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The Thomas Berryman Number

2.86  ·  Rating Details ·  4,096 Ratings  ·  293 Reviews
The Thomas Berryman Number
Mass Market Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 1st 1996 by Grand Central Publishing (first published 1976)
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Feb 17, 2017 Jason rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Now, I'm hopeful that JP fans and James himself, can forgive me for this review, given that he sold like 400 million copies of his books since. BUT, this was slowwwwwww.

This is James's first ever published novel, back in 1976. I'm not surprised, however, that James's first few novels have been lost in history amid the Alex Cross craze. Not many people have even heard of this novel (including myself up until not long ago) called The Thomas Berryman Number.

I'll start with the writing. I kn
Aug 11, 2011 Mark rated it did not like it
Shelves: james-patterson, 2010
Quite possibly the worst book I have ever read. There are two minimum requirements for a story, that you have a plot, and that you write in a method that the reader can follow, and this book failed on both counts. The story jumped around so much that it was hard to follow what was going on and I'm still not quite sure what happened. The story started off well by introducing us to a charcter who claims he can provide evidence that a hit man carried out a murder despite there being video evidence ...more
Lee Kyle
Jul 09, 2012 Lee Kyle rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one it was terrible
Recommended to Lee by:
Constantly through all my reviews on Patterson books I have continually said that i have yet to find a bomb so to speak. The Thomas Berryman Number was my 21st Patterson novel and how ironic the bomb i would find planted within the Patterson bibliography would be his very first book ever??!! Now everyone sets out in life in their chosen profession on a trial and error basis, given that I am no way at the point where i would say well that's it hands more Patterson however if The Thomas ...more
Aug 18, 2016 Simon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I'm really surprised. I've never read a James Patterson book before and having been given this one, and being in between books, I thought I'd give it a go. It must be good, right? I mean he has sold more books than anyone, ever. And this is his first book, presumably the one that gave him his big break. As an author myself, I couldn't wait to see how he had captured an agent or publishers attention with those first, crucial chapters.

And then I started reading. From the start, I struggled to und
Apr 16, 2012 Erica rated it did not like it

DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME. It was boring and it would never end. I can usually read his stuff in a day but this was not the case. It took forever to finish and I wanted to throw it away half way through the book. It never got better.
b00k r3vi3ws
I was excited when I got my hands on this one. I am a fan of Alex Cross and Michael Bennet, and mostly love reading James Patterson for what it usually has to offer. But to get my hands on his debut novel was a different kind of excitement.

The book starts with a bang. Three murders – one after another has the officials in a frenzy… Everyone seems to be running in circles or in the wrong direction, except for a reporter called Ochs Jones. Jimmie Horn is a big name around town and even though his
Jan 13, 2009 Aaron rated it it was ok
This was the first book that published for James Patterson. Thomas Berryman is a gun for hire. He makes his living as a hired assassin, though he is not connected to the mob or any other organization.

Ochs Jones, the narrator, is a reporter for a Nashville paper who is hoping to make it big by investigating the secretive history of Berryman. All of this is in response to the assassination of Jimmie Horne, the first African American mayor of Nashville. The assassination is followed by the killing
I had to create a "Hot Mess" shelf specifically for this book.

Despite featuring a fairly atmospheric and true-to-life setting (the Southern-ness of the various settings, including Texas, Tennessee, and Kentucky felt very genuine), this book had no discernible point, gaping plot holes, inconsistent characterization, and a time line that was practically impossible to follow. I'm not all that impressed with James Patterson as a reader, generally, nor as a professional (it's hard not to notice the
Kim Bondy
Sep 20, 2010 Kim Bondy rated it did not like it
I had heard great things about this author, so I thought that I would read one of his early books and make my way through his works. This book was excruciating to read. I almost quit reading it numerous times. I eventually finished it, but there was nothing satisfying about finishing it. The book jumped around all over the place and was hard to follow at times. Nothing enjoyable about it!
Feb 05, 2012 Christina rated it did not like it
I have read a lot of James Patterson (Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club) and usually enjoy it. I decided to read some of his older books - and this book was an incredible disappointment. It was fragmented and hard to follow. I would not recommend it.
Ty Hutchinson
Mar 10, 2010 Ty Hutchinson rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No
I never finished it. It was very hard to follow. Boring. Lack of interest made it even harder to follow characters or even get into them. I had saw the reviews on Amazon that this book sucked. It did. First Patterson book I have not liked.
Nov 22, 2008 Sarah rated it did not like it
This was James Patterson's first book. As I was reading it I was so confused about the whole thing. If I had read this before any of his others I dont think I would have read any of his other books! It was very odd!
Aug 07, 2009 Kendall rated it did not like it
James Patterson is usually a good writer, so I'm surprised he hasn't pulled this one. Granted, I only got half way through, but still couldn't make heads or tails of it.
Rae Lewis-Thornton
Jan 17, 2013 Rae Lewis-Thornton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-thriller
I'm a really BIG Fan of James Patterson's Alex Cross series, as is my Godmother Judy. I have read every single one of them! As I mentioned in my last book review on Walter Mosley's Black Betty, Judy and I talk about Alex Cross like he is real. We also try to figure out how James Patterson, who is very white has so much insight into the life of African-Americans. It's an on-going theme to our Patterson book discussions. I would love to have lunch with him one day and get some up close insight.

