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3 Days to Live


3 Days to Live

The number three plays a significant role in James Patterson’s latest gem. The title of the book is 3 DAYS TO LIVE, and it contains three novellas that Patterson wrote with three different authors. Family is also at the center of each narrative. The publisher’s summary indicates that “[t]he people closest to you can be your most dangerous enemies,” and this thought is explored in each offering.

3 Days to Live” with Duane Swierczynski

An American couple is spending their honeymoon in Germany, but it isn't long before tragedy strikes. Kevin would like to visit with an old pal and knock back a few large steins of beer with him. When he tells his new bride, Samantha, that he wants to pick up some romantic items for her, she reluctantly lets him leave, hoping that it’s not a ploy to sneak away and hang out with his buddy.

"I enjoy the dynamic that is brought to each new author pairing, and 3 DAYS TO LIVE is a great opportunity to see this on display."

When he does not return in a timely fashion, Samantha opens the door of their hotel room to look out for him. What she finds is shocking. Kevin is lying facedown on the floor, showing no signs of life or any pulse. She then notices another couple down the hall, also lying on the floor outside their room in a prone position. The scent in the air indicates that they were poisoned by some airborne contagion.

It turns out that Samantha is an ex-CIA agent who knows what steps to take to respond in emergency situations such as this one. She realizes that contacting the police is not going to get her anywhere, but she must get to the hospital. Not only has she been poisoned, she has only three days to live. The remainder of the story is a mad race to find out who was being targeted and to get some form of revenge before time runs out.

This is my favorite story in the collection.

“Women and Children First” with Bill Schweigart

Chase Weldon is the head of security for Miles Gillen, a high-tech billionaire and the owner of the Washington Nationals. While they are attending a game at their new stadium, named after Gillen's firm, a large-scale panic sets off nearly 30,000 people when a threat is made during the action on the field. This is followed up by a call from an unknown “voice” demanding a huge sum of money to prevent further attacks on Gillen’s other holdings.

With a $200 million ransom at play, the situation is about to get deadly serious. Weldon ends up being blackmailed into killing his own family to save a myriad of innocent lives in more public attacks. However, the villains are not aware that he has a paramilitary background and will take this threat against his loved ones as a declaration of war.

It is fun to see the gloves come off in this story, which also features a nice surprise twist at the end.

“The Housekeepers” with Julie Margaret Hogben

The third and final story is about two Russian cousins who work as housekeepers for wealthy clients. One of them is a doctor who has gotten herself into big trouble with the Russian mob. She trusts her housekeepers and leans on them for assistance. Unfortunately, her scheme to rip off the Russian mob of drugs intended for them goes bad fast, and she is targeted for death.

You would think with the doctor eliminated that the housekeepers would run fast and far. That is where this tale catches you off-guard as they believe they are shrewd enough to play both ends against the middle and make a windfall for themselves that will allow them to finally get away from their dead-end cleaning jobs. The results may not be what they expect.

Throughout his career, James Patterson has shared writing duties on numerous books, giving some lesser known authors the chance to glean success from that partnership. Many times, the coauthor has been able to spin that experience into a solo career. The Patterson formula has proven successful, and the blueprint he brings to everything he writes makes it nearly impossible not to have readers easily fall for his work. I enjoy the dynamic that is brought to each new author pairing, and 3 DAYS TO LIVE is a great opportunity to see this on display.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on February 24, 2023

3 Days to Live
by James Patterson

  • Publication Date: February 14, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1538752743
  • ISBN-13: 9781538752746