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Book review: Now You See Her by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

Copyright: by James Patterson
Genre: Mystery, suspense, thriller

Imagine. A split second decision can change the course of your life. This is precisely what happened to Jeanine, a 21-year-old college senior who was spending spring break in the Florida Keys. James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge create a thriller that doesn’t stop in Now You See Her. Jeanine is partying with four friends, and passes out in their hotel room. She awakes to the sound of her boyfriend and her best girlfriend having sex. Still drunk, she takes off in the boyfriend’s car. As she is speeding down the road she sees a dog in front of her and swerves to miss it. She hits the dog’s owner instead and kills him. From that moment on, her life spirals out of control. A few minutes later, a cop comes upon the scene. He accesses the situation and tells her to get in the car and take off. When she hesitates he tells her the man who she hit was a drug dealer who had been responsible for any number of deaths. He convinces her to help him get rid of the body and she ends up marrying him!

If you are looking for a believable plot with well-developed characters, you are not going to find it in Now You See Her. If you are looking for a roller coaster ride with another thrill in each short chapter, you have the right book. After the heroine’s life changing moments she is rewarded with a life of leisure, married to Peter, the cop who helped her conceal her crime and living on the beach in Key West. But, a few years into the marriage things start to fall apart. She finds herself pregnant and discovers that Peter is crooked. She learns that he killed his first wife and also his partner and realizes that she is next. So she stages her own death, by making it look like she was the victim of a serial killer, known as the Jump Killer, who has murdered a number of women in the Keys. In the process she ends up in the clutches of that killer. Somehow, she escapes to New York City, where she takes on a new identity, works her way through law school and brings up her daughter alone. We meet her again as Nina Bloom, a successful attorney who has agreed to assist in a last minute attempt to save a man who was on death row in Florida.

Nina knows first hand that Justin Harris is not the Jump Killer. She was nearly a victim of this man and he wasn’t the black man being held on death row. Nina feels she must attempt to right some of the wrongs in her past and prove Justin’s innocence. This meant she had to return to Florida. The twists and turns in the plot are endless as Peter discovers his “dead” wife is alive. The rest I will leave to the next reader. The door is left open for the return of Nina Bloom in the epilogue, where her new husband’s final words are “You’ll just have to wait for the sequel.”

Now You See Her is not meant to be classic literature. Critics complain that the circumstances are unbelievable, that the plot was a cookie cutter form, and even that there were negative references and stereotypes about people of color. I did not see the latter and although the first two may be true, continuous action is what we expect from James Patterson and his co-writers. Most of the reviews I read were very positive. It captured my attention from the first chapter and like so many of Patterson’s books, I could not put it down.

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