About a month ago I started working my way through Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot series. I have always been a fan of mysteries. And although I read Christie’s work in high school, I felt it deserved another look. But about seven books into the series, my local library contacted me and informed me that one of the books I had placed on hold had finally arrived. James Patterson’s The House of Kennedy intrigued me because I’ve always been a fan of the tabloid like life of the Kennedy family. I have read many books outlining the life of the Kennedy family. The intrigue, the history, and the politics has always made for great reading. And Patterson’s format is one that in a busy time has always made me like his books. The narratives are complex yet simple to read. And his chapters are short which allows chapters to be read in stolen moments. So, I expected that this would be the ideal book.
However Patterson’s book, written with co-author Cynthia Fagen, fell short of my expectations. I expected more intrigue and mystery than history. If you are looking for a text to give you background and historical knowledge about the Kennedys this is a good read. If you’re looking for the intrigue behind the story of the Kennedys this does not fit that bill. Patterson focuses on Jack, Bobby, Joe, Rose, kick, Ted, Jacki-O, and John Junior. In short, novella-like chapters he tells the very simple story of the most prominent members of the Kennedy family. And although there are moments of intrigue there is nothing new here. You won’t find that bombshell moment if you’ve read anything about the Kennedys. However, the small bites of the Kennedy story makes for an enjoyable and quick read. Patterson upholds his normal narrative stance. And he does tell a good story, but for those looking for more this is not it.
Good reading….. Mary EK Schneider
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