Kill Me If You Can by James Patterson and Marshall Karp
Pros: Held my interest, fast-paced, interesting surprise
Cons: Implausible, last part is disappointing, extreme violence
It held my interest, and I enjoyed it. However, Kill Me If You Can by James Patterson and Marshall Karp is not a great book. In fact, it’s pretty dumb. Still, even dumb books can be enjoyable, sometimes.
Matthew Bannon, a poor art student, happens to be at the right place at the right time. Smack in the middle of a chaotic bombing scene at Grand Central Station, Matthew comes upon a dead man and a bag full of diamonds. It doesn’t take Matthew more than a moment to decide what to do – leave the dead man alone since there’s nothing to be done for him anymore, and walk off with the diamonds, thoughts of an incredible life with his girlfriend filling his head.
The only problem? Those diamonds were stolen from a Russian mob, and they would really like them back. To say they’ll stop at nothing to find them is the understatement of the year, and Matthew’s dream life might be anything but!
In typical Patterson fashion, we have a fast-paced story told from many points of view. There’s Matthew’s part of the story, told in first-person. Then there’s the story from the points of view of the many people hunting him. The Russians get their own voice. So do the crooked New York detectives on the Russian payroll. Finally, there’s the voice of “The Ghost” an assassin-for-hire, also chasing the diamonds.
The story was intriguing and kept my interest. But it’s far from perfect.
First, though, credit where it’s due. Patterson delivered a couple nice surprises. One, in particular, was very well-planned. Hardly “out of left field” yet not an easy one to see coming. For this jaded reader, any time a surprise really hits me, I’m thrilled, so kudos to Patterson for that one!
However, not all surprises are good. And, frankly, after the “big reveal”, the story went downhill. I enjoyed the “before” parts a lot more than the “after”. That is to say, the final third of the book was a disappointment, after an enjoyable beginning and middle section.
And as far as “realism” goes, you would do well to keep your expectations low. This story is completely implausible. So if “realistic” is a must-have for you, then skip it.
Beyond that, readers should be prepared – the level of violence in Kill Me If You Can is extreme. Gruesome, hideous violence takes place. And not only to the bad guys. There are some definite innocent bystanders here. Finally, there’s a social taboo explored in this book that will make some readers very uncomfortable. So – beware!
Fast-paced, intriguing, but with faults, Kill Me If You Can is a bit of a mixed bag. Still, I enjoyed it.
Also by James Patterson: