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Those who are part of the legion of fans of the
Women’s Murder Club series by James Patterson and
Maxine Paetro will no doubt rejoice over the publication of
SWIMSUIT. Although the novel takes place outside of that universe,
readers of the series (and everyone else for that matter) will not
mind one bit. This is a riveting tale that you’ll want to
read from cover to cover.

SWIMSUIT is a book within a book. The inside book is written by
Ben Hawkins, an ex-cop who is a reporter for the L.A.
. Hawkins is assigned to a hot story concerning a model
named Kim McDaniels, who disappears while doing a photo shoot in
Hawaii. Hawkins’s book is based on his investigation into
Kim’s disappearance --- the reason behind it and what occurs
thereafter. The reader learns almost immediately what happens to
Kim. She is kidnapped and brutally murdered, which is carefully
videotaped and broadcast to a very select audience of individuals
around the world, known collectively as The Peepers, who pay for
the privilege of watching the terrifying beginning and violent end
of each victim’s final moments.

Henri Benoit is the mysterious, enigmatic conductor of these
horrific tableaus, and though he is paid handsomely for what he
does, he truly takes delight and joy in his work, a quality that
makes SWIMSUIT all the more terrifying. Benoit is more than a
director and an actor in his own films; he also has the ability to
blend into settings and to assume different identities with such
skill and superior ability that his potential victims do not
recognize him as he slowly circles them. This is also true of
Hawkins, who is determined not only to investigate the increasing
number of cold-blooded murders that include and follow Kim
McDaniels, but also to see that the murderer is brought to

When Hawkins attracts Benoit’s attention, Benoit’s
reaction is anything but predictable. Instead of murdering Hawkins,
he hires him to write the story of his life as a kind of twisted
tribute to ensure that he gets proper credit for what he has
accomplished. Hawkins has no choice but to accept the assignment,
at least initially, given that Benoit has established that he can
attack Hawkins or his girlfriend, Amanda, anytime and anywhere he
chooses. But Hawkins uncovers one of the secrets of Benoit’s
seeming omnipresence and employs a brilliant deduction to determine
his whereabouts. Hawkins uses his knowledge to turn the tables on
his nemesis, even as Benoit goes on a murderous feeding frenzy of
revenge against all those who he feels have wronged him.

Patterson and Paetro have created a frightening scenario and a
brilliantly deranged villain who will not soon be forgotten. At the
same time, there are some erotic vignettes that will have at least
some struggling to read through the condensation forming on the
inside of their eyeballs. While previous collaborations by this
author team have been marked by twists and turns, as well as
characters who easily define the dark side, SWIMSUIT sets a new
standard for their joint efforts, one that by turns will heat up
and chill the beach this year.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

  • Publication Date: June 29, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • ISBN-10: 0316018775
  • ISBN-13: 9780316018777