforts, with the help of a female private eye/love interest, plus his elderly grandfather and a band of Montauk locals, to prove that Peter was murdered and that billionaire Barry Neubauer played a role in his demise. Arrayed against Jack are a tough cop, high-placed lawyers and a sadistic killer all owned by Neubauer money. Jack's diggings lead to evidence not only of Peter's murder but of its part in a coverup involving sexual scandal and blackmail; to get the justice that's denied them, Jack and his friends take the law into their own hands, kidnapping Neubauer and his cohorts and trying them in a kangaroo court whose proceedings they broadcast on TV. Smooth as a vanilla milk shake and no more sophisticated, written in 113 short chapters that won't tax anyone's attention span, this is smart, market-savvy, populist entertainment. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Yes, another book by Patterson; the prolific author can spin out three books a year. This one centers on law student Jack Mullen, who doesn't believe that his brother's drowning death is an accident. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Not to fear: Just because megaselling Patterson has teamed up once more with journalist collaborator de Jonge (Miracle on the 17th Green) doesn't make the pace of this slick, ludicrous thriller any slower, the puppets any more complex, or the sentences any longer. The East Hampton cops say that proletarian nobody Peter Mullen stopped parking cars to smoke a joint and drown during zillionaire Barry and Campion Neubauer's Memorial Day Party in Montauk. Forensic evidence shows that Peter was beaten to death before he was tossed into the frigid water. But when Peter's brother Jack, a student at Columbia Law who's a summer associate at the Manhattan firm of Nelson, Goodwin and Mickel, and his old high-school buddies press the authorities to tell the truth, Rory Hoffman, a sinister thug called the Fixer, presses back, and soon the good guys are on the ropes. Jack's father suffers a fatal heart attack. Fisherman Fenton Gridley is nearly drowned himself. Suffolk County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Jane Davis is intimidated into perjury. Hairdresser Sammy Giamalva's 11:30 appointment cancels at the last minute. Jack's warned off the case by Chief Detective Frank Volpi, and his girlfriend, the Neubauers' daughter Dana, bails on him-though luckily, Nelson, Goodwin and Mickel's top investigator, Pauline Grabowski, who's just as smart and beautiful, is poised to take her place. When Jack's fired from the firm and Pauline soon follows, it's clear that there's no place the Neubauer tentacles don't reach, and the outcome of the inquest is a foregone conclusion. What isn't obvious, though in retrospect it should be, is Jack's scheme for making sure justice is done anyway. A vigilante pipe-dream topped off by toothlessly shocking revelations about characters even less substantial than the celebrity cameos: Dominick Dunne, Latrell Sprewell, Geraldo Rivera, and Billy "Mudman" Simon.