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Thursday, August 3, 2006

The Beach House — Book Review

The Beach House offers up exactly what would be expected from a best-selling “thriller” — a light read with a few not-terribly-surprising twists, and an over-the-top ending. It’s nothing readers can sink their teeth into, but works well enough if you’re looking for something to take to the beach.

Jack Mullen, a law student in New York City, looks to expose the truth about the death of his brother, Peter. Helped by a group of devoted friends, a wily ex-judge grandfather, and, of course, an eventual love interest, Jack runs up against a town-wide cover-up. Eventually, he risks everything by going up against his own law firm. Throw in a glimpse of the rich life, a poor vs. wealthy battle line, along with a sex scandal, and you’ve got James Patterson’s second offering with Peter de Jonge.

The biggest problem here was predictability. The opening pages make it clear Peter is murdered, Jack instantly suspects this fact the minute he hears of his brother’s death, and nothing ever causes him to waver. The only real question becomes why there’s a cover up and how Jack will prove it. (Without giving anything away, the key word is “will” because there’s never any doubt about that particular outcome — and if I have given anything away, well, you’re just not paying attention.)

So, all that was left were the inevitable twists. While a few were inventive enough, the fact that one of them is a sex scandal was just plain weak. Ultimately, the resolution is so absurd it has very little impact, and the lack of consequences faced by the “do-gooders” who have gone well passed any legal boundaries pushes things into the ridiculous.

Take The Beach House to your own vacation spot, and read it for fun while looking for something better.

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