Fast Food Fiction Not Meeting With Mr. King’s Approval
OR Book Review: Tick Tock by James Patterson
Until very recently, James Patterson was one of the many, Many prolific authors whose numerous books I’ve sold and shelved but never once read. As I’ve said before there are more good books published each day than even the most prolific reader can ever hope to consume. And honestly, several things about Mr. Patterson and his oeuvre gave me pause. Stephen King’s criticism that Patterson is a terrible writer who cranks out best sellers without ever having mastered the craft of fiction is well known, although a less than careful reader of Mr. King’s works could reasonably toss that criticism right back at Mr. King himself. I also recall an episode of The Simpsons in which Mr. Patterson was the featured guest star, and nothing about his interactions with Marge made me want to pick up and read any of his books. While Patterson is a very prolific author, it seems as though nearly all of his books list a co-author on the front cover– leaving me to wonder whether Patterson really writes these books at all or if perhaps he is simply a clever marketer of other writers’ work.
I don’t recall exactly why, many months ago as I was browsing the On Order section of the PCLS catalog that I clicked on the Place Hold button for Tick Tock (might be called Mercedes Blue). I often browse the On Order section and place holds for new releases which interest me. (I check out many, many books and only a small fraction of these do I read and review in this space.) Since I put in a hold request well in advance of the publication date (1/24/2011) I managed to be only number thirty-something out of over 350 requests and thus checked Tick Tock out from the library less than two months after it was published. I did not immediately begin to read Tick Tock. But around 11pm last night I happened to pick it up and begin reading it. And was very quickly hooked in a fast-paced and compelling story that kept me up reading literally all night, so involved in the story that I type this post at 11am, still not quite ready to let go.
In fairness to Mr. King, I must admit that Tick Tock is to literature what a hot, fresh, juicy cheeseburger is to cuisine. (And honestly, Mr. King would probably admit that as much craft and skill as he has demonstrated in some of his books, he has certainly cranked out more than a few literary Big Mac’s himself– or perhaps more aptly given his penchant for releasing 1,000+ page tomes, Jack In The Box Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger Value Meals with onion rings and a large chocolate shake.) But I am certainly not enough of a food snob nor a a literary snob to turn my nose up at a good burger, or a well written schlock novel. It is certainly possible that Michael Ledwidge, the co-author of Tick Tock is actually the writing talent behind this junk fiction feast. But if you enjoy fast-paced adventure stories, replete with famous names and designer labels, Tick Tock is definitely Recommended.