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London Bridges - James Patterson

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Author: James Patterson / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 04 March 2010 / Genre: Crime & Thriller / Publisher: Headline Publishing Group / Title: London Bridges / ISBN 13: 9780755349388 / ISBN 10: 0755349388 / Alternative EAN: 9780316710596

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      05.07.2010 20:19
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      probably the weakest Alex Cross novel yet !!

      London Bridges is a 2004 Crime novel written by James Patterson and is the 10th book in his series of novels centred around the former Washington DC Homicide detective and current FBI Special Agent Alex Cross.
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      The Plot:
      Following on from his previous Book ( Big Bad Wolf ) Alex Cross once again finds himself playing a game of Cat and Mouse with the mysterious russian gangster and terrorist "The Wolf", this time the Wolf has enlisted the help of Cross' former nemesis Col Jeffrey Shaffer, aka the Weasel to help him bring destruction and terror to some of the worlds major cities.

      After a town in the southwestern US is blown up it becomes clear that the Wolf is playing a political and financial game with some of the worlds greatest superpowers, by threatening to detonate large explosive devices in major cities around the world, it once again comes down to Alex Cross working with his new employers, the FBI to try and stop the shadowy Wolf, who always seems to be at least two steps ahead of the authorities, all the while Alex must find himself juggling his professional life with his complicated private life, all culminating in a thrilling manhunt for one of the worlds most dangerous people.

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      I'm a huge fan of James Patterson and in particular the Alex Cross series of books, i've read the previous books in the series and thoroughly enjoyed each and every one, and as such I had very high expectations from this book, seeing as it was a continuation of the Wolf storyline, and also saw the return of one of Cross' biggest enemies.

      However I found myself disappointed, while Patterson may not be the most technically gifted crime writer of our generation, he has always managed to make up for it with strong characters and more importantly believable scenarios, with this book I didn't find that to be the case, we found The Wolf becoming almost like a James Bond megavillain with plans to seemingly take over the world, rather than just being a ruthless villainous Gangster that he was in the previous book and which was far more believable, the problem is amplified with the fact that Patterson also turned Cross into an almost James Bond, superhero figure, instead of just a normal DC cop turned FBI agent trying to stop a criminal.

      All in all I was very disappointed with London Bridges and sincerely hope that there is a return to form for Patterson with his next novel and more importantly a return to reality !!

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        04.01.2009 22:42
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        Alex Cross thriller

        London Bridges is the ninth book to feature the character Alex Cross who is the main character that author James Patterson uses in his books. Two of his earlier books have been adapted into films starring Morgan Freeman as Alex Cross. Cross actually works for the Washington police department as a special advisor and his speciality is tracking down serial killers.

        In this book he encounters two former adversaries who appeared in earlier books, the main one is a character called the Wolf, a Russian mafia leader and a ruthless killer who has set a large number of explosions that have wiped out a number of small towns with very little loss of life however his ransom claim is then made demanding a huge pay out or the next explosions will destroy whole cities and their occupants

        Cross is by now working for the FBI and is part of the team assigned to track down the Wolf.

        This is a super book, really fast paced and the style of Patterson writing is to switch the focus repeatendly using small chapters of maybe four to five pages and as such his books are very hard to put down.

        It does help if you have read earlier books in the Cross series as I actually think they are better novels however it is nice to see this complex character develop and change over time.

        A great action thrilller and an enjoyable read.

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        12.12.2008 18:05
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        Another excellent Cross book from Patterson

        London Bridges is written as a direct sequel to The Big Bad Wolf and is another book in the series of Alex Cross books written by the best selling author James Patterson. The author goes all out in this book, giving his hero Cross a pair of international criminals to contend with and taking hm across the world to bring them to justice.

        Alex Cross, former detective now with the FBI, fresh off the back of combatting the elusive Wolf, finds his resolve tested doubly as the Wolf resurfaces in an explosive fashion, claiming responsibility for a number of shocking explosions. And the worst thing is that he is not on his own, for another of Cross' nemeses is back: the Weasel. Cross and his fellow FBI agents must battle these two supervillains as they threaten to cause mass global destruction.

        Patterson certainly doesn't hold back in this novel, writing as if it could be Cross' last chance to capture these guys before it's too late. The author takes his hero across the world, pitting him with Interpol and Scotland Yard in an effort to make a big splash with his readers.

        And it works in a way. For me, I have always been a fan of Patterson's since the first book of his that I read. What I like about his books is the no nonsense style of storytelling he has, where he doesn't bother with long and descriptive passages, favouring instead a high octane action thriller. As a result, the characterisation is often a low point, and if you haven't read any Cross books before, this may confuse you somewhat.

