If you like to read crime novels then you be very familiar with one of the most prolific writers of that genre, James Patterson. Patterson is the world’s bestselling author (selling over 375 million copies of his books) and an author whose books are the most borrowed from libraries. Not only does he write thrillers featuring some excellent endearing characters in the Alex Cross, the Women’s Murder Club, and the Michael Bennett series of books but he also writes some really good books for children with the Maximum Ride, Middle School, Dog Diaries and I Funny series. He also writes with lots of books collaborating with other authors (including ex-president of the United States, Bill Clinton), which can be hit or miss.
But Patterson always goes back to what he does best with his own series collections and Detective Alex Cross has to be his best character and series, at least I think so anyway. I love the Detective Alex Cross series of books, I find them entertaining, enjoyable and fast reads. The latest instalment to the series is Deadly Cross, book number 28 in the Alex Cross series. Book 28, there can’t be many book series that continue this long without becoming dry, boring and too much of the same, but Patterson still manages to keep the series fresh and enjoyable.
Deadly Cross starts with a double murder that rocks the city and the highest reaches of government. A high-profile murder of a glamorous socialite, Kay Willingham, the ex-wife of the US Vice President, and a very well respected, married with children, high school principal, Randall Christopher. They were both found half naked in a car, executed and robbed.
With a such a high-profile murder, Alex Cross, now a consultant for the FBI and DC Metro Homicide, is asked to take a look at the case. He takes it on, whilst also looking into the abductions, rapes and murders of teenage girls and shootings of the rich. He now has a full caseload.
It is soon established that the wife did it, after all she has a motive, is found with the gun that matches the ballistics and is on the run. But its all too neat and it doesn’t quite add up for Cross who starts to dig deeper, he is convinced that someone else is responsible for the murders.
And then there are the other two investigations, one that is wrapped up quite easily but one that is much more difficult and could have repercussions for Cross.
Overall, Deadly Cross is a rollercoaster of a read. A complex novel with three different cases to follow with plenty of suspects to keep track of but one that has been written very intelligently and is extremely creative.
The three cases are interwoven with expert ease and are easy to keep track of and the characters, primary and secondary, are all fantastic – you really feel that Cross and Sampson are real people that you can laugh and cry with and know them and their families inside and out.
Whilst it hasn’t been my favourite of the series, I found the first half of the book a bit slower than his other novels, with a lot of repetition and over-explanation of personal situations (although if you have never read an Alex Cross novel before I can see how it would be good to help you enjoy this book without having read the others in the series), it is a very good police procedural story. It is a fast read with its short chapters (as is the norm with Patterson novels) and an engrossing story and a good one to start with if you haven’t read any Alex Cross novels previously.
RRP: £20 (Hardback) / £8.99 (Paperback) / £9.99 (Kindle)