Prather’s Pick: A book of short stories |

Prather’s Pick: A book of short stories

Prather's Picks

This week’s column reviews a book of three short stories by bestselling author James Patterson. “The House Next Door” was published in 2019 by Grand Central Publishing. The book I reviewed is in paperback.

“The House Next Door,” the first story for which the book was named, was co-authored by Susan DiLallo. The prologue to the story takes place at the scene of an accident involving two autos. Laura is dazed. She was in the accident, but right now she’s trying to remember what happened. Laura is conscious but really banged up. Two men are bleeding. One is Laura’s husband; the other is her neighbor. One of them is bleeding from a bullet hole.

Then the story flashes back to six months earlier when everything began to fall apart. It’s just an ordinary school morning. Joey, Caroline, and Ben are getting ready to go to school, hunting up lost school stuff—the usual chaos. Laura’s husband, who has an impressive job investing people’s money, discovers he has spots of butter on his expensive tie.

Finally, Ned is off to work and the kids are loaded in the car. That’s when the phone rings. A man tells Laura that his name is Vince Kelso, and he’s her new neighbor. He wonders if Laura could pick up his son Vinny after school and take him to soccer practice. Laura has a full afternoon, but Vince says his wife fell ill and had to be taken away. So Laura agrees.

That’s not the end of Laura’s association with Vince. He comes to her house. He texts that he’s going to run some errands; would she like to join him? One day Laura has to take Ned’s car to the Emissions Center and leave it for a couple of hours. So Ned picks her up and they go out for an expensive lunch at La Lavenda. There’s a barbeque at Laura’s house, too—and more.

Laura is smitten. Vince is gentle and charming. But the reader finds out that there’s more to Vince than charm. Marlene works at a fancy dress shop. One day Vince shows up, pretending to look for a gift for a lovely lady. Turns out that Vince knows about Marlene’s husband who is suing a surgeon. He wants Marlene to tell him to withdraw the case and he will get to keep the thing he loves most. And then later on Vince encounters Archie and later Ned.

The second story, “The Killer’s Wife” is co-authored by Max DiLallo, and Tim Arnold co-authored “We Are Not Alone.” The short stories are easy reads and entertaining with suspenseful plots—all typical of James Patterson’s books.

Published with Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book Group, this week’s book costs $9.99 in paperback.

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