by James Patterson and David Ellis
Mistress by James Patterson and David Ellis is a wonderfully suspenseful tale told by a journalist, Benjamin Casper, for an online newspaper. The story opens with Ben going through the medicine cabinet of a woman named Diana Hotchkiss. He is in her empty apartment installing surveillance equipment. Moments after leaving her apartment she plummets six stories to the pavement below. So, needless to say, the book grabs your attention immediately, but it doesn't stop there. Throw into the mix the President of the United States, Russians, Chinese, the CIA, spies, murder, and a lot of guns and you have one very suspenseful twisted story in which you will never guess the outcome.
While growing up, Ben's father was a professor at American University in Washington, D.C. In order to develop a relationship with his father, Ben learned a great deal about the various President's. I love the way Patterson and Ellis throw in bits and pieces of trivia surrounding the President's and their terms of office. For instance, "Calvin Coolidge liked to have Vaseline rubbed on his head while he ate breakfast in bed" and "John Quincy Adams regularly started his days by swimming nude in the Potomac." I'm sure these are facts you would not expect to read about in a book entitled Mistress. I also enjoyed the inner dialogue Ben has relating to the different encounters he has throughout the book and how he compares them to actors and their movie roles. Throughout the book he quotes (during this inner dialogue) actors, such as Sean Connery in The Untouchables, "They put one of yours in the hospital, you put one of theirs in the morgue!"
Besides all of the espionage going on in the book, there is a great deal of foreshadowing. One of my favorite quotes from the book was actually first used in a radio address in 1939 by Winston Churchill when describing Russia, but is spoken by Joe Pesci in the movie JFK, "A mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma". Following this statement is another great quote, this one from President Roosevelt and written to Churchill during the war, "It is fun to be in the same decade with you." The mention of Russia, Churchill, and Roosevelt so early in the story might be overlooked by some, but has a great impact to the rest of the story.
I always seem to be saying the same thing when it comes to a Patterson book. They are great. I love the suspense, the mystery, and the way the story is twisted in so many directions I simply cannot figure out which direction he will be taking the characters. He is a master storyteller and I love losing myself in his books.