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A few starting notes:
This is #12 in the Alex Cross series by James Patterson. I'm not going to lie, I hadn't read any of this series before and just sort of dove in at the deep-end.
James Patterson, as most people will be aware, is a pretty damned prolific writer. It's near impossible to even comprehend the ridiculously large amount of books this feller writes. Most of them are in a genre which I have decided to re-name blow-y up-y. I guarantee that it's an excellent descriptor.
Alex Cross - the crime-hunting psychologist loved by many - is tracking a rapist. This particular series of serial rapes may have something to do with the murder of his wife about a decade previously. Giving up on this one is not likely to be an option.
Of course, there's also connections to the mob, an attempt by Alex to re-open his therapy practice, and some psychological issues of his own to deal with.
The short, sharp chapters and cliff-hanger chapter endings are what Patterson excels at. This means you can jam a chapter into a TV ad break without losing the thread of the story. And the pace keeps you interested.
The characters are fairly well-developed, with 'the Butcher' being an excellent psychopath to deal with. It also has explanations of why the hell the Butcher has these...issues, which is refreshing as it rounds the character out beyond a 2D plot point.
Not so great bits:
The plot of this is based around serial rape - there are some pretty damned uncomfortable descriptions of sexual assault. There's also child abuse and domestic abuse mixed in at various points. And plenty upon plenty of descriptions of violence. If this isn't your thing, don't read it.
And let's be honest, this is blow-y up-y. It's not too intellectually challenging.
A well-rounded yet run-of-the-mill thriller. Certainly enjoyable, and I can see why so many rate the Alex Cross books, but I couldn't help but feel I was waiting for something that wasn't there.
originally published on my blog diaryofareadingaddict.blogspot.co.uk
After someone at work decided to donate a bag full of books to my book club I came across a book by an author I have never read before, but one my friend raves about.
The book in question is - "Cross by James Patterson".
The story starts with a very loving if somewhat fraught family.
Maria the mum/social worker, is a working mum, with much on her plate already, especially with her daughter suffering with croup, which tends to keep her up most nights.
Alex is her husband, father/psychologist and is currently working with the FBI, he has also got a lot on his plate, though through comments made by his adoptive mum "nana mama", his working alongside the police is causing more grief for his family, more so with him having to drop everything to go across the country to start investigating murder scenes.
After few chapters describing his family life (this may well be known for regular readers of the Alex Cross series, but very useful for someone like me who has just come across the series), the tone of the book changes, and starts following a man and his friend, who openly admits to being a psychopath and is known as "the butcher", due to his methods of execution, usually on payment of mob types!
After a particular incident is described (in detail unfortunately!), which is then referred to by Cross's wife Maria, you realise that this how she comes to be murdered, and before I have any complaints of plot spoiling, part of the front page synopsis refers to her murder!
Will Cross ever be able to solve the mysteries of his beloved wife's apparent random killing?
I have to say I was more than surprised by just how much I enjoyed this book.
This is not my usual type of read, but I felt that I was spoiling my reading choices by limiting myself to particular genre's and now realise what I have been missing out on!
At all times the story feels real, with every eventuality being plausible, from the absolute devotion and love Cross feels for his family and wife, down to his devastation at the loss of his wife.
Each chapter is told from a first person perspective, with the only two people getting that chance being Cross and Sullivan (the butcher).
I liked how as the book went on it delved back into their past situations revealing snippets of information as to why they are how they are at that point, with Sullivan's story being sad and at times sickening, but revealing why he could be so brutal, but also how he was managing to live a double life with his wife Caitlin and his three sons.
Although at times the story line suggest real horror and brutality, thankfully (apart from a particular rape scene), there is not too much detail, leaving more to the imagination which at times is worse!
I really enjoyed this book, so much in fact it literally took me a day to compete it, though this may well have been because of how the chapters were set out, no more than two pages a chapter, I never felt over run with information, but giving me just enough to understand what was going on, without having to re-read sections to work out what was happening!
This is a good foray into crime novels for me, easy to read, detailed enough without swamping someone with information and good believable characters and storylines, recommended!
This is available from www.amazon.co.uk for £5.99 (hardback).
