Now You See Her by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

January 25, 2012

Plot summary (from the publisher):

The perfect life
A successful lawyer and loving mother, Nina Bloom would do anything to protect the life she’s built in New York–including lying to everyone, even her daughter, about her past. But when an innocent man is framed for murder, she knows that she can’t let him pay for the real killer’s crimes.

The perfect lie
Nina’s secret life began 18 years ago. She had looks to die for, a handsome police-officer husband, and a carefree life in Key West. When she learned she was pregnant with their first child, her happiness was almost overwhelming. But Nina’s world is shattered when she unearths a terrible secret that causes her to run for her life and change her identity.

The perfect way to die
Now, years later, Nina risks everything she’s earned to return to Florida and confront the murderous evil she fled. In a story of wrenching suspense, James Patterson gives us his most head-spinning, action-filled story yet–a Hitchcock-like blend of unquenchable drama and pleasure.

Liked:

  • As with most of Patterson + fill-in-the-blank co-author’s works, this book featured a ton of short chapters and plenty of twists and turns to the storyline. I bet if I took the time to analyze 3-4 of these type of books, I could walk away with an almost page-by-page template of how to write a thriller. Maybe that should be my next summer project!
  • I liked when the FBI agent approached Jeanine (before she became Nina) and told her she had to get away from Peter. That was very cryptic; and when Jeanine researched Peter’s history at the library, her situation became downright scary.
  • I liked that Charlie Baylor (the Key West lawyer for falsely accused murderer Justin Miller) and Nina ended up together. They seemed like a good match, and really, after all that time with the wrong man and then alone, Nina deserved some happiness. Here’s hoping they get to practice law together for a long time to come!

Disliked:

  • I didn’t think that Peter’s wife-killing tendency was explained adequately. Did he just get tired of these women, so he killed them? Was it because he didn’t want them to have babies? If the former, what the hell was wrong with a simple divorce(or why even get married in the first place)? If the latter, why not use contraception even after marriage or get a vasectomy or something?
  • Along similar lines, I wish the authors had explained why Peter decided to get married AND have children after Jeanine left him. Why the sudden change of heart? That seemed like an important thing to know.
  • Why in the world would Nina stop at New York? I don’t know about you, but if I had a psycho ex out there like that, I would have gone clear across to the other side of the country. Sure, at first glance NY might seem far enough away from Key West, but with Peter’s Boston connection I would still be worried. Wouldn’t Seattle or San Diego have been much safer? I realize Nina didn’t have any money when she started out, so she had to stop in New York, but after she got herself together, she could have moved again.
  • I don’t buy for one second that Nina never felt compelled to Google Peter to see what he was up to. She was surprised that he was still in Key West, had become the Chief of Police down there, etc. If she truly feared for her life all those years, I’m SURE she would have been Googling him to make sure he didn’t transfer to New York or something.
  • I found it pretty amazing (in a bad way) that the Jump Killer so miraculously happened to pick Jeanine up on the highway — right after she staged her own disappearance to make it look like the Jump Killer caught her. How lucky!!
  • Speaking of the Jump Killer, Peter just happened to have that guy under his thumb too and managed to set Charlie and Nina up on an empty dinner boat with that guy? Um, okaaaay.

Rating:

At this point, I know enough to have limited expectations regarding James Patterson’s assembly line works. As such, even though my Dislikes greatly outnumbered my Likes for Now You See Her, I’m still going to give the book 3 stars out of 5. It’s a fast-paced book meant to be consumed in a weekend, and in that regard it serves its purpose.

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