The Partridge Family (Michael Avallone, 1970)

The Partridge Family, a burgeoning rock band, are traveling across the country in their multicolored bus to a gig in Reno. Along the way, an airplane flies over and drops a small tube containing a number of cassette tapes. Shirley, matriarch of the family, picks them up, thinking they’re a message from their manager, Reuben Kincaid. However, the tapes were actually intended for the two men in the car following not far behind the Partridges’ bus. The men are spies for “Red China” and the tapes are encoded message. Except they aren’t. They’re actually from the US government and the men are being used as false flag agents, but of course, they don’t know that. All they know is that the Partridges have the tapes and they’ve got to get them.

When I picked up these books (yes, there’s more than one — I’ve got seven), I fully expected them to be awful, but I could have had no idea just how awful they are. I’m no snob when it comes to books — I’ll as happily read dreck as I will a masterpiece — but I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get through this after I’d read the first chapter. Thankfully, it’s less a “novel” than it is a long-ish short story of barely a hundred pages. Remove the endless repetition, single word paragraphs, and the random blank pages that are scattered throughout the book, and it would probably be 20 pages shorter.

I haven’t seen it in years, but I remember liking the TV show this book is based on. Avallone probably saw the pilot, but I imagine that’s where his familiarity with the material ended.