||James Patterson and Peter de Jonge's The Beach House opens with the death of a handsome townie on Memorial Day weekend in the Hamptons, where being a single-digit millionaire is laughable and being poor is unthinkable. Peter Mullen is a high school dropout who parks cars at the private bashes of the superwealthy Barry and Campion Neubauer. When Peter is found dead on the beach, the Neubauers and their friends insist that he drowned, but his brother Jack, a law student who saw Peter's body, knows he was beaten to death. As Jack uncovers evidence of his brother's secret life, he begins to realize that the very rich are indeed different from the rest of us. Revenge is a dish best served cold, and Jack's patiently plotted payback for Peter's death is one that the Hamptons will not soon forget.
There are no big surprises in The Beach House, but it's vintage Patterson, with plenty of action, villains with hearts blacker than obsidian, and a working-class hero who pulls himself up by the bootstraps. Patterson and de Jonge previously coauthored the inspirational golf romance Miracle on the 17th Green, but this new game of money, mayhem, and murder clearly suits them to a tee. --Barrie Trinkle