Monday, October 4, 2010

Don't Blink by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

Book Details
Don't Blink by James Patterson and Howard Roughan
Hardcover, 384 Pages
2010, Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 0316036234

The good
New York's Lombardo's Steak House is famous for three reasons--the menu, the clientele, and now, the gruesome murder of an infamous mob lawyer. Effortlessly, the assassin slips through the police's fingers, and his absence sparks a blaze of accusations about who ordered the hit.

The bad

Seated at a nearby table, reporter Nick Daniels is conducting a once-in-a-lifetime interview with a legendary baseball bad-boy. In the chaos, he accidentally captures a key piece of evidence that lands him in the middle of an all-out war between Italian and Russian mafia forces. NYPD captains, district attorneys, mayoral candidates, media kingpins, and one shockingly beautiful magazine editor are all pushing their own agendas--on both sides of the law.

And the dead

Back off--or die--is the clear message Nick receives as he investigates for a story of his own.Heedless, and perhaps in love with his beautiful editor, Nick endures humiliation, threats, violence, and worse in a thriller that overturns every expectation and finishes with the kind of flourish only James Patterson knows.

James Patterson is known for writing fast paced mysteries that are very easy to lose yourself in. Don't Blink was different and not for the better. The book is written in the first person through the eyes of Nick, a reporter. The book carries on in the usual style until all of a sudden, Nick is talking to the reader directly. Once his pointing out of key background details is over, the story resumes in normal first person perspective. Until he does it again. This back and forth - breaking the fourth wall on multiple occasions - was unnecessarily distracting and drew me completely out of the story.

The plot of Don't Blink takes a long time to make sense. Nick is in Africa, then Dubai, and just as he is about to travel to Paris, he's called back to New York so the reader can experience the same scene that was included as the prologue. The scene in New York, now shown twice, is the first thing that is really relevant to the mystery. All that traveling beforehand? Its only purpose seems to be in showing the reader that Nick is a worldly and experienced reporter.

There was a romance between Nick and his editor that was predictable and didn't do much to add to the excitement of the story. The mystery is where we see Patterson return to form, with a lot of unexpected twists and proves to be the one thing to make the book worth reading. The buildup and surrounding elements weren't the best and slowed the momentum of the book considerably. While not terrible, Don't Blink is not on par with Patterson's earlier books. One has to wonder if Patterson's huge output of books each year is taking a toll on his writing or if Howard Roughan isn't the best writing partner for his style.


James Patterson's website 
Howard Roughan's website

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