Don’t Blink is a portmanteau novel, jointly credited to James Patterson and (in smaller font on the jacket) the lesser-known Howard Roughan. And while Patterson has long been one of the most world’s popular thriller writers, there are those who have expressed doubts about his joint writing ventures with other writers such as Andrew Gross. Surely, they argued, we want our Patterson unadulterated, not filtered through the pen of another author? However, the books by Patterson and his various partners have largely succeeded in hitting the bestseller charts as firmly as Paterson’s solo efforts; and it’s more than likely that this new book will repeat that success.
This is a Mafia epic, and will inevitably invite comparison with Mario Puzo’s The Godfather, though it’s a different approach to the subject. While Lombardo’s Steak House in New York is celebrated for its food, it’s also notorious for a less salubrious reason: the savage killing of a corrupt lawyer for the Organisation. The killer escapes without leaving a trace, and speculation about his possible employer are rife. At the murder, reporter Nick Daniels was present, interviewing a sports personality at another table. Without realising it, Nick is the recipient of an important piece of information — but as he becomes further embroiled in the crime and its investigation, he find his own life is on the line — and the fact that he has fallen in love further complicates an already fraught situation.
While some James Patterson fans might have preferred another Alex Cross novel (or something in one of Patterson’s alternate Women’s Murder Club series), there’s no denying that Patterson and his less celebrated co-writer (who may have done most of the heavy lifting here) do ensure that we keep turning the pages very swiftly. Patterson’s famously cut-to the bone, super-brief chapters are well in evidence, further ensuring that momentum is the name of the game here. —Barry Forshaw