When the Wind Blows [NOOK Book]

Overview

Frannie O'Neill is a young and talented veterinarian living in Colorado. Plagued by the mysterious murder of her husband, David, a local doctor, Frannie throws herself into her work. It is not long before another bizarre murder occurs and Kit Harrison, a troubled and unconventional FBI agent, arrives on her...
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When the Wind Blows

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Overview

Frannie O'Neill is a young and talented veterinarian living in Colorado. Plagued by the mysterious murder of her husband, David, a local doctor, Frannie throws herself into her work. It is not long before another bizarre murder occurs and Kit Harrison, a troubled and unconventional FBI agent, arrives on her doorstep.

Late one night, near the woods of her animal hospital, Frannie stumbles upon a strange, astonishing phenomenon that will change the course of her life forever....

Her name is Max.

With breathtaking energy, eleven-year-old Max leads Frannie and Kit to uncover one of the most diabolical and inhuman plots of modern science. When the Wind Blows is as unique a story as has ever been told, filled with suspense and passion.
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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
October 1998

With five previous number one megabestsellers to his name, James Patterson can take some risks. Acclaimed for his Alex Cross series — Along Came a Spider, Kiss the Girls, Jack & Jill, Cat & Mouse — Patterson strikes an entirely new chord with When the Wind Blows. A chilling suspense novel — perhaps too realistic for comfort — Patterson combines jaw-dropping scenes, heart-pounding plot twists, and memorable characters in one unforgettable package.

Set against a sinister backdrop of genetic engineering and illegal scientific experimentation, When the Wind Blows dares readers to test their notions of human evolution and medical science. Frannie O'Neill is a caring young veterinarian living in the Colorado Rockies, trying to erase the memory of her beloved husband's mysterious murder. It is not long before another neighbor suddenly dies, and FBI agent Kit Harrison arrives at Frannie's doorstep. Kit is hell-bent on solving the heinous case despite resounding protests from the FBI and the thrashing of his own internal demons.

Kit secretly pursues the investigation, yet witnesses keep turning up dead. Then Frannie stumbles upon an astonishing discovery in the nearby woods, and their lives are altered in ways they could never have imagined. Simply knowing the secret of Max — the terrified 11-year-old girl with an amazing gift — could mean death.

As more and more diabolical details are unearthed, the murderer's bloody trail ultimately leads the trio to an underground lab network, known as "the School." Herescientistsconduct shockingly incomprehensible experiments involving children and genetic alteration.

But perhaps not so unfathomable: Doctors and medical researchers who have read Where the Wind Blows say the events described in this book could actually be a reality in the next 20 to 30 years. If not before.

Mark Graham
It has been more than a decade since I was captivated by a book like I was captivated by this one.
Rocky Mountain News
Library Journal
Still mourning her dead husband, veterinarian Frannie O'Neill makes an awful discovery near her hospital. What's more, an FBI agent is tapping at her door.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759527799
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 6/1/2003
  • Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 10,066
  • File size: 798 KB

Meet the Author

James Patterson
James Patterson has had more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer, ever, according to Guinness World Records. Since his first novel won the Edgar Award in 1977 James Patterson's books have sold more than 240 million copies. He is the author of the Alex Cross novels, the most popular detective series of the past twenty-five years, including Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. Mr. Patterson also writes the bestselling Women's Murder Club novels, set in San Francisco, and the top-selling New York detective series of all time, featuring Detective Michael Bennett. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.

Biography

James Patterson had been working as a very successful advertising copywriter when he decided to put his Masters degree in English to a somewhat different use. Inspired by bestselling hair-raising thrillers like The Day of the Jackal and The Exorcist, Patterson went to work on his first novel. Published in 1976, The Thomas Berryman Number established him as a writer of tightly constructed mysteries that move forward with the velocity of a bullet. For his startling debut, Patterson was awarded the prestigious Edgar Award for Best First Mystery Novel—an auspicious beginning to one of the most successful careers in publishing.

A string of gripping standalone mysteries followed, but it was the 1992 release of Along Came a Spider that elevated Patterson to superstar status. Introducing Alex Cross, a brilliant black police detective/forensic psychologist, the novel was the first installment in a series of bestselling thrillers that has proved to be a cash cow for the author and his publisher.

Examining Patterson's track record, it's obvious that he believes one good series deserves another…maybe even a third! In 2001, he debuted the Women's Murder Club with 1st to Die, a fast-paced thriller featuring four female crime fighters living in San Francisco—a homicide detective, a medical examiner, an assistant D.A., and a cub reporter. The successful series has continued with other numerically titled installments. Then, spinning off a set of characters from a previous novel (1998's When the Wind Blows), in 2005 he published Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment. Featuring a "flock" of genetically engineered flying children, the novel was a huge hit, especially with teen readers, and spawned a series of vastly popular fantasy adventures.

In addition to continuing his bestselling literary franchises, Patterson has also found time to co-author thrillers with other writers—including Peter de Jonge, Andrew Gross, Maxine Paetro, and Howard Roughan—and has even ventured into romance (Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, Sam's Letters to Jennifer) and children's literature (santaKid). Writing at an astonishing pace, this prolific author has turned himself into a one-man publishing juggernaut, fulfilling his clearly stated ambition to become "the king of the page-turners."

Good To Know

Patterson's Suzanne's Diary For Nicholas was inspired by a diary his wife kept that tracked the development of their toddler son.

Two of Patterson's Alex Cross mysteries (Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls) have been turned into films starring Morgan Freeman; in 2007, a weekly television series premiered, based on the bestselling Women's Murder Club novels.

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    1. Hometown:
      Palm Beach, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 22, 1947
    2. Place of Birth:
      Newburgh, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Manhattan College, 1969; M.A., Vanderbilt University, 1971
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE:
FIRST FLIGHT

I

"SOMEBODY PLEASE help me! Somebody please! Can anybody hear me?"

