Valued All My Small Thoughts contributor HC Nash pays tribute to famous American author James Patterson.
Moderation is foreign to us... our thrill is ... unmeasured. Like the rider on a steed snorting to go further onward,we modern men, we half-barbarians – and we feel supremely happy only when we are in the most – danger.
--Friedrich Nietzsche in Beyond Good and Evil
A TRIBUTE TO JAMES PATTERSON,
AUTHOR OF 75 THRILLERS (AND COUNTING)
At some point not so long ago I awakened from an absurdly long sleep to learn that an author named James Patterson has sold more books globally since 1972 than Stephen King, John Grisham, and J.K. Rowling combined—a shocking statistic. Whatever you may think of “thrillers,” his primary vessel of imagination, this is the brand of success
I admire—with no apologies.
So I decided to pay the following tribute to this most prolific of American authors of fiction. It consists, modestly enough, of 25 titles and opening paragraphs that I believe do justice to the gentleman’s inimitable storytelling.
Let’s get started before Mr. P. publishes yet again.
1. From The Supernumerary:
I take no umbrage from being dubbed “the Supernumerary.” If memory serves,
a former Hungarian intelligence officer first applied the honorific, which caught
me a trifle by surprise. She meant no offense. Would you concede that the very name
2. From The Styrofoam Addendum:
My long-time partner was running late for the Bullet Train, and his nose needed
wiping. (Not for the first time, either.)
3. From Homeless and Hungry in Brussels and Sprouts:
McInerny’s first impulse was to tackle the bastard at the level of where his
hamstrings should have been, but in mid-leap it occurred to him to take out a couple of
his vertebrae instead. A quick adjustment was required.
4. From Setting the Alarm:
For years Bertram Manley had dreamed of taking a flight someday aboard Air Force One, but this time it was for real. Being late getting to Andrews would have been damned embarrassing, don’t you think?
5. From The Craving of Knaves:
How does a red-blooded American undercover hit man and spiritualist master
Farsi in a single weekend and still meet the expectations of his handler at home?
Very carefully, he thought.
6. From Poor Young Dead Girl:
Who in his right mind would have conceived of such nonsense?
7. From The Peregrines of Passion:
“Can you imagine,” said the satiny blonde who smelt of a rainy weekend in
Wales, “such incredible highs?”
8. From Homicide at the Homeopathy Convention:
“I have studied miasmas since my undergraduate days in Calgary, my dear,”
I welcomed her. “What precisely can I do for you?”
9. From The Hunt for Ash Wednesday:
It all began innocently enough—at a Dunkin Donuts in St. Louis, in fact—and the
individual in question wasn’t even a Catholic.
10. From Triple Cross at the Hoover Dam:
The woman was clearly not herself—a fact that her unbelievably intuitive
husband of a dozen years had been quick to detect over their “continental”
breakfast, false advertising of the first order.
11. From This Band of Stepbrothers:
They were unshaven, they were malodorous, they were raunchy. True patriots
and potential heroes just doing their jobs, thought MacAngler, who was equally
unattractive in his own right.
12. From Patricia Hearst, the Symbionese Liberation Army, and Johannes Gutenberg:
“I trust you’ve made copies before,” said my new boss, a pain in the ass in
$800 shoes. “Not even once,” I replied, crisply. The gauntlet had been laid.
13. From Wrong Numbers:
An untrained eye might have imagined it was a convention of Bleeding Hearts.
Me and my chum knew better. “We know better,” said my chum, knowingly.
14. From Skin Deep and Loving Every Minute of It:
Fools were the last to go, and the three of us brought up the rear accordingly.
There was only a minute to lose.
15. From Where It Stops, Nobody Knows:
Don’t think I didn’t know that getting crosswise with a 12-year veteran of the
Navy Seals was, on paper at least, otherwise than wise.
16. From Dead Cells, Dead Souls:
Why the hell should I care about Jimmy Hoffa’s final resting place? Hang tight
and I’ll tell you why.
17. From Blood Is Thicker Than Bottled Water:
“You won’t believe this,” said my ex-Significant Other down in the Greater
Southwest, “but Law Enforcement here has got Bigfoot surrounded in a hollow
just south of the Interstate.” My sigh had a life of its own.
18. From Special Assignment XYZ:
A bird’s-eye view of things from his cut-rate parachute helped to sober him up,
but only marginally. Next time he would know better. Maybe.
19. From The Stravinsky Code: The Cello Knows:
It was my natural pitch that got me started in the first place—against my will,
if you will.
20. From A Quiver Full of It:
The force of the detonation you can hardly imagine. “Holy fertilizer,” he thought.
21. From From Pillow to Postmark and Back Again: Alex Cross Lives:
Discount vodka is one certified way to drown your sorrows. (Give it a try.)
22. From The Celebrated Artist’s Unlikely Assistant:
I don’t put my arm around the shoulders of many men, but for this One-of-a-Kind
an exception was in order. Hell, I loved the son of a bitch.
23. From The Sun Is Also Risible:
They had made love at least innumerable times since checking into Embassy
Suites in Karachi just before midnight, but by 6:30 the gentleman was down in the
breakfast room alone demanding a special of steak and eggs. You know how many
contractors are roaming around Afghanistan these days?
24. From Knowing How to Live Regardless:
“Some people don’t even know what ‘This is it!’ means,” I said. No one else was
25. From The Cold War Comes Home to Big Bend:
Sgt. Major Tankert had met this auburn-haired chick on the very eve of the new
millennium: everything else flowed from that. Their story is Pure Sensation, and as
American as death at Daytona.