I, Alex Cross

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I, Alex Cross By James PattersonI, Alex Cross, is another crime thriller from James Patterson, featuring Detective Alex Cross whom we were first introduced to in ‘Along Came A Spider’ back in the early 90’s.

In this novel which was first published last year, a member of Alex’s family is murdered and the case catapults Alex into a very dangerous world. A world of power and evil which throws up a shocking revelation.

As Alex is called away from his birthday celebrations with his family and given the tragic news that his niece has been found brutally murdered, he vows to hunt down the killer. He soon learns that his niece was involved with some dangerous and powerful people and she is not the only victim of a brutal killer. Alex’s search leads to a private club where it seems any fantasy is possible and he slowly realises he is facing some very dangerous people. People who will do absolutely anything to keep their secrets safe.

I have only read a couple of Patterson’s books previously, which both feature Detective Alex Cross. It isn’t necessary to read them in order to be able to appreciate or understand the Alex Cross stories. I, Alex Cross could easily be enjoyed as a stand alone novel, as although the reader may not be aware of Alex’s history, enough is touched upon to bring the reader up to speed on what has gone before, without going into too much detail.

Here Alex is trying to juggle his family life with his job, something which quickly becomes apparent to the reader that this is his usual way of life. Alex has found happiness with Bree, who is also a detective, after the death of his wife. He shares his life with her, his kids and grandmother – ‘Nana’, who has been helping him to bring up his children. The story sees Alex trying to find who was responsible for the brutal murder of his niece, whilst struggling with the added personal strain brought on by Nana taking seriously ill with her heart and being rushed to hospital, where it is unclear whether or not she will pull through.

I enjoyed reading this book. Its punchy writing style with short chapters added to my enjoyment, making it a gripping read overall. From the start I was hooked, as the story begins with an exciting prologue which got my attention from the first page, leaving me keen to read on, before the story then shifts to Alex’s birthday celebrations where he receives the news that his niece, Caroline Cross, is dead. Although Alex had not seen Caroline for a long time, he vows to find the killer. What makes the murder even more gruesome is that he is informed it is her ‘remains’ that have been found. Whoever killed Caroline ensured her body was not going to remain intact.

Gruesome is probably a fitting word to describe parts of this book as there are some strong scenes along the way. The characters, along with Alex and his family are both interesting and believable, which was a major factor in my enjoyment of this book. A minor niggle is that I did struggle with some of the characters that feature from the secret service and the Whitehouse, in that it was difficult to remember who exactly they were at first. The manner in which they were introduced I found was a little confusing, which led to me having to go back a couple of pages to enable me to get it clear in my head who exactly was who. What didn’t help was Patterson referring to them by their first names and then surnames. Once clear in my head, it was once again an easy and exciting read, written in both the first person from Alex’s point of view and also the third person.

The story flowed well and running alongside the hunt for the killer there is the sub storyline featuring Alex’s family life and Nana’s illness. This blended well into the story, but this is also where I have another minor niggle, as I did feel that Patterson spent just a little longer than was necessary writing about the family. This did highlight how difficult it was at times for Alex to cope with both the investigation and the possible loss of a much loved family member in the very near future, but I personally was keen to just concentrate on the hunt for the killer. Therefore on a couple of occasions when the story shifted back to his family, I found myself reading even faster to get back to the ‘interesting’ stuff. Maybe fans who have read all the Alex Cross books will enjoy the amount of time spent on his family life in this story, but as I have only read a couple of the other books, it wasn’t something I was particularly interested in. The actual plot was far more exciting.

There was a major surprise revelation in the story but other than that, there weren’t as many twists and turns as I initially expected. I did find myself wondering why Alex was allowed to be investigating this case and it seemed I was not alone with this thought, as Alex is up against powerful people and politicians who do not seem to want him on the case either. This leads you to believe there is some big cover-up going on which must not be uncovered at any cost.

Whilst I did not forsee the exact ending, my guesses took me along the right lines. This did not disappoint me in anyway however, as the book was written in a pacey, exciting style which kept me enthralled from start to finish and that’s good enough for me.

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I, Alex Cross
by James Patterson

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