Kiss the Girls

by

May 26, 2010

Author:  James Patterson

Title:  Kiss the Girls

Genre:  Fiction – Adrenaline

Publication Date:  1995

Geographical Setting:  South Carolina and San Francisco, CA

Time Period:  1990s

Series:  Alex Cross

Plot Summary:

“Casanova” is kidnapping, torturing, and killing young coeds from South Carolina to Florida, while another killer known as “the Gentleman Caller” with a similar m.o. is claiming victims on the West Coast.  At first, the authorities believe them to be one and the same person operating on both coasts.  It turns out that there are, in fact, two separate murderers and there is a bond of some kind between the two – they are long-time friends who share their warped fantasies with each other.  Psychologist / detective, Alex Cross is assigned to the case when a young woman’s body is found bound and mutilated.  He becomes personally involved with both killers when his niece turns up missing from Duke University.  The evidence indicates that Casanova has kidnapped her.  Cross’s niece has become part of Casanova’s collection of beautiful, intelligent, talented young women.  They have been kidnapped and hidden in underground chambers for Casanova’s personal use, so he can fulfill his secret fantasy.  When he tires of one, becomes disappointed in her, or if she breaks one of his rules, he tortures then kills her.  Naomi (Cross’s niece) realizes that she is not alone in the underground chamber and figures out a way to communicate with the other victims.  Casanova is able to move among the authorities as one of them.  He knows how to cover his tracks and expertly does so.  Cross races against time as he puts the pieces of the “puzzle” together to rescue his niece and the other women before it’s too late.

Subject Headings:  Mystery & Detective Stories, Police Procedural, and Serial Killers

Appeal Terms:  dramatic, violent, fast paced, dark, unsettling, tense, compelling, dangerous, exciting,

chilling, quick-read, psychotic.

Three terms that best describe this book:  dark, suspenseful, and fast paced.

Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Unnatural Exposure by Patricia Cornwell portrays M.E. Kay Scarpetta dealing with an elusive serial killer.

The Broker by John Grisham is fast-paced and engrossing with a political power broker becoming the object of a CIA plot to see who will assassinate him first.

The Judgment by William J. Coughlin involves a serial killer, political corruption, and a corrupt police chief who is being framed for a crime he didn’t commit by the more-corrupt mayor.

Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

The Last Victim:  A True-Life Journey into the Mind of the Serial Killer by Jason Moss and Jeffrey Kottler contains memoirs resulting from interviews with real serial killers.

Zodiac by Robert Graysmith retells the story of the well-known killer in the San Francisco area during the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Nightmare in Wichita by Robert Beattie gives an inside look at the 36-year hunt for the bind-torture-kill murderer.

Tags:  Serial Killers, Suspense, Police Procedural, fast-paced.

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