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THE JESTER By James Patterson and Andrew Gross
I read The Jester immediately after finishing The Dante Club, so I must admit that my disappointment in James Patterson and Andrew Gross’ collaboration may be based in part on a tough-act-to-follow syndrome. But with that caveat I must tell you I found The Jester to be a cross between Gangs of New York and Danielle Steele. It’s bloody and gory, like you would expect a period piece about the Crusades to be, but with all the depth and cheap lusty scenes of a pulp romance novel. Plus, the language is 1990s LA, not turn of the first century France.
The Jester is the story of one man’s crusade, which begins with his joining the fighting of the actual Crusades in some misguided search for his life’s meaning, and ends with his marrying the princess and living happily ever after. Along the way, all of the obviously bad guys die, along with many of the obviously good guys. There is no depth of character here, no soul-searching, no soul period.
For those of you who have read and enjoyed Patterson’s serial killer crime novels, like Along Came a Spider, Kiss the Girls, and 1st to Die, you’ll find the blood and gore here that he’s known for, but none of the reality. The only thing that remains the same is that the characters in his contemporary fiction use exactly the same street language as his characters in this historical novel. Go figure! There are so many good novels out there right now, that I’m afraid I’d have to advise skipping this one.
On the bestseller list for four weeks now, The Jester by James Patterson and Andrew Gross left me actually missing John Grisham. Scary! On the Book Beat for KSL Newsradio 1160, I’m Amanda Dickson.