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When the Wind Blows Hardcover – October 28, 1998

3.3 out of 5 stars 929 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the When the Wind Blows Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Taking a break from his phenomenally successful Alex Cross series, James Patterson's When the Wind Blows is as much child's fantasy as it is an adult nightmare. The novel moves away from the gritty Washington, D.C., setting of the Cross books and follows the daily life of Frannie O'Neill, a Colorado veterinarian. After the mysterious death of her husband several years before, Frannie retreated to an isolated life in her Colorado practice. But a series of bizarre events suddenly disrupts her lonely routine. On a personal level, she is shaken by her new tenant--Kit Harrison. Kit's too handsome and too friendly and he's a hunter (or so Frannie thinks). He's also recovering from a devastating personal tragedy, and, as Frannie eventually learns, he's really an FBI agent using his vacation to follow a crucial lead. But Kit isn't the one that's got Frannie concerned. As she says after stopping her Suburban one night to check out something on the side of the road: "What I saw was way beyond my abilities to imagine, beyond my comprehension, my system of belief, and maybe beyond my ability to communicate right now. The little girl's arms were folded back in a peculiar way, but when she lifted them--feathers fanned out." The girl is Max, and the mystery of her wings leads Frannie and Kit into a massive conspiracy involving secret genetic research and the scientific manipulation of the human species.

Patterson, a former advertising executive who coined such catchy phrases as "Nupe it!," knows how to entertain. His chapters are always short (some only two pages), and his writing is clear and unobtrusive; the reading experience is brisk--akin to watching a summer blockbuster. The book is not as dark or as weighty as the tales of detective-psychologist Alex Cross, but while some fans may be disappointed by Patterson's migration from pure suspense fiction, his first-person narrator Frannie, has a quirky realism that keeps this flight of fancy mostly on stable ground. --Patrick O'Kelley

From Library Journal

Still mourning her dead husband, veterinarian Frannie O'Neill makes an awful discovery near her hospital. What's more, an FBI agent is tapping at her door.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1st edition (October 28, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316693324
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316693325
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (929 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #263,370 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kimberly A. Booser on January 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
When The Wind Blows by James Patterson is a touching story about a group of children who are mistreated and misused for the benefit of another group of people. This group is using the children as test subjects by mutating cells of different animals and using host women to give birth to the children. These children are born mutated; some have wings, some have no faces, and some do not even survive. The ones that die, or are later "put to sleep" are stuffed away. One of the children in particular, Max, is a 12 year old girl with wings. She and her brother Matthew have taken the abuse from the horrible school for so many years, and are so fed up with it, that they decide to flee the school. This doesn't work to plan. On the other face of the story, a man named Tom Brennan, undercover for the FBI as Kit Harrison, is boarding an airplane to Colorado to investigate the recent news of several murders in and around the Bear Bluff, Colorado area that may possibly be linked. Behind the backs of his co-workers, Kit has been studying the talks of a corporation secretly trying to evolve humans by testing children, which is extremely illegal and distasteful in every way. Kit is told by his boss to go on vacation to Nantucket due to his diligent work ways, but he's actually off to investigate this case. Also there is Frannie O' Neal, a widow of Bear Bluff working as a veterinarian. Her husband, David, was killed a few years ago in a parking lot. The police never found a suspect or lead. She still wakes up sweating after having a dream of her trying to save her loved husband once again. These 3 characters will all meet in one way or another, which leads up to an epic ending full of laughter, surprise, suspense, and loads of entertainment. This book left me wanting more...Read more ›
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was the first Patterson novel I ever read, and thanks to it, I actively searched out other offerings of his. While some people (mainly those with no imagination) will say that the story is too far-fetched, those of us with a bit of magic and innocence left in our souls will embrace the protagonist, Max, readily. With genetic engineering in the news so much these days, this book certainly gives the reader something to think about. However, a film version would probably ruin the story, as the little leap of faith it takes to accept the possibility of winged children would not translate well onto the screen (in much the same way as brilliant Stephen King novels make ridiculous movies).
Die-hard Patterson fans seem to resent the man whenever he dares deviate from his normal fare (just see the reviews for "Cradle & All"), but I personally think he excels in slightly eccentric plotlines. Here is an author who is destined to live under the shadoew of Alex Cross for a long time. Give him a chance, people.
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Format: Paperback
What an interesting idea, and believable, genetically altered children with superhuman intellect and strength who are like normal children in every other way except that they fly. Totally engaging. I often found myself with a smile on my face and wishing these kids really existed so I could meet them.

One thing I like about Patterson is that he, unlike most suspense novelists, goes out of his way to give the reader a believable excuse that the protagonist does not go to the police. Most novels leave you with the conclusion that the hero suddenly takes idiot pills and that's why he/she doesn't go to the police. In this story, Patterson makes it somewhat understandable why Kit and Frannie don't call for backup.

The one thing I'd like to ask Mr. Patterson: is it really believable that an FBI agent could be such a renegade and survive in that agency? That said, thank you sir, for a great experience of fantasy and fun.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Okay, here's an example of 'suspense' in this book: As she enters a house she thinks, "Wait! A trap! But it was too late!" That closes the chapter. Turn the page and the first line of the next chapter is, "No, it was not a trap, after all."
I'm not kidding.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
How about Animal Children? I was completely unprepared to read the second page of this book. I read the first 2 pages, I sat it down, thought about it, decided it was completely unplausible....then picked it back up and read 200 pages before putting it down again. By the end of the book you will have a whole different perspective on the human genome project. It is an easy, quick, fun read, but your brain will work overtime for days afterward.
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Format: Hardcover
I can not believe this is a James Patterson book. At first the book was OK. I feel I gave it a sincere chance.(Although it was very predictable) The further I read, the sillier it got. I can NOT believe that this book was written by James Patterson, the writing seems so amature. I will still read his books, but only if he gets back to Alex Cross and some REAL writing.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was absolutely riveting. I've learned from reading Mr. Patterson's books that you only start reading them in the morning, on a Saturday or Sunday, and if you're smart, you don't have any pressing engagements. If you do, you'll do one of two things.............you'll call and cancel or you just won't show up. I've read the Alex Cross books and they are some of my favorites, but this book was SPECIAL. The concept of these winged children was so unique that it truly captured my heart. You actually become so involved with Max that as you move through the book you actually form an emotional attachment to her and then to the other children. It would make a wonderful movie, but the casting would be very difficult. The children really would have to be unknowns or they wouldn't be believable. Someone would always say well "she" was so different in "...........". I read about 4 to 5 books a week, most of the mystery genre, but James Patterson is my absolute favorite. Please, if the publisher reads this, we need a sequel to "Max"........and soon. Believe me...this is one novel that everyone should read. Keep it up Mr. Patterson, just write faster!
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