James Patterson’s name on the cover suggests a gripping thriller. I reviewed Private Berlin back in November, which I felt was marginally better than this book.
We have one of Patterson’s favourite characters Detective Alex Cross investigating a series of Jane Doe murders in DC. Because the victims are black, his boss isn’t interested and wants him off the case, until a white guy is murdered in the same way and the press are suddenly baying for results. This isn’t a whodunnit, the blurb on the book tells us the murderer is a British Diplomat, Geoffrey Shafer. in the first pages of the book we see Peter Shaffer driving recklessly in his Jaguar XJ12, not caring either for his own safety or that of other road users. Our murderer is an unhinged psychopath, who is high on prescription drugs, which he acquires from a therapist he is screwing. He is also playing an online RPG (Role Playing Game) with three other former British secret agents, called “The Four Horseman”, but Geoffrey (Death) enacts his sadistic online fantasies for real like a murderous Dice Man, selecting his victims on the throw of a 20 sided die.
When Alex Cross’s fiancee goes missing on the island of Bermuda, the game becomes deadly serious for him. A game, where both parties risk losing everything they hold dear.
The online action is in block capitals, which seems a little archaic and shouty, reading it in 2016 (it was published 1999), there is also little else about the RPG world apart from the dice and Geoffrey’s decision to play a chaotic evil character, as opposed to one who is lawful and good.
I was disappointed with the ending, which I won’t give away here. I thought the build up of suspense would lead to a more thrilling and diabolical finale.
My rating 4 out of 5