TITLE: Come and Get Us
AUTHOR: James Patterson with Shan Serafin
PUBLISHER: Book Shots
PUBLICATION DATE: December 6, 2016
COVER DESIGNER: Kapo Ng
SYNOPSIS: What is her husband's secret? Miranda Cooper's life takes a terrifying turn when an SUV deliberately runs her and her husband off a desolate Arizona road. With her husband badly wounded, she must run for help alone as his cryptic parting words echo in her head: "Be careful who you trust."
EXTERIOR / COVER DESIGN: I personally like the cover design for this book. The cover actually tells a story by itself. On the front cover, there is an image of a vehicle driving off a cliff (although the guardrail isn’t damaged). The setting on the front cover appears to be somewhere dry with a desert. On the back cover, we are inside a vehicle that has obviously been involved in a crash. There is a deployed airbag, damaged rearview mirror, and shattered windshield. Just based on the cover, it is obvious the vehicle that is falling from the cliff has crashed. Once I read the title, my mind started painting a picture as to who was driving off the cliff and who did they want to come and get them. I was ready for the story and opened it up without reading the synopsis.
INTERIOR FORMATTING: I like the interior formatting for the book, but I expected nothing less from James Patterson. I know instead of the drop caps, he uses bold and enlarged font to begin each chapter, which I am a fan of. Once I opened up the book, I was pleased to see the formatting. There are no footers on the pages, and the page numbers are alongside the header. This is a different look, and I love it. All in all, the formatting is superb.
REVIEW: The main characters in the story were the Cooper family; Aaron, Miranda, and their four-year-old daughter, Sierra. Aaron worked in the legal department for an oil company, and Miranda was a stay-at-home mother and was formerly a geologist for the same oil company. The story is told from Miranda’s point of view, and when the story begins, we are in the minivan with the family as they are on their way to visit a friend in Arizona. As they are on the curvy road, they are confronted by an unknown SUV that ends up running them off the road and sends them barreling down a cliff. For this to be the introduction to this book, it didn’t grab my attention. The chapter (and subsequently the entire book) was very telling, especially with the countdown to the crash. I didn’t need Miranda counting down and also telling me what actions were being taken. Choose one or the other. I would have rather had them play cat and mouse games on the road and let the anticipation build so the readers would have to guess as to which move/maneuver would cause the family to drive off or be knocked off the cliff.
After Chapter 1, I closed the book because I couldn’t believe the author was telling us exactly what was going to happen next. If that was the case, he should have written it in the third person rather than first. I looked at the cover once more and read the synopsis. Reading the synopsis was a big mistake because I was now told the entire story. The husband has a secret, an SUV deliberately runs them off the road, her husband is badly wounded, and she runs around for help alone. This is the equivalent of a movie trailer having all the key parts of the movie in it. When you see the movie, you are expecting much more suspense than the trailer, but instead, there is nothing except for what you knew was going to happen.
I didn’t need to know the husband had a secret; instead ask: Does someone in the Cooper family have a secret?”
I didn’t need to know that the crash was deliberate. Let me read about the actions that were taken and make that determination myself while reading. This is how you build suspense, especially when using a cliché storyline of someone driving off a cliff. Make it seem like an accident and when they encounter someone near the crash site they can realize it was not just an accident.
I don’t need to know that he is badly wounded. A car driving off a cliff is a clear sign that someone is going to be badly wounded. They could have just said something along the lines of “With the Cooper family badly wounded, the must find help in order to survive the terrifying crash.” Seeing this in the synopsis would make me wonder what the severity of the injuries was and if someone died. I didn’t have that subtle suspense because I already knew Aaron had a secret and that he was injured.
Despite being told everything that was going to happen in the story, I continued reading. Once Chapter 3 rolled around, things got good. Descriptions of the scene were vivid and relatable. I imagined myself at the edge of the water, watching Miranda pull Aaron from the minivan. At that point, I would have liked to get a little more insight into her physical well-being. Was she injured? Hungry? Thirsty? This was the point in the story I liked the most. Getting a sense of what the crash scene looked like and Miranda desperately trying to find shelter and help. I was getting a bit skeptical as to how this stay-at-home mom was able to navigate the terrain, but that’s when we got the backstory of her being a geologist and rock climber. That was perfect. That is how you connect the dots.
I was all into the part of Miranda looking for help and then she saw the SUV driver that ran her off the road. He begins firing his rifle at her and chases her. She calculates a plan to have him chase her up a cliff, and he ended up falling to his death. She took his weapon, which had never used before and started back to check on her family. At one of the most crucial points in the story, when Miranda encounters another bad person, the writer actual lists the actions that take place. They were numbered 1-5 rather than told during the story. I did not understand that point at all. Once she encounters the man, he punches her in the face. Despite that being the only time she was ever punched in the face, she manages to get a shot off from the weapon she didn’t know how to handle and shot the man in the shoulder. I know this is a fiction story, but it needs some realistic characteristics to the story. Her being punched in the face should have had her dazed and seeing stars at a minimum.
After she someone how finds the bravery and skill to evade four men that were out to kill her family, she steals their vehicle and gets into another chase. There was no mention of emotion or vehicle handling (except the tires were shaking). She was driving an SUV at 125mph; there should have been a lot more than shaky tires. She also found the location of the ranch they were headed to without the guidance of Aaron, even though she only saw the place once on a map.
Come and Get Us gets a three-star rating from Creedom. Not only is the story predictable, but it was also too telling. There was no need to read the story after reading the synopsis. Every key point was mentioned besides the ending, but we all saw that coming from a mile away. The story had the potential to be great. It should have been written in the third person based on the way it flowed or should have been a full-length novel that gave much more detail that would have wrapped the readers up into the story. I love the idea of a woman being a strong lead in the book, but it also needs to be believable. Being a former rock climber and geologist does not prepare you to take physically take one four armed hitmen. Although two of the deaths occurred based on the terrain, she was still somehow able to physically fight off a man she described as having “bionic arms.” If the author would have given Miranda some self-defense background, this wouldn’t even be an issue. I also believe she and Sierra would have been more injured than they were. There was also mention of Miranda bleeding from the leg when she made it back to Aaron and Sierra, but somehow that injured disappeared, and she was able to continue her mission with the strength and skill of a trained fighter. That’s not even to mention they a four-year-old with them the entire time that didn’t cry about being hungry, hurt or sleepy. This child was also able to help carry her dad up a cliff, find supplies during a high-speed chase and more. As I said, some things have to be believable, and that’s not. I would have rather the child be at least seven or eight-years-old to withstand those type of traumatic events.
RATING: 3 out of 5 STARS
The Critique Kings
The Critique Kings are Creedom's book reviewers. They consist of a group of avid readers and writers, which include young readers. Reviews are also posted on Amazon, GoodReads and social media.