Thursday, September 22, 2011

James Patterson's Finest!

The reason this post is not about a single book is because I've been on a James Patterson Binge over the last few weeks, and have devoured several books from the author. In fact, James Patterson has been one of the most prolific authors of all time, and several of his books made their way into my reading list. Recently, however, I laid my hands on an ebook collection comprising of the entire collection of Patterson's novels, and put them on my iPad. Since then, the binge has been on.
James Patterson has a terrific (if slightly predictable) style of writing. Most of his novels revolve around the homicide mystery - atleast the ones which involve Alex Cross. In fact, his other genres are also murder mysteries, but what sets him apart from the rest is that he does not try to hide the identity of the perpetrator like most other novelists. Serial killers like Gary Soneji, The Wolf, The Jackal, and Jack and Jill, are as well defined as the hero himself - or even better! Patterson sure has a liking for psychos, and he spends tomes to delineate the exact personality (or disorders) the protagonist suffers with.
After gouging myself on Jack Reacher novels, I actually find it strange that the hero is not glorified. Alex Cross is a hero who is unassuming, and humble - which is quite strange for his abilities!
Last week, I read Patterson's first two novels - Along Came a Spider, and Jack and Jill - back to back, and it was almost like watching a serial. There are a lot of carry-on characters, and villains simply don't go away! They keep coming back again and again, and are almost like family members in Patterson's novels. It is not a bad technique - you don't need to create a whole new persona yet again :)
A few weeks ago, I read London Bridges (which I believe is has the worst anti-climax I ever read in fiction), and the book has a whole range of bad guys - some of whom are carried forward from the first books of the author. So if you read Patterson, know that these baddies don't go away! They will keep coming back in every other book.
And the reason I use the plural here is because every Patterson novel has multiple baddies fighting for the attention of Alex Cross. So each novel is actually two or three murder mysteries woven into one - with parallel stories happening in Washington DC - and strangely, it works for Patterson. 
Ok. Patterson is not among my favourite authors, but the books are good reads! In the author's own words, 'There are thousands who don't like my writing. Luckily, there are millions who do' :) If you are looking to start off on the Alex Cross series, start from the very beginning. It'll make sense as you go along.

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