Max's screams pierced the clear mountain air. Her throat and lungs were beginning to hurt, to burn.

The eleven-year-old girl was running as fast as she could from the hateful, despicable School. She was strong, but she was beginning to tire. As she ran, her long blond hair flared behind her like a beautiful silk scarf. She was pretty, even though there were dark, plum-colored circles under her eyes.

She knew the men were coming to kill her. She could hear them hurrying through the woods behind her.

She glanced over her right shoulder, painfully twisting her neck. She flashed a mental picture of her little brother, Matthew. Where was he? The two of them had separated just outside the School, both running and screaming.

She was afraid Matthew was already dead. Uncle Thomas probably got him. Thomas had betrayed them and that hurt so much she couldn't stand to think about it.

Tears rolled down her cheeks. The hunters were closing in. She could feel their heavy footsteps thumping hard and fast against the crust of the earth.

A throbbing, orange and red ball of sun was sinking below the horizon. Soon it would be pitch-black and cold out here in the Front Range of the Rockies. All she wore was a simple tube of white cotton, sleeveless, loosely drawn together at the neck-line and waist. Her feet were wrapped in thin-soled ballet slippers.

Move. She urged her aching, tired body on. She could go faster than this. She knew she could.

The twisting path narrowed, then wound around a great, mossy-green shoulder of rock. She clawed and struggled forward through more thick tangles of branches and brush.

The girl suddenly stopped. She could go no further.

A huge, high fence loomed above the bushes. It was easily ten feet. Rows of razor-sharp concertina wire were tangled and coiled across the top.

A metal sign warned: EXTREME DANGER! ELECTRIFIED FENCE. EXTREME DANGER!

Max bent over and cupped her hands over her bare knees. She was blowing out air, wheezing hard, trying to keep from weeping.

The hunters were almost there. She could hear, smell, sense their awful presence.

With a sudden flourish, she unfurled her wings. They were white and silver-tipped and appeared to have been unhinged. The wings sailed to a point above her head, seemingly of their own accord. Their span was nine feet. The sun glinted off the full array of her plumage.

Max started to run again, flapping her wings hard and fast. Her slippered feet lifted off the hardscrabble.

She flew over the high barbed wire like a bird.

II

FIVE ARMED MEN ran quietly and easily through the ageless boulders and towering aspens and ponderosa pines. They didn't see her yet, but they knew it wouldn't be long before they caught up with the girl.

They were jogging rapidly, but every so often the man in front picked up the pace a significant notch or two. All of them were competent trackers, good at this, but he was the best, a natural leader. He was more focused, more controlled, the best hunter.

The men appeared calm on the outside, but inside it was a different story. This was a critical time. The girl had to be captured, and brought back. She shouldn't have gotten out here in the first place. Discretion was critical; it always had been, but never more than right now.

The girl was only eleven, but she had "gifts," and that could present a formidable problem outdoors. Her senses were acute; she was incredibly strong for her size, her age, her gender; and of course, there was the possibility that she might try to fly.

Suddenly, they could see her up ahead: she was clearly visible against the deep blue background of the sky.

"Tinkerbell. Northwest, fifty degrees," the group leader called out.

She was called Tinkerbell, but he knew she hated the name. The only name she answered to was Max, which wasn't short for Maxine, or Maximillian, but for Maximum. Maybe because she always gave her all. She always went for it. Just as she was doing right now.

There she was, in all her glory! She was running at full speed, and she was very close to the perimeter fence. She had no way of knowing that. She'd never been this far from home before.

Every eye was on her. None of them could look away, not for an instant. Her long hair streamed behind her, and she seemed to flow up the steep, rocky hillside. She was in great shape; she could really move for such a young girl. She was a force to reckon with out here in the open.

The man running in front suddenly pulled up. Harding Thomas stopped short. He threw up his arm to halt the others. They didn't understand at first, because they thought they had her now.

Then, almost as if he'd known she would -- she took off. She flew. She was going over the concertina wire of the ten-foot-high perimeter fence.

The men watched in complete silence and awe. Their eyes widened. Blood rushed to their brains and made a pounding sound in their ears.

She opened to a full wingspan and the movement seemed effortless. She was a beautiful, natural flyer. She flapped her white and silver wings up and down, up and down. The air actually seemed to carry her along, like a leaf on the wind.

"I knew she'd try to go over." Thomas turned to the others and spit out the words. "Too bad."

He lifted his rifle to his shoulder. The girl was about to disappear over the nearest edge of the canyon wall. Another second or two and she'd be gone from sight.

He pulled the trigger.

III

KIT HARRISON was headed to Denver from Boston. He was good-looking enough to draw looks on the airplane: trim, six foot two, sandy-blond hair. He was a graduate of NYU Law School. And yet he felt like such a loser.

He was perspiring badly in the cramped and claustrophobic middle-aisle airplane seat of an American Airlines 747. He was so obviously pathetic that the pleasant and accommodating flight attendant stopped and asked if he was feeling all right. Was he ill?

Kit told her that he was just fine, but it was another lie, the mother of all lies. His condition was called post-traumatic stress disorder and sometimes featured nasty anxiety attacks that left him feeling he could die right there. He'd been suffering from the disorder for close to four years.

So yeah, I am ill, Madame Flight Attendant. Only it's a little worse than that.

See, I'm not supposed to be going to Colorado. I'm supposed to be on vacation in Nantucket. Actually, I'm supposed to be taking some time off, getting my head screwed on straight, getting used to maybe being fired from my job of twelve years.

Getting used to not being an FBI agent anymore, not being on the fast track at the Bureau, not being much of anything.

