Saturday, May 6, 2017

Review - The Black Book by James Patterson & David Ellis

Little Brown & Company; 448 pages; $28; Amazon

For anybody who follows this blog regularly, it should be no surprise to find me reviewing a James Patterson novel.

Yes, I like reading mysteries, and yes, Mr. Patterson happens to be one of my favorite authors. Of course that hasn't always been the case, as I started reading his books around 2003 or 2004 after my grandmother gave me a few Patterson titles to read. I would buy each new title, read it, and then pass it on to her. After my grandmother's death in 2009, I've continued to buy every new Patterson title, well, the ones that I don't receive a review copy for on here.

This week I finished reading The Black Book by James Patterson & David Ellis. Despite being disappointed with Never Never (read my review here), my expectations for this one were high, mostly due to the fact that I had heard good things about the novel before I even started reading page one.

The Black Book starts off with a bizarre crime scene involving one male and two female victims. The male is the only one to survive the crime, and he happens to be Detective Billy Harney, the son of Chicago's chief of detectives, and the twin brother to Hatti, who is also a cop.

The novel flips back and forth from the past to present. In the past, Billy and his adrenaline-junkie partner, Detective Kate Fenton, are investigating a murder that leads them to an exclusive Chicago brothel that caters to rich and powerful. Their only lead to the killer might be inside a black book containing all the brothel's clients, but of course the book is missing.

In the present, as Billy recovers from his wounds, he tries to piece together the final hours that lead to the death of two women (I'm not naming names here as I don't want to give away too many spoilers!), but proving his innocence isn't going to be easy as he can't remember what actually happened that fatal night.

Final Thoughts

 One of the main problems I've had with many of the adult Patterson titles is that the books seemed to rushed. They're well-plotted, but the actual writing has been a little on the sloppy side. That being said, I'm glad to say that The Black Book doesn't have any of those problems. Yes, there were a few scenes that could have had more details, but none of them really bothered me too much. As for the characters, they're the typically by-the-book Patterson characters. I wished he had fleshed out the characters a little more, but that would be just nitpicking on my part. This is one of those books that flips back and forth, from different times and points-of-view. While it didn't bother me, it did get a little annoying at times.

Overall, I wasn't disappointed with The Black Book. The plot is intriguing with s several surprising twists-and-turns. It's definitely one of the better James Patterson novels in recent memory.

*Disclaimer - I received a complimentary copy in exchange for my unbiased review. All opinions are my own.

About the Authors:  

James Patterson received the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community at the 2015 National Book Awards. He holds the Guinness World Record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers, and his books have sold more than 350 million copies worldwide. A tireless champion of the power of books and reading, Patterson created a new children's book imprint, JIMMY Patterson, whose mission is simple: "We want every kid who finishes a JIMMY Book to say, 'PLEASE GIVE ME ANOTHER BOOK." He donated more than one million books to students and soliders and funds over four hundred Teacher Education Scholarships at twenty-four colleges and universities. He has also donated millions to independent bookstores and school libraries. Patterson invests proceeds from the sale of JIMMY Patterson Books to pro-reading initiatives.

David Ellis is a justice of the Illinois Appellate Court and the author of nine novels, including Line of Vision, for which he won the Edgar Allan Poe Award, and The Hidden Man, which earned a 2009 Los Angeles Times Book Prize nomination.

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