The Beach House
by James Patterson
with Peter De Jonge
Book Review by Amy Coffin
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"I am running and screaming at the top of my lungs, hoping that someone on the beach will hear me, but the reef crowns out my cries. One of the guys catches me from behind and brings me down hard. Then all three of them are wailing on me, one punch or kick landing on top of the next.

That's when I know when I'm going to die.

And for what it's worth, I even know who my killer is."

This haunting revelation is Peter Mullen's last thought. That evening, he was a valet at the most exclusive East Hampton party. During a break, he was summoned to the beach by an anonymous perfumed note. He thought he'd get lucky. Instead, he lost his life.

When his body washed up on the beach, the authorities called it suicide. Jack Mullen knew it wasn't true. His brother would never go swimming in a stormy tide, much less kill himself during a work break. Mullen's family and other Montauk "townie" friends demand and investigation. However, the authorities are less than cooperative, preferring to protect Barry Neubauer, the wealthy CEO who hosted the party that fateful evening.

Jack risks his future law career to find answers regarding Peter's death, but his inexperience is no match for Neubauer's counsel. When Jack's friends are threatened, the covered-up murder is confirmed. The group is determined to seek justice for Peter and their perilous journey is detailed in The Beach House.

James Patterson teams up with again with Peter deJonge (Miracle on the 17th Green) for this fast-moving thriller. Though created as a team effort, the short engaging chapters and stunning plot twists are pure Patterson.

The story pits a group of average working folks against a seemingly untouchable bully whose wealth gives him the ability to make problems disappear. Neubauer and crew are convincing villains. Not much development is provided for Jack and friends, though, so they don't entirely fit the roles of heroes.

In true Patterson form, there are plenty of shockers along the way. The amateur murder investigation uncovers the dirty sexual secrets of the rich and famous. Jack Mullen learns the truth about his brother's death and hatches a plan to seek personal justice. The plan seems far-fetched, but pleasure readers and loyal Patterson fans probably won't mind. The story's rapid pace keeps the pages turning.

The tone and structure of The Beach House are similar to Brad Meltzer's The Millionaires. If this book had no cover, I'd swear it came from Meltzer. Patterson fans may want to check out Meltzer's work and vice versa. Both authors offer the constant action demanded by casual readers.

The Beach House is a quick weekend read. The details aren't too complex and the action dial is set on high. Looking for a quick fix to feed your suspense addiction? The Beach House fits the bill.

James Patterson's Official Web Site
Patterson has written two great series. Below are their introductions:
Along Came a Spider
1st to Die
Along Came a Spider introduces Alex Cross
1st to Die brings us Lindsay Boxer