Malicious leaves no malice in readers

All reviews are my personal opinion and do not reflect the views of any person or organization.

Malicious, a James Patterson Bookshots written by Patterson and James O. Born, is another book staring Mitchum, an ex-Navy SEAL turned private private investigator (aka unofficial) and paperboy. He is called in to help his brother, Natty, who has been arrested for murder.

It doesn’t look good for Natty as he is a known dope dealer—pardon me, drug dealer (a correction which become a recurring joke through the first part)—and he has a thing for the victim’s wife.

The 125 page story is a nice, quick read. Its size and weight make it perfect for reading while on the go; whether you are waiting at the doctors or on a long car ride. Or if you just want to relax in bed.

Overall the story was good with its knife fights, fist fights, and gun chases, but there were a few problems.

In the beginning, Mitchum and a “client” are waiting at the diner to meet his client’s estranged daughter. I was confused at first because I thought in the last Mitchum story this case was already closed. He mentioned it many times, so I thought this was a flashback or a prequel. I quickly realized he had only found the daughter in the last book; now they were meeting.

I first realized this was a present/sequel story when Mitchum mentioned the death of Mabel. It was an unsolved case in the last book and hinted at some bigger plot, but in this story it just gets a line and is never mentioned again. I kept waiting for something in this story to connect back to Mabel, but it never happened. It was disappointing but no big deal. This is pretty normal in serials.

I liked the fluid writing where each event flowed into another without awkward breaks. The book also had a nice pace-flow between fast action, slow action, and medium action. Mitchum stays in investigation mode throughout the story, but you get calmer moments where you see into Mitchum’s normal life, such as when Alicia asks him out.

Mitchum is also a well-developed character. Only from a few sentences you can see his moral code and how much he cares for family and community. The same can be said about the other characters. Within a few short sentences, you know who Natty, Mitchum’s mother, and the investigating police officer—Mike Tharpe—are.

The final item is both a positive and a negative: I figured out who the killer was pretty early. The bad part is that it made me want to jump to the end to see if I was right instead of reading the whole book. I don’t like it when I guess the end so quickly because I become impatient waiting for the end. But at least with these Bookshots stories, the end isn’t far away; I’m only waiting for a few hours or days till the end instead of months as I try to read a 400 page novel.

But this quick-solve shows how well written the story is. All the clues are right there. Once the reveal happens, you don’t feel cheated; you feel like everything that happened made sense. You don’t feel blindsided or that the authors threw in some shocking twist just to throw in some twist.

All in all, Malicious is a nice, quick read where you feel like the story is complete but still makes you want more Mitchum stories. I would give it a four out of five stars because there were a few issues but nothing distracting.

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