I usually use my Audiobook Author Spotlight to highlight authors that I am enthusiastic about. In the case of James Patterson, I am torn. I love some of his novels, but am disappointed in many recent titles. Here’s my take on what’s worth reading from James Patterson.
The Good Old Days
There was a time when I was so busy that reading was something squeezed into the few minutes not occupied by crying babies. During that time, I latched onto James Patterson. His fast-paced thrillers can be easily digested in small bites. There is little character development or literary value. I could easily read for 5 or 10 stolen minutes and then pick the book up later and not have to reread a word.
Those first novels were my guilty pleasure. I abandoned literary fiction in favor of a quick thrill. I looked forward to the next installment in the Alex Cross series. I had actually, over time, learned enough about the characters in that series to care about them. I kept reading Patterson out of habit, requesting his latest from the library immediately upon release. Then things changed.
Patterson is a prolific writer. He churns out more than 3 novels each year. In order to maintain this pace, he has begun collaborating with other authors. In my opinion, this is not necessarily a good thing.
I have read Patterson alone and Patterson with a colleague. While neither will stand up to critical scrutiny, Patterson alone is more palatable. His first forays into teaming seemed a little sneaky. His name was in huge letters with his co-author relegated to tiny script. This sounded an alarm to me. Just how much of each book is Patterson actually writing?
I began skipping Patterson’s new releases, with the exception of the Alex Cross novels, which continue to be written by Patterson solo, until The Quickie. I had nothing to read and picked it up off of the library shelf. Despite narration by actress Mary Stuart Masterson, the novel was a let down. It was all action, no substance, and a poorly constructed plot.
I will continue to read the Cross novels, although the last one was not one of my favorites. If you need a quick thriller fix, I recommend Hide & Seek, Kiss the Girls, Cat & Mouse, and the other early Patterson works. As for Mr. Patterson’s team efforts, give them a try… but count me out.