James Patterson has made a name with fiction books and long-running book series like Alex Cross and Women’s Murder Club. He’s also been the most successful branding author by reaching out to other authors who want to collaborate with him on many projects.
His latest work, a non-fiction, is a long and healthy look at the Beatles. The subject matter, working with authors Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge, is The Last Days of John Lennon, which means they delve into the complicated and murderous mind of Mark David Chapman. That alone could take the fun out of the history of the greatest rock and roll band of all time and one of the most prolific singer-song writers the world has ever seen. Chapman and his act of murder was heinous, horrible, and even 40-years later, shocking.
Fortunately, although the book starts within the mind of Chapman, his is but a throw-back character throughout much of the amazing, engaging story about how the Beatles met, jammed, and brought us all such transformative music that the planet seemed different – smaller – but more expansive at the same time.
It’s impossible to know how much each author of this book contributed, but like the amalgamation of John, Paul, George, and Ringo, it works. The final product is engaging, informative, and even for those of us who know a thing or two about the Beatles or are old enough to have waited impatiently for their next single or album to appear at our favorite record store, a rich and fulfilling walk down memory lane.
If you are looking for the greatest book about John Lennon, his makeup, his whole life and soul, this might disappoint you. But if you want a 400-plus book with more than enough stories and anecdotes about John Winston Lennon, the Beatles, and yes, the man who took him from us way too early.
Overall, the book isn’t a sensationalized look at a murder. It’s a celebration of a man (Lennon), and a reminder that we can still cherish the work of the Beatles and his work after their breakup. I’m sorry to be reminded of Chapman, but the decades of beautiful music and lyrics, from Help and Strawberry Fields, to Instant Karma and Imagine are well worth the renewed interest in Lennon and his legacy.