Mary, Mary

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Mary, Mary By James PattersonI have to admit that generally when choosing something to read I am drawn towards contemporary female writers, but occasionally I feel like reading something which has a bit of suspense and who better to supply it than James Patterson? Patterson is a prolific American writer with over twenty books to his credit.

Mary, Mary‘ is the latest in a series of books about detective Alex Cross, now an FBI agent. Alex is a psychiatric doctor who is often called in to help solve serial killer crimes by working out the profile of the killer. You don’t have to have read the previous novels to enjoy ‘Mary, Mary’ although there are references to some of the earlier cases Alex has worked on.

All the novels in the Alex Cross series have nursery rhymes in their titles which is the same with ‘Mary, Mary‘ but there is no further mention to the rhyme. The story is centred on a number of murders that have been occurring in the Hollywood area of high profile women and mothers. Each victim has been shot and then their face slashed out of all recognition! (Luckily Patterson does not supply too many gory details!) The killer, going by the name of Mary Smith (hence the title) sends details of each murder by email to a local newspaper editor.

The FBI joins forces with the LAPD to solve the crime and prevent more murders. It becomes a race against time and Alex is at the centre of it all and often in danger himself. There are many twists and turns as the story races towards a dramatic conclusion.

“It is the sort of story that absorbs you and you feel compelled to keep on reading.”

At the same time, Patterson weaves in a second storyline which tells the story of Alex’s personal life. His family members – Nana mama his grandmother, Damon and Janine his children, and Little Alex his other son and now part of a custody battle with his estranged partner – are all very familiar if you have read the previous novels.  I like the way the family are at the centre of each story. It’s like meeting old friends every time you read another book! In this book, after quite a disastrous love life over the years, he starts up a relationship with the local doctor and you really find yourself rooting for it to be a success.

I do think that James Patterson is the master of suspense and I think that one of the ways he achieves this is by making all the chapters short and punchy! This makes all the action move on at a pace, and as a reader you will often find yourself thinking ‘I’ll just read the next chapter!’ and you keep doing this as they are so short. He also drops in clues that hook you in and reveals bits of information little by little that keeps you guessing right to the very end!

I think Alex Cross is a brilliant central character and hero. He is very believable as both a detective and as a family man and he is very much ‘the good guy!’ Some of the chapters are written in the first person from his point of view and this definitely helps to empathise with his character. I find myself warming to all the family characters too and I think it is extremely successful the way the family story works alongside the crime story. It is also a bit of a breathing space from all the tension and suspense.

As with all James Patterson novels, I read ‘Mary, Mary‘ in just a few days. It is the sort of story that absorbs you and you feel compelled to keep on reading. The actual story is 435 pages long although the book is actually nearer to 470! The reason for this is because the last thirty pages give an extract from Patterson’s next novel. This generally happens at the end of his books, but I must admit I did feel a bit cheated by this. I was headeingthrough the book thinking there was a lot more to go when suddenly there I was at the end! – quite disappointing! However, having said that I would still recommend this as a really good read that is bound to keep you guessing right to the end!


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Mary, Mary
by James Patterson

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Written by kingfisher

My name is Jo and I have been married to Simon for nine years. We have two beautiful daughters – Rachel who is six and Natalie who is almost five and starting school in January. I also have two step children aged twenty one and seventeen so family life is never dull. I also manage to work three days for a local education authority where I support the teaching of literacy in primary schools. I love my job and it’s ideal for a book lover like me. In my spare time I run, dance and occasionally tread the boards with my local amateur dramatics group. My first love is reading though and you will never find me without a book on the go. My husband is also an avid reader and we are hoping to pass on our love of reading to our daughters. They certainly love their bedtime stories every night. Although I have and English degree and I am familiar with most of the classics, I generally read much lighter stuff these days. It’s mainly ‘chic lit’ but I also enjoy a good thriller or courtroom drama. I have so many favourite authors and this list tends to change regularly depending on what I am reading.

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