Sales Gimmick Or Future Plot Device?

January 20, 2015 6:29 PM

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How many books have you been “meaning to read”? Personally I’ve avoided contact with the third of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels since Christmas (I know it’ll be all-consuming) and am ashamed to admit I don’t even own a copy of War and Peace for similar reasons. But if you were to tell me that all issues of either of these books would soon dematerialize, you’d find me planted on a couch for the next several days, fully engrossed in reading.

Which is why James Patterson’s self-destructing book Private Vegas is a thought-provoking -- if problematic -- experiment. Releasing this week, it follows recurring protagonist Jack Morgan from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, where a chain of seedy happenings is set off after his car is firebombed. The st...

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