Title: Beach Road
Author: James Patterson
Publisher: Little, Brown
Publication Date: May, 2006
Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Description: Tom Dunleavy has a one-man law firm in legendary East Hampton. But his job barely keeps him in paper clips. His principal clients make a living serving the rich. The billionaires and mega-celebrities swarming the beaches already have lawyers on their payroll.
Then a friend of Tom's is arrested for a triple murder near a movie star's mansion. Tom knows in his gut that Dante Halleyville is innocent. Dante asks him to represent him in what could be the Trial of the Century.
Tom recruits Manhattan super-lawyer Kate Costello to help. She's a tough hire, because Kate is his ex-girlfriend, but she agrees. In their search to find who really executed three locals, Tom orchestrates a series of revelations to expose the killer-and what emerges is staggering.
The final scenes of Beach Road unveil a truth that will leave readers gasping in shock.
My Thoughts: When I pick up a James Patterson novel, I am guaranteed to be entertained, sometimes shocked, but always entertained. In Patterson’s novels, I almost always find stories filled with very interesting characters; even the villains are intriguing. I can’t ignore the fact that they reel me in, regardless of whether I love or hate the character. Patterson’s ability to make these characters come to life and leap off the page is very impressive. In Beach Road, he does it again.
Tom Dunleavy is a likeable guy. He’s a guy you could be buddies with. After his career with the NBA is sidelined, he becomes a lawyer, though he’s not a very prominent lawyer.
Kate Costello is tough as nails. If you are the underdog, you will want her in your corner. She demonstrates a dogged determination to do the right thing; she even walks away from her law firm rather than defend a man she knows is guilty. She is one of those people that will walk through fire for the people she cares for. She used to care for Tom Dunleavy until he broke her heart and she hasn’t forgiven him yet.
Dante Halleyville is a young man that bad luck seems to follow. Raised by his grandmother, he struggles to overcome the adversity that has plagued his life and rise above the tragedy that has followed him. He is talented and intelligent and is on his way to a superstar career in the NBA. When he is accused of murder, his life hangs in the balance.
This book is narrated by several points of view. Tom, Kate, Dante and Loco, a local drug dealer, who has a keen sense of what is going on, offer their perceptions on the events surrounding them. Tom and Kate agreed to defend Dante and are convinced he’s being set up. Convincing a jury of enough reasonable doubt leaves Tom and Kate with their work cut out for them.
This story was a little slow to get going in the beginning, but it changes direction without warning and takes off at high speed. Suddenly, I am caught in the story watching the events unfold, unable to look away. With every visit Tom and Kate make to Dante in jail, the tension mounts. If Dante is innocent, then the killer is still out there and loose ends will need to be tied up. I found myself worrying about the safety of Dante, Tom and Kate. Defending Dante doesn’t sit well with the community and Tom and Kate aren’t highly experienced lawyers.
This isn’t one of James Patterson’s best stories, but Beach Road is a story that will pull you in and rip the rug out from under you. When everything is revealed, I felt like I had been hit by a bus. I was shocked and surprised and that is what Patterson is good at. Fans of James Patterson will enjoy this story knowing they are in for a great ride and readers new to his books will enjoy the suspense and intense twists.
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