For more information visit - www.jamespatterson.co.uk
Thanks for reading x
The story that Patterson fans have long been waiting for is that of the murder of Alex Cross's wife; all we have ever been told is that she was shot down in a drive-by leaving Alex to care for their two children. There has long been a sense that maybe Patterson was keeping that paticular back-story aside as collateral for when he began to run out of surplus plots and hit a dry spell, so it is no surprise then that here, tweleve books into the Alex Cross series, that this untold story is finally given an airing....
The book begins with a flashback to those happier times with Cross and partner, John Sampson, tracking down a mob hitman, supposedly the best of the best, who is intending to take out a Mafia Don. Their suspect gets away but not before giving the pair a smug bow as he completes his assignment. Days later, Cross's wife is shot down and dies in his arms.
Years pass by, Cross changes profession several times and is responsible for taking down all manner of serial killers and general bad types. He has a reputation and this has lead to his family being threatened one too many times. Hence, Cross leaves the FBI and opens up a private practice as a psychologist. Unfortunately John Sampson, old friend and former partner, has a request to make; he is on the trail of a serial rapist and could do with Cross's expertise. And when links between this case and the death of Alex's wife, Maria, become apparent suddenly Cross finds the line between his personal and professional lives once more being crossed. Could Alex this time finally discover closure for his longest unsolved case? Could be this case that gives him some answers?
This should be the crowning point of the Alex Cross series but, for too many reasons, it ends up being less than satisfactory. The villan resembles too much the bad guy from the previous novel and there is a real feeling of de ja vu whenever he takes centre stage. For an idea that has been left simmering on the back-burner for so long, the plot appears to have gotten quite tepid. And everything feels a tad too neat and resolved. The murder of Maria has long been like Patterson's version of the disappearance of Mulder's sister in The X-Files, and, like when that story was covered in the popular T.V show, the end result here is also disappointing!
It's not a bad novel just not one of his best and, like all his books, is a light bite of a read that won't take long to finish! It's just that with each book, I find myself missing the tight plots and suspense of early Alex Cross! A good example of how Patterson is running out of ideas is that in the next book, he intends to bring back The Mastermind, Kyle Craig much as he continuousally brought back Gary Sonjeii again and again and again. The best thing Patterson did was bump Sonjeii off and, personally, I hope he is about to do the same with Craig. And, by all acounts reading a fellow Dooyooer's review of his latest book, it looks as though for book 14, Patterson is going to send Cross to Africa??!!?? Much as I am addicted to these trashy thrillers and will no doubt read the next two in the series, still I am torn by the possibility that Patterson's latest plots smack of desperation?
With so many of my one-time favourite authors going the same way (Jeffrey Deaver and Patricia Cornwell spring to mind) at least I can comfort myself that there are plenty of newcomers emerging every week to challenge these best-selling writers to their crown.
Heres hoping that Patterson doesn't do Alex Cross to death the way Cornwell has with Scarpetta! Old thriller heroes sometimes should be let out into the pasture to die with dignity not flogged like a dead horse!
This is another fantastic read by James Patterson in his popular series about Alex Cross. I have to say, i wasn't disappointed with this book and i can never wait for the next one to come out.
Alex Cross books can be read without reading the previous novels but as always, it's always better to have read them so you can follow any little mention of them that there may be. So to start with, a little background on Alex Cross and the series of books that surround him.
Alex Cross is a police detective who has a degree in psychology and is involved in a lot of the major cases. His cases usually revolve around serial killers and his life has been endangered on more than one occasion. In fact, some would say he's the luckiest man alive! Alex's life doesn't just revolve around work and he has a family to take care of. At the time of this book, he has his daughter Jannie and sons Damon and Alex. Sadly his wife, Maria, was gunned down and died in his arms so Alex has the help of Nana to bring up his children. Haunted by the fact he has never managed to catch Maria's killer, Alex puts everything he has into solving murders. Alex is constantly juggling work with his family in order to get the perfect balance, but he can't seem to let these big cases go, no matter how many times he resigns.
Alex has resigned from the FBI and has set up his own psychology practice so he can concentrate on bringing up his family. He thinks this practice is the best thing in a long time as it means he finally has the time and space to spend with them whilst still doing something he enjoys. However, it's not long before Alex is back on the front line.
Alex's former partner and best friend, John Sampson, calls in a favour as he desperately needs help with a case and he knows that Alex is perfect for the case. There is a serial rapist known as the 'butcher' on the loose and he needs Crosss' help to convince the traumatised victims to give evidence against him. So far, they won't reveal a thing about the attack. It is soon discovered that the rapist has threatened them with shocking photos of people that have disobeyed his instructions.
