So this was my first James Patterson book, Confessions of Murder Suspect. He’s a big author, I believe he was the top paid (or at least in the top 5) author last year or this year; and after what I just read, I don’t think I want the exact facts. I’d rather not know about how much this author makes… or maybe I would. The only reason I would is so that I can somehow justify what he just wrote as a severe lack of time. I can’t tell you how many times I rolled my eyes.
As I sat reading this book, I struggled to connect with the main character, Tandy. This should have been a very easy connection for me. My mother was a drill sergeant. I had a 4.2 weighted GPA in high school at the top college preparatory school in the state. Tandy was an emotionless drone… which under this kind of pressure is unreal.
I don’t even feel like I should warn you about the spoilers. There’s no point, this wasn’t an exciting book, even if they had tons of “action”. The book read like a screenplay… ie direction cues and then very flat dialogue (actors make dialogue really come off the page).
Quite honestly, I’m in shock, and I have no idea how to write this review. He’s a big author; I expect SO much more from him! You guys should know that I try to find redeeming qualities in books, regardless of how weak either the prose or the content is. I can’t find it in this book. I see no redemption. Since I am at such a loss for words, I will just list the transgressions he made:
- He addressed the reader. Seriously… like “dear reader”. I don’t like this. This book is aimed at 12 years old and up, but still, addressing the reader was a poor move. This angle completely weakened the story. I kept waiting for it to enrich the story, but it never did.
- He kept having Tandy go off on tangents and then say that they were private thoughts to be kept for later. I was only 20 pages into the book when I’d gotten completely tired of that device. Once, maybe twice, it might have been cute and intriguing. But, for the whole first fifty pages, it was like he was just trying to keep us reading by throwing out promises of a better story later. This whole story, in fact, seemed like a set-up for something better, maybe a sequal? That’s where the beef of the story would be.
- Here’s a quote for you, “And it might not surprise you at this point to learn that I can actually read Chinese.” Really? This is called telling. Remember the point I made in #1 up there? Well, this is proof that he just addressed the reader as an excuse to “tell” and not “show”. WRITERS PLEASE DON’T FOLLOW THIS EXAMPLE.
- He has an axe to grind against the press. He named a TV anchor “Imbimbo”. Im Bimbo. I’m Bimbo. Or, you could even go the Latin route to come to the same meaning… he doesn’t like media searching for a story.
I’ve checked out the other reviews. They pretty much say the same things about the ending, too. It was a letdown. In the beginning, I thought I knew who had done it. But, I worked out this ending before he had gotten to it, but told myself he’d never do it because it was just too lame.
In general, it had all the things I’d heard about James Patterson. You know the political thriller aspects. There was mystery solving and some nifty little facts that someone had to research, I’m sure. But, the quality of writing was just not there. The lines were put together like a well versed testimony, which basically just recounts the facts with little emotional additions.
I have to say, this was a complete letdown. I’m not sure I’ve given two stars before. Three stars just seem like too much from an author of his magnitude. I had considered reading his other stuff, but now I’m probably going to hold off for a bit. He’s left a sour, I-can’t-believe-you-wrote-that taste in my mouth.
Did I forget this was a co-authored book by Maxine Paetro? Well, the name’s pretty small on the cover. Patterson’s was obviously who their media representatives wanted people to notice, so that’s why I focused my assault on him.
As a last note: I will point out that in the first pages, the parents of four (three of which are still at home) die. I’m not entirely sure how I feel about a 12 year-old reading on this topic. There are quite a few other books that I would feel comfortable with them reading… this book would actually be at the bottom of that list.