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Cross - James Patterson

Review by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THERE’S no denying the popularity of James Patterson’s Alex Cross novels and as crime thrillers go, they not only deliver the goods, they also explore old fashioned family values. Never more so than in the succinctly entitled Cross.

And it’s in Cross that Alex faces the deadliest psychopath of all – his wife’s killer.

Years after Maria’s death, when Alex has left the FBI and returned to practicing psychology, he’s persuaded to help his former partner, John Sampson, track a serial rapist in Georgetown. And when the case triggers a connection to Maria’s death, Alex sets out to find her killer.

With short sharp chapters, Cross is raw and edgy and doesn’t beat about the bush. Neither does it balk at depicting the actions of a brutal killer, frequently in graphic detail. But that’s Patterson’s style.

And although Patterson’s rapist/killer, the merciless ‘Butcher’, suffered abuse at the hands of his own father, I felt no pity for him, so heinous were his crimes.

However, I can’t for the life of me understand why any young woman, fearing for her life, would willingly report a rape but refuse to identify its perpetrator. And believe me, these young women had reason to be afraid, having been shown appalling images of previous victims. Surely fear alone would have prevented them going to the police. But I guess there’d be no story otherwise.

Away from the gore, there’s plenty of interaction between Alex, his three children – Janelle, Damon and Little Alex – and the indomitable Nana Mama; while Alex’ relationship with Kayla takes an unexpected turn. And just when I’d forgotten that Morgan Freeman played our intrepid hero on screen, along comes a reference to the celebrated actor!

Patterson certainly has a gift for storytelling – one that’s guaranteed to keep the pages turning. But like all the Alex Cross novels, Cross isn’t for anyone of a squeamish or nervous disposition.