It’s time to take on an author that’s a bit more well known than some dude who won The Apprentice. If you’ve ever read more than what was recommended to you in high school, you know who James Patterson is. The guy can be pretty polarizing when it comes to people who read things, i.e. old people. I myself only read a couple books from his Maximum Ride series and what I remember was… okay? So I don’t have any strong feelings going into this. However, I have mad respect for anyone that can publish as many books as he had. Whatever the quality is, he’s certainly prolific. So, kudos, Patty-man.
Okay time to open up One’st to Die.
You really gotta love how these thriller novels number themselves for you. Hollywood Horror films could take a real lesson. I grew up seeing my mom’s shelves packed with Janet Evanovich’s latest endeavors.
My age is now Turbo 23 if anyone asks
At least she had the decency to write out the numbers and make it look like a real book. Patty-man does… this:
Tag yourself, I’m the 5th Horseman
Maybe this is supposed to look organized but numbers on a book cover look wrong to me. Like two kids in a trench coat weird. He’s mocking us with the fact that this series will never end. Let’s get to reading.
We start with a classic staple of tacky writing: a pointless prologue.
It is an unusually warm night in July, but I’m shivering badly as I stand on the substantial gray stone terrace outside my apartment. I’m looking out over glorious San Francisco and I have my service revolver pressed against the side of my temple.
This is what San Franciscans call midnight brunch.
“Goddamn you, God!” I whisper.
Goddamn you… God.
Bit of an overkill don’t you think? I know the dude’s all-knowing but I think this task would make his head spin. Like trying to stick your head up your ass.
Quite a sentiment, but appropriate and just, I think.
You think stupidly.
The reason I say this prologue is pointless is because it’s clearly a flash forward that is meant to make us tense since she’s got a gun to her head, make you want to read more. But it’s not the start of the story so it’s just a cheap trick to make you think things are happening. If you have any inkling of becoming a writer, don’t do this. If you really, really want a prologue, ask yourself ‘why.’ Prologues should set the scene or flesh out backstory that can’t be explored in the main book. They are not desperate cries that interesting things will happen later, we swear! Chapter one of Harry Potter could have easily been considered a prologue, but it’s not. Because it’s where the story starts. Start your story at the very beginning. I’ve been told it’s a very good place to start.
I hear Sweet Martha whimpering. I turn and see she is watching me through the glass doors that lead to the terrace. She knows that something is wrong. “It’s okay,” I call to her through the door. “I’m okay. Go lie down, girl.”
As I stare into the Border collie’s eyes, I think that maybe I should go inside and call the girls. Claire, Cindy, and Jill would be here almost before I hung up the phone. They would hold me, hug me, say all the right things. You’re special, Lindsay. Everybody loves you, Lindsay.
Jesus Lindsay, I think it’s a miracle you have friends when you make them talk like that in your imagination. Creep.
I just don’t see a way out of this mess. I have thought it trough a hundred times. I can be as logical as hell, but I am also highly emotional, obviously.
If you say so, Lindsay.
Then our would-be-suicider starts to think about ~where it all began~. Bite me.
The terrible, indelible honeymoon murders that terrified our city, mixed with close-ups of my mom and even a few flashes of my father. My best girls–Claire, Cindy, and Jill–our crazy club.
My friends always said I was more like Helen Hunt married to Paul Reiser in Mad About You. I was married once. I was no Helen Hunt; he sure was no Paul Reiser.
You know, I’m just having a really hard time figuring out who the target demographic of this book series is. Hmmm….
Susan can I borrow your HGTV app? I just love Property Brothers!
Also saying he was no Paul Reiser is basically a compliment.
Someone send Helen some help
I keep seeing David and Melanie Brandt, the first couple who were killed, in the Mandarin Suite of the Grand Hyatt. I see that horrifying hotel room, where they died senselessly and needlessly.
That was the beginning.
Pull the trigger.
Chapter one opens with the tragic couple of David and Melanie in their honeymoon suite. We already know they are about to die because of the prologue, so now we’re just waiting for that to happen. Nice.
There might be a luckier man somewhere on the planet, David Brandt thought as he wrapped his arms around Melanie, his new bride. Somewhere in Yemen, maybe–some Allah-praising farmer with a second goat.
I read that sentence a good two weeks before all of y’all and I still haven’t fully processed that it was written by a real human being. Not to mention then seen by an editor and given the pass. Like… what. Is it supposed to be funny? Why was that his first thought, I just. It comes from nowhere. Beyond being pretty racist, it’s just nonsensical.
The worst part of it is, Patterson is so proud of that line he won’t let me forget it.
David reached for a pair of filled champagne glasses he had set on a lacquered table. “A toast,” he declared, “to the second-luckiest man alive.”
“The second?” she said, and smiled in pretended shock. “Who’s the first?”
They looped arms and took a long, luxurious sip from the crystal glasses. “This farmer with two goats. I’ll tell you later.”
Seems kind of like bad form to compare your new wife to a pair of goats… and then have her lose.
The couple looked out from the living room of the Grand Hyatt’s Mandarin Suite. They could see the lights of Berkeley off in the distance, Alcatraz, the graceful outline of the lit-up Golden Gate Bridge.
