“Toys by James Patterson”
I was in a local bookstore looking specifically aat books for the Cannonball Read. I had a couple picked out, but when the store was closing I felt a kind of terror knowing I needed one more book. I asked my sister, who reads Janet Evanovich and the Jungle Run, for a suggestion.”Why don’t you try James Patterson?” she said.
I walked over to his own two shelves worth of available novels, and saw one that touted “JAMES BOND AND JASON BOURNE HAVE JUST BEEN TOPPED”. The cover was pretentious. It had giant words filling in the mystery and “TOYS” gracing almost half the front cover.
But I was told to never judge a book by it’s cover. So I picked it up. When I got around to read it, I realize I have great judgment. The book itself is flamboyant and flowery, every bit as pretentious as it’s cover.
It follows Hays Baker, a 007-type with the worst spy name possible. His wife, who plays the most cliche-driven, clueless woman who teeters on the edge of human emotion (and treated this way by Patterson and co-writer Neil McMahon), Lizbeth and their kids are all caught up in a murder conspiracy. Hays is a detective of sorts, looking into an unbelievable multi-homicide when he unfortunately becomes the man who’s hunted for it. We meet his forgettable family, including the heart of the book, his sister, Lucy. She’s the saving grace of it all, but it opens up the Hays Baker character to all kinds of scrutiny.
The book takes place 60 years in the future, where robots are available in Toy Stores, for both personal and professional use. They’ve been articulated to do anything you need or want them to do. Anything. Yes, even that to a degree. Of course, when they tell you this, they only go halfway there, because despite all the cursing and anti-American attitude, they’re decent people… right?
It moves at a quick pace, and it clocks in under 400 pages, so it’s not a slow read. It’s fine enough to lose yourself in some of the quasi-question-raising that the writers explore, but it won’t keep you asking anything for very long. You’ll meet familiar and colourful characters, but the impressions soon fade away as they give way back to the story of boring Hays Baker and his backseat driver, Lucy.
Hays is every bit a simple badass, with simple motives and a bad attitude… but he is no John McClane. He is no Jason Bourne or James Bond. For a book that suggests and berates lies being force-fed to you, it’s a little ironic that I feel the same about Toys, but that’s what I get for not judging this particular book by it’s cover.