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117 Days of James Patterson – Day 111

Day 111, Chapter 111
I think I’m at the point in this stupid exercise where I can no longer readily find the inadvertent humor in these chapters, being so blinded by the piss-poor writing and contrived plot machinations.  Alright, that may not be entirely true, but still, I am continually shocked on a daily basis at how cheaply constructed the plot of this book really is.  Someone very early on in these 117 Days remarked that perhaps if I were reading the book at the rapid pace that it was intended to be read, I would be able to better appreciate the style that Patterson employs.  Would I?  Or would I just be glossing over the fact that he is a terrible, terrible writer?

The brilliant idea for catching Pete Gordon that Claire had at the end of Chapter 110 involves nothing more than several undercover female police officers pushing baby strollers around the malls in town with the hope that Pete will try to kill them.  In all seriousness, why had this not occurred to anyone in either the SFPD or the FBI before the assistant medical examiner suggested it?  This case has been going on for months, 8 or 9 people have been killed, and they’re just now trying to set a trap to catch the killer?  To counteract my annoyance with this development, I give you the opening paragraph from Chapter 111 – I call it “Baby-Sized Dolls.”  Enjoy.

It was my third consecutive night in a surveillance van with Conklin and Jacobi. The vehicle was airless and soundproofed and connected wirelessly to two female undercover operatives near Nordstrom in the San Francisco Centre – they were pushing strollers with baby-sized dolls inside. I was listening to my designated decoy, Agent Heather Thomson, who was humming “Can’t Touch Me,” and Conklin was tracking Connie Cacase, an innocent-looking, street-talking twenty-year-old rookie from Vice.

I would chalk Jpatt’s flubbing of the song being hummed to his advanced age, but the fact is, he’s only 63.  There is no song called “Can’t Touch Me” – at least not well-known enough for a Vice cop to be humming it or for it to show up in an extensive Google search.  At first I thought he meant MC Hammer’s 1990 smash hit, “U Can’t Touch This,” but there is also a lesser known song by Detroit rapper Royce da 5’9″ called “You Can’t Touch Me” that reached #12 on the Billboard chart in 2001.  Or maybe he meant the stupid Family Guy version, which was, in fact, called “Can’t Touch Me.”  Either way, he got it wrong and I mock him for it.

Regardless of where this storyline ends up, I love “Connie Cacase, an innocent-looking, street-talking twenty-year-old rookie from Vice.”  Frickin’ hilarious.

Claire’s plan made sense, but it was far from foolproof. We were all set to pounce but had no one to pounce on. Jacobi was checking in with Benbow when I heard shots through my headset. Heather stopped humming.

Heather!” I called into my mic. “Speak to me!”

“Was that gunfire?” she asked.

“Can you see anything?”

“I’m on Stockton. I think the shots came from the garage.”

I shouted to Jacobi and Conklin, “Gunfire! Agent Thomson is fine. Ritchie, do you have Connie? Is she okay?”

“Connie’s good.”

“I don’t know what the hell happened, but something bad. Stay tuned,” I said to Jacobi.

That’s a lot of shouting inside that tiny “airless and soundproofed” van.  “Ritchie” and Jacobi are right next to Lindsay, yet she yells to them as if they’re down the street.  I especially like the “Gunfire!” comment.  Wouldn’t they have all heard it through their surveillance headsets too?  I wonder what’s gonna happen tomorrow?  “Stay tuned!” Seth shouted.
Go to Day 112

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4 comments on “117 Days of James Patterson – Day 111

  1. Amy
    August 18, 2010

    Hmmm… good question, a lot of yelling in a small area. Also, 'baby-sized dolls'?? And in a city the size of San Fransisco someone thought 8 or 9 cops pushing strollers would work? Only in a JP novel would it work…

    I have to go check out those other songs though. Maybe he did mean the Family Guy version 😉 hah

  2. Anonymous
    August 18, 2010

    day 111 and you still have me laughing…

  3. Seth Marko
    August 19, 2010

    On a second reading (yes, I read my own post again. Loser!) I think I can hear Heather snapping her gum through the headset. “SNAP. Uh, like was that, um, like gunfire? SNAP.”

    And “I don't know what the hell happened, but something bad” may be the worst sentence ever constructed in the history of narrative fiction. Something bad…what? Should it maybe read, “but I think it was something bad?” Yeah, that works. Carry on, Little, Brown proofreading department, go back to your tray of doughnuts.

  4. Amy
    August 19, 2010

    Yes, please get this man (and his writing team!) editors. Please!

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This entry was posted on August 18, 2010 by in 117 Days of James Patterson.
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