"The Postcard Killers," by James Patterson & Liza Marklund
The Postcard Killers starts with a premise I’ve seen in a lot of cop shows: A brazen serial killer send photos of his latest murder with the “twist” that they are posed like famous works of art. But there are always of two victims. Fitting, I suppose, since this particular serial killer is two people, which we know from the start. And the globe-hopping killer announce their intention to kill again via a postcard, hence the title. They pick a journalist in each town to send that and the follow-up photographs to.
The book takes place mostly in Europe, but of course, there’s the plucky, determined New York cop who knows what the pattern is, but nobody with jurisdiction in the location of the murder will listen to him. This cop is particularly driven to find the murderers because his daughter and her boyfriend were among the first victims.
There’s a couple of twist: All the evidence – when they finally do listen to the American cop – points to the one couple. And we know it’s them because we swatch them do it in the first micro-sized chapter. Only thing is, they have iron-clad alibis for several of the murders. Yikes!
The cops are pretty sure this time, too, some more than others. But they have to find a way to explain those iron-clad alibis. And when I say they had iron-clad alibis, I mean witnesses and receipts, which are real. As the book proceeds, the developing profile of the killing couple, I guarantee will shock you. But how do they murder people in cities they’ve never been in? It’s can’t even be a copycat because there are too many details that have not been disclosed to the public.
Knowing James Patterson, I tried really hard to think outside the box, but I didn’t come anywhere near a solution. When he finally discloses it, it was not only shocking, but horrifying and, well, gross.
This co-writer, Liza Marklund, is one of his better ones, in my opinion. It’s amazing, though: they all sound like he wrote every word. That’s the gift of an great ghost writer.
There were a couple of things that bothered me about the book. First, that lone cop that no one will listen to? That’s really cliché. It may be real, but I’m tired of reading it in murder mysteries. And why does there always have to be a romance? I know the answer. It’s because that’s what people want. Most people, anyway, but this romance felt very contrived to me.
Anyway, this one was more puzzling to me than any of his other books I’ve read. If you’re into this kind of novel, ya gotta read it.