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Adventure In Reading - James Patterson - Black Market
The Author And This Book
James Patterson was born in 1947 in Newburgh, NY. He received his college education at Manhattan College and Vanderbilt University. He worked in the advertising industry until he retired to write full time in 1996. However, he published his first novel in 1976. His books have sold more than 300 million copies. He holds the Guiness record as the first person to sell 1 million e-books.
This book was first published in 1986 but this issue came out in 1994 and was reissued in 1995. It contains around 350 pages. Most of the story takes place on the eastern coast of the United States - in and around New York City and in Washington, DC. There is some momentary action in Europe.
The story begins with an devastating announcement from what sounds like a terrorist group. The threaten much devastation without asking for a ransom or for any concessions on the part of the United States. The group gives plenty of warning so that there will not be any unecessary loss of life but will be mammoth property destruction.
The deadline announced goes by. It begins to look like it has been a hoax when devastation begins. Although it doesn't immediately become apparent, the threat and ultimate acts were designed not only to destroy but to camouflage a theft.
At the beginning of the book Archer Carroll is working on an unrelated project as an undercover agent. When the crisis occurs, he is assigned to the project of discovering and apprehending the perpetrators. Arch Carroll is a career federal employee that has four children at home under the care of his sister and her daughter. He provides room and board for the sister and her family. He provides them with a small stipend. She is indispensable in running his household.
Gradually another federal investigative employee, Caitlin Dillon ,becomes enmeshed in not only the story but in Arch Carroll's private life. A deeply serious relationship develops through the book.
Occurrences race through the 350 pages of the book and make it difficult to take a break from the book.
Two concurrent stories show up at the beginning of the book. The national crisis is described in detail during the implementation and the occurrence of the disaster that is described in the beginning of the book. The other story is the activities of Archer Carroll an agent with the federal government who is currently charged with watching - but not harming - two terrorists that are in the country under the protection of the Department of State. In the background is the story of a discharged military man that went through being a POW during Vietnam.
Arch, while watching the two individuals assigned, a third terrorist enters the picture that is not under the protection of the government makes an appearance. There is a heavy duty gunfight that ends the surveillance job. While recovering from that activity Arch is called to a meeting at the request of the President of The United States. He is assigned to be a member of the group running the investigative process for the DIA and reporting to the committee as a whole.
His first activity occurs almost immediately as he flies to Florida to chase a lead. From that point on the book is action packed. Because of all the action, it began to sound improbable to me that a real person would have survived. Most of the injuries that occured every few pages would be enough to put a mortal flat on their back for extended periods. The hero, though, seems to be up and running the next morning. For instance, he is shot in Paris while on a ledge outside a building in Paris. The next day he is reporting in New York City and within a very short period of time is physically active with Caitlin. Shortly after that he is involved in a physical altercation with villains that injure him further but not enough to slow either the thought processes or he physical prowess of our hero. He still remains agile enough the survive a helicopter crash near the end of the book.
Much destruction occurs throughout the book. It would definitely make a bang-bang shoot-em-up movie of bad guys and good guys that culminates with a surprise that comes shockingly to the end. Once it happens, the reader realizes that clues to the solution have existed throughout the book.
The book does move realistically from step to step and reaches a logical ending. There is a lot of violence in the book and is more than one man could tolerate. Considering both aspects of this plot and the action described by the writing, I'd rate the book at about a 6 on a scale of 1 to 10.