This book has to be one of the worst I’ve read in a long time – I almost didn’t want to review it, but it’s one of those that you can hate review so easily I couldn’t resist.
The premise of this book sounded promising: Las Vegas is a city of contradictions: seedy and glamorous, secretive and wild, Vegas attracts people of all kinds–especially those with a secret to hide, or a life to leave behind. It’s the perfect location for Lester Olsen’s lucrative business. He gets to treat gorgeous, young women to five-star restaurants, splashy shows, and limo rides–and then he teaches them how to kill. Unfortunately, that plot line is very minimal, and there are several other plots going on at the same time, none of which have anything to do with that one. I mean, I was getting whip lash from the way the chapters went and back and forth between things, and between viewpoints.
The series features Jack Morgan, owner and head investigator of the firm Private which is based in Los Angeles. He’s called in to help local police when a couple of sleazy characters coerce women into their hotel room and sexually assault them. Turns out the pair are Sumari diplomats, on a wild spree in America, and of course they have immunity and can’t be charged. We get several chapters devoted to their story line, as they get more and more depraved and end up killing someone.
Another plot line involves luxury vehicles being fire bombed, and one of those cars belongs to Jack so it’s personal. He believes that his eeevil twin Tommy is behind it, but it turns out to be something else altogether. (Seriously, his twin is portrayed so broadly nasty, he should be twirling a mustache and cackling.)
Let’s see, what else – oh yes, one of his employees, Rick, is on trial for beating up and nearly killing an ex-girlfriend. Rick and Jack have a long friendship, going back to their service in the military so Jack manages to spend time at court along with everything else that is going on. There’s also a woman in Jack’s life, Justine, that he has an on-again, off-again relationship with – and she works for him too so that’s not creepy at all.
The action does jump to Las Vegas intermittently, where a man is placing young women into relationships with wealthy octogenarians so they can bump them off and split the cash. This plan backfires for one of the girls and she ends up dead instead. Jack is called in to help the intended victim and spends a brief time in Vegas, but that’s about it. He does send one of his associates to guard one of the other husbands, and gets his assistant to infiltrate the gang but that goes sour and she ends up nearly dead herself. The time in Vegas is minimal, and could have just as easily been set in L.A. for all the description we get of the city. I was expecting a crime spree in Vegas, with show girls on a murder rampage, but it was so lame it was laughable. Such a waste of a plot.
The last thread that made absolutely NO sense until the ending concerned a young woman who was racing home on the freeway every day, trying to beat her own speed record. She referred to this as the Death Race. I couldn’t understand for the life of me why this was included but it was all a setup to be part of the bloody ending for the villainish diplomats.
Why did I read this book? I asked myself that several times, but then I just had to finish it to see how it ended – which it did with a whimper and not a bang. James Patterson has written many, many books and has made a huge fortune doing so; this was obviously a fast grab for more cash. The chapters are only about three pages long, the plots are thin, the dialogue is bad and the characters were pretty cliche. Do yourself a favor and steer clear of this book.