Cross becomes even more involved in the case when a connection with Maria's murder comes to light. Can Cross finally put his demons to rest and solve her murder, not only for himself, but for his children?
It's no surprise that James Patterson has come up trumps once again in this fantastic series. You would think that all information about Cross would have been revealed in previous books, but Patterson just keeps coming out with more and more information that give you a real insight into who Cross is and why he is the way he is.
In this particular book, the connection between the 'butcher' and Marias death triggers a lot of emotion in Cross but this makes it far from a depressing book. There are flashbacks used to show Alex and Maria before she was killed and how different their lives should have been if it hadn't been for that fateful day. Whilst Cross works hard to solve every crime, this one hits a whole new level and it causes Alex to lose a sense of reality for a while and concentrate on catching the 'butcher'.
Patterson is a thriller writer and believe me when i tell you he never holds back. The 'butcher' does just what the title says - butchers his victims and Patterson shares this with you in quite some detail. The difference with this serial killer is that he stops to take photos of his victims and bows to an audience before moving on to his next victim, always one step ahead. Does Cross manage to catch him or will his wifes killer evade him forever? Read to find out!
Cross isn't the only character in the book and his partner, John Sampson, also plays an important role. It's his job to help Cross solve this case but he also has to keep Alex is check. Alex's emotions are running at an all time high and Sampson has to be there to support him, no matter how dangerous it may get. Sampson's strong, sensitive and extremely intelligent and his character comes over superbly.
There are snippets from Alex's family and Nana is the one to add humour into the book without failure. She disapproves of Alexs' occupation and she never fails to let him know of her disappointment that his work comes first, despite the danger. However, what's shown the most is how much she loves Alex and this just goes to deepen your love for Cross.
This is an extremely fast moving book with extremely small chapters. There can be as little as a page in a chapter so it's always easy to say i'll just read one more chapter and never put the book down! The book is primarily about a chase and i feel the small chapters help with that chasing feeling as you always have to turn the page to carry on the chase until it's over, one way or another.
Narration is slightly different in this book in that you get it from both Cross and the 'butcher'. The story from Cross always comes across in the first person whereas the 'butchers' will always come through as third person. This means you can feel incredibly involved in the whole storyline and there is just no way you will get bored at any point.
This is one fantastic thriller and you don't need to be a Patterson fan to enjoy this. There are twists in the story throughout and Patterson ensures it is never predictable. It is a book in a series but i really don't think you need to read the previous books to enjoy this, though you'll want to carry on reading books from him after you've enjoyed this one. Overall? I loved this book and read it within a day and i'm always waiting on his next books to come out. I should warn the reader that the book does go into quite graphic detail so if that isn't your type of thing then i wouldn't recommend this book.
I bought this book for around £3.50 but prices can change so rapidly you could probably find it from anywhere from 1p to £5. It retails in most shops that sell books and the likes of Asda and Tesco.
Cross is one of James Patterson's books featuring his favoured character, former detective, former FBI agent, now psychologist Alex Cross, who has faced a plethora of evil villains in the books thus far, and who has beaten them all. This latest offering from the best selling author makes it more personal, though, and as Patterson obviously struggles with new material for his main character, he finds a niche in Alex's life that is yet unburied, and features the killer Cross wants more than any other - the murderer of his wife!
Now retired from the force and from the FBI, Alex Cross is working as a psychologist and enjoying time with his family when his old partner, John Sampson, calls in a favour. A serial rapist is running wild, and his victims are so scared that they cannot, or will not, testify. Sampson wants Cross to get them to testify, using his psychological skills.
However, things take a dramatic turn when Alex realises that there may be a strong connection between this spate of rapes and the murder of his wife many years ago. Once more, Cross takes to the streets to find out the truth, no matter the cost. And this time, it's more personal than ever.
Patterson has pulled another one out of the bag with 'Cross'. The author seems to have exhausted Alex Cross on a number of occasions, and as the series of books featuring him goes ever larger, we get one of the best and most thoughtful tales. Emotional turmoil is prevalent in this book or Alex, and the fast action-packed writing style that Patterson fans will be familiar with aids the tension and excitement when reading the story.
