[Pic Courtesy James Patterson's Website]
I picked this one up last Thursday and read it in a single night when Karthik was recuperating at the hospital (which is why it didn't make it to my usual 'Next Read' post). Ofcourse thats more an indication of my mental stress and my inability to sleep rather than the quality of the book but its still a quick read.
This is James Patterson's third book I have read in the 5 months I have been blogging and there was one(Maximum Ride) that I skipped! That should give you an idea about how prolific the author is. Ofcourse, this has an effect on the quality of his writings. This is another book he has co-authored with Andrew Gross and there are rumours that its the co-author who writes most of such books and that Patterson simply puts his name on there for the publicity his name brings. The simplistic plot and weak twists here do give atleast a little credence to that theory.
The protagonist Ned Kelly is a parttime lifeguard/bartender and also tends to the pool of a rich man. He has agreed to play a small part(but for a big paycheck) in an art heist and quickly sets up plans for the money when he meets a beautiful but troubled woman Tess on the beach. Its love within the first few meetings for both of them. But the heist goes wrong when the paintings are not where they should be and all his partners-in-crime and Tess are found murdered. Naturally Ned's the prime suspect and goes on the run. An FBI agent Ellie is after him but begins to trust him when he kidnaps her and opens up to her.
Instead of Patterson's usual serial killer novels, Lifeguard's plot reads more like a Hitchcock movie with its 'innocent man on the run' theme. It is light on character development, romance and sentiments but thick on action and thrills. The book, like its hero, is always moving and keeps us turning the pages. The romance, though improbable, is kinda sweet and the conversations between Ned and Ellie have a few lines that made me smile. Though there is no jaw-dropping revelation, there are a few surprises. But the book gets too complicated for its own good towards the end and the motives and actions of some of the characters are not clear.
I estimate I have a couple of weeks until I lay my hands on Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I'm currently # 16 on the Holds queue at our local library. So if readers have any books they highly recommend(and not necessarily in the thriller genre), I'm all ears :-)