Book Review: 3 Days to Live by James Patterson

Woohoo! It’s March already and that means Spring is right around the corner!

For this week’s Thursday review, I’m featuring 3 Days To Live by James Patterson. It is a collection of three short stories written with Duane Swierczynski, Bill Schweigart, and Julie Margaret Hogben. Short and thrilling, I had a pretty good time with this set of stories!

Title: 3 Days to Live
Authors: James Patterson [w/Duane Swierczynski, Bill Schweigart, and Julie Margaret Hogben]
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thrillers, Short Stories
Edition: Paperback
Length: 400 Pages
Published: 14 Feb 2023
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

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Goodreads: [Link]
Grand Central Publishing: [Link]

Disclaimer: Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for this gifted copy! All opinions are of my own.

The people closest to you can be your most dangerous enemies in this heart-pounding collection of 3 brand-new thrillers from the master of suspense.

3 Days to Live: A CIA-agent bride is on her European honeymoon when she and her husband are poisoned—leaving her seventy-two hours to take revenge (with Duane Swierczynski). 

Women and Children First: When a deal goes bad on a tech executive in Washington, DC, he turns an order to kill his family into a chance to relive his military glory days (with Bill Schweigart).  

The Housekeepers: A Los Angeles doctor trusts her two housekeepers, but when she’s murdered in a botched attempt to steal drugs, the pair of grifters vie to control their former employer’s estate—facing off against the Russian mob (with Julie Margaret Hogben).

That was a pretty nice book. 

3 Days To Live by James Patterson is actually a collection of short stories whom the author worked with other authors. There are three short stories in total and I like to think of them as little bit sized thrillers; some that could honestly have been bigger books. Of the three, I quite enjoyed the first, thought the second was alright, and the third really ended the book nicely with a bang. 

Story 1: The book starts off with the titular 3 Days To Live by James Patterson and Duane Swierczynski and begins from the POV of Samantha, an ex-CIA agent, on her honeymoon with the love of her life, Kevin. What was supposed to be the best days of her life is cut short when she finds her husband dead in a hallway alongside a couple of other people. Samantha nearly loses her own life during this but escapes. She’s not out of the woods yet though, and never will be, as the same neurotoxin that killed her husband is now coursing through her own blood, due to kill her in roughly 3 days. Determined to use this remaining time to find out who took the love of her life away from her, she begins to investigate. If she wants revenge to be hers, she better act fast. 

This was a great opener to the book, although the opening chapter was so cheesy it hurts. Still, it shows a very happy time smack in a book of thriller short stories. The reader best enjoy these last moments of happiness because things are really going to hurt in the next few chapters. I love LOVE books with a massive time deadline, and this one comes with the Sword of Damocles hanging overhead. It’s incredibly fast paced (I mean, Sam’s got only 72 hours) with tons of suspenseful moments with bits of sarcastic dark humor. The ending was actually kind of predictable, I saw it a mile away, but nevertheless, it was a good read. It started out with a bang, there was lots of action in between, and the short story finishes on such a badass note, I had to applaud involved. 

Story 2: The second story is Women and Children First by James Patterson and Bill Schweigart. It was a little confusing at first, I had to reread the first chapter over and over to understand that the main character wasn’t being arrested (for real) for a tweet he made. There were moments throughout the story that I did reread a couple of times, but overall was a pretty good story. It begins with probably the biggest hook between the three stories; a man, our main character, killing his wife while saying he’ll always love her and crying because he has to finish the job by killing his two kids next. It ends there. The prologue literally ends with “Tears streaming, Chase Weldon turned to finish the job.” Like, you HAVE to read the rest now!

Years after the military, Chase Weldon is now part of a security firm in which is wife is an attorney at. The book begins with Chase acting undercover as a normal civilian attending a ball game and in which he sends out a physically threatening tweet and is arrested a few minutes later. He quickly throws off his cover in front of management and says that he was hired to test out the reaction time of the stadium’s safety team, but in the middle of this, there’s threats of gunshots and a stampede of panicked people ensues. From here, Chase’s life slowly goes downhill as the same person threatening the park, which is owned by Avalon, blows up a plant belonging to Avalon and a string of other threats follows. He targets Chase’s family to force the Avalon CEO to deposit an amount of money or the threats will continued to be acted upon and if Chase happens to fail, then the voice over the phone will slowly and painfully kill Chase’s family, starting with the women and children first. 

I thought this was an OK book. There were lots of plot twists and there too were a few predictable moments along with some surprising plot twists. The ending did threw me for a loop though. The characters here are the interesting point. We’ve got Chase of course, but we also have his old Captain and he’s loyal and fierce dog, Chase’s badass wife, and even his kids, especially his daughter, are super clever. I mean, she’s a teen hacker that’s able to act as a mission control of sorts behind the scenes. We have a super family here!

It ends well and it wasn’t a bad story, save for a few moments where I thought it was a bit slow. All in all, a good read. 

Story 3: This last story is called The Housekeepers by James Patterson and Julie Margaret Hogben. It was probably my least favorite in content (there’s some messed up/disturbing moments) but the most thrilling and gripping read as well as the longest short story in the book. 

It begins from the POV of Masha Poplov and about how she was capable of killing a live chicken, but would do so while wearing name brands, spider-leg lashes, and acrylic nails. If she had to work hard for a living, she might as well look damn good while doing so. Oh, and she steals. She cleans houses and then steals from them. She can’t help being a klepto, but her cousin, Sophie, knows it’s not a good thing to do and tries to talk her out of it. 

The following chapter involves Masha’s cleaning client, Doctor Elizabeth Parks in which she’s talking to a detective. Her client is dead, murdered, and not just that, but there’s been a string of attacks and all of the victims were her clients. Well, she sure didn’t kill them, but it also means that her client files have been compromised. The story goes from there.

In this short story, we have two major plot lines. There’s Sophie, who has run away from her abusive husband, and he’s furious with this so he places a hit on her two kids, having succeeded with one already. Desperate to keep her other son from harm, she’s eventually sheltered by Dr. Parks intertwining her family with Dr. Parks’ who is having enough trouble of her own dealing with someone stealing her client files, her clients being dead, and her addict son. From there, the hitmen follow Sophie to Dr. Parks’ house and they’re determined to complete their mission in killing Sophie’s remaining son, collateral damages or not. A string of events follow.

A thrilling, probably the most of the three, read that had me gripping my book from the beginning of the story to the end.


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