Crime pays. Just ask James Patterson. Or any of his many accomplices. I turned to a life of crime because of him. My bad influence, he is. But it wasn’t his amazing fortune what did it. Nor was it his 300 million copies sold that lured me to the dark side. Nah. It was his Alex Cross. His African-American psychologist/detective protagonist.
Did I mention he is black? Alex Cross, that is, not the god of books who created him. And, Morgan Freeman played him in Along Came a Spider. Morgan Freeman. The Morgan Freeman. The voice of God. He played James Patterson’s Alex Cross. Morgan, Almighty, Freeman.
So you get it already; I worship Mr Patterson, and Mr Freeman, so I can move on already, yeah? Wrong. You see, it’s a lot more than that, or a lot less if you already figured out from my name that I am black African. Nigerian, to be precise.
Ever since I read my first Alex Cross novel, I’ve bought every Patterson until I discovered that I simply don’t have the reading time to catch up with his backlog or to keep up with his rate of production. Prolific, he is, and consistent. Not one of the many Pattersons I own (or have owned because unlike some I tend to give away books I’ve read and enjoyed) has been cast aside unfinished, never to be returned to.
Mr Patterson is the most successful crime fiction author and he is white, and his greatest character is black. He is a damn good writer. But there are many damn good writers. This one created a black protagonist and that did something for me. You see, Mr Patterson is the most successful crime fiction author and he is white, and his greatest character is black. Like me.
No one should be that excited by melanin but the world is what it is. Oscarsgate comes to mind. The under-representation in many walks of life of people with enough pigmentation in their skins to qualify as black is a real thing. So when a Nigerian writer comes across a black protagonist in an international bestseller, something warm and fuzzy happens inside him. Years later I would get that inner glow of joy again when Mr Obama became president of the USA.