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The Thomas Berryman Number Mass Market Paperback – April 1, 1996

2.4 out of 5 stars 187 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

James Patterson has had more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer, ever, according to Guinness World Records. Since his first novel won the Edgar Award in 1977 James Patterson's books have sold more than 300 million copies. He is the author of the Alex Cross novels, the most popular detective series of the past twenty-five years, including Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.

From AudioFile

With a steel guitar twanging blues in the background, Will Patton performs this reissue of Patterson's 1976 debut novel, which won an Edgar Award for best first mystery. The complex plot intertwines a reporter's relentless pursuit of the killer of Nashville's first black mayor and the path of the assassin himself as he prepares for the biggest murder since Martin Luther King, Jr. Will Patton uses a bluegrass drawl and the soft sound of a New York drug-world hustler, helping the listener understand the complexity of the characters. Patterson's observations are masterfully transformed into critical insights with Patton's skillful pacing. K.A.T. © AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (April 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446600458
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446600453
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (187 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,151,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Patterson received the Literarian Award for Outstanding Service to the American Literary Community at the 2015 National Book Awards. His other awards include two Emmys, the Edgar Award, and the Children's Choice Award for Author of the Year. He is a tireless champion of the power of books and reading, exemplified by his new children's book imprint, JIMMY Patterson, whose mission is simple: "We want every kid who finishes a JIMMY Book to say: 'PLEASE GIVE ME ANOTHER BOOK.'" He has donated more than one million books to students and soldiers and has over four hundred Teacher Education Scholarships at 24 colleges and universities. He has also donated millions to independent bookstores and school libraries. Patterson will be investing proceeds from the sales of JIMMY Patterson Books in pro-reading initiatives.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found reading the other readers' reviews (almost universally bad) of The Thomas Berryman Number a real education. It might interest you all to know that when this, Patterson's first novel, came out in 1977 it won the Edgar for the best first crime novel of that year. Yes, this book is very different from his Alex Cross series: The plot is subtle and provocative, the characters are complex and compelling, and Patterson's writing here makes it a pleasure to deal with every page. The Cross books, on the other hand, feature a one-dimensional cardboard hero, comic-book villains, and simplistic writing in very short chapters. No, Patterson's writing has not improved with the years. He's just lowered his standards and is aiming at a larger, dimmer audience.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
If you are looking for the same type of writing and the same intensity as Patterson's more recent books, you will not find it here. Though many may find this novel dissapointing, I can not imagine that this is the worst book that any one of you has ever read- unless your reading list is quite miniscule. I can think of many books that are worse than this one. My advice to other readers is to read this book just to read THIS particular book. If you dive into it with any preconceived notions and are looking for another Kiss the Girls, then you will most definately be dissapointed. This book is another side to Patterson. It is a completely different style of writing than his recent novels- but is still unique and worth reading. And keep in mind that someone must have enjoyed it- it won a major literary award. If you want Alex Cross, you won't find him here, but you will find a novel that is still worth exploring. Remember to keep an open mind and you may just find that this novel is worth more than mere kindling for your fire.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found the method with which Patterson chose to tell this story to be quite fascinating. While it didn't always work (at times it became quite confusing), I had to applaud his effort and sheer guts for trying it.

What James Patterson did in this book was to tell the story from the point of view of a reporter who is following the story of an assassin - Thomas Berryman. We are basically reading over the reporter's shoulder as he writes his journal, conducts his interviews and puts together his story ideas. Where it falls off the tracks are the occasional places where we are suddenly put into Berryman's mind when Ochs Jones (the intrepid reporter telling the story) doesn't ever manage to talk to him. Ochs talks to Berryman's girlfriend Oona Quinn (neat name, huh?), his friend Ben Toy (who is in an asylum), and various other people surrounding the case, but never Berryman, so putting us into Berryman's mind feels a bit like cheating.

Nonetheless, this is an interesting story and Patterson does a good job of putting us into the mindset of the late 1960s and early 1970s, especially in the south, where racial tensions were still high and segregation was still the norm. Busing was still an issue and the election of a black man (Jimmie Horn) to be the mayor of Nashville was a big deal. When Horn decides to run for Governor, that's when things start to get really ugly and the death threats start to kick in.

It would be very difficult to provide much information about the plot without throwing out spoilers, so I will leave it at that. Please note that this book is written in the vernacular of the time - late 1960s and early 1970s - not the modern "PC" jargon - so if you are going to be the type to get offended by that, please bear that in mind.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The reason I got this book was because I heard that it won the Edgar that year. It must have been an awful year, because this is one strenuously lackluster novel. It's story is not compelling, the characters aren't interesting, the narrative style doesn't work and the resolution does almost nothing to answer the questions raised by the plot. This doesn't reflect on Patterson's talents as an author, after all, this was his first novel. That being the case, it still should be regarded as craft honing piece and not something you should spend your money on.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
First I must tell you I am a BIG James Patterson Fan, I have read almost all of his
latest books, decided to try his earlier ones. I have never NOT finished a
book until this one. I thought it was terrible. Its short chapters were 76
pages long, the characters were jumbled together. I hated it...It proves that writers
or anyone in their chosen occupation can get better. I love Alex Cross & Lindsay
Boxer and many others. This one you can forget.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was a disjointed and confusing story. By the time I came to the end, I really didn't care how it all came about
1 Comment 17 of 22 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel is such a mess that it is unworthy of serious comment. Rather, it calls to mind 2 questions:

(1) How on earth did this ever get published?
(2) What tasteless literary jury gave this an edgar for a first novel?

Don't waste your time on this. I pushed myself to read about 100 pages of it and it never got any better.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I went to a tremendous amount of trouble to get this book via interlibarary loan and what a disappointment. I enjoy the implications that I'm too plebian to enjoy such a rich and deep work of art. I can enjoy a sophisticated, subtle plot as much as the next yahoo, but this is horrible.
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