I was very impressed with this chapter in Alex Cross' saga, and pleased that James Patterson had decided to return to the character. However, I am a fan of the books, and have read the books one by one, and am familiar with the character's background. As a result, I would say that this is definitely one for those who have read the previous books, and if you liked them, then you'll love this. Those who haven't read them before may enjoy it, but a lot will be lost on you, and you'll have to rely o the fast and furious action Patterson uses to keep you from putting the book down.
I highly recommend giving this book a go. The characterisation for once is very well done and you can get a true feel for the characters in the story, something which is often missing in his books due to how fast it all flows. Patterson dispenses with long and descriptive passages, preferring to just give us the action all at once, and this is sometimes to the detriment of a better tale. However, this book is well worked and written with a good balance. 'Cross' is available from amazon.co.uk for £5.99.
I think it was around about this point that I was considering giving up James Patterson's cross series, thinking that they had maybe outlived the enjoyment factor. For me the highlight was Roses are Red and it's sequel Violet's are Blue. But, being the type of person I am, I finally succumbed and picked the book up - and I wasn't disappointed. It got me hooked again from the first couple of chapters and I found myself desperate to get through it, but not only that, for him to write another - and quickly (and anybody who follows his work knows that this is a distinct possibility - he can throw books out faster than some people read, although I know these are "co written" and I am not entirely sure just how much of the finished piece is his). The book ends in such a way (not giving too much away with this statement - if you read it then you will know what I am talking about) that he could walk away from the series without looking back. But thankfully he didn't and Double Cross is now available. This is a good one to while away an afternoon with.
Another offering from James Patterson in this series of thrilling suspense books starring Alex Cross, a Washington FBI Police agent turned Psychologist.
This novel starts by taking a flashback to earlier books when Alex's wife Maria was shot dead and she died in his arms. The killer was never caught but this book answers some the questions fans of this series have been wanting to know.
Alex whilst working with his former FBI parter in the hunt for a serial murderer and rapist they discover some links to the murder of his wife, and so the pusuit of 'the butcher' is on!
I really enjoyed this novel, and like the others in the series was a real page turner and a nice easy read. The vivid descriptions of horrendous murders and sexual assualts might not appeal to everyones taste though. If you haven't read the previous books its probably best to start there first to get the most out of Cross, but you could read this in isolation if yoy wanted as the earlier plot is revisited at the start of the book.
I've been a bit of a James Patterson for a few years now and have reviewed several of his other books already. I know he's not the greatest writer to have ever lived but I do enjoy his stories for what they are and this most recent Alex Cross book, simply titled "Cross", is no exception.
The RRP for this paperback is £7.99 but I see you can buy it online from Amazon for £4.19 at the moment which is pretty good for such a recent release. This is a really interesting read and especially for fans of his other books in this series.
Alex Cross has left the FBI but is back for a one-off gig helping to solve a series of brutal rapes that's been going on. As the story develops, we quickly realise that there are connections between the serial rapist and murderer on the loose and the man who killed Cross's wife all those years ago.
I think what I liked about this book is how to the point it all is. There's no page-filling psychological stuff in this one as there are with some of his others. There are loads of suspenseful bits all the way through and you can keep on turning the pages and finding more and more action happening.
I also like how the ending is not what you'd automatically assume it would be and there's a lot more to the story than there first appears to be. That's all I can really say without spoiling it for you!
The only downside to this is that the writing standards haven't improved much since his last few efforts. I'm not overly bothered by grammar and structure and stuff but even I noticed there were a few bits that didn't flow properly in this. I suppose though that James Patterson has turned Alex Cross into more of a series than a literary work and so long as people like me keep enjoying the stories, he'll keep churning them out speedily and to the point.
I appreciate some people may not appreciate this so my recommendation is that this book is for those who enjoy stories at night or on the train or something but not for those who like a good read.
Available online or in stores for between £4.19 and £7.99
Alex Cross must be like an itch for James Patterson. Every time he branches out and tries new styles or creates new characters, he always returns to the one which brought him his initial success - Detective Alex Cross.
To start with, this was a good thing. Cross was an interesting character who got involved in fascinating plots involving hunts for serial killers or kidnappers. The interesting plots, combined with Patterson's high speed, hundred-miles-an-hour style meant that you got a book which rattled along at a cracking pace, had enough twists and turns to keep you guessing the identity of the evil-doer right up until the end and made it a compulsive read. Short-lived and superficial, certainly, but compulsive none the less.
