Jerry's Reviews > Lifeguard

Lifeguard by James Patterson
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Jul 04, 10

Read in October, 2005

Somewhat forgettable Patterson, suspenseful but implausible plot: OK beach book.

One suspects that the summer release of "Lifeguard" was absolutely intended for the beach, and if so, it met its goal! Although the leading man, Ned Kelly, a college grad drifting along right now as a lifeguard, indeed works at a Palm Springs beach, the story quickly moves into an art heist gone bad that sets our boy into a lam headed for his hometown Boston. It seems Mr. Kelly, son of a professional thief (apparently not a great one based on living half his life in prison) has some petty crimes on his resume, and looks to score the big one ($1 million) for his share of stealing three priceless paintings from a rich beach resident. While Ned's four friends break into the house, Ned is running around town setting off house alarms just to occupy the police. But things go totally sour when Ned is called by one of the friends and waved off. Just hours later, his four compadres are dead, as is (seemingly unrelated) Ned's new one-day girlfriend; and guess who the leading suspect is?

Meanwhile, FBI Agent Ellie Shurtleff, who happens to be an art crimes expert, latched onto Ned but believes his tale of woe and spends the whole book trying to defend and clear him; indeed, he abducts her instead of she apprehending him. Given this ridiculous implausibility, it was tough to swallow much of the tale. But as one might presume, The real story of who wanted the paintings and why and why all those people were killed unfolds and the book ends mostly in predictable fashion.

Patterson seems to be pumping out a lot of books in the past few years. While his Alex Cross novels, which we hasten to note he writes completely by himself (presumably), maintain the quality that keeps JP unfailingly on the best seller list, his use of co-authors for this and many of his other recent novels leads us to believe the money machine is getting more important than giving us consistently great efforts. While "Lifeguard" is a typical suspenseful Patterson outing, it's not a story you'll remember for ten minutes after its conclusion. We'd prefer a few less books and more careful word and plot craft, to warrant keeping JP on our top shelf. Summing up, "Lifeguard" was best for the beach after all!
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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Stephanie Cherubin This book was okay but after just reading Sail by the same author, I did feel like it fell short of the James Patterson caliber. Spoiler alert: Her name is now Ellie Kelley?


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