The name computer-printed on his plane ticket read Kit Harrison, but it wasn't his real name. His name was Thomas Anthony Brennan. He had been Senior FBI Agent Brennan, a shooting star at one time. He was thirty-eight, and lately, he felt he was feeling his age for the first time in his life.

From this moment on, he would forget the old name. Forget his old job, too.

I'm Kit Harrison. I'm going to Colorado to hunt and fish in the Rockies. I'll keep to that simple story. That simple lie.

Kit, Tom, whoever the hell he was, hadn't been up in an airplane in nearly four years. Not since August 9, 1994. He didn't want to think about that now.

So Kit pretended he was asleep as the sweat continued to trickle down his face and neck, as the fear inside him built way past the danger level. He couldn't get his mind to rest, even for just a few minutes. He had to be on this plane.

He had to travel to Colorado.

It was all connected to August 9, wasn't it? Sure it was. That was when the stress disorder had begun. This was for Kim and for Tommy and for Michael -- little Mike the Tyke.

And oh yeah, it also happened to be hugely beneficial for just about everybody else on the planet. Very strange -- but that last outrageous bit was absolutely true, scarily true. In his opinion, nothing in history was more important than what he'd come here to investigate.

Unless he was crazy.

Which was a distinct possibility.

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Chapter One

THE DAY started to go a little crazy when Keith Duffy and his young daughter brought that poor crushed doe to the Inn-Patient, as I call my small animal hospital in Bear Bluff, Colorado, about fifty minutes northwest of Boulder along the "Peak-to-Peak" highway.

    Sheryl Crow was singing ever so raucously on the tape deck. I flipped saucy Sheryl off when I saw Duffy walk inside carrying that poor doe, standing like a dolt in front of Abstraction, White Rose II, my current favorite Georgia O'Keeffe poster.

    I could see the badly injured doe was pregnant. She was wild-eyed and thrashing when Duffy hefted her onto the table. Half-thrashing, in truth, because I suspected her spine was broken at midpoint, where she'd been clipped by the Chevy 4x4 that Duffy drives.

     The little girl was sobbing and her father looked miserable. I thought he was going to break down, too.

    "Money's no object," he said.

    And money was no object because I knew nothing was going to save the doe. The fawn, however, was a maybe. If the mother was close to term. If it hadn't been mashed too badly by the four-thousand-pound truck. And a few more ifs besides.

    "I can't save the doe," I said to the girl's father. "I'm sorry."

     Duffy nodded. He was a local builder, and also one of the local hunters. A real knucklehead, in my humble opinion. Thoughtless probably described him best, and maybe that was his best quality. I could only imagine how he must be feeling now, this man who usually bragged on his kill, with his little girl begging to save the animal's life. Among his other bad habits, Duffy occasionally stopped by and brazenly hit on me. A sticker on his 4x4 bumper read: Support Wildlife. Throw a Party.

    "The fawn?" he asked.

    "Maybe," I said. "Help me get her gassed down and we'll see."

    I gently slid the mask over the doe's face. I kicked at the pedal and the halothane hissed through the tube. The doe's brown eyes showed terror, but also unimaginable sadness. She knew.

    The little girl grabbed the doe around the belly and started crying her heart out. I liked the girl a lot. Her eyes showed spunk and character. Duffy had done at least one good thing in his life.

    "Damn, damn," the father said. "I never saw her until she was on the hood. Do your best, Frannie," he said to me.

     I gently peeled the little girl off the deer. I held on to her shoulders and made her face me. "What's your name, sweetie?"

    "Angie," she sobbed out.

    "Angie, now listen to me, sweetheart. The doe doesn't feel anything now, understand? It's painless for her. I promise you."

    Angie pushed her face into my body and held me with all of her little-girl strength. I rubbed her back and told her that I would have to euthanatize the doe, but if its baby could be saved, there would be a lot of work to do.

    "Please, please, please," said Angie.

    "You're going to need a goat. For milk," I said to Duffy. "Maybe two or three of them."

    "Not a problem," he said. He would have acquired nursing elephants if I'd told him to. He just wanted his little girl to smile again.

    I then asked both of them to please get out of the exam room and let me work. What I was about to do was a bloody, difficult, and ugly operation.


Chapter Two

IT WAS SEVEN in the evening when the Duffys came to the Inn-Patient, and maybe twelve minutes had already gone by. The poor doe was out cold and I felt so bad for her. Frannie the Sap -- that's what my sister, Carole, calls me. It was my husband David's favorite nickname for me, too.

    A little less than a year and a half ago, David was shot and killed in the physician's parking lot at Boulder Community Hospital. I still hadn't recovered from that, hadn't grieved enough. It would have helped if the police had caught David's murderer, but they hadn't.

    I cut along the abdominal line with my scalpel. I exteriorized the uterus, flipping it out intact onto the doe's open belly. I cut again, this time through the uterine wall. I pulled out the fawn, praying I wasn't going to have to put it down.

     The fawn was about four months, nearly to term, and as best as I could tell, uninjured. I gently cleaned the babe's air passages with my fingers and fitted a tiny mask over its muzzle.

     Then I cranked on the oxygen. The fawn's chest shuddered. It started to breathe.

    Then it bawled. God, what a glorious sound. New life. Jeez, Louise, the whole magical thing still makes my heart go pitterpatter. Frannie the Sap.

    Blood had spattered on my face during the surgery, and I wiped it off with my sleeve. The fawn was crying into the oxygen mask and I let the little orphan snuggle up against its mother for a few moments, just in case deer have souls, just in case ... let mother say good-bye to her child.

    Then I clamped off the cord, filled a syringe, and euthanatized the doe. It was fast. She never knew the moment she passed from life into death.

    There was one can of goat's milk in the fridge. I filled a bottle and popped it into the microwave for a few seconds to warm.

