Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

James Patterson will let you watch his book explode for $294,000

Want to read a James Patterson book? No? Okay, fair enough, but what if the book contains an explosive device, thereby exposing the rest of your cells to the same risk your brain cells face? Let’s say this reading experience also includes a five-course meal with Patterson himself in an undisclosed location. And what if it also included a pair of gold binoculars to watch the book explode from a safe distance? What if all this came at the bargain price of $294,038? Intrigued?

The scenario sounds like it came from the whiteboard in the writers’ room of a CBS bomb-squad procedural in its desperate eighth season, but it is, in fact, an actual offer from Patterson as part of a publicity stunt for his 133rd book, Private Vegas. Patterson is seeking “serious inquiries” from eccentric billionaires who like to be seen holding something while sunbathing on Carnival cruises, although the lucky buyer will have to buy another Patterson book for that, as this copy of Vegas will be detonated 24 hours after they begin reading it.

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Patterson’s offer comes just weeks after Wu-Tang Clan announced the auction of its single-copy album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin, a move that could easily be interpreted as an effort to fuck with Wu-Tang Clan. This should concern Patterson, as Wu-Tang Clan’s position on being fucked with is well-established.

The reading experience will take place at an undisclosed location—the offer includes airfare, but not ground transportation—and will culminate in a gourmet meal with Patterson and a terribly awkward conversation. “That book was the bomb,” the buyer will say. “No, this duck confit is the bomb,” Patterson will reply. Patterson will then ask, “How many likes did your video of the book explosion get on Instagram?” “Looks like just two: one from you, the other from ‘Alex CrossFit,’ the Morgan Freeman look-alike who films himself doing burpees,” the buyer will reply.

While that conversation is hypothetical, the deal’s hilarious terms and conditions are not:

  • There is a minimum six-week preparation window expected for the experience. The winning super-fan will either pay nearly $300,000 to read a book they’ve already read, or will wait a month and a half to read the book and will pay over 13,000 times the hardcover price to watch it explode at Patterson’s side.
  • This assumes Vegas, which came out today, is the book the buyer will actually read. Though the promotional video shows Vegas, the terms say the buyer will read Hope To Die, which came out in November.
  • The binoculars are “golden,” not actual gold.
  • Patterson reserves the right to change prices at any time, allowing the possibility of a $10 or $20 refund.
  • Patterson will not be held liable for loss of goodwill, disappointment, or emotional distress. If any of those are a concern, please don’t do this.

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