Recent Cross books, though, have been growing weaker and weaker, as Patterson has moved away from the core elements that made him so successful in the first place. Where Detective Cross is concerned, he seems to be running out of ideas and repeating himself endlessly. How many times can he develop and almost lose a love interest? How many times can he start to get itchy feet about his job? How many times can he have a row over whether or not he is taking care of him family properly? Patterson is becoming (whisper it) repetitive and boring.
Cross isn't helped by the fact that its central plot features his attempts to track down his wife's killer. The basic idea is sound and , given Patterson's undoubted story-telling abilities, should work well. Sadly, something, somehow doesn't quite translate to the page. For a start, it presents Patterson with a problem he never quite overcomes. Long-term readers of his books will be familiar with how Maria Cross died and won't need reminding. Yet, any newcomers who pick up this book first, will need to know the details, or else they won't know what's going on. So Patterson has to recount the story - broadening and embellishing it. It slows down his normal, rapid-fire style of writing and causes the first half of the book, in particular, to drag. Cross requires so much background material to be presented that it takes an awfully long time to get going.
In fairness, once you get to the meat of the book (around 150 pages in), Patterson once more regains his normal style and it rattles along at a pleasing pace. It's just a shame that you have to endure the first part before you can get to the good stuff. In truth, though, the plot is never really that engaging. It certainly lacks the "cat and mouse" element of many of Patterson's early books - that sense of a battle of wills between hunter and hunted. Here, as in the other more recent entries to the series, the psychological element is played down in favour of outright thrills. Many of the clues also seem to depend on unlikely co-incidences to move the story forward and this drains the book of any real sense of tension.
The characters, too, are starting to no longer ring true. Patterson has always been superficial in the creation of his characters, but now he's becoming even worse. His main characters are starting to become clichés and parodies of themselves: Cross, the brilliant but troubled psychologist; Sansom, the tough but gentle cop; Nana Mama, the feisty, but fair grandmother. In addition, they are starting to act in completely random, contradictory ways, totally out of keeping with some of the things we have learned about them previously. Patterson's strength in the original Cross books was that he created superficial, yet warm characters that you could like and engage with. Increasingly, it's becoming difficult to care about their one-dimensional lives. They no longer feel like a real family or real people. They are starting to feel like an artificial construct who live and die purely at the whim of the author. As I say, characters have never been Patterson's strength, so when even he begins to plunge to new depths of superficiality, you know a book has problems!
That said, after the buildup and back story, Patterson does rattle out the plot and regain his readable style. Chapters are short, so that compulsion is there to read on just a bit further before putting the book down. Whilst there aren't any real twists or turns in the plot, there's still a great deal of interest to be had from seeing the hunt from both the perspective of the police and the killer. It's a good, solid story and, if it never truly investigates the revenge motive as it should, it's still a human interest story that those of us who have been with Cross from the beginning will want to read.
There's nothing wrong with Cross, as such. It's a perfectly enjoyable book in a light, disposable way. It's just that I feel Patterson has lost his way with the character. You get the impression now that he's churning out anything because he knows it will sell on the strength of his name as the author and the title character.
Cross is readable enough, but Patterson is in danger of killing his most loved creation through over-exposure. He needs to leave him be for a while and go off and write other books. Which is why it's a shame that the ending of Cross sets itself up for the now inevitable next book in the sequence...
Headline Books, 2007
ISBN: 978-0755323173 (paperback)
Available from Amazon for £4 (new) or used from 1p
© Copyright SWSt 2008
Double Cross simply put has to be the greatest Alex Cross book so far! The faithful followers of Cross finally get their answers to the death of his beloved Maria whilst Cross has to struggle to still solve the crimes committed by a sadistic murderer.
"Just when Alex thought his life was calming down into a routine of patients and therapy sessions, he finds himself back in the game -- this time to catch a criminal mastermind like no other. A spate of elaborate murders in Washington D.C. have the whole East Coast on edge. They are like nothing Alex Cross and his new girlfriend, Detective Brianna Stone, have ever seen. With each murder, the case becomes increasingly complex. There's only one thing Alex knows: the killer adores an audience. As victims are made into gruesome spectacles citywide, inducing a media hysteria, it becomes clear to Alex that the man he's after is a genius of terror--and he's after fame. The killer has the whole city by its strings--and he'll stop at nothing to become the most terrifying star that Washington D.C. has ever seen."
