Truth or Die

James Patterson Truth or Dieby James Patterson but really by Howard Roughan
2015 Little, Brown and Company

Method of selection: There was only one way out of the library…read three whole pages of this shitty book, or DIE.
First sentence: Had it been anyone else, any other woman, the moment might have registered upward of a 7.6 on the Emasculation Scale, or whatever it takes to rattle a man’s self-confidence until he crumbles.
Worst sentence: Claire suddenly grabbed my backside, rolling me like a kayak.
People who read that sentence and are like, “ah yes, kayaking. Say no more.”: white people

Other reviews: Matthew R. Bell’s BookBlogBonanza, The Writer’s Inkwell, 20Something Reads

The prologue has three chapters. THE PROLOGUE HAS THREE CHAPTERS. You know how much I hate prologues. This book has three. In a row. Prologue creep is a real thing, and in another generation James Patterson (who I’m confident will still be alive, still letting other people write shitty books for him), will be creating books that are 100% prologue. The book will just end when the prologue ends, because nothing Patterson wrote was good enough for the real story.

I skipped the whole thing.

A common trick shitty book authors like to use is setting up a big secret — something the characters of the book know about, and talk about, but which you, the reader, don’t understand. But then the author tells you, and it’s stupid. Such is the case for the first pages of this book, when two characters, a couple, are discussing some ridiculous secret thing the man said in bed once that was super funny. Oh the suspense. Please tell me. I have to know. It’s killing me.

“I want to spank you like Santa Claus.”

Oh. That’s the thing? I thought it would be something, you know, interesting, given how much setup it got. But okay, then what? Patterson sets up another big secret:

She then leaned down to my ear and whispered a request that was easily the dirtiest thing I’d ever heard her say. Just filthy. X-rated. Obscene.

Really? So maybe she wants to drive to the Methodone clinic and pay twenty desperate homeless opioid addicts to beat off into her gaping butthole as she swallows ghost chili peppers whole so she can shit it out on your tiny pecker and then you fuck her with the filthy cummy possibly-AIDS-infested burning spicy shit in front of a bunch of little orphans on their only field trip of the year which is a McDonald’s? Is that what she whispered?

Probably not. There is no way James Patterson’s life is that interesting. And after that first secret setup, I’m not entirely confident this second one will be any better. Or maybe you couldn’t think of anything x-rated or obscene, because being spanked by Santa Claus is the best you can do, and you already wasted it on page two. Hell, that one line was probably the basis for the whole book.

But then, the chapter ends, after two and a half pages. I looked at the second chapter, and the story just continues there, as if it was simply going on to the next paragraph. They picked a totally arbitrary place to put a chapter break. So I thumbed through the book and realized it’s all written this way. The chapters are miniscule — never longer than three pages and many as short as one page. And the way the new chapters are indented down so heavily from the top of the page, there’s a lot of white space in this book. So I did some calculations.

There are 383 pages in the main story of this book. But the way it’s broken into tiny chapters, there’s only around 258 pages of actual text. There’s also 7 pages of useless lead-in publisher crapola, 13 pages of an excerpt of another shitty James Patterson novel written by somebody else, and 4 pages listing titles of all the other shit written by James Patterson but really written by somebody else. That makes 407 total pages between the covers in this book. Imagine if you purchased a 407 page book that had 258 pages of story, and 149 BLANK PAGES. I suppose you could use that space to pen James Patterson’s next novel, but you’d probably just be pissed they charged you for all that paper.

Little, Brown and Company suggests charging $28.00 for this piece of shit. And don’t call it a novel. It’s just a ream of shitty paper with some ink spilled on it. It’s also a ream in that it reams out your dignity and reams out your bank account. If you need paper, you can buy 5,000 sheets of higher quality paper from Staples for about the same price.

$28.00. God. The people who buy this book hardcover will have to work three straight hours cleaning up a little brown to pay for it. Hopefully they don’t forget to buy food for their kids. Oh wait, James Patterson is writing young adult fiction too. Kids can live on shitty paper, right?

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