Kyle's Reviews > Thriller: Stories To Keep You Up All Night

Thriller by James Patterson
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Nov 12, 11


James Penny’s New Identity tells the story of war veteran James Penny, who is laid off from his job after 17 years. Penny acts out on his anger at being fired and is now on the run from the cops. He meets a precarious army police officer that befriends him, and helps him, yet has an even more mysterious past than his own.
At the beginning of the story, Child sets up an apathetic mood by describing the setting using short, descriptive sentences. “There was one industry in Laney. One factory. A big spread of a place. Weathered metal siding, built in the sixties.” This setting and tone is juxtaposed later by the frantic and nervous new setting Penny enters into as his story progresses. The ending is left open to wonder, and so are the characters’ fates.
Keeping a character mysterious, yet intriguing by revealing a minimal amount of the character’s history and motivations is something I wish to accomplish in my own stories.
Child kept the pace and the mystery up until the very end. And since the ending is left open, a continuation of the story could prove just as interesting.


The Face In the Window is a mediocre tale of serial killer, but who the serial killer is, is the tense, thrilling part, or so I am supposed to feel. The Point of View shifts from a wife to her husband, but during the first few pages of the story the narrator addresses the reader. In any case, I found it awkward and out of place. For example:

“…The Hummer was heavy enough to make it through the wind, tough enough to crawl through the flooding.
Beth had been the one who had been worried sick…”

This example, in actuality, is not correct. It correctly reads as follows:

“…The Hummer was heavy enough to make it through the wind, tough enough to crawl through the flooding.
So there, guys. Testosterone? Maybe. But Beth had been the one who had been worried sick…”

“So there, guys. Testosterone? Maybe” sounds like the author Graham is literally addressing the reader, asking me if I think it’s just guys being testosterone-dudes, and then gives me what her answer is to her own question, “maybe.” This was off-putting, and it wasn’t the only occurrence. This happened throughout the first half of the story.
Along with this, I also audibly laughed during scenes when I was supposed to feel spooked. Again this is a problem I have with the narration and writing style.
The most gratifying aspect of Graham’s writing was in her management of properly revealing the true antagonist at the story’s climax. The climax and resolution were okay, nothing too exciting.
If this were a short film it would be rated PG. The cheap thrills, character dialogue on top of the light-hearted narration made what should be a terrifying story feel reserved, unobtrusive to the true darkness and evil that would occur if a serial killer were in my home.
I did enjoy the story, minding it apart from the style in which it was written. If I had a chance to rewrite this story I would be true to the emotions of having a serial killer in my house; no light-hearted commentary, no more than one cheap thrill. The style would be much more oppressive and bleak atmospherically if I wrote a similar story.


The Other Side of the Mirror was boring and long. Two thirds of the story is entirely Exposition with no relative context since it is all front-loaded. If I had written this story I would have begun with the action and intertwined very different exposition elements as the plot progressed. But with the way it was written, I had no context for it. So I didn’t care about it or the current happenings of the main character while he just sits on the couch of an old run-down hotel room. Why do I need to know so much about the hotel setting? Why do I need to know about the sex life of the main character, “Take, for instance, the sex,” and pointless fetishes, “Eyelashes he loved best”? They have no bearing to the plot. I would have cut most of the exposition out, or else have changed it all, and intertwined it like I mentioned before.
When the story got to its most interesting moments, where the twists come, they make no sense and have no bearing on all the previous exposition because (spoiler alert) they were all delusions of a crazy man, accordingly.

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Thriller.
Sign In »

No comments have been added yet.