    I removed the oxygen mask and slipped the nipple into the baby deer's mouth, and it began to suck. The fawn was really beautiful, with the gentlest brown eyes. God, I love what I do sometimes.

    Father and daughter were huddled close together on my antique daybed when I came out into the waiting room. I handed the fawn to Angle.

    "Congratulations," I said, "it's a girl."

    I walked the family of three out to their creased and dented 4x4. I gave them the can of goat's milk, my phone number, and waved good-bye. I briefly considered the irony that the fawn was riding home in the same vehicle that had killed its mother.

    Then I was thinking of a steaming hot bath, a cool glass of Chardonnay, maybe a baked potato with Wisconsin Cheddar -- life's little rewards. I was feeling kind of proud of myself. I hadn't felt that way for a long time, not since David's death changed just about everything in my life.

    I was about to go inside when I realized that there was a car in the lot, a shiny black Jeep Cherokee.

    The door opened and a man slowly got out. Headlights hit him from behind and for a moment he was haloed in light.

    He was tall, slender, but muscular, with lots of blond hair. His eyes quickly took in the place. The big porch deck festooned with hummingbird feeders and a couple of wind socks. My trusty-dusty mountain bike. Wildflowers everywhere -- mountain lupine, daisies, Indian paintbrush.

    Now this part is more than a little weird. I'd never seen him before. But my limbic brain, a dumb little organ so primitive it bypasses logical thought, locked on to his image and stayed there. I stared at him, and I felt a rush of something akin to recognition. And my heart, which has been stone-dead for the past few years, sputtered, caught, and jumped into life for at least a couple of seconds. That kind of ticked me off, actually.

    I figured that whoever he was, the mystery man was lost.

    "We're closed for the night," I said.

    He stared at me, unapologetic about the intrusion into my front yard.

    Then he called me by name.

    "Dr. O'Neill?"

    "Does she owe you money?" I said. It was an old Comedy Store line, but I liked it. Besides, I needed a passable joke after the euthanasia of the doe.

    He smiled, and his light blue eyes brightened, and I found that I couldn't look away from them. "Are you Frances O'Neill?"

    "Yeah. It's Frannie, though."

    I took in a face that was cool yet had a touch of warmth. The directness of his eyes sort of nailed me to the spot. He had a fine nose, a strong chin. His features held together too damned well. A dash of Tom Cruise, maybe even a little Harrison Ford. Something like that, or so it seemed that night in the bloom of the Jeep's headlights.

    He brushed off his slouchy hat, and a lot of sandy-blond hair shifted and gleamed. Then he was standing in front of me, all six two of him, like a glossy photo from an L. L. Bean catalog, or maybe Eddie Bauer's. Very serious-looking, though.

    "I've come from Hollander and Cowell."

    "You're a real estate broker?" I croaked.

    "Did I catch you at a bad time?" he asked. "Sorry." At least he was polite.

    "What makes you think that?" I asked. I was all too aware that my jeans were soaked in blood. My sweatshirt looked like a Jackson Pollock painting.

    "I'd hate to see the guy who lost the fight," he said, surveying my appearance. "Or do you dabble in witchcraft?"

    "Some people call it veterinary medicine," I said. "So, what's this about? Why did Hollander and Cowell send you at this time of night?"

    He hooked a thumb toward Bear Bluff's center, where the real estate office is.

    "I'm your new tenant. I signed the papers this afternoon. They said you left everything in their capable hands."

    "You're kidding. You rented my cabin?"

    I'd almost forgotten I'd put the cabin on the block. It's a quarter of a mile back in the woods behind the clinic, and it used to be a hunting shack until David and I moved in. After David died, I started sleeping in a small room at the clinic. A whole lot of things changed for me back then, none of them good.

    "So? Can I see the place?" L. L. Bean said.

    "Just follow the footpath behind the clinic," I told him. "It's a four- or five-minute walk. It's worth it. Door's not locked."

    "I don't get the guided tour?" he asked.

    "Much as I'd love to, I've still got a couple of chickens to kill and some spells to cast before I sleep. I'll get you a flashlight ---"

    "I've got one in the car," he said.

    I lingered in the doorway as he crunched back to his Jeep. He had a nice way of walking. Confident, not too cocky.

    "Hey," I called out to him. "What's your name?"

    He looked back -- hesitated for a half second.

    "Kit," he finally said. "I'm Kit Harrison."


Chapter Three

I WILL NEVER FORGET what happened next. It was such a shock for me, a hard kick in the stomach, or maybe even the side of my head.

    Kit Harrison reached into the Jeep -- and he did the unspeakable -- he pulled a hunting rifle off a silver-metallic gun rack. That son of a bitch.

    I couldn't believe what I was seeing. My flesh crept.

    I yelled at him, loudly, which is so unlike me. "Wait! Hey! You! Wait right there, mister! Hold up!"

    He turned to face me. The look on his face was serene, cool as it had been. "What?" he said. Was he challenging me? Did he dare?

    "Listen." I let the big screen door bang shut behind me and marched fast and hard across the gravel beachhead. No way was I going to have somebody with a hunting rifle on my land. No way! Not in his or my lifetime.

    "I've changed my mind. This is no good. It's not going to work. You can't stay here. No hunters. No how, no way!"

    His gaze returned to the Jeep's interior. He snapped the glove compartment shut. Locked it. He didn't seem to be listening to me at all.

    "Sorry," he said without looking at me. "We made a deal."

    "The deal's off! Didn't you just hear me?"

    "Nope. A deal's a deal," he said.

    He grabbed a torch lamp from inside the car door, a reddish duffel bag, then he took up the hideous rifle in his other hand. I was apoplectic, kept sputtering, "Look here." But he ignored me, didn't seem to hear a word.

