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Book Review: Sail by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

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James Patterson and Howard Roughan have produced another winning beach read guaranteed to keep the pages turning. Sail is a stand-alone novel instead of one of his series (Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club), and has the added facet that everyone is at risk in this one. Nobody has to come back for the sequel, and some of the characters don’t.

Cardiac surgeon Anne Dunne has been stressed out by the twists and turns her life has taken. Her husband has died and she barely held it together. Then she got swept off her feet by Peter Carlyle, a dashing attorney. They’ve been married for a couple years, giving Anne time to heal some of her hurts and get her feet solidly back on the ground.

I like Patterson’s books for the sheer velocity of the story. He doesn’t provide more than a skeletal background for his principle characters, but that’s all that’s needed to understand the machinations he puts them all through.

Although a lot of Anne’s emotional turmoil is glossed over in the novel, I still felt her pain and uncertainty. But there simply wasn’t time to dwell on Anne’s loss because things constantly happened in the book. The authors introduced one vicious turn after another, and the Dunne family became more and more endangered.

However, the furious plotting robbed the characters a little. Anne organized the sailing vacation for her three children because she felt the family was falling apart. Everyone who has a busy family has felt that stress. Oldest son Mark has a drug problem, Carrie is suicidal, and Ernie has become strongly anti-social. These issues were introduced in a straight-forward manner, then resolved almost instantly. I feel I missed out on some of the character growth and interaction with the headlong pacing of the book, but I couldn’t stop turning the pages, which is exactly what the authors designed the book to do.

I really liked the character of Jake Dunne. He stepped onto the page and became real to me at once. He’s the solid kind of guy that will always see things through no matter how messy they get. But, like all of the characters in this novel, he has his secrets too.

Peter Carlyle, Anne’s new husband, turns out to be one of the blackest hearted villains I’ve seen in a while. He’s only out for himself. His relationship with his much younger girlfriend Bailey really sets the tone, and readers will learn to hate this guy, and fear his single-minded determination.

The international hitman Carlyle hires nicknames himself The Magician because of the ease with which he can make people disappear. He’s cool and calculating, and fills the story with menace.

Lost at sea, injured and dysfunctional, the Dunne family’s struggles will pull most thriller readers through to the end in a single sitting or two. They won’t be able to put the book down as the authors pile on one surprise after unexpected twist after impending doom. Sail runs before the wind as a perfect beach read now that summer is upon us.

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About Mel Odom

  • Adam

    Her name is Katherine Dunne, not Anne Dunne.

  • Johnb

    I was amazed that a book entitled “Sail” and in which about half the action takes place on a 62 ft sail boat was written and edited by persons who obviously knew nothing about boats. There is no discussion about provisioning the boat; nothing about assigning jobs to the inexperienced kids; never a mention of whether they are under sail or power; no discussion of the time of year, weather reports, destinations, choice of routes etc. Almost every page is full of ridiculous errors: a sea anchor which must be ‘raised’ before a storm, through hull tubes connected without fittings or turn off valves, diving beneath the ‘floor’ into an engine compartment filled with sea water and then continuing the voyage without mention of damage to the engine.
    I am prepared to suspend disbelief but this was too much. One of the worst of its genre.

  • MNSailor

    With all the money made off this book, you think they could have hired a technical consultant who actually knew SOMETHING about sailing. My Dog, what an awful read. If you’re a sailor, do NOT attempt to read this book… simply stupid! It insults all levels of nautical insight.

  • cliffnotes

    Great book! Almost finish and do not expect disapointment.

  • adam

    Very disappointing. Factually incorrect. For example, if any line rupture, close thruhull. Emergency averted.

    Story did not flow. Prologue description of characters shows laziness. Characters should have been developed within the story line. Also, none of the characters were appealing.

    I wasted two days reading this drivel.

  • john smith

    The suspense was there but the technical errors almost made me toss the book. Peter Carlyle flys himself & family (Katherine, Carrie, Mark & Ernie) down in his cessna skyhawk to see them off. A cessna skyhawk only has FOUR seats, how did he fit fve?
    A runway number is designited by compass heading number, but runway 3A out of Freeport? Search and rescue flights generally carry “spotters” with them. Renting a twin engine sea plane is unheard of or extremely rare. If peter carried a gun because of “DEA” tip of possble drug runner involvement why hasn’t it questioned why he had a gun waiting for him when he arrived? Why wasn’t he questioned why he didn’t call on the satilite phone at first spotting? Wouldn’t the recovered satilite phone show that the tracking devise was removed?

  • nahyan mirza

    Good for a casual read but if you go in the technicalities it sucks. Factual errors and mis-sights by the authors….. Take it with a grain of salt and do not dwell too deeply and you shall be thus entertained :) :) :)

  • himmy

    i liked the sex scenes

  • poseph

    Me too. They made me happy

  • nanny

    this was a ballin’ book.