Wednesday, September 12, 2007

You've Been Warned - James Patterson, Howard Roughan



You’ve Been Warned
James Patterson and Howard Roughan
Little, Brown and Company

Psychological Thriller

Kristin Burns moved to New York three years ago, hoping to start a career as a photographer. It’s her habit to carry her camera everywhere and photograph whatever catches her eye. While she’s waiting, though, she’s working as a nanny in the Turnbull home. She’s completely devoted to seven-year-old Dakota and five-year-old Sean. Their mother, Penley, a trust fund kid from an incredibly wealthy family is a pill of a woman who has little interest in her children except as accessories. Their father, Michael, runs a successful hedge fund company. He’s also having an affair with Kristin.

When the story begins, Kristin has a portfolio of photographs submitted to a gallery for a possible show. She’s wildly in love with Michael and envisions a life with him and the children. The only downsides to her life at the moment are the existence of Penley, whom she keeps telling Michael to dump, and the recurring nightmares that wake her, screaming, every morning. These nightmares soon seem to spill over into her waking life when her dream of four body bags on gurneys in front of an upscale hotel becomes reality one morning.

The photos she took that morning of the body bags have a strange, ghostly quality: it looks like the body bags are transparent. Later, Kristin sees and speaks to her father on the street. Her father has been dead for over a decade. A pony-tailed man approaches her in a club and warns her to behave herself. Events quickly spiral out of control as Kristin desperately tries to find the meaning in these seemingly unrelated and surreal incidents.

This is not the normal James Patterson thriller. That may disappoint some readers, but I found it inventive and unique. Kristin tells the story from her point of view, so the reader goes along for the ride as she experiences it. Characterization is a bit thin, but the ambiguity of each character is, quite possibly, the point here. The pacing is lightning-fast, as usual. I stayed up late just to discover the truth behind the photographs. Readers who are open to a different kind of book from two very skilled authors won’t want to miss this one.

Rating: 8
September 2007
ISBN# 0-316-01450-8 (hardcover)

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