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Literary Glance: BookShots- Kill or Be Killed by James Patterson

June 20, 2017

Maybe I’ve been wrong about James Patterson.  For so many years, I thought his co-authors did all the work and Patterson just put his name on all those novels he gets published every month.  After glancing at four Patterson BookShots from his collection Kill or be Killed, I’m not so sure.

All four stories in this collection sound so much like they’ve been written by the same author that I’m not sure Patterson even needs coauthors.  All four bookshots have 2-3 page chapters.  All the stories have outlandish situations with almost no basis in reality.  And the writing is kind of… cheesy.

You can turn to any random page from any story in Kill or be Killed and find cheesy writing.  Here are some examples:

The Trial by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Chapter 28 (out of 34 chapters in a 95 page story)

We were alive not just because of what we knew about bad guys with guns, or because Conklin and I worked so well together that we were like two halves of a whole.

That had contributed to it, but mostly, we were alive and drinking because of the guy who’d dropped the AK and given us a two-second advantage.

After I’d downed half my second beer, I told Conklin, “We weren’t wearing vests, for Christ’s sake.  This is so unfair to Julie.”

“Cut it out,” he said. “Don’t make me say she’s lucky to have you as a mom.”


“Two dirtbags are dead,” he said.  “We did that.  We won’t feel bad about that.”

“The guy with the AK.”

“He’s in hell,” said Rich, “kicking his own ass.”

Or maybe he’s reading James Patterson books.  Either way, that last line was cheesy.

And you don’t have to look hard to find more cheese:

Heist by James Patterson and Rees Jones

Chapter 30 (out of 35 chapters and an epilogue in a 109 page story)

Barret’s world was black.

A hood had been pulled over his head and the former Commando recognized the dank, musty smell of wet burlap.  It was a sandbag that was hiding his captors from his eyes, and Barret could almost laugh at the irony that he’d pulled the same bags over the heads of dozens of Iraqi men.

But Barret wasn’t laughing.

Barret was scared.

But Barret wasn’t lactose intolerant, which was good, because that entire story was cheesy.

The cheese continues in…

The Women’s War by James Patterson and Shan Serafin

Chapter 21 (out of 39 chapters and an epilogue in a 127 page story)

We let loose on six AGM Hellfire missiles.  The dope field had no chance.  The power of a Hellfire is unreal.  Think of the impact of a monster truck barreling through a pillow fort in the middle of a freeway.


My favorite type of kill.

Cheese.  My favorite type of dairy product.

Little Black Dress by James Patterson and Emily Raymond

Chapter 5 (out of 26 chapters and an epilogue in a 95 page story)

You don’t even know his name, Jane! said the small voice of my sanity.

So ask him, and then see when he gets off work, said a different voice entirely.

When he put the popcorn in front of me, we both took a big handful.  But suddenly we were both too shy to speak.

Then I said, “I think-” at the same time that he said, “Do you want-”

We laughed awkwardly.  It was like being in seventh grade again.

We were saved by a pearl-bedecked waitress, who appeared by my elbow with a cheese plate.

A cheese-plate?  That sounds perfect for the occasion.

Don’t get me wrong.  I like cheese.  I eat, read, and write cheese.  I’m just surprised James Patterson gets away with writing so much of it.  He really ought to slow down.  Too much cheese is bad for you.


What do you think?  Do all four writing styles sound alike?  What is a good definition of cheesy writing?

  1. They do sound similar. Too much cheese can often constipate the ability to write. But in this case? Diarrhea. Unfortunately, I can’t provide a good definition for cheesy writing. One question remains: is it contagious?

  2. Sharon Dear permalink

    I smile when I read what you have to say and think to myself,” does he ever read for the plain old pleasure of reading.” I smile because it’s like watching a movie with my son who has to fast forward all the time. I love to watch a movie without figuring out the ending at the start. I read every word in a book because I enjoy the read. I smile because I wonder if you enjoy the books you read.

    • “I smile because I wonder if you enjoy the books you read.”-

      Haha! I still love reading books. It’s usually a combination of enjoyment with “That’s an interesting way to write it; I wonder what other people think about that.”

      But sometimes it’s a combination of enjoyment with “Ugh! I can’t believe the editors let him/her get away with that.”

      • Sharon Dear permalink

        I’ve been disappointed reading a few book this summer just because the editor didn’t catch the misspelled words. I see it happening more often. Does everything have to be done in a hurry?! I didn’t come across stuff like that in the last century.

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