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117 Days of James Patterson – Day Eighty-Nine

Day 89, Chapter 89
OMG, Lindsay gets a phone call from Jackson Brady in the middle of the night about the crime lab results!  Guess whose prints got lifted off of the money in the drawer at the U-Tel phone store?  What’s that you say?  There’s a lot of money in a cash drawer?  And how can anyone be sure that the money dusted for prints was the same as the money paid by the Lipstick Killer?  Shut.  Up.

“You’ve got something?” I asked, daring to hope.

“Only some partial prints that match to a former marine.”

“No kidding. That was your hunch.”

“Captain Peter Gordon. Served in Iraq, two back-to-back tours.”

Hey, relax.  I’ll be gentle.

If you recall (although I’d be worried about you if you did) back in Chapter 36, Jackson Brady hypothesized that the killer had some military training because he uses a silenced pistol when he murders people.  So once again, a character has a totally baseless hunch about something that proves to be true later down the line.  I’m beyond being annoyed by this – I’m now just embarrassed for the author.  At one point in this project, I thought Patterson’s style was like that of a television cop drama, but now I’m realizing that he has probably never watched one, nor read any other detective, crime, or mystery novel, or seen a movie with cops in it.  Nor has he done any research with the actual police or the FBI or any other law enforcement  agency.  Had he followed through on any of these valuable research methods, he would realize that nothing ever happens in the way he depicts in this book.  Ever.  I realize that he is allowed to have some creative license here, but he attempts to ground the plot in reality so much throughout, that it completely nullifies the license. 

Alas, this isn’t my novel, so all we can do is power through to the end.

I stood in my blue flannel pj’s looking down on the quiet beauty of Lake Street as Brady told me of this former marine officer who, after he was discharged, went off the radar.

Awww, she’s in her pj’s.  There appears to be nothing unusual in Gordon’s military records, nor in his life after his discharge from the service.  He returned home to upstate New York after getting out and then moved his family to San Francisco a few months later. 

“So what do you think, Brady? You like him as our killer?”

“He sure looks like Lipstick,” Brady said.

That’s that, huh?  Here’s the detection recap, in case you missed it:  A) one cop thinks the killer shows signs of a military background; B) he’s seen wearing a hat at one crime scene; C) a guy wearing a hat buys a cell phone near another crime scene; D) the man wearing the hat must be the killer and E) this hypothesis is proven by the fingerprints of a former soldier taken from cash found at the cell phone store.  Remember, there has been absolutely no evidence collected at any of the crime scenes that would point to any specific suspect.  (Believing that something is true, doesn’t make it so.  Especially in police work.)  If the police actually did such a shitty job at solving crimes in real life, we’d either all be in jail or the streets would be awash with our blood.

Brady steps in (a little) as the voice of reason, saying that they can’t just arrest Pete Gordon because, well, they DON’T HAVE ANY PROOF.  At least that there’s no proof that he was actually seen with the last set of murder victims.  It’s funny to me that this is the only stumbling block in this case – everything else they have is pure conjecture, but they can’t seem to get around this little fact.  “Uh, yeah, I guess it could have been a different black lady he was seen with, but what are the chances of that?  I mean, c’mon.  He’s definitely the guy, right?”

“You have a picture of this guy?”

“It’s old, but it’s coming at you now.”

The picture on my cell phone was of a man with bland good looks, about thirty, brown hair, brown eyes, symmetrical features, nothing remarkable. Was this the man who’d worn a two-tone baseball jacket and had hidden his face from the security cameras at the Stonestown Galleria? Wishing didn’t make it so, but I felt it in my gut.

Pete Gordon was the Lipstick Killer.

I knew this was him.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!  I can’t take it anymore!  I don’t understand, I can’t believe that this passes for quality fiction in this world, I can’t believe that he sells as many copies of this junk as he does, I can’t believe that this is what people want to read.  It is sloppy, half-assed, lazy writing with leaps in logic so wide that I can’t even see the other side of the canyon.  I hate it, I hate it, I hate it!

See you tomorrow!
Go to Day 90

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4 comments on “117 Days of James Patterson – Day Eighty-Nine

  1. Amy
    July 27, 2010

    I wonder if reading it fast and skimming as many seem to do with these novels would make you forget or just miss all of the stupid assumptions that come out correct? I expected them to lift his prints, but come on now, really? Sad.

  2. Anonymous
    July 28, 2010

    hang in there – you're almost DONE forever – you'll never have to read another JPatt for the rest of your life! [and neither will I]

  3. Crybaby
    July 28, 2010

    Maybe time to abandon your structuralist approach. Clearly JPa intends a feminist reading. I qoute the master from a Youtube interview:

    “Two things – as an overall thing…The first is: I think everybody would like to have three friends as close as these four women are….And secondly, generally speaking – women solve things differently than men, and they're more collaborative. Not all women. But a lot of women.” Seems like maybe you need to firstly, generally speaking, collaborate with your feminine side. Well not all of it, but a lot of it.

  4. Seth Marko
    July 28, 2010

    Good thinkin' Crybaby, but I fail to see the collaborative effort by the women – or anyone else – in this thing. Unless we're headed for a dramatic turn in the last 27 chapters. When was the last time we saw Yuki? When was the last time Cindy did anything other than Conklin? When JPatt says “not all women” are collaborative, maybe he means his own characters.

    And Amy, I think you're right on – I'm sure that reading this thing at the frenetic pace JPatt writes for allows the reader to gloss over the finer points of plot. Doesn't make it right, though.

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This entry was posted on July 27, 2010 by in 117 Days of James Patterson.
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