Wednesday, January 17

Cross by James Patterson

Review by Gloria Feit

The main characters in this book are Alex Cross, Michael Sullivan and John Sampson.  Alex, the protagonist in this very popular series by James Patterson, after three years of private practice as a psychologist, became a full-time Washington, DC homicide detective before joining the FBI, working primarily as a profiler.   Michael Sullivan is a serial killer/rapist/mob hitman, nicknamed The Butcher.  John Sampson is Alex' former partner from his cop days, and still his close friend.   The book opens with the murder in 1993 of Alex' wife, Maria, as she greeted him when he came to pick her up after work – she died in his arms, and he has never stopped grieving for her.  Since her death, he has continued to work for the FBI, raising his three children with the help of 'Nana Mama,' Alex' grandmother.


Fast forward to 2005.  In order to devote more time to his family, Alex quits the FBI, returning to private practice, but remains available as a consultant.  Things change when the police are told by a mob guy trying to broker a plea bargain that he can give them information on Alex' wife's murderer, but the man is killed while in jail before he can divulge that long-sought information.  Alex feels he may finally be able to catch the man who has managed to elude capture for over a decade, and he and Sampson go on the hunt. 


Cliches abound – the psychopath who was abused as a child, who feels nothing but a rush as he adds victims to an ever-growing list.  The acts themselves will bring a grimace, at least, to the reader's face.  Michael Sullivan is a man who enjoys his work.


Cross has already topped the bestseller list, and it is a fast and pretty enjoyable read.  Nonetheless it felt somewhat bloated to this reader and I thought the book, and the sadistic acts committed in it, could have been edited a bit more.


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