in the time it has taken me to write and post my last couple of blogs james patterson has written 4 novels, co-authored seven and plotted seventeen others while outlining the next two years worth of books that will bear his name. all while establishing a brand new format for reading
patterson found fame and fortune with his main character alex cross, a black private investigator who used to be part of the fbi. oddly if you look at the covers of the books there are times when you would be hard pressed to realise that the lead character was black – which says more about marketing than a host of books ever could.
i have only read the one alex cross novel. it was shit. i have read a couple of james patterson's other creations, both co-authored works and both shit. i might even be bold enough to state that james patterson is the worst writer that publishes and consistently and successfully.
patterson writes page turners. now some would say that the page turner genre is not worth the paper it is written on (see what i did there) but they are wrong. reading should be fun, it should be entertaining, it shouldn't be a chore.
one of the kings of the page turner is dan brown, the much maligned dan brown, and i am sure he cries himself to sleep at the poor reviews he receives from literary reviewers, just after he rolls naked in piles of dosh.
lots of people sneer at dan brown for being a poor writer but he knows how to keep you interested and he knows how to get you to keep turning the pages. trust me read a few of his pale imitators and you will see it is not as easy as it looks. his main trick is short chapters that end on a little cliffhanger making you want to know what happens next, because you know the next chapter is short you think ok just one more, but dan is wise to you and has switched viewpoints so you have to read another chapter. hooked. a page turner.
patterson on the other just has short chapters – the endings of which seem to be based on arbitrary factors such as he needed to go pee, he fancied a cup of coffee the cat jumped on his keyboard, in short they are not story driven they just occur willy nilly. while the chapters are short they are irritating because the just happen.
as pants as he is i hold james patterson in high regard. not only is he a beacon of hope to all us useless writers (he can, we can) he is, more importantly, getting people to read. he is involved in literacy programmes, he has put his name to initiatives to encourage reluctant readers. for that alone he has to be admired and praised.
i love books and i love reading. i will never have enough books and i will never read all the books that i have on my, rather long, must read list but that isn't going to stop me from trying,
there is a part of me that doesn't trust people who have no interest in reading – there is something odd about them.
i was lucky when it came to books – infant and junior schools i had teachers who encouraged reading, dad loved to read (i can't remember mum being much of a reader until later in her life) (both of them loved to tell tall tales or as they are more commonly referred to: lies), there were always books around. i had a curious jump from enid blyton to ed mcbain and ian fleming. a genre fan was born and a genre fan i remained.
i spent many happy hours in second hand bookshops looking for a james bond, a doc savage, a john carter warlord of mars or something new that would have me hooked and waiting for their next book. falling in love with science fiction and horror and imprints such as pan and new english library.
books i love them.
and i don't understand why there are some out there who just don't share my enjoyment of the written word. i just don't get why.
and for the work he has done to bring people to the written word a hat has to be doffed and a glass has to be raised in appreciation of the work that james patterson has done and will continue to do. praise him.
just don't ask me to read his books.