    He kicked the Jeep door shut, flicked on his Durabeam flashlight, and casually headed down the path into the woods. The woods sucked up the light and the sound of his retreating footsteps.

    My blood was knocking hard and fast against my eardrums.

    A goddamn hunter was staying in my house.

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Interviews & Essays

On Wednesday, October 28, 1998, barnesandnoble.com welcomed James Patterson, author of WHEN THE WIND BLOWS.


Moderator: Welcome, James Patterson. Your multitude of fans have lots of questions for you. How are you?

James Patterson: I am terrific. We had a signing in New York today and a little TV, and my little eight-month-old boy came to the signing with me, so it was a lot of fun.


Andrew L. from Hoboken, NJ: This book is so completely different from your others -- with some bizarre yet thrilling premises -- flying children, secret medical experimentation. Just curious what the inspiration behind this book was?

James Patterson: I'd had the idea for this book a long long time, and finally it struck me that it was one of those ideas that if someone else wrote it down I would say, "I wish I did that!" So I had to sit down and take a crack at it. After my parents read the manuscript, they told me that when I was little I was on the second floor of a barn and I jumped off and tried to fly like a bird. Of course I didn't fly but crashed to the earth and fortunately didn't break anything.


Mike from Tampa, FL: I understand that this book is somewhat of a departure for you, not being an Alex Cross mystery. What provoked you to put the other series on hold, and was it more challenging not using recurring characters?

James Patterson: As I said, it was a challenge writing it. I am just finishing the next Alex Cross book now, so he hasn't been on hold long.


Vick from San Francisco, CA: Where in the world do you get the ideas for such frightening scenarios? Keep them coming!

James Patterson: On the top of the outline for WHEN THE WIND BLOWS I put: "Has to be more suspenseful than KISS THE GIRLS." You can be the judge of how successful I was. What I generally write about are nightmares that I have had -- not from when I am asleep but real things I feel about the world. I have a real problem with domineering males. That was the inspiration for KISS AND THE GIRLS and HIDE AND SEEK. The new book cuts both ways: it is about my excitement about what is possible in the future and what would happen if we don't prepare for what could happen. The cool thing about this book for me is that the publisher sent it out to about 7000 booksellers and they got a huge response. The feedback ran 99% positive! Usually it is around 50%. Almost nobody said, it was "just okay" or "I prefer the Alex Cross series." So the book seems to have worked for an awful lot of people.


Sassenach from California: Mr. Patterson, which of your books best represents your work, and is this also your favorite? Thank you.

James Patterson: That is a little like asking a parent which child he likes best. I like all the Cross books. I very much like WHEN THE WIND BLOWS and THE MIDNIGHT CLUB. I have a sweet spot for THE THOMAS BERRYMAN NUMBER since it was my first book published. KISS THE GIRLS is probably the scariest. WHEN THE WIND BLOWS is the most imaginative. James Patterson meets Stephen King meets Michael Crichton.


Marco Aur lio from Brazil: Hi, Mr. Patterson, how are you? I'd like to say that I'm a great fan of yours, and that I just can't stop reading your books. Against the majority, I prefer the ones without Alex Cross, which are wonderful, superb! That's why I'm anxious to read WHEN THE WIND BLOWS. I'd like to ask you: How much time do you need to write a book? How many books do you write per year?

James Patterson: I am most interested in joy time with my little boy and my wife. I like to have a life! I kind of aim for one book a year but sometimes I make it two.


Michelle Peters from Greensburg, PA: If your life lay in the hands of either detective Alex Cross or Kit Harrison, who would you choose and why? Love your new book so far!

James Patterson: I would choose Alex because I know his investigative work a lot better. I have been watching his work for several years! Kit's is not proven to me yet.


Sara from Chicago, IL: Will WHEN THE WIND BLOWS give us nightmares, as your other books have?

James Patterson: There are some scary things in it, but my agent came over on Saturday night and he brought his 14-year-old, who doesn't read too much, and he [the teenager] loved it. It is definitely one that teenagers can read, but it does have some scary parts.


Chris Healey from Charlottesville, VA: What do you see as the greatest challenge of writing suspense thrillers?

James Patterson: I think that what separates really successful books in this genre is that there are few who can put together a real page-turning plot and characters we care about. Some people plot OK but the reader never gets involved with the characters. Sometimes the story gets flat and I especially don't want go on reading those kinds of books. I try to do both -- fast plot and good characters.


Mindy James from Detroit, MI: I heard that your first novel got turned down repeatedly by publishers. Did you always believe that your literary voice would get out there one day? Glad you had the tenacity to keep trying!

James Patterson: Yes, the first book did get turned down by 30 some publisher, and then when it as published it won an Edgar for best mystery. HIDE AND SEEK also got turned down by many publishers, and that was in the middle. I didn't really know if I would succeed, but I knew I loved to write stories. I hoped that I would get published, but I had no idea.


Marcia B. from New York: I read that you were formerly the chairman of J. Walter Thompson ad agency, and I recently saw you in a TV commercial for CAT & MOUSE. Nice job! Two questions: How do you think your copy-writing background influenced your suspense writing? And was it especially liberating to leave the corporate world to write?

James Patterson: The influence I guess is that, one, it made me more conscious of my audience for the novels and, two, because I had to go to work in the morning, I didn't have much time to write so I wrote short chapters and then I came to like that form and found it unique. I am glad to get out of the corporate world and felt it was time for a change. I was lucky enough to be able to make one.


Jeri from California: I thought CAT & MOUSE was the last of the Alex Cross series. Is there another book in the series to come?

James Patterson: Yes, I am just finishing another Alex Cross. The publisher will get the manuscript this Friday, so it is up to them when they get it out.


