Ridley Pearson's a fine writer, but I was somewhat disappointed with KILLER WEEKEND. This novel is written like a James Patterson novel, with lean writing, very short chapters and a relatively fast pace.
Unfortunately, like a Patterson book, the characterization in this book is very thin, verging on cardboard in many cases. There is a large cast of characters in this rather short book, and most of them struck me as underdeveloped. Only the main sheriff character really has a three dimensional personality. And even in the sheriff's case, much of his back story is left unexplained, although Pearson will presumably reveal more about him in later books in the series.
KILLER WEEKEND is also kind of slow to get going. This is not really a thriller, but more of a whodunit. The first two thirds of this book is mainly a setup for the events of the last third. I didn't find this novel particularly exciting or involving until maybe the last hundred pages or so.
In short, this novel is easy to read, but not particularly compelling. I think there are far better choices out there for your reading time. Still, if you like James Patterson's writing style, you may want to give KILLER WEEKEND a try.
Pierce E. Scranton Jr.
Lou Bolt! Daphne? Where are you? Rather, where is the great character development and the understated intrigue that comes up and slams you from Ridley Pearson? I like Sun Valley,too. I like the sexy waitresses and great food in the SawTooth, and the hanging canoe, and the shellacked table in the Pioneer. But describing these and all the other places Ridley knows and loves in Sun Valley is not literary genius. It is contrived and boring. Come on Ridley! Give us some of the old razzamatazz!!!
Pierce Scranton M.D.
author, "Death on the Learning Curve"
(This is a copy of my comment added to the last customer review. I felt the need to add my own 2 stars.)
This is my first and last Pearson book. Not only were the characters under-developed and the plot full of holes, but the writing was terrible. I found myself having to read many sentences several times to get the meaning, as he put far too much information into one sentence. I've taken the trouble to copy some of them:
"With O'Brien attending a dessert function at Trail Creek Cabin, where the commissioner of the FCC was giving an informal talk on the Politics of Policy to forty-five special ticket holders, he'd suggested meeting Walt at the Hemingway Memorial.
The Warm Springs tributary to the Big Wood slipped past beneath the concrete bridge connecting the Sun Valley's River Run high-speed quad-chairlifts and the glorious River Run ski lodge.
By 8 a.m. he was overseeing Brandon's leadership in securing Sun Valley Road Police Department's attempts to contain the burgeoning number of First Rights protesters who twice had broken through a barricade trying to get closer to the inn and the C3 gathering, only to be pushed back to the area allotted them."
Boring and confusing sentence structure. They could have been broken up and written so much more fluidly. After reading the last one for the third time, I wanted to chuck the book out the window.
Yes, if you like James Patterson, you will like this book. I have always thought that Patterson was the absolute worst writer in popular contemporary fiction. Pearson is not as bad, but still a waste of precious reading time. There are so many better writers out there in the same genre. I will not give him another chance.
Walt Fleming is a small-town sheriff, but Quantico-trained and unusually competent. We're given to understand this in the prologue to Killer Weekend, when Walt pieces together clues anyone else might have overlooked and saves the life of Liz Shaler, the Attorney General of New York State, who maintains a second home in Idaho's Sun Valley. Eight years later Shaler is set to announce her candidacy for the presidency at a conference at the Sun Valley Inn. The event would be a logistical nightmare for Walt and his staff under the best of conditions. But he has reason to believe that Shaler is being targeted by an assassin who will make his move when she makes her announcement.
Pearson tells his story from Walt's perspective as well as the assassin's. Milav Trevalian is himself supremely competent at his job. One admires, despite the nature of the task, his painstaking preparations for the kill. Interestingly, he turns out to be a relatively likable character, both because of his professionalism and because, despite his resumé, he shows moments of humanity. Indeed, his humanity turns out to be his Achilles heel.
Unfortunately, Trevalian's motivation is never explored. We never learn why Shaler is in his crosshairs or what the stakes are for him personally. There are other loose ends. Walt's brother is dead, for example, and Pearson hints at deeper issues connected with his death, but we're never told the story. Finally, the book's prologue--in which Walt saves Shaler's life for the first time--makes promises that are never fulfilled. Pearson puts the proverbial gun on the mantle in act one when he describes the means by which that night's intruder enters Shaler's home. Readers expecting that gun to go off by the book's end, however, will wait in vain.
Pearson's principal characters, both good guys and bad, are interesting enough to make us want to read on. The story becomes more complex the deeper into the book we get. The writing doesn't distract from the plot. And the short chapters go by fast enough. Killer Weekend never quite becomes an edge-of-your-seat thriller. But it's a near miss.
-- Debra Hamel
I am a long-standing Ridley Pearson fan, but, before I gave up half-way through, this book kept feeling like it was written for a bad prose contest. It truly has the feel of the worst of James Patterson's ghost-written novels (The Quickie). I hope that Ridley will be returning to form (and to his classic characters) in the very near future.