The Lake House

by James Patterson

Little, Brown, June, 2003.
Hardcover, 376 pages.
ISBN: 0316603287

The Lake House by James Patterson It might surprise some of his readers that James Patterson's bestselling book to date is a science fiction novel, When the Wind Blows, which told the story of a group of genetically engineered children who can fly. When that novel ended, the five children had been rescued from the gruesome place where they were being held captive and experimented upon. Frannie, a veterinarian, and Kit, an FBI agent, who are also in a relationship, feel responsible for the children that they rescued, and the children have imprinted upon Kit and Frannie as their parents (an avian trait). The Lake House opens with a moving custody trial, wherein the children's biological parents succeed in regaining custody. Devastated, Frannie and Kit try to go back to their lives. But a normal life is not in the future for them, or for the six children: the beautiful and brilliant Max, the outspoken eldest boy Ozymandias, the blind boy Icarus and the tiny twins, Peter and Wendy. Unfortunately, there is another ongoing medical project which is of great danger to the children. And the head of that project , Dr. Ethan Kane, will stop at nothing to regain the children in order to advance his agenda. For it seems that Max has knowledge that could stop the project. Soon, Kit, Frannie and the children are on the run again, desperate not to become lab experiments in a cage.

The Lake House is written in Patterson's unique, telegraphic style. The chapters are short, and so are the sentences. As Patterson remarked in a recent interview, he believes that plot is key and that every sentence, every chapter must advance that plot. And so it does in this tautly written and exciting story. Dr. Ethan Kane's life is a chilling commentary of what happens when science is allowed to proceed without ethical considerations of any kind. But the main appeal here is the fast-paced and imaginative narrative, with a story that will move any parent -- whether or not she believes that children can have wings.

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This review was published in the June-July, 2003 of The Internet Writing Journal.

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