The Thomas Berryman Number by James Patterson was published in the mid-‘70’s. Throughout the novel, you can see the culture of the day dispersed. This book won an Edgar for Best First Novel.
While the book is centered around Thomas Berryman, it’s written mostly from the perspective of Ochs Jones, a newspaper reporter. If you enjoyed the crime shows of the ‘70’s, you’ll enjoy this book. It tells a story within a story. Jones is in fact writing a book and this book shows the investigations he does in order to tell the story. However, not ever part is from his perspective as the reader needs to know facts about the other characters in order to see the sequence of events. Patterson does a great job of hooking the reader right at the beginning, in the Prologue. He introduces the reader to Thomas Berryman, shows us a bit about his character, and makes us want to know more. If you are looking for a quick read, The Thomas Berryman Number is it. It doesn’t take long, although you do need to pay close attention in order to keep up with the switches in perspective. Also, it can be difficult to keep up with the characters. The plot itself is fast-paced, although a bit rangy. The gist of the story is that a politician is shot and Thomas Berryman has been hired as a hit man. You’ll find dialogue written with a Southern drawl as you watch the story unfold and find out if Thomas Berryman did committed the crime and/or what really happened. While this book isn’t as involved as some of James Patterson’s later work, it’s a good read. The author is successful at getting the reader’s attention and keeping it throughout the book. Once you start reading, you won’t want to stop until you’ve reached the final page. When compared to later works, you can see how James Patterson’s writing style evolved.