        However, the action overtakes everything else, and this book is no different. If anything, there is almost too much here, with Cross getting involved with Interpol and Scotland Yard, and it appears as if Patterson has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at this one. In places, it's too much, and deviates out of the comfort reading zone normally associated with Cross, but overall it's still an excellent piece of work and shows a willingness to give Cross more diversity.

        Overall, another very good Cross book, with heightened sense of danger as two of his deadliest foes combine against our hero. A very well written thriller. London Bridges is available from amazon.co.uk for £5.00.

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          29.12.2005 11:58
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          Alex Cross novel

          London Bridges is the ninth James Patterson novel to feature Alex Cross and I have been a fan of this writer and in particular the Cross character ever since the first of the series which was Along Came a Spider. This book made up my festive reading as it is perfect to be able to pick up and put down in between bouts of festive gorging given that each chapter is only three to four pages long.

          Plot warning in advance, if you have not read any of the Alex Cross books yet then reading this review first will give away in part the endings in two books in the series as this book sees the return of two former villains that Cross has tangled with in previous stories therefore you will be reading those stories safe in the knowledge that the bad guys get away. In fact if you read London Bridges you will also get a reference to another of the villains that Cross tangles with in earlier books and this particular character provided a huge twist at the time so my advice is to read the earlier work of Patterson before picking this one up.

          The Plot

          When a small town in Nevada is wiped from the map by a huge explosion a chain of events is set into motion that brings mayhem and fear to the whole world and especially those in the West and Israel. The fact that the operation that destroyed the town resulted in only one death is a testament to the ruthlessness and planning shown by the villains headed by a character called The Wolf who is believed to be a former KGB operative and major figure in the Russian Mafia and someone Cross has grappled with in a previous book. Even more worrying for Cross is that at the scene of the bombing another of his former nemesis the Weasel is also captured on film. A number of other explosions follow in towns in England and Germany before finally the Wolf issues is ransom demand with the threat that next time the explosions will wipe out major cities killing hundreds of thousands.

          Alex Cross formerly with the Washington DC police but now with the FBI is part of the huge task force given the job of tracking down the mysterious Wolf who seems to move around at will causing mayhem and murder with huge amounts of resource at his disposal.

          I have deliberately kept the plot review brief to avoid spoiling it for others who might want to read the book.

          Main Character

          Alex Cross is a criminal psychologist by profession and it was this role and his ability to get into the mind of criminals that found him working as a consultant for the Washington PD. Following the death of his wife in a drive by shooting a crime he was unable to solve he has raised his two children with the help of his formidable Nana who is the one who rules the family home. As a person Cross has earned the nickname Dragon Slayer for the relentless way he hunts his quarry always able to tackle the big serial killers that thrive in the US. In later books he joins the FBI as a trouble shooter reporting directly to the FBI Director however his work has often meant he has had to make sacrifices in his personal life as his job often brings danger to those closest to him.

          One of the downsides to the movement of his character to working for the FBI is that this means that his former Washington DC partner John Sampson is missing from this book as this character provided a little humour to earlier books.

          My Opinion

          On the whole I found this an enjoyable read. The style of Patterson in using short paragraphs helps to keep the pace of the book moving, parts of the story are told from the perspective of Cross however it also switches to include chapters from the perspective of both the Wolf and the Weasel.

          The action is constant and the plot twists are never ending as Cross seeks to find out about the past of the Wolf whilst at the same time trotting around the globe following in the wake of the destruction caused by the Wolf.

          Patterson has an easy style of writing and avoids long flowing descriptive passages instead focusing on the tension and suspense in all of his novels and this one is no different.

          The plot of the book does draw on the doomsday scenario that has become more relevant post 9/11. The book also examines the fact that despite the huge amount of resource thrown at such threats the sheer number of agencies who have a stake in the pie means that investigations are often slow and weighted down by administration and meeting after meeting with the law enforcement agencies often playing catch up.

          There are for me however a couple of drawbacks to the book which means that this is not one of his best pieces of work.

          The other main character in this book is the master criminal nicknamed the Wolf. For me this is one of the weaknesses of the story as I do not find the character believable. I just could not believe that such a character could exist.

          By building up this character as one who is almost super human in his ability to carry out crime and avoid detection it built a sense of expectation in my mind which left me with a feeling of anti climax at the end of the book. In fact the ending is the weakest part of the story as it appeared rushed and with a lack of explanation.

          Part of this story highlights the fact that even though Cross is on the inside as a trouble shooter he is also not at the centre of the investigation and this for me is another weakness. Where in the past the Cross novels have worked well for me is the fact that you get a true feel of the obsessive ness of his character as he hunts down serial killers. In his current role this feature is missing and the book lacks an important quality because of it.
          Despite these two drawbacks this is still a book which is well worth reading. It is also an easy read and quite compelling and one that I completed over a three day period.

