Well, I don't know about you, but I was borderline appalled at the killing spree in James Patterson's SWIMSUIT. I know there are heinous crimes out there, I do know that. So I know it's reality, and I'm not feigning innocence. Every day we're reminded on the tele about the atrocities committed upon our human race - shows like CRIMINAL MINDS, LAW & ORDER: SVU, CSI, depict it all to the hilt. But are you noticing the horrid extent to which novel writers are going to bring that sadistic realism to readers?
It's like the influx of bigger and more extravagant casinos in Vegas, each one doing a one-upmanship. Same is happening with movies, TV shows, and crime novels. It seems the more blood is shed, the more sales are made.
But this time, as I read SWIMSUIT, I couldn't believe the continual vivid descriptions and the number of visual murders this book contains. I understand Patterson's reasoning(unless I'm wrong) of portraying the serial killer from the character's viewpoint making it seem more believable. Yes, I understand that. But you know, I read to be entertained, to relax, to be taken to a place that I can enjoy, and to also learn more about my craft of writing. And I know, I'm not the only reader out there. I'm aware that others read for shock value and excitement, something to feed that inner craving for horror.
And yes, of course I must admit the novel was a page-turner, I read it from cover to cover in a relativly short time in spite of the horrendous visuals, and I do understand why it is a page-turner. Patterson is a genius when it comes to knowing how to end a chapter and begin another: short, clipped, action-filled chapters, one driving you on to the next. So you might say, that's a learning experience for writers who are not aware of the importance of it.
But for entertainment, no. I was not entertained. The book left me feeling frightened, and left horrid pictures in my mind, left me wishing I hadn't read it, made it difficult for me to sleep.
It also made me rethink my recent desire to write a murder mystery or thriller. On second thought, it seems to me there are enough murder mystery writers, thrillers, and so forth out there. I think I'll stick to what I know best. Romantic suspense. Sure I have crime and death in my novels, but that isn't what drives them,there is more good than bad. I write what I like to read and it's going to stay that way. If that means I won't be a best-seller like James Patterson, then so be it.
Just want to add . . . I read THE POET by Michael Connelly just before I read SWIMSUIT. And although THE POET is also a serial-killer page-turner, Connelly's take was much more palpable. I enjoyed the read.