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You?ve Been Warned
James Patterson and Howard Roughan
Little, Brown and Company 2007
374 pages

I am not a patient or generous mystery novel reader and You've Been Warned by James Patterson (the Cross series) and Howard Roughan (who co-wrote Honeymoon with Patterson) definitely tried my patience. I suspect it will try the patience of even true blue James Patterson fans. Aside from a bit of characterization and a few plot elements being moved a bit not much happens in the first hundred pages or so. Had You've Been Warned not been received for review, I am sure I would have put this mystery down before that.

By page 100 or so of You've Been Warned by Patterson and Roughan you know Kristin Burns is a wannabe photographer who is nanny for two children, the father of which she is having an affair with. She also has a strange, recurring dream about body bags coming out of a local hotel that is, at first, only premonitory; wakes up screaming every morning; constantly hears the same tune in her head; thinks she is going nuts; and, finally, gets warned by some guy on page 101. What she is being warned about, who knows.

This mystery novel picks up quite a bit after that though it remains very weird indeed as the next person to warn Kristin Burns is her late father and you realize Kristin is probably a bat short a belfry, a belfry short a cathedral, and a cathedral short a God. Or is she?

It is near impossible to reveal what is really going on in You've Been Warned and not play spoiler so I won't. Suffice to say it is a neat trick that does not rise above that and doesn't quite work on paper. The telling of the story is too disjointed, telling clues are haphazard and forgettable, and, well, you do not really care that much for the main character in the first place. As for the ending, well, you'll be bummed.

You've Been Warned, take heed!