          Extras

          No, this is not a DVD review in the wrong place. You do get some extras with this book in the form of Alex Cross case notes on each of his pervious investigations. Don’t get too excited though in effect these are just a clever way to replace the typical book reviews in the back of most books.

          As is typical with most Patterson books you do also get the first chapter of his next novel to wet your appetite (Mary, Mary in this case) however personally I find these annoying as in a couple of months time I will pick this up in a bookstore and think that I have already read it before.

          Published by headline the rrp is £6.99 however you can currently get it on Amazon for £3.99.

          Thanks for reading and rating my review and may everyone enjoy a prosperous New Year.

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            25.10.2005 19:52
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            A good book to introduce you to Pattersons writing

            “There are many who lust for the simple answers of doctrine or decree. They are on the left and right. They are not confined to a single part of the society. They are terrorists of the mind.”

            It was a warm and clear skied day in Sunrise Valley, Nevada, and the towns three hundred inhabitants were going about there business in and around there mismatch of mobile homes as best they could. Little did they know that there peace was about to be interrupted on a grandiose scale, a convoy of army trucks and jeeps swamped the town and set about evacuating its people for “emergency” reasons. All seemed to be above board until one man – Dougie Puslowski – refused to leave and was promptly shot and killed in front of his wife. The other inhabitants were then taken away in the troop carriers and trucks and dumped in the middle of the Nevada desert some forty odd miles away. What followed was a breathtaking and violent act; a cargo plane circled lazily over the deserted town and dropped a massive thousand gallon fuel-air bomb with devastating results. The town was demolished completely – those parts that were not vaporised on impact were burnt to the ground by the tide of burning all encompassing fuel. But who would do such a thing? And why plan such a devastating attack on a shanty town in the middle of nowhere?

            “Our war that we now fight is against terror and evil... Our struggle is going to be long and difficult. But we will prevail. We will win. Good will overcome evil.”

            It didn’t take long to find out the answer. Notorious terrorist and bane of all that was good in the civilised world - the Wolf admitted carrying out the attack as a pre-amble to bigger and far more deadly attacks. London, Washington, New York and Frankfurt were to be the targets of deadly and vicious bombings the like of which had never been seen before. The price to stop these bombings was $2 Billion and the release of a number of political prisoners throughout the world with a two day deadline for the powers that be in each Country to raise the ransom. FBI agent Alex Cross was immediately put on the case with the sole aim to track down and immobilize the Wolf and his killers before the massive loss of life that each bomb would bring. For Cross this was a personal mission as he and the Wolf had a violent past, a past in which the Wolf had slipped through his fingers more than once, and should he manage to do so again it would prove fatal for many hundreds of people living in the four targeted Cities. With the Wolf seemingly always one step ahead of Cross and the FBI there was a feeling of inevitability that he would not be captured and stopped in time.

            “People ought to feel comfortable going about their lives, knowing that their government is doing everything humanly possible to disrupt any potential activity that the evil ones may try to inflict upon us.”

            London Bridges marks the seventh outing for Alex Cross and our hero has still got what it takes to keep the reader turning the pages in eager anticipation. The beauty of this book is that it can be picked up and enjoyed either by a die hard fan of James Patterson’s Alex Cross series or a complete newcomer to the collection, there is just the right level of information at the beginning of the book to bring newcomers up to scratch without alienating those readers who already know about the life and times of Alex Cross. As with most Patterson books the reader is thrown straight into the action so as to get a real feel for the nastiness of the current situation. We are also introduced to Alex Cross` family which is a clever piece of writing from Patterson and shows us the human being behind the badge. Scenarios are believable and characters well described in Patterson’s unique way so that the baddies are boo hiss bad while the good guys are willed on to bring order to the situation. As with all Patterson books the chapters are amazingly short – usually two or three pages – which I really like as it lends a nice fast paced to the story. Four stars out of five from this die hard James Patterson fan then, and the recommendation that this is a good book to introduce you to his writing. I just can’t wait for the next instalment!

            “This is an evil man that we're dealing with. And I wouldn't put it past him to develop evil weapons to try to harm civilization as we know it.”

            ISBN:- 0755305787
            307 Pages Hardback
            £12.59 from Amazon.co.uk

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          • Product Details

            Alex Cross is on vacation when he gets the call. A city in Nevada has been annihilated and the Russian super-criminal known as the Wolf is claiming responsibility. In a matter of hours, Cross is catapulted into an international chase of astonishing danger. Arriving in London to join forces with Scotland Yard and Interpol, Alex fights his way through a torrent of false leads, impersonators and foreign agents before he gets close to the heart of the crimes. Then, in the most unforgettable finale James Patterson has ever written, Alex Cross confronts the truth of the Wolf's identity - a revelation that even Cross himself may be unable to survive.