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Patterson pops another one out
I, Alex Cross - James Patterson
Member Name: pmcds
I, Alex Cross - James Patterson
Advantages: Easy to read, hard to put down
Disadvantages: Ending was disappointing, really shallow tale
I must confess to having lost track of the chronology of Alex Cross books, the plots melting into one with the only difference seeming to be the name of the main villain. James Patterson makes no bones about the easy to read nature of his books, and the fact that they fly past does mean that a week later you're likely to have forgotten a large amount of the plot.
I, Alex Cross has a plot that hits the ground running, literally as we get a short chapter following a young girl who is running for her life through the woods. We then flip to other action as first of all the plot reveals a secretive 'club' where high society members can come and indulge the strongest of their sexual desires at a price. Then we get Alex Cross at home, a detective with notoriety whose heart is as big as his recognition, shown as his Nana gets ill and provides a different plot track to the book. but the main link is when Alex's niece is found mangled, with strong links suggesting the 'club' had something to do with it.
It's pushing on for 500 pages, and as the action is so fast, this is just as well considering how fast the pages fly by. Patterson also spatters the book with short chapters, often three or four pages long, providing you with easy stopping points throughout the book. The problem is that he also manages to give mini cliffhangers at the end of many of these chapters, so it makes it hard to put down!
As Cross investigates the murder of his niece, others transpire as well, and it takes him down the path that indicates the club and the host of famous people who frequent it. We know this a lot sooner than he does, with Patterson flicking between various viewpoints to tell the story and keep us interested. Cross' passages are a narrative, whereas everything else is from the first person. I liked how the variety of storytelling kept it interesting, despite the very shallow nature of the plot. It certainly maintained my interest throughout.
Yet none of the excitement can hide the fact that this is too shallow to challenge some of the best novels around. The reason Patterson is successful is through the simplicity, and for this reason I find there's a time and a place for his books. They're an ideal throwaway holiday book, for example, and there are many Patterson that have come and gone in our house in days, finding their way to other family members, a car boot sale or a charity bookshop while still only a few days bought, such is the speed in which you can read this.
At times, I felt like I wanted some more depth, as I could tell there was going to be a twist as the end promised to reveal the identity of the main villain, known only as Zeus. Patterson does usually throw you a curveball and so this is to be expected. I thought this one was very clever, and not quite so predictable as some of his other ones. However, the way the book itself ended was very abrupt and a bit anticlimactic. In comparison with his other books, this was too quick, as if he didn't want to draw it out at all, and this to me was disappointing. The main point for me was how the whole thing petered out, and it left me a bit annoyed at the sudden downturn it took.
Overall, an enjoyable read, nothing special and exactly what I had expected. Disappointing ending, but another book worth a read from Patterson.
Summary: Another generic page turner from Patterson