John from JWC901@aol.com: Do you plan on writing a series with Fannie? I have yet to read the book, but I am a huge Alex Cross fan.

James Patterson: I am not planning on writing a series following this book, but maybe. It really depends on how I feel after a while. I am thinking about another series, though.


Dean from White Plains, NY: Your books keep me up late at night. I always read them in one or two days. What tips would you give to aspiring writers for creating books that hook and hold the reader's attention?

James Patterson: One little exercise I tell people to think about: Take a story you can tell orally and people like to hear, and chances are that it has a good beginning and ending and you have taken out all the extraneous stuff. If I came on TV tonight and said, "I just came home and my wife was brutally murdered on our living-room floor" and then went on the describe my house and living room, I would lose your attention. A lot of writers lose sight of the story and get botched up in sentences and lengthy descriptions when it isn't appropriate. I just try to tell the story.


Denise from Netscape: Please let me say first that I love your books! I think you are an amazing writer and hope that you never stop writing, although I don't imagine you will. My question, however, is about publishing. Is it improper to send out a series of queries to possible agents at one time? I have just finished my first manuscript and would like to find a good agent quickly. I have done a lot of research and I now have a list of 20. Thank you.

James Patterson: Thank you, thank you, thank you for the compliments! I think it is absolutely fair to send a bunch of letters out. Try to make sure the query letter is short, to the point, and totally irresistible -- and say it in a couple sentences. They get hundreds of proposals a month, and generally they will follow up on three or four of them. I met Nicholas Sparks, author of THE NOTEBOOK, and he told me that he sent out 25 query letters for that book and he immediately got one response back and he started playing a little hard with the agent because he assumed he would get more back. He didnt! So dont lose heart. If you don't hear anything, write a better letter and send it to the same agents. You just have to be persistent!


Peter Henry from Seattle, WA: Which Patterson book is next on the big screen? Can you tell us anything about the production -- who it will star, when it is to be released? Will you write the screenplay? I loved "Kiss the Girls"!

James Patterson: ALONG CAME A SPIDER is probably next. Paramount is planing to shoot it in March. Morgan Freeman is attached again. I dont think they are too close to finishing the script though. I am not interested in getting involved in the screen writing. There are too many chefs in Hollywood. It is just too difficult.


Mark from Pittsburgh, PA: What is your opinion of the other contemporary authors in your genre? Do you have any favorites writers of the craft?

James Patterson: It is hard to pick because I think there are a lot of good writers in the genre. I like Patricia Cornwell, Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, John Sanford.


Carol from Brooklyn, NY: I liked how you alternated the narrative structure in WHEN THE WIND BLOWS. Do you find it easier writing in the first person?

James Patterson: Thanks for the compliment. Yes, I do find it much easier. I always want to be there in the background as an author. I think that makes it easier for the reader. When I write in the third person, sometimes I get distanced and I don't like that.


Brady from Clarendon, VT: Can you think of an example of a movie that has carried over well from a book onto the screen? Did you think KISS THE GIRLS did?

James Patterson: In terms of KISS THE GIRLS, I thought the acting was terrific. Morgan and Ashley Judd did a fine job. I thought the ending was good also. I was disappointed with the villains -- not the acting but the scripting. I think the THE ENGLISH PATIENT carried over well. I tend to like the more literary things, like THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY.


XXX from pac87@aol.com: I really enjoyed your novel KISS THE GIRLS. My question to you is about Alex Cross. It seems to me that many of his discoveries were not discovered by him, but happened to fall in his lap. Did you do this in order to make him a bit more of a human character who is has faults? Do you think of Alex Cross as an everyday character who is good at his job but not unrealistically talented?

James Patterson: That is a good question and comment about Cross. Lets blame it on the author. [Laughs.] It came too easily at times. I will try to do better in the future. You might have a future as an editor!


Ellen Wood from Portland, ME: Have you ever fantasized about flying like the kids in this book?

James Patterson: All the time! This whole thing with flying -- I would love to lift off. I had to give a speech a few months ago, and I was driving south on the interstate and couldn't take my eyes off this bird. I don't want to be a bird, but I would love to get up there a few hours. In the middle of this book, Max is flying around some skyscrapers, and I think that would be so cool -- to fly around buildings in the city at two in the morning.


Seth from Daytona Beach, FL: When you were chairman of the ad agency, how did you find time to write?

James Patterson: How did I find time to do ads! [Laughs.] I just love to write and basically every day of the year I would get up early to write and even weekends. I had to fly frequently for business, so on the plane ride I could tuck myself away and write. Planes were always a great place to get stuff done.


Cheryl from San Francisco, CA: Do you think you will ever go back and expand on the heroes from THE MIDNIGHT CLUB? I thought they were very interesting also.

James Patterson: Actually, I think I did. Sampson comes out as Isaiah Parker. Stasovanich -- I am tempted to go back and write another book about him.


Jester from Ontario: What were you hoping to achieve with the title? I recognize it from the nursery rhyme, right?

James Patterson: Right. I have been using nursery rhymes since ALONG CAME A SPIDER and I think it makes it easier for people to remember it is a Jim Patterson book.


Jason from Saatchi: Have you ever thought about writing a book about writing for advertising? I'm sure you have some interesting things to say -- advice, anecdotes, etc.

James Patterson: No, not at this stage. I said everything I want to say about advertising.


Niki from Niki_palek@yahoo.com: Do you think there is anything similar to the school [in the book] out there in the world? I know they exist with animals, but humans? Possibly in a Third World country? Or maybe even here in the old U.S.A.?

James Patterson: I talked to a lot of scientists when I was writing the book, and there was a lot of discussion about laboratories and illegality. There is not much regulation in the field. There is not much supervision at all, actually. Yes, outlaw labs do exist, but I don't know if they will be as diabolical as the one in WHEN THE WIND BLOWS. Lets hope not!