As usual the story is brilliantly written with every chapter being a pager turner as you enter the mind of a murdering rapist to the enter the mind of the man who is going to catch him. A brilliant book for a holiday!
The one fall back of this story is the twist in the end. In my opinion is was a twist that was not needed because as a reader the case was closed and the turn was totally unneeded. I would love to hear your opinions on this matter--am i just nit picking?
Any book labeled with the Cross name has certain expectations of the reader and this one certainly lives up to them all, with the best bits of Patterson's writing all thrown in together. There is love, confusion, sex, murder and family unity. Could you ask for more?
I am just waiting for the film...a must read and if you haven't read the Cross novels or any book by James Patterson where have you been and go start reading them!
James patterson has to be one of the most prolific suspense writers around at the moment. I have read virtually all his books and each one has had me on the edge of my seat and not being able to put the book down. The latest I have read of his - Cross - is just as good as all the others and certainly I had my heart in my mouth at times when I was reading it!
The central character in the Novel is Aex Cross - hence the title. Readers of James Patterson will know that this is a character who features in a number of his novels. He lives in Washington with his young family and his elderly grandmother and at various times he has been a detective and psychologist for the Washington police force ad well as working for the FBI. In this book though, he is trying to give it all up and just establish a private psychiatry practice, although as the story unfolds it seems that he cannot leave police work alone entirely!
The other thing to know about Alex is that many years ago his wife Maria was murdered. This is something which has only ever been mentioned in passing in most of the other books, but in this one it is a central theme. The reason for this is that Maria's killer is back and Alex is after him.
As in all the James Patterson books, there is a psychotic killer who always seems to keep one step ahead. There are multiple killings, most of which are very gruesome and Patterson does not hold back on the details. The killer in this book is nicknamed 'the butcher' and he does exactly that - he butchers and mutiltes his victims! That is before stopping to take photos and then giving a little bow!
The pace in this book is very fast and intense. Patterson always write in very short chapters, ranging between about two nd five pages, and this really keeps the story moving. It also makes the book virtually impossible to put down, as it's always so easy to read 'just one more chapter'. He also alternates viewpoint in different chapters. Some of them are written from Alex's point of view and these are always in the first person, whereas others follow the butcher and these are written in the third person. This makes it enjoyable and it's almost s though you are following two stories at the same time, even though they are parallell.
In most of the James Patterson books, you don't really get to know the characters very well, as the important thing is the action. However, in this book he takes a slightly different approach, and the reader is privy to a lot more of Alex's thoughts and emotions. There is also a lot of reflection back to the time of Maria's murder and his feelings of guilt and love come out very strongly. I really liked this aspect of the story (I suppose that's something to do with being woman) and at times I really felt for him.
The main story though pretty much centres on the gruesome activities of the butcher, and Alex and his partner John Sampson's attempts to catch him. It feels very much like a chase and there are no guarantees that all will end well. Sometimes they do in Patterson novels and sometimes they don't so I will just have to keep you guessing until you read it. He does seem to like to always add in a twist right at the end though - just to keep the reader guessing even more!
Overall this is a very good read and very thrilling. Be warned though, if you are not very keen on gorey detail because there is quite a lot. I don't think it really matters whether you have read the other Alex Cross novels before, because this story does stand alone, although if you have read the others you are likely to have a more rounded picture of everything.
The book is published by Hodder and has a RRP of £6.99
First off can I just say - another fantastic read from the master of the thriller genre!
I have an immense love of reading and James Patterson is undoubtedly my favourite author and I am pleased to say that 'CROSS' doesn't disappoint.
For all you James Patterson fans out there you will, I'm sure, know who Alex Cross is. However, for all you JP virgins, here is a summary:
The Alex Cross series is James Patterson's first and probably most popular. Alex Cross is a police detective/psychologist who has, in previous books, worked for the Washington DC Police Force and for the FBI and at times has had his own psychiatrist practice. He is known as the 'Dragon Slayer' due to the 'baddies' and evils that he has faced and brought to justice. His main task however, is looking after his family - his sons, Damon and baby Alex and his daughter Jannie. Oh and not forgetting his gran, Nana Mama, who always plays a big part in the series with her opinions and disapproval of Alex's job. Alex unfortunately lost his wife Maria (before the first book) and this has come up several times throughout the series, just to portray the battles he has to face not only at work but also at home.
