Black Market / Black Friday – James Patterson

Black Market James Patterson
Black Market by James Patterson
Also by this author: 1st to Die, 2nd Chance, 3rd Degree, The Horsewoman, 4th of July, The 5th Horseman, The 6th Target, 7th Heaven, The 8th Confession, The 9th Judgment
Published by Simon & Schuster on June 5, 1986
Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
Buy on Amazon

From the author who created the international No 1 bestsellers Along Came a Spider, Kiss the Girls and Jack and Jill comes a lightning-paced novel of high finance, international terrorism and irresistible page-turning suspense -- now reissued in striking new cover style. The threat was absolute. At 5.05 p.m. Wall Street would be destroyed. No demands, no ransom, no negotiations. A multiple firebombing -- orchestrated by a secret militia group -- would wipe out the financial heart of America. Faced with catastrophe on an unimaginable scale, Federal agent Archer Carroll and Wall Street lawyer Caitlin Dillon are pitched into a heart-stopping race against time, tracking the unknown enemy through a maze of intrigue, rumour and betrayal towards a truly shocking climax.

Black Market continues James Patterson’s movement into conspiracy thrillers, giving readers the story of a secret militia group out to destroy the American economy and Federal Agent/Wall Street Lawyer duo that has to take them down. This is Patterson’s first police procedural and you can here a sort of proto-Alex Cross in federal agent Archer Carroll. Actually, is more like a prototype of Michael Bennett, only somehow with more children. The plot is far-fetched. The dialogue inane and choppy. It’s an 80s action thriller, but in book form falls absolutely flat.

Nonetheless, Black Market is the first novel where you can see the type of author Patterson would become. Rather than emulating the styles of other authors or writing to achieve literary acclaim, Patterson begins to find his own voice and, even though that voice is far from perfect, I’ll take original and authentic mediocrity over a façade that’s just as mediocre any day.

The reason for this switch to a more confident and original voice comes from the length of time Patterson spent away from publishing. We’ve come to think of James Patterson as the guy who releases a book a month, but after 1980’s Virgin, Patterson went six years before his next book release. 1980 could very well have ended Patterson’s career, but the switch from trying to be a writer he wasn’t to being the writer he was made all the difference. It didn’t lead to immediate success, or even a good novel, but Black Market reopened James Patterson’s career and gave him a second chance.