James Patterson’s latest money-making scheme is short, 150-page stories he is calling bookshots. I picked up “Cross Kill” knowing is be doing some catch up, as I haven’t read anything else by Patterson, much less anything in the series.
One thing I can say about Patterson, he did well making the story capable of being a stand-alone. I was not confused jumping in to a story that had history. Patterson wove the necessary backstory in neatly, without making it obvious that he was explaining it.
This introduction into his writing was done in a great way, and I think this idea of bookshots is good insofar as it allows readers to try out an author or series or genre without having to commit, either in money or in time.
That said, I didn’t feel like “Cross Kill” lived up to the suspenseful thriller the cover made it sound like. There were no surprising moves made by any players, and I wasn’t just not guessing the ending, I wasn’t guessing at all. The book was just over 100 pages, and I wasn’t terribly interested in the ending. In fact, the most interesting bit occurred at the end– a great technique to get people to keep reading the series, but for me, I’d be concerned it’s not going to be worth it.
When I read suspense and thrillers, I like to be guessing. I like a puzzle, I like to be pondering the clues even when I’m not reading the book. I like to actively engage in solving the puzzle before the book reveals it. “Cross Kill” didn’t even engage me to try. I knew it would follow to the logical conclusion that, while I wasn’t guessing at, I knew I wouldn’t be surprised at. I knew that once it began to be revealed, the pieces would fall in to place within one sentence.
Maybe I’ve been spoiled with a couple really good psychological thrillers, or maybe it’s not possible to write the way I want in just 159 pages. Either way, I think I’ll stick with Ted Dekker when I need a good thriller.