Beautiful Maggie Bradford seems to have it all: a successful career as a singer/songwriter, fame, money, and two precious children. However, she killed her first husband in self-defense and now she's in jail awaiting trial for the murder of her second husband, Will Shepherd, a charming, psychotic professional soccer player. At first, Maggie's marriage seems fine, but soon Will begins to act irrationally. The increasing tension comes to a head when Maggie comes to believe that Will has been sexually abusing her daughter; the resulting confrontation ends in Will's death and Maggie's arrest. Climaxing in Maggie's celebrity trial, this page-turner delivers a solid punch, complete with a surprise ending. Patterson (Kiss the Girls, Little, Brown, 1995) offers a vivid, emotionally revealing tale. Recommended for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/95.]‘Stacie Browne Chandler, Whitman P.L., Mass.
'James Patterson does everything but stick our finger in a light socket' New York Times Book Review. 'A twisty narrative that barrels along swiftly...a hair-raising ride.' People. 'The story moves like lightning.' Cosmopolitan
If Thomas Harris's psycho-thrillers are the crème de la crème of the genre, then Patterson's (Kiss the Girls; Along Came a Spider) are the skimmed milk‘fluid, but low in substance. In his new novel, the author again lays down a narrative line so gripping‘an effect achieved partly through a plethora of one-sentence paragraphs, à la Sidney Sheldon‘that the reader may not notice, or care, that characterization and originality have fallen by the wayside. Patterson tells his story through two points of view: there's the the first-person voice of Maggie Bradford, who kills her abusive husband in the novel's flashback prologue and has now become a world-famous singer-songwriter (``I love your music, Maggie,'' Barbra Streisand tells her); and there's a third-person narration that is often filtered through the eyes of Will Shepherd, the celebrated soccer star who romances Maggie after her interim lover, an older tycoon, dies of a heart attack. The devastatingly handsome Will likes to hurt women (``there was a distinctly good part in him, but also a bad part''), however, and sometimes even to kill them. Will seems to want Maggie to save him from himself. Using his beauty and charm on her and her children, he wins her hand in marriage. That union sets up a major-league déjà vu, two murder trials that aren't quite riveting and a final Big Twist that will only surprise those fresh to the thriller genre. Still, Will's descent into cartoonishness, and various loose threads, will probably not bother readers swept along by this lightweight pop fiction. (Jan.)