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As an avid reader of the Cross series I have to say its a rare miss for me. Its by no mean a bad book, but after the sheer brilliance of 'Along came a spider' and 'Kiss the girls' it was a let down. As usual Alex Cross' character is very relatable character and the family dynamic with Nana Mama and brother figure Sampson is a nice touch, but the villains (a celebrity murdering duo, Jack and Jill) are weak compared to the pure evil of Gary Soneji and Casanova. James Patterson still manages to engage the reader with fast paced action and at times builds up suspense, but compared to the other titles in the series it happens all too little for my liking and even the ending seems a bit anti climactic. So if you are getting into the series, its still a worthy read but if you're expecting the smae quality as the two titles that came before it you will be slightly dissapointed. Luckily Cross returns to form in just about every book that comes after this
James Patterson first took the bestseller lists by storm with the very successful 'Along Came A Spider' in 1993. I remember reading the book years ago and I did enjoy it. I don't know why, but I have never read any of his other novels until recently coming across 'Jack and Jill' lying around at work, and I decided to read it. In 'Along Came A Spider', Patterson first introduced us to homicide detective Alex Cross, who has appeared in subsequent novels and also features in this one, which was written back in 1996. The paperback edition I read was published in 2004 by HarperCollins. The plot sees a pair of cold-blooded killers who go by the name of 'Jack and Jill', picking off Washington's rich and famous with chilling efficiency. As everyone awaits the identity of the next celebrity victim, Alex Cross takes over the investigation. With his ability to get inside the minds of the most deranged killers, he certainly has the skills and the guts to try and solve the case - but will he discover the truth before 'Jack and Jill' set their sights on Washington's ultimate high profile target? Also is Alex himself safe? Could he also be on the killer's hitlist? I will begin by saying I found this an easy book to read. I like nothing more than a good thriller which draws you in from the beginning and does not let go until the end. I also like a book with a few twists and turns, which keeps you guessing until the end, and I was pleased to find that this book delivers all that. The book is fast-paced, and written from the alternating perspectives of Cross and other characters, such as his friend and partner Detective John Sampson, and also the killers'. I enjoyed the writing style, and the way that the author does not dwell on anything for longer than is necessary. There are no long drawn out descriptions here, and whilst I don't mind an author spending a long time on a particular part of a plot if necessary, I have read a number of books where I personally have felt it has not been necessary at all, and just a way of filling out the book. I am glad to say that the author, in my opinion, has got it just right with this book. It keeps ticking along nicely, ensuring the reader does not lose interest. The characters, although well developed, are not subject to long descriptions, as the author concentrates on keeping the storyline interesting. Detective John Sampson is portrayed as a likeable man, stressed with working so many brutal days in a row on the murder cases. He tries to go about solving the case by thinking of the questions Alex Cross always asks himself : "What kind of person would do something like this? What kind of nutcase?" I found the part of the book where Sampson goes to address the cadets at a Military Academy quite a chilling read. Sampson talks to the cadets about two children who were killed in a nearby park, which the academy uses for athletics and paramilitary exercises. He is speaking to them, in the hope that maybe one of the cadets may have seen something that may help him with the case. Little does he know the killer is a lot closer than he thinks... The killers thoughts and motives were brilliantly described by Patterson, and I feel this is a big factor in what made the book so interesting to me. The killer's also send twisted versions of the nursery rhyme 'Jack and Jill' to Cross to taunt him, which adds a chilling and clever twist to the story. You can feel Alex Cross becoming more and more concerned as the murdercases seem a relentless nightmare to him. He fears for the safety of his son Damon and all he holds dear to him. Overall this is a very good thriller. Described as a relentless rollercoaster of suspense and jolting plot twists, I think I could agree with that. Another bonus is that you don't have to read any of the other books featuring Alex Cross. Jack and Jill can be read as a stand alone novel. I don't know why I left it so long to read another of his books, but I know now I will be getting my hands on the rest! If you like a good thriller, with plenty twists and turns, I can recommend this.
Jack and Jill is the third of James Patterson's books to feature the psychologically trained Detective Alex Cross. Following a one-book hiatus from Cross, the author returns to his favoured character with a bang, giving him a high profile case to work on as well introducing new people into his life. Someone is going round killing off the rich and famous in a seemingly erratic fashion to make a statement, calling themselves Jack and Jill. As Patterson has Cross examine the world of protests and demonstrations and those who take the law and their own opinions into their own hands, he also gives him a brutal murder close to home at the school where his son, Damon, is attending. As Cross becomes attracted to Damon's teacher, the Jack and Jill case continues to escalate. Patterson gives Cross a bit more to work with here as he devlops his character a bit more. However, in true Patterson style, not wishing to halt the story for any long and descriptive passages, Cross's romance becomes part of a murder case, and things just don't seem to ever fall into place for the detective. Patterson gives us plot twist after plot twist here. Just when you think you've solved the crime, the author shows you how he's lured you in with his clever and fast writing style. The words sink in very fluidly and quickly, and I found myself literally reading this book cover to cover. Patterson's stories are considered easier reading, and while this is true, the subject matter is often not easy to digest, and he doesn't pull any punches when it comes to being graphic. However, he doesn't dwell on these parts, nor does he on anything, giving us just enough to be able to make our own opinions and to keep us guessing right until the end. Jack and Jill is available at the retail price of £6.99, but you will be able to find it cheaper online or if you're willing to search the charity shops.