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When the Wind Blows    by James Patterson order for
When the Wind Blows
by James Patterson
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 1999 (1998)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Once again, Mr. Patterson has used a line from a nursery rhyme for the title of a book, though this one is quite different from his usual thrillers. He asks the reader to suspend disbelief in this easy to read but nonetheless compelling novel of a mutant child with wings. 'Somebody. Please help me. Somebody please. Can anyone hear me?' are its opening lines. Action on almost every page keeps the reader anxious to see what comes next.

We are treated to a budding romance between Frannie O'Neill, a veterinarian whose husband has been murdered, and Kit Harrison, an FBI agent out of favor with the agency. A far-reaching conspiracy to create mutants has left a trail of seemingly natural deaths in a medical community. Kit is sure it is no coincidence that so many co-workers are dying, but has been forbidden to pursue his line of reasoning. In defiance, he flies to Colorado to conduct his own investigation, without FBI backing.

Maximum and her brother Matthew, mutated in a lab deep in the Colorado woods, escape and fear being put to sleep if captured. They lead Kit and Frannie to a diabolical compound while pursued by the keepers with dogs and rifles. One can almost believe that the author has enjoyed the thrill of winged flight himself from the way he writes of it. His knowledge of avian anatomy is extensive and his application of it to create Max and Matthew is quite believable. Max unfolds her wings and takes to the air numerous times in this unusual book. Reading about her soaring above the trees almost made me wish I had been created in that lab so that I too could fly.

The one jarring note is the name of the mutant child. Maximum, or Max, just doesn't seem to fit this ethereal creature. Point of view is sometimes a bit confusing, but not enough to put one off the story. As are all of Mr. Patterson's books, When the Wind Blows is a good read and one that I recommend.

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