cover image The Noise

The Noise

James Patterson and J.D. Barker. Little, Brown, $28 (432p) ISBN 978-0-316-49987-3

Bestseller Patterson and Barker follow 2020’s The Coast-to-Coast Murders with a tired variation on a familiar theme—a baffling phenomenon devastates a community, triggering a massive government response to contain the truth and limit the loss of life. Sisters Tennant and Sophie Riggin live with their parents in a survivalist community near Oregon’s Mount Hood. When a sudden, horribly painful noise disrupts the girls while they are hunting rabbits, their parents lock them in a cellar for protection. Then eight-year-old Sophie starts bleeding, curses her 16-year-old sibling, and turns violent. Meanwhile, psychologist Martha Chan is dragooned by the military to join a team of experts including a biologist, a climatologist, and an astrophysicist to determine what flattened part of the nearby forest and crushed all living things in that area. What they find leads to the direct involvement of the American president, as well as a cardinal who’s “the highest-ranking member of the Catholic Church in the United States.” The implausible plot suffers from a lack of characterization and suspense. Other authors have done better with similar material. (Aug.)