Publisher: Little Brown & Co Jun 2008
I guess an author can run out of ideas for a believable plot and multi-dimensional characters after he or she has written dozens of books. The last two Patterson novels I've read have been disappointing, including this one (although not as disappointing as Cross Country). There was really nothing new here. Unusual for Patterson though, he reveals the villain early in the book.
Katherine Dunne is a cardiac surgeon who inherited 100 million dollars and a large sail boat when her husband died at sea. She has three bratty kids, although the youngest is pretty likable, and a second husband, Peter Carlyle, a fancy schmancy defense attorney. Unbelievably, Katherine decides that two months at sea with her children and ex-brother-in-law Jake will bring the family together. First, Peter isn't going (although her supports her decision), and second, her brother-in-law is in love with her. Not a good combination for building a stronger family.
As soon as they are out to sea everything falls apart. The oldest son is caught smoking pot, the daughter jumps overboard in a suicide attempt and the boat begins taking on water. It only gets worse from there. I won't spoil it for anyone who wants to read it, but let's just say they escape sure death time after time, and in ways that just made me shake my head. It seems that the author fell back on sensationalism and exclamation points instead of substance to keep you reading.
Still, it wasn't a bad book if you don't expect it to be up to the quality of Patterson's Women's Murder Club and Alex Cross series.
Synopsis (from the author's website)
A perfect family vacation turns into a life-or-death nightmare.
Only an hour out of port, the Dunne family's summer getaway to paradise is already turning into the trip from hell. Carrie, the eldest, has thrown herself off the side of the boat in a bid for attention. Sixteen-year-old Mark is getting high belowdecks. And Ernie, their ten-year-old brother, is nearly catatonic. It's shaping up to be the worst vacation ever.
SOAK UP THE SUN
Katherine Dunne had hoped this trip would bring back the togetherness they'd lost when her husband died four years earlier. Maybe if her new husband, a high-powered Manhattan attorney, had been able to postpone his trial and join them it would all have been okay....
PREPARE TO DIE
Suddenly, a disaster hits–and it's perfect. Faced with real danger, the Dunnes rediscover the meaning of family and pull together in a way they haven't in a long time. But this catastrophe is just a tiny taste of the danger that lurks ahead: someone wants to make sure that the Dunne family never makes it out of paradise alive.