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Today in My History

2000:  The Americanization of Emily
2001:  Up Close and Personal
2002:  Finding the Key
2003:  Afterglow

2004: Marvel the Mustang
2005:
I Guess I'm Doomed
2006: A Bed By Any Other Shape
2007: When Juices Flow
2008: I Remember You, Sort Of
2009:  Curmudgeon
2010:  Tools
2011:  Milels To Go Before We Sleep


Bitter Hack
Updated: 10/08
"Enron"
"The Miracle Worker"


Books Read in 2012
 Updated: 10/25
"The Duchess of Bloomsbury St."


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mail to Walt

KNOW WHEN TO FOLD 'EM

26 October 2012

This is the second time in as many days where I've used that reference, knowing when to hold 'em and knowing when to fold 'em.  The only reason I didn't throw in the towel and quit reading the horrible piece of crap that is James Patterson's latest novel, "Zoo," is that I felt if I continued on, it would make good fodder for a journal entry.

I read most books on my Kindle, which tells me how much of the book I have read.  I watched the numbers creep from 25% to 50% but by the time I reached 75% my tolerance level had reached its peak and I decided to give it up.

James Patterson used to be good.  He used to be quite good, but then he got too big for his britches and he started churning out two or three novels a year, each with a co-author.  I can only hope that Patterson's contribution to many of these books is to put his name on as co-author, because I hate to think that this is really the depths to which his previous talent has sunk.

I don't know what they are smoking over at Time magazine, but its review for this book (co-authored by Michael Ledwidge) is glowing

Once in a lifetime, a writer puts it all together. This is James Patterson's best book ever.

For 36 years, James Patterson has written unputdownable, pulse-racing novels. Now, he has written a book that surpasses all of them. ZOO is the thriller he was born to write.

All over the world, brutal attacks are crippling entire cities. Jackson Oz, a young biologist, watches the escalating events with an increasing sense of dread. When he witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa, the enormity of the violence to come becomes terrifyingly clear.

With the help of ecologist Chloe Tousignant, Oz races to warn world leaders before it's too late. The attacks are growing in ferocity, cunning, and planning, and soon there will be no place left for humans to hide. With wildly inventive imagination and white-knuckle suspense that rivals Stephen King at his very best, James Patterson's ZOO is an epic, non-stop thrill-ride from "One of the best of the best." (TIME)

To save you from having to read this pile of excrement, let me give you an overview. It's a spoiler alert, but I prefer to think I'm doing you a HUGE favor by writing it. Read at your discretion.

Scientist Jackson Oz suspects that something is going wrong with the world's animals.  Nobody believes him because he doesn't have a degree.  Oz hears from a friend in Botswana who has also noted some stronge things and rushes off to get proof to support his theory.  Within hours they are attacked by lions.   Friend in Botswana is killed, Oz escapes, but finds a girl hanging in a tree inches from being eaten by crocodiles.  He rescues her and by the time they get back to civilization (we never find out how--this book is rife with life-threatening situations that are avoided but it is never explained how) they are in love.

Oh.  While he's gone to Botswana, he asks his New York girlfriend to come in once a day and feed his pet chimpanzee, Atilla.  Well, that's kind of like saying "don't go into the basement, Martha!" while the spooky music plays.  Naturally by the time he and the new girlfriend return, he finds the body of the old girlfriend (well that was convenient) in the apartment that has been totally trashed, and the chimp gone.  Curtain.

Next page it is 3 years later and new gf and Oz are married and have a kid.  The animal situation is even worse and now comes a series of chapters, one chapter is Oz trying to meet with leading scientists around the world, the next chapter is a picture of some folks somewhere in the world where they are being eaten by ravaging animals, from rats to bears to giggling dolphins to dogs.  After we get the gory details of the current attack by the current flock of animals, we go back to Oz who is again being summoned to Washington to meet with The President (who is a woman,of course), only every time he gets to D.C. something happens that prevents the meeting and he gets sent back to New York fleeing for his life.

The last scheduled meeting was canceled because president is emotional because it seems that her daughter was eaten by the family dog and the pres had to kill it. Of course.

When I finally decided I simply could not read another page, Atilla the chimp had turned up again, still wearing the red hat he was wearing when he escaped 4 years ago, now a bit faded, of course, and he bites off the garbage man's nose, leaving him to be eaten by....I think it's rats.  I'd lost track by then.

The problem with this book (or one of a zillion problems) is that there is ZERO credibility even for a cheesy sci fi movie.  You don't know enough about any of the characters to care about them, the "non-stop thrill ride" is about as scary as the children's merry-go-round at your local park.  The animal attacks are so predictable, all you want to know is which breed is going to kill now?

In the meantime, foolhardy people are ignoring the danger and still going out into the woods to go on fishing trips while the military has decided that the only solution to the problem is to bomb all the animals.  Kill 'em all. 

My God was this an awful book.  If I had any respect whatsoever for Patterson after his awful "Cross Country," it has totally disappeared. 

Jim of Jim's Journal left a note on my guest book yesterday which said, "Which Patterson book actually improved? I've only read two complete Patterson books and they both became increasingly terrible as they went."  That is true in spades for "Zoo" and I should have quit while I was ahead.

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