Book Review: The Postcard Killers

Last month I read my first ever book by James Patterson, The Postcard Killers. I first heard of the book a few years ago — it was on one of those bestseller lists or popular reads lists. The basis of the story is that a New York City detective, Jacob Kanon, teams up with Dessie Larsson, a young Swedish journalist. Jacob has been been following a string of murders in Europe and is desperate to find these serial killers because he has personally been effected by them. How does Dessie factor in? The killers like to send postcards giving clues as to where the next murder will be taking place or where the bodies can be found to a journalist. So what did I think? Keep reading to find out!

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Given the premise of the book, it piqued my interest and it looked promising. I’m sad to report that I was definitely let down by the book. Patterson and Marklund introduced so many pieces to the mystery – too many parts in my opinion that didn’t allow anything to fully develop. At over 400 pages, it’s not like there wasn’t room to tell a truly developed story about these postcard killers and Jacob and Dessie following the clues to capture them and uncovering the motivation behind seemingly senseless killings. Too much time and pages were wasted on describing little things that ultimately did not move the story forward and not enough was spent on things that were actually important to the storyline. For example, maybe instead of wasting time talking about how Dessie feels having to work with her ex, a detective for the Stockholm police, they could have written more about this internet cult following the postcard killers had. That’s right, they had a following and this fact wasn’t introduced until the last few chapters of the book!

My last bone to pick with this book, without giving too much away, is that a big showdown in the book happens in none other than an IKEA parking lot. Seriously? I know that a majority of the novel takes place in Sweden, but really, they couldn’t think of anything better than the stereotypical Swedish home goods store?

The book wasn’t a total wash for me, I did keep reading because I wanted to know more about the killers. Jacob and Dessie were actually likeable characters so there’s that. I just think the promising storyline and likeable characters could’ve been executed much better. Spending too much time on useless bits and not enough on plot development did the whole story a major disservice.

Have any of you read The Postcard Killers before? I’d love to hear what you thought! 

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