Sunday, 3 February 2008

7th Heaven by James Patterson with Maxine Paetro

Century €??

THE Women's Murder Club series (now on a TV near you) is based on James Patterson's numbered series of books (1st to Die, 2nd Chance, 3rd Degree, etc).

The latest, 7th Heaven, is soaring up the charts. It's written with the don't-touch-that-dial skill of Patterson - every page has a new hook to drag the reader into the next shocking scene.

But maybe the characters and theme are getting a tiny bit tired in 7th Heaven. If you're not a fan, you may find it hard to get into the book.

The story: Michael Campion is the Boy in the Bubble, a teenager with a heart defect who has grown up wealthy and protected. He's an internet chess champion, but he hasn't had the normal experiences of adolescence.

When he disappears there's a kerfuffle of publicity and television pleading, and the police are called in to investigate. A tipoff puts him in the workplace of a Bambi-like young prostitute, and under questioning she admits to killing him and disposing of the body.

Separately, the San Francisco cops are investing a series of arson attacks. A pair of teenage psychos are killing the rich, targeting elderly consumerist couples and torching their houses.

The stories are impeccably researched, but the characters are strangely cold. No matter; Patterson can grab your interest and keep you reading.

I just wasn't crazy about the detective, the attorney, the reporter and the pathologist at the centre of the series. But millions of others love them.

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