James Patterson,
Season of the Machete
(Time Warner, 1977, 1995, 2006)

James Patterson is one of those rare authors who releases multiple titles a year. Most readers might know him from his Alex Cross novels or perhaps the Women's Murder Club books. The last audiobook I reviewed of his, Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, deals with a group of kids that are 98 percent human, 2 percent bird. Recently, one of his older novels, Season of the Machete, was re-released as an audiobook and that is what I will review here.

Peter MacDonald is a vacationing American on a Caribbean island when he witnesses the murder of some other travelers. Little does he realize he is just a pawn in a game started by a pair of highly paid killers -- Damian and Carrie Rose. What follows is more blood than your standard horror movie. The Roses and their stooges hack and shoot up enough victims to make "Jason" or "Freddie" proud (Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street references for those that missed it). If you are one of those folks that do not mind when plot takes a back seat to blood and guts, skip the rest of this review and get this book. It was made for you!

If you prefer a little guidance and reason when you are reading/listening to people getting killed in novels, then this story might be a little jumbled for your taste. This tale includes international killers, the U.S. government, casino-running crime syndicates, a young "general" with dreams of being more famous than Castro, and several blond, male models. With all the threads, the double crossing and more characters than an evening watching Saturday Night Live, you will be forgiven if, even after finishing Season of the Machete, you are still not sure how everything tied together (assuming it did).

What saves this audiobook for possible consideration is the excellent narrative skills of Lou Diamond Phillips. Lou is one of the better narrators I've heard and I listen to a lot of audiobooks. He has no trouble with accents, age or gender. Considering his acting talents have spanned from the big screen (La Bamba, Stand & Deliver) to the small screen (24), to Broadway (The King & I) he has had a lot of practice being many different characters. I actually enjoyed the audiobook version of Season of the Machete even though I never succeeded in connecting all the dots in the plot.

In short, this early work of Patterson's is far from his best. However, if you tend to read everything an author puts out or you simply love a good hacking, I would recommend the audiobook, but not the written version of Season of the Machete. Finally, for those of you who avoid tropical island vacations for fear of the highly unlikely possibility of a shark attack, after you finish Season of the Machete, you'll have another fear to keep you from going.

by Wil Owen
6 January 2007

Buy it from Amazon.com.