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Killer Weekend (Walt Fleming) Hardcover – July 10, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Pearson's workmanlike thriller, the first in a new series, has all the right ingredients: a down-to-earth hero, sheriff Walt Fleming; a neatly focused venue in the form of a weekend business conference at an Idaho resort; and a sense of impending danger in the form of a threat on the life of Elizabeth Shaler, the New York State attorney general, who's about to announce her candidacy for U.S. president. Shaler knows what it's like to be a victim. Eight years before the killer weekend of the title, she was attacked in her Sun Valley, Idaho, vacation home and saved by Fleming, then a patrolman. Fleming takes the present threat very seriously, but Shaler's handlers and the event's organizer, billionaire Patrick Cutter, won't cancel her speech. Fleming doggedly struggles to identify the assassin, who cleverly (if incredibly) overcomes massive security to infiltrate the event, but the motive for the threat is never satisfactorily explained. Pearson (Parallel Lies) tries hard to give his characters depth using an inventive array of backstories, but only the capable Fleming really comes across.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Eight years ago, Sun Valley, Idaho, sheriff Walt Fleming bravely thwarted an attempt on Attorney General Elizabeth Shaler's life. Now AG Shaler is back in town, poised to announce her candidacy for president at a three-day conference catering to the world's most prominent business leaders. The event is the brainchild of Patrick Cutter, a tycoon whose sybaritic lifestyle is a source of both scorn and awe. (He is but one example of the super-rich citizenry that's taken up residence in the once-quiet ski town.) There is no shortage of security for the proceedings--local police, Secret Service, and Cutter's own team--but it's not enough to deter a cunning assassin who slips seamlessly between a pair of identities. (His blind-man act is particularly impressive.) Meanwhile, Sheriff Fleming must cope with the suspicious death of a beautiful socialite and the breakup of his own marriage; it doesn't help matters that his deputy is sleeping with his ex-wife. This is the first in a new series for Pearson, whose cleverly interwoven plots and crisp, economical prose have graced more than a dozen thrillers, most notably the Lou Boldt-Daphne Matthews series. Pearson is the first American recipient of the Raymond Chandler/Fulbright Fellowship in detective fiction at Oxford University. The late, great creator of Philip Marlowe would be proud--both of the selection itself and of the recipient's latest work. Allison Block
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Series: Walt Fleming
  • Hardcover: 326 pages
  • Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons (July 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399154078
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399154072
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,696,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Ridley Pearson (, the first American to be awarded the Raymond Chandler/Fulbright Fellowship in Detective Fiction at Wadham College, Oxford University, is the bestselling author of over 50 novels including, Peter And the Starcatchers (co-written with Dave Barry), The Kingdom Keepers series, and two dozen crime novels including: Probable Cause, Beyond Recognition, Killer Weekend, The Risk Agent, and The Red Room. His novel The Diary Of Ellen Rimbauer, a prequel to a Stephen King miniseries, was a New York Times #1 bestseller, and a ABC TV movie (2009).

Peter and the Starcatcher, a stage play adaptation written by Rick Elice (Jersey Boys) won 5 Tonys for its Broadway run and is currently touring the US.

Ridley is a founding member of, and plays bass guitar in, the all-author rock band, The Rockbottom Remainders (, with Dave Barry, Stephen King, Scott Turow, Mitch Albom, Roy Blount Jr., James McBride, Amy Tan and Greg Iles. The band has raised over 2.5 million dollars for charities.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Thriller Lover VINE VOICE on August 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ridley Pearson's a fine writer, but I was somewhat disappointed with KILLER WEEKEND. This novel is written like a James Patterson novel, with lean writing, very short chapters and a relatively fast pace.

Unfortunately, like a Patterson book, the characterization in this book is very thin, verging on cardboard in many cases. There is a large cast of characters in this rather short book, and most of them struck me as underdeveloped. Only the main sheriff character really has a three dimensional personality. And even in the sheriff's case, much of his back story is left unexplained, although Pearson will presumably reveal more about him in later books in the series.

