Meet Ben. Ben is not like other people. Ben thinks about a lot of things all at once – from his motorcycle to different movies and to his beloved friend and would-be girlfriend Diana, who mysteriously dies the same night he installed some hidden cameras in her house.
Ben Casper – like the friendly ghost – is a friendly billionaire news reporter who leads a secluded life and has acquaintances and one friend – Diana.
When Diana commits suicide by jumping from her balcony onto the pavement below, Ben is thrown into a state of confusion as to why the terrible deed was done. From his excellent knowledge of Diana, he assumes that his best friend was thrown rather than committed suicide, as she would not tip over her beloved begonias in the fall.
From this simple assumption starts a chase for truth that unravels a mystery, a cover-up, a spy game, a tense relationship between US and China and US and Russia.
People start dying and Ben’s life is nearly cut short when his private plane malfunctions and crashes. CIA are involved and soon, Ben finds himself with an even bigger mystery at hand. The woman that was scraped off the pavement was not Diana. She did not have a butterfly tattoo on her ankle. So where was Diana?
Who died? Why was she on the run? And why was her Chinese lover scared?
In his most heart-pumping thriller yet, James Patterson plunges us into the depths of a mind tortured by paranoia and obsession, on an action-packed chase through a world of danger and deceit.
The book is written from Ben’s POV and we are bombarded with movie trivia, presidential trivia, general trivia – so while you’re reading this book you learn new things – starting from the left-handedness of one specific president (Garfield) to the fact that some were arrested for breaking the law. James Madison and Thomas Jefferson were once arrested together for taking a carriage ride in the countryside of Vermont on a Sunday, which violated the laws of that state.
Not so good-bits:
The book gets repetitive after chapter 50. And there are over 110 chapters! You stop caring who killed Diana by chapter 20. You want her dead or alive by chapter 30. You want Ben to solve the puzzle quicker. And he’s turning into a true Bourne as he fights the government and foils plots.
Chatting with himself, his hero is repeatedly diverging from the plot. How many times can Benjamin muse about his favourite film stars? How many of these “cute” asides can one reader tolerate?
The ending was a bit predictable – even though the author tried to push a plot twist in the last 30 pages.
Diana, the sweet woman that Ben was in love with, was actually a manipulative, conniving and ambitious woman. She used her sexual prowess to get what she wanted, having a relationship with the deputy director of the CIA and then with millionaires and higher-ups.
Once Ben reaches the end of the thread, he finds out that the US government was being blackmailed because of a sex tape that Diana made with the president’s wife. The Russians got hold of the tape and they were using it to influence the US foreign policy in Georgia as the Russians were thinking of expanding their empire again.
All in all, the book was mediocre, entertaining for the first quarter and slowly failing up to the last few pages. 3/5