It is sort of impossible to tell what James Patterson writes anymore. With his "co-author" mill, Patterson is more of a brand than an author at this point from what I can tell. But the Patterson trademarks are there, tiny chapters, low word count and stilted prose.
Every time I swear off Patterson forever, one of his books is offered free. So it is with Tick Tock which had a free preorder several months ago. The setup is fairly typical, with a serial killer recreating the murders of famous NYC serial killers. You may remember this plot line from the film "Copycat" which was made nearly two decades ago.
Our hero is Michael Bennett, a single father with 10 adopted children. The children are of all races and genders, however none of them are real characters. Often they are just a list of names on a page. They may as well be called "older boy number 3" for as much as they are developed.
Running parallel to the serial killer portion of the book is a family drama which is painful to read. The only reason it is included is to pad the book out to novel length instead of a novella. It involves the vacationing Bennett family fighting with bullies. These young teenagers apparently are well versed in wordplay and racial slurs, not to mention the Rainbow Coalition, a group that hasn't been particularly relevant in their lifetime.
As usual, there is a speckling of awkwardly shoehorned in pop culture references that distract from the proceedings as well.
As for the thriller itself, it is fairly standard, featuring the predictable Patterson switch where a new character is introduced to throw you off. There is also the almost sadistic pleasure taken in describing the murders. Also a fairly lame love triangle between Bennett, a FBI agent and his live in nanny.
As a final insult, the final scene between Bennett and the serial killer ends in a truly silly manner. Overall it is just not a satisfying effort.