Review - Kill Alex Cross

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Alex Cross's beloved DC is in turmoil as Saudi terrorists unleash deadly attacks upon the city at a time when all the alphabet agencies are already scrambling about trying to locate the two kidnapped children of the President of the United States. Is there a connection?

The misleading title, a two-pronged storyline that proceeds at two different paces and with varying degrees of suspense, the overall similarity (at least of the kidnap scenario) to a previous (and stellar) Alex Cross novel (Along Came a Spider) and various questions unasked and/or unanswered make for an embarrassingly tepid reading in James Patterson's latest Kill Alex Cross (Little Brown & Co, 384p, Isbn-0316198730).

There's no mistaking that the quality of Patterson’s writing continues to shrink along with the length of his chapters.

The terrorist plot is the one spot of (mild) interest in an otherwise cliched story. The planning and dedication that goes hand in hand with fanaticism, the splinter cells operating independently and with deadly accuracy, and other aspects are chilling in the extreme. Despite the great beginning, this aspect of the storyline ends so abruptly and pointlessly as to leave the disappointed readers gaping in shock.

As previously mentioned, the kidnap plot is eerily similar to the Gary Soneji book, though not as equally well executed. It's hard to appreciate that only Alex Cross asks the right questions or is able to extract pertinent information from the correct culprit just in the nick of time. Too many coincidences leave the readers feeling cheated.

Alex Cross’ personal life, which used to be pretty interesting, receives a mild upheaval but the author never goes much into it. Ditto with his ongoing friendships. Nothing is mentioned about his complicated professional life as well.

Overall, there is nothing very new or exciting about this so-called thriller. I got the distinct feeling that the author is just going through the motions and churning out story after story without any depth or sincerity to them. This is especially evident if you’ve read the Alex Cross novels in order. This one in particular can be described as all show and absolutely no heart.

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