Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Fortunately, Ridley Pearson only makes the reader sweat through four days of tension in his latest thriller, Killer Weekend. Any more days might have caused too much stress for the reader, and for Pearson's Sheriff Walt Fleming.
Fleming was only a rookie cop when he saved Elizabeth Shaler from a knife-wielding intruder. Now, he's the sheriff in Sun Valley, Idaho and Liz Shaler is New York attorney general, poised to announce her candidacy for President. So, for the days leading up to a weekend conference attended by the rich and famous, and the weekend itself, Fleming has to put aside his personal problems, and deal with Secret Service and other security forces jockeying for control. His biggest worry? A killer in the Salt Lake City airport seems to be headed straight for Sun Valley, and no one has a clue to his identity.
Pearson elects to reveal the identity of the killer, but that just adds to the suspense as the reader follows him step-by-step. He builds tension à la Patterson, with short crisp chapters that move faster and faster, culminating in a tricky confrontation.
If the book has a weakness, it's the cruelty to animals. It's very appropriate, considering the characters involved, however animal lovers will not want to pick up this book.
Sheriff Walt Fleming is not Superman. He has family problems, everything from a father he hates to a troubled teenage nephew. He struggles with his divorce. Perhaps one of Pearson's strongest scenes is the final scene of the book when Fleming shows just how human he is.
On so many levels, this book's title works. It's the the story of a killer's weekend. It's a killer of a weekend for so many people involved, especially Walt Fleming. And, if you pick up Killer Weekend, prepare to lose any interest you had in anything else. It will kill your plans as well.
Ridley Pearson's website is www.ridleypearson.com
Killer Weekend by Ridley Pearson. G.P. Putnam's Sons, ©2007, ISBN 978-0-399-15407-2 (hardcover), 323p.