Andrea Woodes from Boston, MA: At the time you wrote WHEN THE WIND BLOWS did you realize how close to reality the story line would come? I found it chilling. Can we see this book as a warning?

James Patterson: I think that it cuts both ways. It is optimistic about the possibilities, and it is also a warning of sorts. When we first started using computers, there were all sort of fears about computers taking over and they mostly turned out to be not justified. We handled it all very well. Of course, you guys are all on computers now [laughs] and I am on the phone. I am sticking with Alexander Graham Bell. I don't compose on the computer, I still write with a pencil.


Clark from Miami, FL: What do you think of the way our nation's police departments handle crime solving today? We have seem some pretty sloppy investigations in the last few years with O. J. Simpson and Jon Benet Ramsey. I think Alex Cross could teach them a thing or two.

James Patterson: I am sure Alex would. I am in the middle of one messy investigation now. My family had a huge theft when we moved from New York City, and I can't believe how sloppy the police were. It is just astonishing.


Beth Williams from Williamsburg, VA: I heard that you recently had a son. How has this changed your perspective in life?

James Patterson: Yes, I have an eight-month-old. I don't think it has changed my perspective other than I think more about how to give him the best possible start I can.


Jonathan from Seattle, WA: Given the opportunity to eat dinner with an author, living or dead, who would you pick?

James Patterson: There are so many people. My favorite book of all time is ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE. But I would eat with James Joyce or Shakespeare or Pat Cornwell or Stephen King. I have had dinner with quite a number of writers, and it is fun. I have eaten with Tom Wolfe!


Brian B. from New York: Do you think your writing has changed or improved over the years? Do you feel yourself becoming a more confident writer with each new book?

James Patterson: I am definitely changed, for better or worse. I think my storytelling is a lot better but my sentences were better when I as younger. THE THOMAS BERRYMAN NUMBER was better written than any other book but not a great story.


Marco Aur lio from Brazil: Hi, Mr. Patterson! Love your books. Wish we readers could have hundreds of them. Unfortunately, we don't. That's why I want to know: What are your plans to the future?

James Patterson: The new Alex Cross hopefully is close to be finished. I have plotted another Cross out, too, and a book in a new series. I am also reworking an old book -- an idea I have had for a long time. I am busy!


Jonathan from Seattle, WA: If you could read any book that you haven't read yet from a current author, which book would you read?

James Patterson: I would go to Barnes and Noble [laughs] and get the new Tom Wolfe book. But I tend to read the books I want to. I just got a copy of the new Michael Connelly, which won't be out for months.


Jonathan from Seattle, WA: What advice would you give an aspiring author? What tips have your learned through the years?

James Patterson: As I said before, all of the answers are so simple. I sometimes think about the problem: I see a whole blackboard of equations and then on the other side of the board the answers are so simple. It is just arriving at the right ones; it is conceiving of a great story but telling it very simply.


Santa from barnesandnoble.com: If you could give one book this holiday season outside of your own, which one would it be and why?

James Patterson: ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. That is my favorite book.


Moderator: It has been a pleasure hosting you, James Patterson, and we wish you great success with WHEN THE WIND BLOWS. Do you have any final comments?

James Patterson: Always around this time I get interested in the notion of movies versus books and how every week new movies come out and they aren't that good but everyone rushes to see them. There are also a lot of blockbuster books. If you read a good one, spread the word. Oprah is doing that. If you find something good, let everyone know about it!


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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 326 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(175)

4 Star

(84)

3 Star

(36)

2 Star

(20)

1 Star

(11)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 327 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 30, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    entertaining mystery/suspense

    When the Wind Blows is an entertaining mystery/suspense page turner. It's about some genetic researchers who create a small group of children with wings. They can fly like birds. They unethically experiment on children in a secret laboratory in the mountains. But one day, two of the children escape. And that's where the thrills begin.<BR/>The truly scary part is that it's all plausible. James Patterson writes at the end of the book how all the scientists he interviewed said that the things that happened in the book are already happening or are going to happen in our lifetimes. So maybe one day, all our childhood fantasies of flying will really come true. I'm looking forward to starting on the sequel, The Lake House.

    22 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 21, 2008

    Time passes quickly while reading When the Wind Blows.

    Time will fly & you'll be halfway through the book before you know it. It's a really cool book & hard to put down until you finish it. I can't wait to read the sequel to this one called The Lake House.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2008

    When The Wind Blows laid the foundation for Maximum Ride

    WTWB was my first introduction to James Patterson. Newer Patterson readers should know that WTWB was way before Maximum Ride. It's also a more scientifically plausable 'suspension of disbelief' that MaxRide. The fan response was so strong that Patterson continued the story with Lake House, then, as the preface to MaxRide reads, MaxRide morphed with similarities, but different. I highly recommend the audio set of WTWB. It's great. Great delivery, great for road trip. Max books are fun for young readers. WTWB is has a few more technical, graphical and bit of sexual content.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 28, 2011

    Just a Darn Good Read!

    As I always do when I read any book, I go through and read some reviews so I know what I'm up against. In this book's case, the very first review I read on this book said that it was "amateurish" writing and that the characters were one dimensional. In fact, there were quite a few negative reviews on this book. I came upon this book and ended up picking it up on the recommendation of my sister in law. This book is the .5 book in the "Angel Experiment" series so I got it, along with the first book in the series from my library, so I could read both. I wasn't sure how well I would like the books after what I read from reviews but I thought I'd give 'er a go. I am SO glad I did.

