Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mary Mary, by James Patterson

Well, after the unbelievable NYT article about James Patterson last week, I felt that the time had come to read one of his books. After ordering approximately 18 of them over the past year, it was time, it was well past time to find out what has made him so popular. From the NYT article - "Last year, an estimated 14 million copies of his books in 38 different languages found their way onto beach blankets, airplanes and nightstands around the world." and "According to Nielsen BookScan, Grisham’s, King’s and Brown’s combined U.S. sales in recent years still don’t match Patterson’s." and "Since 2006, one out of every 17 novels bought in the United States was written by James Patterson."

Clearly, this needed looking into.

I read Mary Mary, pretty much at random. It was not terrible. It was not great. By page 32, there were 4 murders and one sex scene. The final body count ended up at about 12. Alex Cross, the hero of this particular Patterson series, was likable and obviously has some sort of labored back-story, and lots of hot sex with beautiful doctors and prosecutors. He loves his kids. He chases serial killers. It had the oddly unsatisfying feel of fast food- quick, over processed, predictable, a little nauseating, and mass appeal. Well done, Patterson, you've perfected the McBook. Wish I could do it.
Link to absolutely fascinating NYT article

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