Black and Blue

Black and blue

Book Review:  Black and Blue by James Patterson and Candice Fox

This is one of the new series of books James Patterson (with various co-authors) has released called ‘book shots’. Book shots is a fancy new name for short format books. Patterson is advertising that you can read them in about 1 to 2 hours. The format is really not new when you think about it, but it’s a great marketing ploy anyway.

I liked Patterson’s Alex Cross series, but I haven’t read anything from him for several years. Most likely as I’m not a huge fan of the co-author thing (I just have these visions of the underling doing all the work and the famous one receiving all the royalties) which he does so often nowadays, but I thought I’d give this a chance because of the Australian connection.

Yes, Candice Fox is Australian, as is the setting and characters in this new series featuring a police detective named Harriet ‘Harry’ Blue (hence the catchy title).

Black and Blue as an introduction is fast paced (the short chapters help), action packed (a lot happens for such a short novel), slickly edited (OMG, it’s a joy to read something on my ereader that doesn’t have glaringly obvious errors) and overall quite entertaining.

A lot of people complain about Patterson’s lack of skill when it comes to characterisation (given up for his plot/action-driven books) but I think he is very good at showing his characters’ personalities without long and boring word counts telling us every minute detail. Again, he (and Fox) manages to cleverly set up Blue and her unconventional and tough personality right from the beginning due to her actions.

I was also satisfied with the snippets of Harry’s troubled childhood and work history (plenty of opportunity for sequels!!!) we were given.

They’ve also managed to add parts of the plot from the first official book in the series (Never Never). Quite seamlessly too. It didn’t seem forced at all, thank goodness.

There is a twist at the end (I’d spoiled myself by reading the first couple of chapters of Never Never before I decided to go back and read this prequel, so I can’t tell you if it was obvious or not) which also serves as a carrot to make you want to read Never Never.

As I said, I haven’t read Patterson in a few years, but this has reminded me why I liked him in the past.

4 out of 5



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