Sunday, 8 April 2018

Book Review: Ripley's Game by Patricia Highsmith


Living on his French estate with his elegant heiress wife, Tom Ripley, on the cusp of middle age, is no longer the striving chancer of The Talented Mr. Ripley. Having accrued considerable wealth through a long career of crime, he tires of his idyllic retirement. Highsmith's chameleon longs to get back in the game, so when a friend needs a favour, he relishes the opportunity. Tom Ripley detests murder. Unless it is absolutely necessary. Wherever possible, he prefers someone else to do the dirty work. In this case, someone with no criminal record who can be manipulated to commit 'two simple murders' for a very generous fee. 

My Review: 
Ripley is enjoying a quiet time at his home in France when Reeves gets in touch with a problem. Rival Mafia groups are setting up in his area and Reeves wants them gone, hatching a plot to kill one from each gang to start a war between them and get the police involved. Ripley knows he is being watched by suspicious police and declines getting involved but Reeves asks him if he knows of anyone who might do the jobs. It is only when Ripley gets a grudge against another local man that he gives that name to Reeves and opens up a world of trouble for both of them.

Jonathan has been diagnosed with cancer and had once been very rude to Ripley at a party, something that Ripley hasn't forgotten. He decides to get his own back by starting a rumour that Jonathan is dying, causing the man to start wondering if his doctors are telling him the truth and getting him paranoid. Then Ripley gives Jonathan's name to Reeves who offers his appointments with a specialist in return for killing a Mafia operative. At first Jonathan finds the idea of being a hit man crazy but as his fears over dying grow, he starts to realise that the money could set his family up for life and he starts to come round to the idea. Now Ripley wonders if he did the right thing getting Jonathan mixed up with these people and resolves to help.

I did find Jonathan's story dragged a bit and it went into so much detail about his family life, his in-laws, his medical condition and it focused more on him than Ripley for the first part of the book. I wasn't sure I greatly liked Jonathan so it was harder to actually feel sympathy for his medical situation. I much prefered when the plot brought Ripley into contact with Jonathan and they are involved in the murder together. For some reason I find that I love Ripley as a character, and it is fun to get inside his head and see how his mind is working. I'm surprised that Ripley got Jonathan involved as it brings unwanted attention to the area when Ripley is trying to lie low. It seems petty to get a guy involved with gangsters because he was rude to you at a party! I think it is this side of Ripley that fascinates me so much.

When the story gets to Ripley and Jonathan becoming co-plotters the story is much more interesting to read. I love Ripley because he is complex and interesting, and even his domestic worries can be fascinating never mind his murder missions! I enjoy watching him plotting and then trying to cover his tracks, and as the plot got more exciting, I was drawn further into it. In the end I found the book enjoyable as I did with the other books in the series so far. I certainly will be reading the other books at some point to see what else Ripley gets up to.


Read November 2017.
3 stars.

6 comments:

  1. I loved the first one. So twisted. Not sure if I'll try this. But knowing me, curiosity will probably win the day. LOL

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    1. I think I liked the second book best so far. Call me twisted but I just keep rooting for Ripley as I love his character!

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  2. Hmmm, I really need to try out these books sometime.

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    1. I'm not a big fan of crime stuff but I do find these books quite enjoyable.

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  3. I have heard great things about Patricia Highsmith but have not read any of her work yet. This does sound interesting.

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    1. This kind of book isn't my usual read but I do love the MC!

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