Friday, January 7, 2011

The Quickie by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge (unabridged audio book read by Mary Stuart Masterson)

On her way to give her husband Paul a sexy surprise for lunch, Lauren Stillwell instead see him leaving his office building with a corn-fed blonde on his arm. She follows them to a hotel, and this discovery — and Paul's lying about it when confronted — turns her into a woman bent on evening the score, literally.

It was just supposed to be a quickie, but Lauren's retaliatory assignation ("Paul and I had once had a sweet sex life.... But being with Scott was life-threatening") quickly turns to murder when one of her lovers kills the other as she watches through the window into the dark, rainy night. The killer loads the victim into his car and drives off.

Once Lauren realizes he's not at any of the local hospitals, she checks out a crime scene she overhears on a cop's radio. And that's where authors James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge drop the first major surprise of The Quickie. Many more follow in this novel whose agenda is announced early on: "This is what happens when you cheat. This is what you get." But Patterson and Ledwidge have housed it in a slick thriller that is practically guaranteed to please Patterson's legion of fans.

Actress Mary Stuart Masterson (Fried Green Tomatoes, Benny & Joon) remains invisible throughout her reading of the audiobook of The Quickie, letting the characters, especially narrator Lauren, shine fully. Her portrayals are insightful and completely naturalistic with unexpected emphasis placed (in retrospect) where a real person would put it.

The Quickie is completely absorbing even as it stretches the bounds of plausibility. The final disc is a roller-coaster ride as all questions are answered and all threads tied up neatly, leaving the listener with a smile.

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