Let’s Play Make-Believe by James Patterson with James O. Born is a short story in the Book Shots collection. There is a short phrase at the top left of the cover that describes the idea of Book Shots, “Stories at the Speed of Life.” At 144 pages this is a book to be read during a boring two or three-hour meeting with mandatory attendance but in which you know your participation is neither required nor wanted. Neither the meeting nor this book will demand much of your attention. Until chapter 30 (out of 33 chapters) I found nothing that captured my attention. That is a bit amazing because prior to this chapter there had been a murder, one that was not amazing, I expected it and accepted it as a normal progression in the story.
Christy is in the process of getting a divorce and she is really angry about it. She probably loved her house more than her husband, but she is losing both due to a solid prenuptial agreement written by the soon-to-be ex-husband. He set her up in an apartment for a period of time, probably until the divorce decree was final. While waiting, Christy hits the gym and the nightclubs. She meets Marty, a self-employed and somewhat broke architect. His divorce from Teal is final and Marty is not happy about it; he may still love her. Although when he speaks of her it is always to run her down.
Marty and Christy entertain each other. They play games in an attempt to surprise each other, such as when one decides to run without paying a restaurant bill, forcing the other to follow. They have parties, there are drugs, there is multiple player sex. The games increase in complexity until in one chapter, Marty finds a gun. From this point the reader can predict the type of crime coming up; we just don’t know who does what to whom, and how.
But then comes chapter 30. From there on, the novel will get the reader’s attention. The ending takes a sharp turn from the path the reader was encouraged to take. If you don’t read this in one session, here is a fun thing to do. After finishing the story, go back and read the Prologue.