KILLER WEEKEND is also kind of slow to get going. This is not really a thriller, but more of a whodunit. The first two thirds of this book is mainly a setup for the events of the last third. I didn't find this novel particularly exciting or involving until maybe the last hundred pages or so.

In short, this novel is easy to read, but not particularly compelling. I think there are far better choices out there for your reading time. Still, if you like James Patterson's writing style, you may want to give KILLER WEEKEND a try.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Pierce E. Scranton Jr. on July 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Lou Bolt! Daphne? Where are you? Rather, where is the great character development and the understated intrigue that comes up and slams you from Ridley Pearson? I like Sun Valley,too. I like the sexy waitresses and great food in the SawTooth, and the hanging canoe, and the shellacked table in the Pioneer. But describing these and all the other places Ridley knows and loves in Sun Valley is not literary genius. It is contrived and boring. Come on Ridley! Give us some of the old razzamatazz!!!

Pierce Scranton M.D.
author, "Death on the Learning Curve"
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Andrea on November 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
(This is a copy of my comment added to the last customer review. I felt the need to add my own 2 stars.)

This is my first and last Pearson book. Not only were the characters under-developed and the plot full of holes, but the writing was terrible. I found myself having to read many sentences several times to get the meaning, as he put far too much information into one sentence. I've taken the trouble to copy some of them:

"With O'Brien attending a dessert function at Trail Creek Cabin, where the commissioner of the FCC was giving an informal talk on the Politics of Policy to forty-five special ticket holders, he'd suggested meeting Walt at the Hemingway Memorial.

The Warm Springs tributary to the Big Wood slipped past beneath the concrete bridge connecting the Sun Valley's River Run high-speed quad-chairlifts and the glorious River Run ski lodge.

By 8 a.m. he was overseeing Brandon's leadership in securing Sun Valley Road Police Department's attempts to contain the burgeoning number of First Rights protesters who twice had broken through a barricade trying to get closer to the inn and the C3 gathering, only to be pushed back to the area allotted them."

Boring and confusing sentence structure. They could have been broken up and written so much more fluidly. After reading the last one for the third time, I wanted to chuck the book out the window.

Yes, if you like James Patterson, you will like this book. I have always thought that Patterson was the absolute worst writer in popular contemporary fiction. Pearson is not as bad, but still a waste of precious reading time. There are so many better writers out there in the same genre. I will not give him another chance.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Debra Hamel VINE VOICE on March 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Walt Fleming is a small-town sheriff, but Quantico-trained and unusually competent. We're given to understand this in the prologue to Killer Weekend, when Walt pieces together clues anyone else might have overlooked and saves the life of Liz Shaler, the Attorney General of New York State, who maintains a second home in Idaho's Sun Valley. Eight years later Shaler is set to announce her candidacy for the presidency at a conference at the Sun Valley Inn. The event would be a logistical nightmare for Walt and his staff under the best of conditions. But he has reason to believe that Shaler is being targeted by an assassin who will make his move when she makes her announcement.

Pearson tells his story from Walt's perspective as well as the assassin's. Milav Trevalian is himself supremely competent at his job. One admires, despite the nature of the task, his painstaking preparations for the kill. Interestingly, he turns out to be a relatively likable character, both because of his professionalism and because, despite his resumé, he shows moments of humanity. Indeed, his humanity turns out to be his Achilles heel.

Unfortunately, Trevalian's motivation is never explored. We never learn why Shaler is in his crosshairs or what the stakes are for him personally. There are other loose ends. Walt's brother is dead, for example, and Pearson hints at deeper issues connected with his death, but we're never told the story. Finally, the book's prologue--in which Walt saves Shaler's life for the first time--makes promises that are never fulfilled. Pearson puts the proverbial gun on the mantle in act one when he describes the means by which that night's intruder enters Shaler's home. Readers expecting that gun to go off by the book's end, however, will wait in vain.
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