I didn’t appreciate and don’t recommend Swimsuit
By Derryll White
Patterson, James and Maxine Paetro (2010). Swimsuit.
I enjoyed the opening of this novel with Benjamin L. Hawkins, a failed novelist now reporting crime for the L.A. Times, reflecting that this was how the hugely successful novelist Michael Connelly got his start. That gave the story some initial perspective for me.
Benjamin Hawkins has a deal with an accomplished serial killer – write and get the killer’s memoirs published, or die. And not just him but his girlfriend Amanda as well.
This is not a nice novel, not a comfortable read. It is well written and tightly crafted, but the violence is both literal and psychological. The writers intend to get into the reader’s head, and to provoke a nightmare or two.
I didn’t appreciate ‘Swimsuit’ and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
Excerpts from the novel:
TERRORISM – He lied as expected, saying that he was being treated well, and then one of the hooded men threw Switzer to the ground, lifted his head by his hair, and drew a serrated knife across the back of his neck. Blood spurted and there was a chorus of the takbir: Allahu Akbar. Allah is good.
Henri was transfixed by how easily Switzer’s head had become severed with a few saws of the blade, an act both infinite and quick.
A KILLER – I didn’t call the cops, because I knew that they couldn’t protect us. I had no fingerprint evidence, and my description of Henri would be useless. Six foot, brown hair, gray eyes, could be anyone.
After the cops watched my place and Mandy’s for a week or so, we’d be on our own again, vulnerable to a sniper’s bullet – or whatever Henri would or could use to silence us.
I saw him in my mind, crouched behind a car, or standing behind me at Starbucks, or watching Amanda’s apartment through a gun sight.
SERIAL KILLERS – A half-dozen experts agreed that serial killers almost always learn from their mistakes. They evolve. They compartmentalize and don’t feel their victims’ pain. They keep upping the danger and increasing the thrill.
– Derryll White once wrote books but now chooses to read and write about them. When not reading he writes history for the web at www.basininstitute.org.