Book Review – Deadly Cross – Alex Cross # 28 – James Patterson
My Rating 4 out of 5
Plot Summary – Deadly Cross
This, personally, is one of the most awaited book of the year for me along with the Jack Reacher line. Since Jack Reacher 2020 turned out to be such a damp squib (my review of The Sentinel is here), the anticipation for Deadly Cross was heightened even more. This is the only Book which James Patterson writes single-handedly i.e. no collaboration or ghost writing. And boy, am I glad I waited so long for it! It’s a cracker!!
Alex Cross is a practising Psychologist, ex Washington Metro cop, temporary FBI Agent now FBI Consultant and is the devoted father to three children. He lives in DC with his wife Bree Stone (Chief of Detectives, Metro Police), his 90+ year old grandmother Nana Mama and his three children. His best friend John Sampson is also a Metro Cop and his FBI partner cum collaborator is Ned Mahoney, another good friend.
Deadly Cross opens with a double murder of a respected School Principal and the ex-wife of the Vice President of the US, shot and found in fragrante delicto during a midnight tryst in the VP’s wife’s Bentley. There’s another ongoing Police investigation into a serial rapist and murderer of teenaged girls from a small chunk of the Metro area, who’s escaped capture for over 15 years. Recently two girls were abducted and found violated and murdered about 48 hours after their kidnapping.
In another aside, there’s some nutcase who is going around shooting DC politicians in the ass (literally) and Bree is having a tough time explaining to Metro Police Commissioner Dennison why, she’s unable to prevent and catch the perpetrator. So in essence, there are three mysteries to solve and Alex Cross is requested to assist in all three by Bree and also the VP – for his ex-wife’s murder. Alex has a personal connection to Kay (the VP’s ex-wife), who he’s known for many years. Kay was not just known for her socialite status, but for also being a conscientious person with a heart of gold!
Out of the blue, tragedy strikes close to Alex and his family and they are expected to move on through that overwhelming grief… Easier said that done, and this is where the book’s most poignant moments appear and it’s done very well. So well, that for a day, I didn’t want to go back to reading it, feeling that it’s too much to bear, even reading about it in fiction. This is what makes this series stand out, it’s not an out an out action thriller, it’s a thriller with a big heart!
The reader is involved in the lives of the Cross family, their trials and tribulations are felt in minutiae, and this is what makes James Patterson such a master storyteller, particularly when he’s going solo. In this edition we see more of John Sampson and why he’s a good instinctive cop and not just Alex Cross’s shadow. The twists and turns in the book are quite believable and at no point of time seem contrived or ring a false note.
Conclusion – Book Review – Deadly Cross
The Alex cross series, since its first appearance in Along Came A Spider, has been a leading standard in crime thrillers, particularly with the psychological profiling that Alex brings to the table. The plots are complex but relatable, the investigations incisive and detailed. Best part is the character buildup – everyone of Alex’s family gets a lead role in one or the other book of the series, so by the time one has read all of them, you start relating and empathising with each one of his characters – sometimes even the villains.
So, to conclude, Deadly Cross was worth every minute of the wait and I loved reading it and have already started counting down to December 2021 when number 29 is scheduled to hit the stands. Little wonder that most his contemporaries consider him the gold standard in Crime Thriller writing. Only discordant note in James Patterson’s vast body of work come from the collaborations he does with various authors, some of them are quite embarrassingly average! But never mind, he’s still got some absolute winners in his armoury – led by the indubitable Dr. Alex Cross…