The Postcard Killers by James Patterson & Liza Marklund

February 14, 2013

Plot summary (from the publisher): PARIS IS STUNNING IN THE SUMMER

NYPD detective Jacob Kanon is on a tour of Europe’s most gorgeous cities. But the sights aren’t what draw him—he sees each museum, each cathedral, and each café through the eyes of his daughter’s killer.


Kanon’s daughter, Kimmy, and her boyfriend were murdered while on vacation in Rome. Since then, young couples in Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, and Stockholm have been found dead. Little connects the murders, other than a postcard to the local newspaper that precedes each new victim.


Now Kanon teams up with the Swedish reporter Dessie Larsson, who has just received a postcard in Stockholm—and they think they know where the next victims will be. With relentless logic and unstoppable action, The Postcard Killers may be James Patterson’s most vivid and compelling thriller yet.

Warning: Spoilers below!


  • The references to art made me look up and discover some new paintings. I especially liked “The Dying Dandy”.
  • The reveal that the brother-sister team enlisted other “artists” to help them with the killings was a decent one. I was wondering how they were able to pull off murders in other cities, and I guess this was as adequate an answer as any.


  • I hated how often Jacob’s hygiene was referred to. It was disgusting to think he hadn’t taken a shower in several weeks (or was it months?) or whatever. How could he possible expect to be given respect and access to police resources when he looked and smelled like a scraggly homeless person?
  • Speaking of access, why was he flashing his NYPD badge around Europe expecting people to be impressed by that??? If some random guy showed me a London police badge and demanded that I answer questions about a crime, I’d tell him to shove off. WTF?
  • The “relationship” between Jacob and Dessie was stupid and unnecessary. Did we really have to hear how he came within 10 seconds? Good grief.
  • Need I even mention the incestuous relationship between the brother and sister (twins, no less) as a MAJOR dislike for this book? What, the gruesome crimes weren’t shocking enough on their own so the authors felt the need to toss in some gratuitous sibling sex? Nasty.
  • Aside from the reveal about Malcolm and Sylvia having disciples all across Europe, there were zero twists or turns in the plot. It just crawled along in a straight, boring line until the obligatory happy ending.


Look, by now I should know better than to read these trashy James Patterson & [Guest Author] novels because they almost NEVER turn out to be worthwhile. But I was suckered into this one because I thought the European setting and connections to famous works of art would make the thing somewhat more appealing. Unfortunately, the appeal wore off quickly, leaving me with a Patterson-by-the-numbers effort. Next time I’ll stick to checking out printing catalogs online if I want to see pretty pictures. As for the novel, I give it 2 stars out of 5.

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