In June James Patterson launched his BookShots imprint, and since then more than one million copies of these bite-sized thrillers have been sold. I recently spoke with two of the authors who’ve written books for this imprint: Brendan DuBois and Erin Knightley.
Bullseye is James Patterson’s newest thriller and the latest entry in the Michael Bennett series. Unfortunately, it’s not very good. It takes several chapters for the protagonist to show up, which is never a good sign as that only delays my being introduced to the character to which I’m supposed to relate. And the premise isn’t all that compelling. It failed to pull me in and keep my attention like Patterson’s far superior thriller, The Games, which was also recently released. Every once in a while a good author releases a boring book. For James Patterson, Bullseye is it.
I just finished The Games by James Patterson and Mark Sullivan and it was excellent. This novel was perfectly timed as it deals with two major sporting events, one of which is right around the corner: the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. There are two parallel storylines at play in this novel, neither of which I’ll divulge in my review because I don’t want to spoil either of them. However, I can tell you that the storylines are compelling and that both are brought to satisfactory conclusions. As with all of James Patterson’s thrillers, the pacing in this book is tremendous. The pages fly by and no words are wasted. Every page and chapter move the story and the characters forward, toward the novel’s thrilling climax. The Games is one of my favorite James Patterson books, and I highly recommend it.
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil–home to beautiful white-sand beaches, gorgeous women, stunning natural beauty, and the world’s largest Carnival celebration–knows how to throw a party. So it’s a natural choice to host the biggest spectacles in sports–the World Cup and the Olympics. To ensure that the games go off without a hitch, the organizers turn to Jack Morgan, the unflappable head of the renowned international security and consulting firm Private. But when events are this exclusive, someone’s bound to get left off the guest list.
Two years after the action nearly spilled from the field to the stands during soccer’s championship match, Jack is back in Rio for the Olympics. But before the cauldron is even lit, the only thing more intense than the competition is the security risks. When prominent clients he’s supposed to be protecting disappear, and bodies mysteriously start to litter the streets, Jack is drawn deep into the heart of a ruthless underworld populated by disaffected residents trying to crash the world’s biggest party. As the opening ceremonies near, with the world watching in horror, Jack must sprint to the finish line to defuse a threat that could decimate Rio and turn the games from a joyous celebration into a deadly spectacle.
Cross My Heart and Hope To Die by James Patterson are two parts of one story. The first part takes place in Cross My Heart and it concludes in Hope To Die. To my knowledge, this was the first time James Patterson did this so, naturally, many fans were upset with the cliffhanger ending of the first book. I wasn’t because I knew this going in. If anything, it made me look forward to reading Hope To Die even more, so I could see how things wrapped up.
Today, James Patterson started a reading revolution. Its name is BookShots, a new imprint under Little, Brown and Company. What makes these books so special? Each title will be under 150 pages, competitively priced at less than $5, and will be available in a new compact paperback format (and as ebooks and audiobooks). Patterson will be writing, collaborating on, or personally curating every title. Oh, and there’s already 117 of them ready to go.
Late last night I finished Everything to Lose by Andrew Gross. Prior to this, I had read most of the novels Gross co-wrote with James Patterson, my two favorite being Lifeguard and Judge & Jury, as well as three books he wrote on his own. Having completed Everything to Lose, I can say with confidence that it ranks right up there with his work with James Patterson and that it’s superior to his 2013 thriller, No Way Back, which I also enjoyed. The premise of the novel, a woman finding a bag full of money on the side of the road and having to deal with the internal ethical turmoil that ensues, resonated with me. As I read it, I thought to myself, what would I do if I were in her shoes? This is a clear sign of effective writing and Gross had me hooked from the start. While there weren’t any mind-blowing surprises along the way, I found the story compelling from start to finish.
However, like any book, it’s not perfect. I don’t care for stories where the point of view changes so much that it makes me stop reading so I can reorient myself, and the same goes for jumping back and forth through time; I think it’s OK to start off in the past and then let the rest of the story happen in present day. But to jump back and then jump forward is distracting to me. These minor quibbles aside, Everything to Lose is a riveting tale that kept me up way past my bed time, and I highly recommend you pick it up.
A determined, (down on her luck,) mother caring for her handicapped son becomes entangled in a murderous conspiracy to keep a twenty year old secret buried in this blistering thriller, set during the tragic aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, from Andrew Gross, the New York Times bestselling author of 15 Seconds and No Way Back.
While driving along a suburban back road, Hilary Blum, who’s just lost her job and whose deadbeat husband has left her alone to care for her son with Asperger’s, witnesses a freakish accident. A car ahead of her careens down a hill and slams into a tree. Stopping to help, she discovers the driver dead—and a satchel stuffed with a half a million dollars.
That money could prevent her family’s ruin and keep her special needs son in school. In an instant, this honest, achieving woman who has always done the responsible thing makes a decision that puts her in the center of maelstrom of dark consequences and life-threatening recriminations—a terrifying scheme involving a twenty-year-old murder, an old woman who’s life has been washed out to sea, and a powerful figure bent to keep the secret that can destroy him hidden.
With everything to lose, everything she loves, Hilary connects to a determined cop from Staten Island, reeling from the disaster of Sandy, to bring down an enemy who will stop at nothing to keep what that money was meant to silence, still buried.
Like James Patterson’s books, I’m going to keep this short. I, Michael Bennett isn’t worth your time or money. It’s a shallow, soulless story that fails to captivate on any level. I didn’t care about the plight of the protagonist and the antagonist was a two-dimensional stereotype. The best parts of the book were the family scenes but those alone don’t make for a good thriller. Also worth noting is the cliff-hanger ending that requires you to buy the next novel to find out what happens. Last chapters are supposed to tie up loose ends and satisfy the reader – this failed on both counts. Skip this one and spend your money on an author who still writes his own books, like Harlan Coben.