Readers Race To Finish James Patterson’s Self-Destructing Book

A New York creative team has equipped the author’s latest page-turner with a dangerous finale

Action fans can now sample a bit of real-life danger while enjoying the fantasy of a James Patterson novel. For a very (very) limited time, readers can race against a ticking clock, and either finish the story or accept the explosive consequences.

The “Self-Destructing Book” campaign anticipates the release of James Patterson’s new novel Private Vegas, and features a website with an interactive book-tracker — allowing rushed fans to steal parcels of reading time from other fans by location — and a tension-filled video. The project comes courtesy of Mother New York, a creative marketing firm also responsible for designing a real-life apartment via Pinterest and promoting a cat selfie (“catsie”) trend.


Mother New York Creative Director Paul Malstrom explained, “For this launch, we aimed to create the most thrilling reading experience ever. One that takes the suspense of Patterson’s new novel to a crazy, new level,” he added, “giving [the author's] avid fan base multiple ways to engage with this mind­-blowing release.”

For a cool, and very specific ,$294,038, reps said, one lucky Patterson devotee “will be able to purchase the book along with a private trip to an undisclosed luxury location, a 5 course dinner with Patterson, and a SWAT team for book handling.” Contact and purchase details for the all-inclusive package haven’t been made widely available, but readers can currently jockey for one of 1,000 advance digital copies available at a time, each of which will self-destruct in 24 hours before materializing  a new for another fan.

Patterson has reportedly sold over 300 million books worldwide and, having penned a total of 76 bestseller hardcover fiction titles, was added to the Guinness Book of World Records in 2010 for the latter achievement (and with only 45 tucked away at the time). The author noted in a press release that, after a lifetime of serving up thrill rides, he was eager to integrate high-tech features into his famously gripping franchise:

I’ve been in the business of thrilling people for almost 40 years. So much has changed and I want to make sure I keep my readers on the edge of their seats. Faced with imminent destruction, the act of reading against a clock allows fans to become a character in their own thriller.


Writer Adam Epstein chronicled his harrowing 24-hour attempt to read the novel for Quartz (as well the ensuing ‘explosion’ upon his failure), but numerous readers across the U.S. are meeting the challenge with gusto, as can be viewed on the campaign’s page. Readers who would like their experience of the new novel to be a longer and less stressful one can purchase the hardcover edition on January 26.

Self-Destructing Book, Mother New York