Sarah Schoesler
Oct 23, 2010 Sarah Schoesler rated it really liked it
I believe that this is the first book written by James Patterson and I expected it to not be as good as those in later years, but I was pleasantly surprised. Not only was it as good, but in some cases better than those he has recently written. The story focuses on Ochs Jones, a newspaper reporter writing a story about the murder of Nashville Mayor Jimmie Horn. What makes this more interesting is that Jimmie Horn is a black mayor during the 1970's in the south with aspirations of becoming a U.S. ...more
Apr 27, 2013 Chris rated it did not like it
As stated by others, this book is a mess. I am actually angry that I wasted my time reading this. I should've stopped after the first twenty pages but I convinced myself to give it a chance to develop. How Patterson continued to publish future books after this disaster is a mystery. The argument that it was his first book is not a valid point. Many other young writers have written excellent books. Patterson's debut seems like a drunk person wrote it. Thank goodness his writing and storytelling i ...more
Oct 01, 2008 Jen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are curious about debut novels.
The first of Patterson's novels, it had raving reviews on the cover. I'll be the first to admit that I can devour his stuff like candy, and I'm drawn to his non-killing books, but this was TERRIBLE. I can't believe it won awards, never mind spawned the career that won't go away. There are three main characters, and the only way you can tell one apart from the other is by the setting. It has a southern feel, which was kind of nice, but otherwise stunk. I'm on vacation and couldn't be bothered to ...more
Jul 07, 2013 Robjr73 rated it did not like it
I'm an avid reader and decided to add Patterson to my list of authors to read. I typically prefer to read authors' books in the order they were written. In this case, not a good idea because this first novel of James Patterson's is bad. It's hard to follow and frankly not all that interesting. I found myself skimming through it to get through my boredom faster. I believe his next book was Season of the Machete. Please let this one be better or else I have to rethink this Patterson plan....
This, the debut novel from James Patterson, shows that he was once a promising name in literary crime fiction--though, now, he seems quite content to just stick his name on a whole lot of mediocre crap he didn't even write. That being said, although the writing in this book is excellent and reminds me of something by Dennis Lehane, the story itself is over-long and boringly simple. I dare you to read the last page and not think, "Is that it?"
Dawn H.
To me this is James Patterson's worst book. I love his writing but I find myself just trying to get it over with. It jumps around a lot and the character really seem kind of bla to me. The only one that stick out that I wanted to know more about is the girlfriend of Berryman. I'm sitting with 100 pages to go to finish the book but I just couldn't take it anymore.

If you love Pattersons' books skip this one it is a disappointment IMO
Mar 05, 2016 Sharron rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
Sorry, could not finish this book. Too confusing, too many characters, too boring. I wanted to read it knowing that this was Patterson's first novel. His latest novels are much more entertaining. Guess it is a case of too many books, too little time, to spend my time on something I am not enjoying.
Jan 08, 2015 Les rated it really liked it
This book starts off with three murders in the south and a manhunt is trying to catch him. A reporter is the one who is trying to find out about him. It is a good story and a fast read. We have a few good characters in it.
Dick Peterson
May 10, 2011 Dick Peterson rated it did not like it
This book is a stinker. That it won an Edgar amazes me. Apparently Edgar had his head up his caboose when the award was decided. I'm thinking he should instead have had a clothes pin on his nose. I love James when he's on his game, but in this case he had no game at all.
Mar 13, 2014 Holly rated it did not like it
Very difficult to follow the story. I did not like this book. I'm glad this is not the first Patterson book I ever read or I would never read another.
robert hinkle
Oct 08, 2015 robert hinkle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Way good

I don't want you to come to any conclusions on account of what I say. But I just love this man James patterson!
Michael Percival
After seeing the mixed reviews for this book I was doubtful about its quality. The book however turned out to be a real gem and reminded me why I had started reading Patterson's books in the first place. This is not the easy read that later Patterson books have become. The storyline jumps around from past to present with a story within a story, from the viewpoint of the writer Ochs Jones, the hitman Thomas Berryman and his rival Joe Cubbah.

The book draws you in as Ochs investigations identify th
2.5/5 Stars

The gripping story of a ruthless assassin,

the woman he loves,

and the beloved leader he is hired to kill...

Conflicted and surprised, the two foremost emotions I feel right now...

2.5/5 Stars is, I think, the lowest I've ever rated a book, especially one by James Patterson. But, this is not his best, and I'm glad I've been an avid fan before picking up his first ever published piece. My rating could change, once the initial disappointment passes it might bump up to 3/5 Stars.

The Thomas B
Joel Gunter
May 17, 2017 Joel Gunter rated it did not like it
I have read over 100 Patterson novels before finding this one, his first. Had I read this one before the other 100, I would never have read any of them. I don't understand how it could have received any positive awards. This book was punishing to read but I kept on because I expected it to show some of the brilliance of his later novels; however, it did not.
Pippa Hillebrand
May 10, 2017 Pippa Hillebrand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It kept my attention, but I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop or something more to happen, when all of a sudden the book was finished and I couldn't be sure who came out on top or what the actual conclusion was. I think the age of the book shows there - it was not written as one of the more modern mystery thriller novels which are packed with action.
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What do you think about James Patterson's debut novel? 6 17 Jul 22, 2013 10:06PM  
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James Patterson has created more enduring fictional characters than any other novelist writing today with his Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, Women’s Murder Club, Private, NYPD Red, Daniel X, Maximum Ride, and Middle School series. As of January 2016, he has sold over 350
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