Junk Food for the brain, served with a side of creepy – “You’ve been Warned” by James Patterson & Howard Roughan
He was right on all counts.
James Patterson is a popular dude. With over 65 books to his name, and 19 New York Times Bestsellers under his belt, he’s basically a writing machine.
With success come detractors. Stephen King called him a “terrible writer” of “dopey thrillers.”
Stephen King isn’t wrong.
The book is, indeed, a “dopey thriller.” There’s nothing particularly elegant about the way it’s written. If you’ve read any Dan Brown novels, you know what I mean. It’s action-packed and full of twists, but as a piece of literature, it falls flat.
Which really doesn’t matter.
It’s junk food for the brain. It’s pure candy.
Look, I’m an admitted book snob – but there’s a lot to be said for a book that you don’t have to think about. Sometimes, I want to read purely for entertainment, and maybe for distraction. Patterson, like my beloved Dan Brown, knocks that out of the park. (And Mr. Roughan, too – though I feel like Patterson is such a machine, the co-authors place is hit or miss in all this.)
The action in “You’ve been Warned” kicks off strong on page one and never stops until the end
Kristin, our heroine, is a gorgeous 26 year old photographer who is having an affair with the married man she nannies for. Good guys and good and bad guys are bad. Kristin is our narrator, so we like her. The married man’s wife is a snob, so we hate her. Rules, established.
One day, while walking past a hotel, Kristin sees four bodybags being hauled out of a building.
But it was actually just a dream.
A few days later, in real life, she walks past the same hotel and sees the same four bodybags.
From there, things just get weirder. Being aA photographer, she snaps pictures of the bodybags – which turn out transparent in her photos. Though her Dad has been dead for years, he appears on a streetcorner. She’s being tailed by a man with a ponytail. The mean wife is trying to fix her up with a guy. It’s all craziness.
I will give Patterson & Roughan some props for the ending, which doesn’t back down from the craziness of the book. It’s a weird little book, and the ending is weird. There’s no “It was all a horrible dream” or “Everyone was playing a joke on you” rationalization. It’s utterly irrational, in fact. That is precisely what makes it so great.
I would recommend this book for train rides and long flights. It’s addicting stuff.