RoadTrip America

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Swimsuit, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Read by Christian Rummel)

Do not allow the title of this book to let you pass it by. This is a fantastic story of a psychotic killer who gets paid for his acts. No, he is not a hit man who puts down his victims with two shots to the back of the head. He is a killer without remorse who not only enjoys his work but is highly paid by a group of super wealthy people for providing them with videos of his work. The psychotic killer, Henri Benoit, is paid by a wealthy and very powerful German man who sends the videos via Internet to an international group of voyeurs Henri calls "The Peepers." The videos show everything that has taken place -- the abductions, the rapes and the actual murders. The group, officially known as the Alliance, is constantly asking for more and more sexual and violent action.

This story starts in Maui with Henri's first murder, but far from the last one, on the islands. Kim McDaniels, a young swimsuit model is murdered and everyone thinks she has just gone on a spree. The killer calls her parents back on the mainland and tells them she has been kidnapped and is in very bad hands. When they can't get any information by calling the hotel where Kim was staying, they fly to Maui. Although they get very little help from the police, they are befriended by a crime reporter from the Los Angeles Times, Ben Hawkins.

From the moment they arrive in Hawaii, the parents unknowingly interact with their daughter's killer. When the McDaniels arrive at the airport, they are met by a chauffeur named Marco who tells them the hotel sent him to take the McDaniels wherever they want to go. They have no idea that Marco is really the killer, Henri. The next day at a police press conference, a photographer introduces himself to Ben Hawkins who is standing with the McDaniels. His name and press credentials identify him as Charles Rawlings, but he is really Marco, AKA Henri, the killer.

The killings go on, eventually claiming the lives of the McDaniels. When they are killed, Ben Hawkins returns to Los Angeles since there will be no human interest story with the girl's parents. It is then that Henri confronts Ben and demands that he write and publish his biography. Ben disapproves of it and doubts Henri is for real. He is shocked but convinced, when Henri shows him the video of Kim McDaniels being raped and then beheaded by the monster. Henri tells Ben that he and his girlfriend will be killed if Ben does not write his autobiography. The story then moves to Paris where Henri continues his killing. Ben and his girlfriend follow Henri and a cat and mouse game is played out.

The conclusion will shock even the most attentive listener. As he gathers information from Henri for his biography, Ben learns all the details from Henri's early youth and of the killing spree he's been on into the present. This book is gripping from the opening page to the last. It will leave you wondering if Henri is just a cold-blooded killer or if he is driven by an obsession to understand life and death. He tells Ben at one point that he always wondered what the last thoughts one had at that precise moment between life and death. This book is highly recommended as an absorbing mystery thriller and an intriguing look into the mind of a killer.

John Mormon

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