    I found this book to be a true page turner from the get go. Something about Patterson's writing style always draws me in even though I'm not a real fan of his books. Its weird because I like everything I've read that he's written, but his usual murder mystery genre doesn't work for me. THIS story though really struck me as fascinating and the fact that it *could* be true, really fascinates me more. One dimensional characters? I really found the opposite to be true. I found the dimension that was given was just perfect and worked well with the story. It was exciting and a little romance was thrown in (which for me is always a plus) and I am really anxious to start the next book in the series. Quite a few readers must feel as I do because the series is a popular one. The next book in the series seems to be a follow up to this book but then the Angel Experiment series branches out? I'm confused and I'll have to figure that out. All in all though, I say poo to the other reviewers, This was a darned good book! As much as it pains me to say this, my sister in law was right!

    What I disliked: Each chapter in the book represented the view of a particular character. One of the characters switched to first person and that switch between third person and first person back and forth annoyed me. I don't mind either view, I just don't like it switching back and forth.

    What I liked: This is going to sound sort of goofy, but as I am writing this I'm thinking back on the ugliness of scientific research that is set in the contrasting beauty of the Colorado mountains. I don't know if that was meant for the location of this story, but it hit me. When it did, I realized that the book affected me and I liked that. I am very anxious to start the next book in the series, whatever book that is.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great read

    This book is a great addition to any reader's library. The characters are a ton of fun, and Patterson's short chapters will reel you in, and you'll soon forget you've already been reading for four hours. While the plot doesn't always make sense in some regards, and the idea is very similar to Koontz Sole Survivor (not sure which was wrote first), the book is still a fantastic read. It is one of Patterson's best.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2008

    A reviewer

    I really didn't think I would like this book, my friend let me borrow this and The Lake House. It took me forever to start reading because they sounded so strange. I was really surprised, I really loved them. I love the genetic aspects of the plot. Now I need to go buy the other Maximum Ride books. I can't seem to find them used, I guess everyone is keeping their copies.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2012

    LOVE IT !!!!!!!!!!!

    If you ask me it starts off a littil confusing but once you get into it its a whole lot better! Its starts off like that in most books, so owe'll. But its a really awsome book !

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2013

    Down below

    People who r confused about the series, dont be. If you actually read the maximum ride series that series does not have anything to do with the books: when the wind blows or the lake house. Im 8 and even i know that. Btw im smart for my age. Im in the sixth grade. Proof: an atom is made up of 3 different molicueles, a proton wich is positivily charged an electron wich is negitivly charged and a neutron wich is niether.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    The younger

    I LOVE IT WHEN I AM NOT THE ONLY 11 YEAR OLD!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2009

    Awesome

    If you've read Maximum Ride, knowing Patterson got his inspiration from this book, and you don't think this will live up to Max and the gangs journeys, then you're wrong.<BR/>When the Wind Blows is an awesome book. I'd recommend it to anyone.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2012

    Aawesome

    I absolutely loved this book!! Patterson is the best!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2012

    Wow

    I am reading this in class and this is probably the best book ever

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    It may ruin his career but that's all Kit has left to lose.

    Kit knows there is something connecting the sudden demise of these doctors but his boss at the FBI has told him in no uncertain terms that Kit must drop it or lose his job.

    Frannie still is unable to move past her husband's death. Every night brings her yet another dream of him. She knows she's missing something but just can't place her finger on it.

    Max has finally escaped. Sure she's only eleven, but Max knows even running like this is better than staying there another minute. Now, she just needs to find out whether he made it out alive.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2011

    Review of When the Wind Blows

    This book is about wonderful and not so wonderful things. There are several kids, that can fly, they are very skeptical of everything around them, including the people that found one of them, Frannie O'Neil, and Kit Harrison These kids are the most special kids ever made. They were designed and made in a lab that they named the school. There are several of these kids, their names are: Max, Oymandis (Oz), Icarus, Peter, and Wendy. Together they bring down the evil place that tortured them This book is one of many great books written by James Patterson, and is the first of two in a series, it is a great fast read, that puts every image in your head as you turn through the incredibly short chapters of this good book. Overall this book is a good book that could use some better editing and some longer chapters, but it is one of the best books that I have read, and it is definitely the most thrilling book I have ever read. This book is one of the best books written in the last 20 years, and it could remain that way for a very long time, overall it is a great book that needs some longer chapters, and some better editing, I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2010

    This book should be a MOVIE!

    James Patterson is one of my favorite authors, and the library in our guest room looks like we ONLY read his books. Every time we go on a flight, both my husband and I choose a new James Patterson novel - and off we go into another dimension. My favorite Patterson novel of all times is "When the Wind Blows". When you read about the magical "science-created" children who have beautiful wings and hollow bones, and can fly and zoom through the forest; you think the book is a fairy tale. But, when James Patterson delves into the world of science and gene sharing, you realize that something like this could actually happen. I have a friend who has Love Birds in her home. I told her that this book was right up her alley, so bought it for her for her birthday - and she absolutely loved it! James Patterson can spin a tale like no one else - making the reader feel like they are right in there as part of the action. The reader gets all wrapped up in the characters; but as Patterson always delivers - there is always an undercurrent of evil. I truly hope that Hollywood recognizes this book as true entertainment - and decides to make a movie out of it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2014

    Wings will rule

    This book will captivate anyone who loves scifi and mysteries. Franie O'neil finds 12 year old max who was being brutally abused at a place called the school. You will love this book i recomen you buy this book. You wont be abl to put it down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2014

    MAIN CHAT ROOM

    Here

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2014

    Great reading!!

    I definitely recommend it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2014

    Tap here

    This book is excellent ! I love it . From beginning to end it was amazing , I was sad to end it. I just got done reading it now im reading another book by James Patterson called 1st to Die. The beginning is kind of slow but im more into it now and it is amazing so far. I recommend this book ! Buy now ! Lol.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2014

    Grw Great book

    James Patterson has rapped si-fi and suspens into on great book

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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