Rebecca's Reviews > 3rd Degree

3rd Degree by James Patterson
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's review
Dec 08, 11

bookshelves: mystery
Read in December, 2011

James Patterson is basically running a mystery novel factory, and it shows in this book. The novel goes through the motions acceptably enough--there are clues and ratcheting tension and figures come back from the past and deaths of people close to the protagonist and a love interest. But the entire thing feels rather formulaic and thin.

Somehow, despite shocking revelations and stunning returns from the dead, you're never quite shocked or stunned. There isn't enough of an emotional connection established to make a reader sympathetic to the allegedly chilling revelations. A major character dies and it doesn't feel particularly traumatic. A romance proceeds far too easily. I figured out the mastermind far too easily, and the climax somehow fizzles.

The weird structure doesn't help. There are four women in the club. One is a first person narrator for about a quarter of the chapters. The rest of the chapters are third person narrations following the other women, suspects, victims, what have you. I really don't understand why it switches from first to third--either follow all the characters in third, or stay in first person and deal with the limitations it imposes. It feels like a cheap trick to make you care about the protagonist, instead of actually writing the protagonist to be likeable.

Similarly annoying, many of the chapters are a page and a half long. And not every chapter changes viewpoint. So you have a short conversation, and then a new chapter with a minor action, and then a new chapter with a brief action scene, and then a new chapter with another short conversation. It's choppy and artificially induces page-turning.

Written too quickly, this novel tries to use cheap tricks and pyrotechnics to replace heart and detail. There's nothing wrong, per se, just nothing particularly great, either. It's competent, I suppose, but completely uninspired.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

dateDown_arrow    newest »

Kiran I was actually very impacted when Mercer died in 2nd Chance. But I do agree with you about the romance proceeding too quickly.


message 2: by Ali (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ali I agree. Mercer's death was more traumatic and he wasn't even a main character; he was just very likeable. I was upset that this book had a main character killed, but it didn't really bother me. Patterson eluded to the fact that she was destined to have some horrible fate to the point where I immediately knee what was going to happen.


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