The memorable story begun in When the Wind Blows continues in this thrilling new novel, and it's one that really soars! Frannie O'Neil, a Colorado veterinarian, knows a terrible secret that will change the history of the world. Kit Harrison, an FBI agent under suspension has seen things that no one in his right mind would believe. A twelve-year-old girl named Max and five other incredible children have powers we can only dream of. These children can fly. And the only place they will be save is the Lake House. Or so they believe...
When the Wind Blows (1998), to which this is a sequel, has been Patterson's "most successful novel around the world," according to an author's note. That novel, about children genetically engineered to fly, also thrilled most critics. This one won't, despite some charms, and the reason manifests itself in the three paragraphs-paragraphs, mind-that begin chapter 41: "They were elated to be together again-the flock! The tribe! The family!" Patterson tends toward shorthand writing, and generally it works in his favor, but the problem here is that exclamation points do not engender deep emotions within readers! Nor do italics. And the novel is strewn with both, as well as with too much dumbed-down prose. The plot isn't much to boast about, either. In the original, Max the flying bird-girl and her "siblings" were menaced by the mad scientists who ran the vile laboratory known as "the School," but were helped in escaping by erstwhile narrator Frannie O'Neill, a veterinarian, and Kit Brennan, an FBI agent. Here, Max and her five siblings are menaced by the mad scientist who runs the vile laboratory known as "the Hospital" but are helped by erstwhile narrator Frannie and Kit. So what's new? Not much, other than a few neat touches (for instance, the villain, Dr. Ethan Kane, is addicted to M&Ms) and-in by far the best section of the novel, not coincidentally one in which Patterson slows down-a truly moving description of how Max and the oldest male bird-child mate. The rest is an extended hunt and chase, as Kane goes after Max and her siblings in a medical conspiracy so outrageously unbelievable that readers will blink in wonder. The pages move like the wind that lifts Max's wings, of course, but Patterson can, and has, done far better than this. 6-city author tour. (One-day laydown, June 9) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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Little, Brown and Company
April 29, 2004
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Excerpt from The Lake House by James Patterson
The Hospital, somewhere in Maryland
At about eleven in the evening, Dr. Ethan Kane trudged down the gray-and-blue-painted corridor toward a private elevator. His mind was filled with images of death and suffering, but also progress, great progress that would change the world.
A young and quite homely scrub nurse rounded the corner of the passageway and nodded her head deferentially as she approached him. She had a crush on Dr. Kane, and she wasn't the only one.
"Doctor," she said, "you're still working."
"Esther, you go home, now. Please," Ethan Kane said, pretending to be solicitous and caring, which couldn't have been further from the truth. He considered the nurse inferior in every way, including the fact that she was female.
He was also exhausted from a surgical marathon: five major operations in a day. The elevator car finally arrived, the doors slid open, and he stepped inside.
"Good night, Esther," he said, and showed the nurse a lot of very white teeth, but no genuine warmth, because there was none to show.
He straightened his tall body and wearily passed his hand over his longish blond hair, cleaned his wire-rimmed glasses on the tail of his lab coat, then rubbed his eyes before putting his glasses back on as he descended to the subbasement level.
One more thing to check on . . . always one more thing to do.
He walked half a dozen quick steps to a thick steel door and pushed it open with the palm of his hand.
He entered the dark and chilly atmosphere of a basement storage room. A pungent odor struck him.
There, lying on a double row of gurneys, were six naked bodies. Four men, two women, all in their late teens and early twenties. Each was brain-dead, each as good as gone, but each had served a worthy cause, a higher purpose. The plastic bracelets on their wrists said DONOR.
"You're making the world a better place," Kane whispered as he passed the bodies. "Take comfort in that."
Dr. Kane strode to the far end of the room and pushed open another steel door, an exact duplicate of the first. This time rather than a chilly blast, he was met by a searing wave of hot air, the deafening roar of fire, and the unmistakable smell of death.
All three incinerators were going tonight. Two of his nighttime porters, their powerful workingman bodies glistening with grime and sweat, looked up as Dr. Kane entered the cinder-block chamber. The men nodded respectfully, but their eyes showed fear.
"Let's pick up the pace, gentlemen. This is taking too long," Kane called out. "Let's go, let's go! You're being paid well for this scut work. Too well."
He glanced at a naked young woman's corpse laid out on the cement floor. She was white-blond, pretty in a music-video sort of way. The porters had probably been diddling with her. That's why they were behind schedule, wasn't it?