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Author of the Month

Name: James Patterson

First Novel: The Thomas Berryman Number

Most Recent Book: Beach Road

'…it certainly is a brilliant ending. I had several ideas but none of them were correct.'

Synopsis:
Tom Dunleavy is an attorney in the Hamptons. On a summer's day, Tom and a few friends have been invited to a millionaire's mansion to play on the purpose built basketball court. All of Tom's friends, Keifer, Patrick, Robby and Tom's brother, Jeff are there to make up one team. The other team comprises Dante Halleyville, the new boy on the block with regard to basketball, who is being feted as the new Magic Johnson. Amongst his team mates is his best friend, Michael. The game proceeds quietly and in a friendly manner at first, but soon Fiefer and Dante start pushing each other around. Michael gets a gun from the car and points it at Fiefer's head. Tom manages to talk Michael out of doing anything stupid. Later that day, three of Tom's friends have all been shot dead and Dante and Michael are on the run.

Under the guidance of Tom, Dante hands himself into the police some weeks later. Michael Walker is found shot dead in his hideaway in New York. Tom believes he can defend Dante and calls in his ex-girlfriend, Kate, who is a highflying attorney in the Big Apple. Putting her feelings about Tom aside, they fight to save Dante from the death penalty and also uncover a web of corruption.

Review:
This novel, which is co-written with Peter de Jonge, brings us another one of the high-class stories that we have come to expect from one of the main crime writer's in publication today. Typically, the action starts early in the book and the clever writing, along with the short, sharp chapters, makes you race through the book.

This is ultimately a story of race and the prejudice which can insinuate itself in certain classes of people. Sometimes the language from the black characters does not ring quite true and sometimes I felt slightly as though I was being "preached to" on the issue of racism.

Besides that small point, this book certainly does have the climax Patterson is claiming is his 'biggest, most satisfying twist of them all'. Despite my minor quibbles - it certainly is a brilliant ending. I had several ideas but none of them were correct. After finishing the book, I have thought back to it and realised that everything was there for me. Once again, Patterson delivers another fast-paced thriller. A fine example of a master at work.

Reviewed by: C.S.

CrimeSquad Rating



Questionnaire

1) How would you describe your books?
As exciting, compelling reads, I hope.
2) What is your favourite crime read of all time?
Well, I don't know if I have a favorite, but Day of the Jackal was the book that first turned me onto the crime-thriller genre.
3) Would you describe yourself as a Crime fan and if so, which authors do you most admire and why?
I suppose I like George Pelecanos quite a bit. And that Michael Connelly isn't half bad half bad, either. Plus, they're both nice guys.
4) Who, in your eyes, is pushing the boundaries of crime fiction today - and why?
I like to count myself in that number! I'd give credit to anybody who's out there causing more readers to recognise the promise and potential of the genre. As you know, fewer and fewer people are reading any kind of books, much less thrillers, so it really is imperative that we get more people to see what an amazing entertainment reading still is and that, generally speaking, the book still is better than the movie . . . or the videogame.
5) You are a very busy man and yet you manage to bring out 3 to 4 amazing novels a year. Do you need to be very disciplined when writing your books in order not to lose track on what novel you are writing?!
I don't really think of it as discipline so much as a happy compulsion, but I do sit down and write at least 360 days year.
6) Without giving away the plot, which book included your favourite plot twist of all time?
That's easy-Beach Road. Just you try to guess the ending on this one.
7) Later this year sees the publication of Cross, which finally sees Alex delving into his wife's murder. For your fans this is likely to be one of the most explosive books you have written to date. Has this idea always been bubbling away or did you finally feel the issue needed putting to rest?
I can't really answer that one without indicating whether in fact it does come to rest, can I? I guess people will have to read it and speculate for themselves.
8) You have been quoted as saying that 'Beach Road is the best thriller I've ever written'. Can you tell us why you think that?
Well, it goes to that ending I was talking about, but I think readers will find some other explosive elements in there, too.
9) What is your favourite movie adaptation of a crime novel?
You know, in addition to being a big reader, I'm an avid movie-goer. I even do a couple short movie reviews at my website, www.jamespatterson.com, every week or so.

I frankly am not able to come up with too many great book-to-movie crime adaptations. I mean Spike Lee's Inside Man was a good recent crime movie, but it wasn't based on a novel. I suppose Mystic River was a pretty good film but, really, there have been far more disappointments than successes, I'd say.
10) Where do you see Crime fiction going next?
As we were discussing--I hope into the hands of more people!