James Patterson


""Patterson is an expert teller of tales..." "


Katherine Dunne is off on a sailing trip with her family for two months. This is a last ditch attempt to regain the family she feels alienated from, especially since her husband died suddenly four years ago. Her two sons and daughters are distant and have nothing to say to their mother. They argue constantly. Even the strong presence of their Uncle Jake doesn't seem to calm them. But for the sake of her family, Katherine has left her new husband, lawyer Peter Carlyle, the love of her life, at home so she can get to know her children once more.

Soon, the boat runs into problems. Has someone sabotaged them? Then there is a huge storm and things go from bad to worse. An explosion destroys the boat and a massive search begins using the co-ordinates from the boats tracking system. However, neither the family Dunne nor the remains of the boat can be found. Was something wrong with the equipment? Why can the boat not be found? When a message in a bottle is found, the search is back on with a vengeance. But there are certain other parties who are determined to find the family Dunne. Is it to rescue them or to cover their tracks? The race is on to find the family - dead or alive!

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This latest from the James Patterson stable is another highly satisfactory romp with the usual short chapters rushing you through the story. With Patterson, the characters are never people you want to feel close to. They are puppets in a sequence of expertly plotted dramatic events. Although, I have to say, on this occasion I enjoyed the character of the bad guy, Peter Carlyle, who I preferred to the 'fluffy' feel of the family Dunne. Although I enjoyed the story immensely – Patterson is an expert teller of tales - I feel Howard Roughan is possibly currently the weaker of all the writers Patterson pairs up with. Paetro has nailed the Women's Murder Club as her own, with Ledwidge a close second. With Roughan you feel that he takes immense pleasure in describing luxury items like Peter's watch - which costs a fortune and does everything except wash the dishes. It is information we simply don't need. Besides that small niggle, I enjoyed Sail for the huge entertainment value it affords. Patterson's novel's are like films on the page. Why more of them haven't been made into movies is a surprise. There are quite a few bodies by the end of Sail and, yes, there is a twist at the end which most crime readers will have spotted. However, Sail does justice to Patterson's brand and will certainly sate the appetite of his many readers.

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