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117 Days of James Patterson – Day Ninety-Two

Day 92, Chapter 92
Today is a Pete Gordon flashback chapter – I was kind of looking forward to this, a break from the monotony of half-assed crime solving, child murder, and girl-on-girl action.  Sadly, it is just as fucked up and pathetic as the previous 91 chapters.  (That’s right, I’m dropping roadside f-bombs today.)

Pete was riding in the lead car in a military caravan in Iraq when a roadside bomb destroyed the car behind him.  His car got totally rocked by the explosion and he staggered out to assess the situation.  This is where it gets really effed up.

He saw three of his men: Corporal Ike Lennar was lying on the ground, twitching. Private Oren Hancock was holding his guts as they spilled into the dust. The other marine was Kenny Marshall, from Pete’s hometown, his legs blown off above the knees.

He’d dropped beside his dear friend, ripped off Kenny’s helmet, and cradled his bare head. The picture of Jesus inside Kenny’s helmet appeared to shake its head as the helmet rolled on its rim. Pete had murmured empty words of comfort to Kenny, the boy who’d said he’d be ready whenever the Lord called him. Kenny had looked up at Pete – surprise in his eyes – and then the life had fled from him. 

“No, no, no,” said Jesus.  “Yes, yes, yes,” said JPatt.  Seth lies on the ground twitching as the life fled from him.

Pete went apeshit at this point – he felt “emptied of life” when little Kenny died.  “He tore off his shirt and covered Kenny’s face” (lucky Kenny) then he took the rest of his men and went after the people riding in the car that was following his caravan.  He seems to think that they set off the IED.  Hey, another ridiculous leap in logic!

There were two cowards in the front seat, and a woman and a child screamed in the back. Pete dragged the woman out of the car, her arms wrapped around the baby. He didn’t understand what she said, and he didn’t care.

Yeah, that’s right – who cares?  Cowards!  He gets the “insurgents” on the ground and threatens them, waving his gun in the face of the “black sack of woman and baby at his feet.”  No really, that’s the description – I think she’s wearing a burqa, but I’m not sure.  He screams at the two coward insurgents, asking if they love the woman and baby. 

He aimed his gun at the bitch, and she turned to look at him, her hands coming out from her shroud of a garment, palms up to stop the bullets. He fired his automatic, watching her jerk and flutter, and as she died he shot her squealing kiddo.

“Jerk” and “flutter?”  Can you have it both ways?  “Kiddo?”  Really? 

Nothing was ever said about the incident. But in his mind Gordon still lived on the dusty road outside Haditha. It was the last time he’d had a tender feeling.

I have some questions:  Am I supposed to feel bad for Pete Gordon?  Or should I feel indifferent to his fate, chalking it up to casualties of war?  Am I sad that the woman and her baby got killed?  Or happy because they were clearly insurgents and deserved to die?  Am I supposed to have a clearer picture of Pete after this scene?  If anything, his situation makes even less sense than it did before.  How is killing a woman and child – especially if you believe you were getting revenge for your dead friend – the catalyst for a murderous rampage back home?  Why would killing more women and children be a cathartic act for you if you had gone through an experience like this?  Where was the “tender feeling,” exactly?  Once again, nothing in this book makes any sense.
Go to Day 93


5 comments on “117 Days of James Patterson – Day Ninety-Two

  1. Anonymous
    July 30, 2010

    I was turned on to your blog by a friend. So, I've read your posts in chunks. Today I read from Day 57 up until now. It's all I can take. I think I'll take a break until Day 117 and choke it down in one giant gulp. I'm not sure how you've been so dedicated. A stronger man could not have survived! But it's made me laugh out loud – and cringe all at the same time.

    I do beg to ask one question: what the hell are you going to do the morning of Day 118?? PLEASE, no more talk of JPatt.

  2. Amy
    July 30, 2010

    And the biggest question, how exactly did that never get found out by his superiors or anything else? Obviously you'd get some sort of shit for that right?

  3. Seth Marko
    July 30, 2010

    Hey, thanks Anonymous! (I wish all you guys would use names – I feel like I've had conversations with 117 different Anonymouses) Anyway, thanks for reading! I don't know how anyone else could read these posts on a daily basis – somehow that feels even crazier than what I've been doing. So reading in chunks is totally acceptable. 🙂
    I don't know what I'll do on Day 118 – get up and read a different book over my morning coffee? That'd be pretty kickass. I think I'll go back to writing about real books!

  4. Jen Powell
    July 31, 2010

    I hate to be so uncreative and obvious but why didn't he just kill the “Cowards”? If his goal was to punish them by killing the woman they loved, how does that translate to his hatred of women and children back home? I'm no expert but the logic and psychology are just plain sloppy. Shock value alone is not enough, Mr. Patterson.

  5. Nate
    August 8, 2010

    How the hell did a car behind the convoy detonate an IED under it (I'm assuming it was a ground-up blast)? Did they slide it out and under their targets while tailing them? No wat, did they launch an explosive device? Was there an RPG or rocket launcher next to the baby's car seat? Or, if the IED was planted in the ground and then detonated, wouldn't following so closely behind the American peegs be a bit risky for the perpetrators? And, most importantly, why am I bothering to ask questions of a “writer” who clearly neither knows shit nor give a shit about realism?!

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This entry was posted on July 30, 2010 by in 117 Days of James Patterson.
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