Anyway, back to the book!
When I first saw Cross on the bookshelf I knew I had to have it (although that can be said whenever a new JP book comes out!). The front cover is striking with a simple pale blue background but then a big bold 'CROSS' on the front of it. It was obvious then that it was going to be the next instalment in the Alex Cross series. Then, when I read the front and back cover it struck me that this could be the final book in the series as Alex Cross faces the deadliest psychopath of them all - his wife's killer!
'So, stop going on and just tell me what it's all about already!' I hear you say. Ok, here it is.
Alex decides to quit the FBI so that he can spend more time with his kids and with Nana Mama (oh and not forgetting Rosie the cat!). He sets up his own practice again as a psychologist. Thoughts that this is it now for 'Dragon Slaying' and that now he can get back to a normal life are soon diminished as his long time friend and ex partner John Sampson turns up on his doorstep to inform him that there is a new killer in town known as 'the Butcher' and to ask a favour. The 'Butcher', who could be the most violent, grotesque killer that either have known, is a serial rapist who cuts his victims with a scalpel and then takes photos of them to frighten his next victim. Alex soon learns that the 'Butcher' could well be the person who gunned down his wife who died, bleeding in his arms, several years ago and who is the only 'Dragon' he has never managed to slay.
Alex and Sampson are now on a manhunt trying to find the 'Butcher', which is not an easy task as he has managed to avoid being caught for decades and is a very clever man. Alex and Sampson need the testimonies of these women to stop the predator, but the rape victims refuse to reveal anything about their attacker because they are scared that they will end up like the people in the photos. Alex still has to deal with his family life of raising his kids, not making Nana Mama mad and trying to build a relationship with a local doctor while confronting his own memories and emotions about Maria which he has held locked up for a long time.
I wont go into the detail too much as I don't want to spoil the book for those of you who want to read it.
'So what did you think about it then?'
Needless to say though, this is another fantastic read. It has the fast paced, page turning effect that are apparent in nearly all of his books and the familiar short chapters which make you want to read more. The one thing that this book has that all the other Alex Cross novels don't however, is the trips back into his memory when we have the chance to meet Maria for the very first time and get a glimpse of what their life was like before that tragic night.
The characters are all well thought out as we are reunited with the old and are introduced to some new and all are interesting to read. As always, we get an insight into Cross and also an insight into the psychopath/killer and we get to see both sides of the story as chapters are split between Alex and the 'Butcher' as narrator.
I would say that if you have never read an Alex Cross novel before then you may want to read some of the others before beginning this one. Although his past is brought into the story somewhat, you would have a better understanding of who he is and what impact his wife's killing has had on him throughout the series.
The inside cover called this the most terrifying Cross ever which is true to some extent but it also called it the most emotional Cross ever which I think sums it up very well. There are sections in the book, particularly towards the end, when I had tears actually rolling down my face reading it, which just goes to show the genius behind James Patterson's words.
I said at the beginning of this review that I thought this was going to be the final instalment in the Alex Cross series but the last chapter did make me wonder if we actually have seen the very last of Alex Cross as Patterson left it open for another book.
To sum up - whether you are a James Patterson fan or not, if you love fast paced, thrillers with murders, revenge and a bit of sex thrown into the mix, then this is the book for you.
Thanks for reading
This is the latest powerful thriller about the FBI agent Alex Cross. Alex has quit his job with the FBI but can't seem to stay away. When a series of brutal rapes are committed across Washington and none of the victims will talk, Sampson calls on Alex for help. Alex uses all his skills as a psychologist to persuade one of the women to tell how the attacker scared her into silence. Cross's hunt for the rapist leads him to 'the Irishman' Michael Sullivan, the deadly hitman from his past, who's returned to Washington planning to kill the new mob Don, John Maggione. Mistakes will kill you, Sullivan tells himself as he starts to wage his own chilling one-man gang war - but he doesn't intend to make any. How many will meet a gruesome end while the Irishman evades the FBI, the mob hit team - and Alex, still haunted by the loss of his first wife and the unsolved mystery of who killed her?