“THE BEACH HOUSE”
by James Patterson and Peter de Jonge (2002)
This book is over a hundred chapters long. But they're all two or three pages long. It makes for a fast read. It's also easy to set it down. Also, if a character disappears for few chapters, there's usually a brief reminder of who he or she is, such as, “Then I had lunch with Alice, my brother's next-door neighbor.”
This makes me wonder if the book was written as serious literature or a 'beach read', a book intended to amuse but one that readers could start, lay down, then pick up it up at any time without getting lost. Which is OK.
I like the clever first few chapters simply because the initial narrator ends up being the victim. The majority of the book is narrated by his brother Jack who becomes the hero. A few bits are told from an omnipotent point of view. It might sound confusing but it works.
Jack Mullen quickly realizes his brother's death was murder and he wants justice. An inquest is held. But justice is not forthcoming as the rich and powerful conspire against him. In fact, Jack might be lucky to escape with his own life after ruffling the wrong feathers.
So Jack, having been wronged, does what anyone would do. He kidnaps the billionaire responsible for his brother's death and all his lackeys and holds his own trial. He even has the whole thing broadcast on television!
OK, this is another reason I can't quite take the book serious. Even if all this were feasible, the networks would cut off the signal as soon as the first X-rated photograph was 'admitted' as evidence. But the book is not serious, it's a fun, light read for the beach or anywhere.