The Postcard Killers Review
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James Patterson holds the Guinness World Record for the most New York Times bestsellers. Liza Marklund is a European publishing powerhouse in her own right—a journalist, publisher, and best-selling author. Put them together, and you’ve got a chilling and stylish thriller that races through Europe on a deadly holiday.

NYPD homicide detective Jacob Karon is a long way from home. For the last six months, he’s been on an extended tour of Europe, trying to hunt down those responsible for the violent death of his daughter, Kimmy, and her boyfriend in Rome. Since their murder, he’s been traveling through Europe, collecting the clues that could lead him to the coldblooded serial killers.

Every murder is the same. Each is preceded by a postcard, sent to a local reporter, and followed by a Polaroid of the crime scene. The local police then race to find the victims—always a couple, always with their throats slit, always arranged in some horrible scene.

Now the Postcard Killers have arrived in Stockholm, and they’ve contacted Dessie Larsson. Karon isn’t far behind—and he’s determined to bring their killing spree to an end in Sweden.

The Postcard Killers is more than just another fast-paced game of cat and mouse. It’s an elegant, Old World crime thriller with an unexpected twist or two to keep you guessing until it all comes to a head in a devilishly clever setting.

Co-authors Patterson and Marklund make a great team. Marklund brings a smooth, sleek style to the partnership—not to mention an intimate knowledge of the story’s Swedish surroundings. Patterson, meanwhile, uses his signature approach to build the suspense that keeps the pages flying by.

Patterson’s novels are generally light on development—to help maintain the speed-of-light pacing—and The Postcard Killers is no exception. The story barrels along as Dessie and Jacob work together in their pursuit of the killers. Both characters are minimally developed, but that’s all it takes for readers to get a feel for hot-headed, heart-broken Jacob and conflicted journalist Dessie—and to enjoy joining them on their adventure.

When it comes to the killers, on the other hand, readers will feel the lack of development. Though Jacob eventually manages to dig up plenty of information about the killers and their troubling past, there are still too many questions left unanswered. They seem to be careful planners—mapping out each step and each strategy—and I would have liked to read more about their plans and their motivation. While Patterson’s novels usually stay right around the 400-page mark, I would have happily read another hundred, if it gave me the chance to get deeper inside the killers’ minds.

Though the story comes together a bit too easily—all wrapped up in a nice, neat package—the heavy suspense makes The Postcard Killers a light but gripping thriller. If you’re planning a trip to Europe, though, it might be best to wait to read it until after you get back.

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