Books by Patrick Dillon

THE STORY OF BUILDINGS by Patrick Dillon
YOUNG ADULT
Released: March 11, 2014

"Broad of historical (if not international) scope and with illustrations that richly reward poring over—but unfocused. (index, timeline) (Nonfiction. 12-14)"
Biesty's precisely drawn, finely detailed architectural views supply the highlights for this unfocused survey of homes and prominent buildings through the ages. Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 1, 2011

Tricked out with a ribbon, foil highlights on the jacket and portrait galleries at each chapter's head by Ireland's leading illustrator, this handsome package offers British readers an orgy of self-congratulatory historical highlights. These are borne along on a tide of invented epithets (" ‘Foreigners!' spat Boudicca"), fictive sound bites ("Down with the Committee of Safety!") and homiletic observations ("By beating Napoléon the British showed how strong they were when they worked together"). Aside from occasional stumbles like the slave trade or the Irish potato famine, Britain's history—from the Magna Carta to the dissolution of the biggest empire "there had ever been"—unfolds as a steady trot toward ever-broader religious toleration, voting rights and personal freedom. American audiences will likely be surprised to see Mary Queen of Scots characterized as "one of the most famous of all monarchs," and the Revolutionary War get scarcely more play than the Charge of the Light Brigade. It makes a grand tale, though, even when strict accuracy sometimes takes a back seat to truthiness. Includes timelines, lists of monarchs and an index but no source lists. (Nonfiction. 11-13)Read full book review >
BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR
Released: March 2, 2010

"A well-reported, densely written saga with a gigantic cast of characters that becomes difficult to track through the ever-shifting narrative."
Two Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists explore the world of a lawyer who became wealthy by representing plaintiffs against multinational corporations committing fraud, but who simultaneously defraded the legal system. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Feb. 1, 2003

From English historian, architect, and novelist Dillon, an admirable history of the London gin craze that tainted everyone involved. Read full book review >
LOST AT SEA by Patrick Dillon
NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 10, 1998

A taut, heartbreaking story of fishermen who died at sea, the subsequent mare's nest of an investigation, and congressional maneuverings over maritime safety bills, from Pulitzer—winning journalist Dillon (The Last Best Thing, 1996). Fishing and the Pacific Northwest go hand in hand: many boys there are still raised to read the tides, anticipate the mood swings of the weather, and recognize the tonal variations of foghorns. It's a place where fish were once so thick you could harvest them with a pitchfork. The first part of Dillon's book is the story of a fishing company in a small Washington town, its development and the personalities involved, and then the loss of 14 local men as two of its boats capsize in the rude waters of the Bering Sea. Fishing is a death industry, Dillon reminds readers, and decent cash returns invite risk-taking of the most outrageous sort, but these boats were supposedly superstable, and the fishing company had a plum reputation as a safety-conscious outfit. Part two shifts into investigative-journalist mode as Dillon reports on the inquiry into the loss of the two boats, the toll it took on the families, and the tortured permutations the truth took as it made its way to the surface. The circumstances combine with Dillon's deadpan reportorial style to make the death of the 14 men generate a field of gloom and sadness that is painful to witness. And irritation is added to the pall in part three, as Dillon recounts the families' efforts to get legislation passed to insure greater safety requirements for fishing vessels, over the vested interests of politicians, lawyers, and insurance companies. Dillon's fine book tells us its the same as it ever was: men at sea equals men at supreme risk. (16 pages photos, not seen) (Author tour; radio satellite tour) Read full book review >
THE LAST BEST THING by Patrick Dillon
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 21, 1996

Pulitizer-winning journalist Dillon's breezy debut novel, first serialized in The San Jose Mercury News, takes its lead from business news about the fallout in the computer software industry- -it's full of nasty details about the day-to-day workings of Silicon Valley and that monster of the north, Microsoft. Once a legend in the Valley, J.P. McCorwin has faded from the scene. A former Jesuit, J.P. (with similarities to Jerry Brown) now has a personal guru, Baba RAM DOS, a French anarchist who serves as J.P.'s constant companion and theorist. Together, they seem to be plotting the takeover of J.P.'s last employer, a Valley giant called Infinity, which found J.P.'s explorations in artificial intelligence a waste of money. As part of this grand scheme, J.P. recruits a motley group of up-and-comers: There's Maria Cisneros, a Stanford MBA Chicana whose father worked as a farmer; also high up in J.P.'s nameless company is Brad Roth, a former Microsoftee in marketing who was fired for voicing criticism of Windows95. The techies on the staff are all industry dropouts, hacker/geniuses with grudges against corporate domination. Dillon clearly knows how those people dress and behave, and he draws each character with satiric glee. J.P.'s quest is further complicated by corporate intrigue. When Infinity comes to J.P. to solve its devastating problems with imploding laptops, is it really a glitch, or is it a clever bit of corporate sabotage to weaken the company on the stock exchange? The only disappointment in this breakneck plot is the nature of J.P.'s grand scheme when it's finally revealed: It's not the ``virtual pyramid'' that all fear, but something truly wacko. In any case, Maria manages to cope and save the day, and with kind words from Bill Gates, no less! First-novelist Dillon re-creates Silicon Valleyspeak with comic aplomb, which more than compensates for his hobbled plot. Read full book review >