Yeah such romantic scenery like… Alcatraz. Really gets your heart pumping. Thank god these adult thrillers have such short chapters so we can get to the murder that much faster.
David suddenly remembers that he has a gift for Melanie and I hope to god it’s not fucking goat related.
She lifted the top. Inside a suede pouch was a set of earrings, large silver rings around a pair of whimsical moons made from diamonds.
“They’re how I think of you,” he said.
“It’s you who pulls my tides,” David murmured.
“The tides are my dick.”
Thankfully, there’s a knock at the door that interrupts our lovebirds from trying to make us sympathize with them.
As he went to the door, David was thinking he wouldn’t trade places with anybody in the world.
Not even for a second goat.
IT’S NOT FUNNY DAVID, STOP. So nice he said it thrice I guess. Good thing he dies in the next two pages.
Our savior comes in the form of their psychopathic killer, Phillip Campbell. Not to be confused with Phil Velez, feminist and cuck icon. We switch to his perspective because that’s the cool writing thing people do now.
He’s disguised himself as a bellboy and hands David a glass of champagne.
“What is the worst thing anyone has ever done?” Campbell murmured to himself. “Am I capable of doing it? Do I have what it takes?”
The worst thing…. Y’know, Stalin existed. I know killing a couple on their wedding night is pretty up there, but you’ve got quite the competition here. It’s hard to be disturbed by your actions when you’re putting yourself on the same level as war criminals.
“Any card?” the groom said, fumbling in his pants pocket for a tip.
“Only this, sir.”
Campbell stepped forward and plunged a knife deep into the groom’s chest, between the third and fourth ribs, the closest route to the heart.
Hallmark has really taken it a bit far with their delivery services.
“For the man who has everything,” Campbell said.
Am I getting punk’d? Is this a B movie script instead? Hell, if this is our main antagonist for the book I’m strapped in because this is some good comedy. Better terrible than boring.
So Campbell is super jazzed about his murder because he’s ‘craaaazy’ and that’s how crazy people are. Melanie comes in to check if her hubbies done with the help, but in fact the help is done with him. Eh, eh?
“Oh my God!” she screamed. “Oh, David, David!”
Campbell wanted to remember her like this. The frozen, wide-eyed look. The promise and hope that just moments ago had shined so brightly were now shattered.
“Please,” she whimpered, her eyes frozen. “Please don’t kill me.”
“The truth is, Melanie, I’m here to save you,” he said as he smiled into her quivering face.
Campbell lowered the blade and sliced into her.
He carried the bride’s body back into the bedroom and placed her on the bed.
She was beautiful. Delicate Features. And so young. He remembered when he had first seen her and how he had been taken with her then.
What is the worst thing anyone has ever done? Phillip Campbell asked himself again, heart pounding in his chest.
Was this it? Had he just done it?
Not yet, a voice inside answered. Not quite yet.
Slowly, he lifted the bride’s beautiful white wedding dress.
Greaaaat, thanks James, you wet blanket. We have to end this chapter on implied necrophilia. Swell. Maybe the next one can spare us.
Now that the murder that the book spoiled for us is over, we’re back in Lindsay’s perspective. She’s spending her Monday morning sitting in her doctor’s office, waiting. Finally, it’s her turn.
Generally, Orenthaler greeted me with some well-intended stab at police humor, such as, “So if you’re here, who’s out on the street after them?” I was now thirty-four, and for the past two years had been lead inspector on the homicide detail of the Hall of Justice.
But today he rose stiffly and uttered a solemn “Lindsay.”
I think you’ve been spared his stand-up routine so that’s a good sign.
Up until then, my philosophy on doctors had been simple: When one of them gave you that deep, concerned look and told you to take a seat, three things could happen. Only one of them was bad. They were asking you out, getting ready to lay on some bad news, or they’d just spent a fortune reupholstering the furniture.
I’m concerned. What doctors has Lindsay been seeing?? Is this life past thirty? Is this what I have to look forward to?
So her doctor puts a slide up on the projector and shows her her blood cells. Looks like she doesn’t have a lot of ’em.
“There’s a condition, Lindsay,” Orenthaler went on. “Negli’s aplastic anemia. It’s rare. Basically, the body no longer manufactures red blood cells.”
I’m bored, can someone get murdered again? That was fun.
A week ago, I had come in simply because my eyes were runny and blotchy and I’d discovered some blood in my panties and every day by three I was suddenly feeling like some iron-deficient gnome was inside me siphoning off my energy.
Oh is that ALL that was going on that you just had to come into the doctors? Wait, this is actually relatable. I, too, wait until I’m on death’s door until considering a doctor. And no I did not forget about the gnome comment. Is this how other adults are thinking about life and I’m just the odd one out?
Gnomes aside, this is really serious, guys, I guess.
“I want to hear the truth.”
Orenthaler nodded. He got up and came around the desk and took my hand. “Then here’s the truth, Lindsay. What you have is life threatening.”
“Life threatening?” My heart stopped. My throat was as dry as parchment.
Bummer. Would two goats make you feel any better?