Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Cross - James Patterson

James Patterson
Little, Brown and Company


Longtime readers of the Alex Cross books will know that, back in 1993, Maria, Alex’s beloved wife, was gunned down in an apparent drive-by shooting. The first part of this novel takes readers back to that time and details the events leading up to her death. During that time, a mob hit man who calls himself The Butcher was operating in the DC area. It was The Butcher’s extra-curricular activities during this time that brought him into Cross’ orbit.

In the present, Alex is still working with the FBI. That is, until an all-night, emergency call to a hostage situation during what should have been a family weekend sets off explosions at home. The children, Damon, Jannie, and little Alex, are disappointed. It’s Nana, Alex’s grandmother, who’s nuclear. At her rather firm insistence, Alex decides to ditch the danger and all-night calls for the more stable life of a private psychology practice. It isn’t long, though, before John Sampson, Alex’s longtime friend and partner in the DCPD, asks for his help. They’re tracking a serial rapist through Georgetown. When Alex discovers a possible link to the death of his wife, Maria, there’s nothing that could get him off the case.

Like many of the author’s constructs, The Butcher is a very scary character. It’s a testament to the author that he’s able to work in background details of the killer and how he got to this point in life. It makes things more interesting. As always Nana is the center of family life, and I enjoyed the scene where she, angry that Alex is still taking risks, “quits the family.” The story is told in trademark Patterson style, with very short chapters seeming to add urgency; and certainly encouraging the reader to continue turning pages. As always, make sure you’ve got some time blocked out before you start this one. You’ll find yourself reading compulsively from the first page.

Rating: 8 ½
November 13, 2006
ISBN# 0-316-75979-4 (hardcover)


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