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James Patterson’s Don’t Blink, a masterclass for budding writers

Don’t Blink is the first James Patterson work I’ve read in more than two years and his formula for delivering a fast-paced murder mystery was there in [Sam] Spade[s] in this stand-alone novel.
Written in the first person through main character Nick Daniels, Patterson and co-author Howard Roughan deliver what his loyal readers expect, non-stop plot movement, chapter endings that demand readers flip the page, uncluttered writing, and twists and turns aplenty.
All of this, of course, comes at the expense of character depth, thought-provoking ideas, and prose beyond a clever turn of phrase. But that’s precisely what Patterson’s brand aims for and delivers to the millions killing time en route or lolling poolside, nothing less and nothing more.
Right off there’s the de rigueur lunch hour murder of a mob lawyer at a chic steak house, very public and very bloody including precision knife slashes to remove both of the victim’s eyes.
The public execution and the assassin’s on-the-spot utterance of he who sanctioned the hit were intended to misdirect and create conflict between rival Italian and Russian mobs, the purposeful machinations of those seeking conflict – the fictional culprit, and of course Patterson.
I admit to ulterior motives for reading Don’t Blink. As a less-than-best-selling author, I’ve been tempted to take the ubiquitously advertised James Patterson Writing Master Class – less for what I’d learn than for owning a ticket in the big lottery. Patterson will select one of the students to co-write a novel.
For authors who didn’t shell out the $90 and want Patterson’s knowledge, Don’t Blink [$10 kindle version] is a guidebook on how Patterson constructs his popular thrillers – danger, escape, a love interest lost, a love interested gained, heck, even an endangered child.
Mind you, you need to deconstruct the book to lay the elements bare. If you do, I think, like me, you’ll gain a great appreciation for the art of James Patterson.
As a novel, I’ve given Don’t Blink three stars but as a thriller formula guide, it rates five stars.

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