I have always read James Patterson's Alex Cross series. And even though I have felt his writing is getting very bad I usually have no problem reading his books.
This one was so violent and Alex Cross seemed so stupid that I just could not take it anymore. The problems in Africa are a serious subject and even though fiction can bring to life real issues I felt that this book was too badly written to do justice to the subject.
Reviews of this book speak to the intensity of the action, the drama of the plot. While the reviews are correct, the main issue Patterson addresses is the utter ignorance of the American people regarding what is taking place on the continent of Africa.**
Patterson takes Alex Cross into Nigeria in search of a particularly vile murderer, and in doing so he exposes Alex (and the reader) to a world unknown prior to reading this book. The chaos of war, the misery of the displaced-persons camps, the lawlessness that is fed by lack of structure in the higher echelons of government, all of this forms part of the plot of this very quick-moving story. Prepare yourself for entertainment as you read the words Patterson has written, and settle in for quite a read. I doubt that you'll be able to put down this book because you are drawn into the plot from the very beginning. In my most humble opinion, this is one of Patterson's better books--in addition to plot twists and turns, there is a very real message given to the reader.
** it is not so much that we're unwilling to learn about what's going on, it is that the media which are supposed to bring us news tend to avoid much in-depth discussion of current events in Darfur, Nigeria, etc.,.
This book was definitely not as good as the previous Alex Cross books in the series. (I seriously feel like my interest in them has been in decline with the last three that I've read.) The story is fast-paced, but it really only serves to supply Cross's need for drama. The man is an adrenaline junkie and it feels like he tries to find trouble in order to get it.
He also once again has woman drama. We see Cross having to involve himself in the investigation of the murder of an ex-girlfriend from college so that he may find her killer and avenge her. So, his newest "you gotta be kidding me" adventure leads him to Africa on the murderer's trail. And, while there, Cross can't even handle being in another country (far away from his current squeeze, Bree) that he just happens to run across a beautiful woman who's a reporter that he gets a little cozy with... it wasn't "sex" cozy, but I wouldn't like to think Bree would've been cool with him cuddling up to another woman at night. I mean seriously, I can't be the only one to notice that he's either a player or has serious co-dependency issues. (Did the man not get breast-fed enough?) I used to really like that these books weren't all filled with ridiculous personal drama, but this one sure proved me wrong! This one almost makes Alex Cross out to be some kind of "Jack Bower"-wanna be-super hero by the comment that Nigeria wanted him there. As if.
I also totally felt that weaving the troubles that are taking place in Africa into the plot of this book was a bit far-fetched. If Patterson really wanted to make readers aware of what is going on over there, I think it would've been better served by creating a new character and a new series. The little bit that Cross did over there in no way represents enough of the atrocities going on. I mean really, the last couple of Cross books have just managed to go downhill as far as overall story content. I'm to the point that where I don't think I'm ready to stop reading the series all-together, but I'm definitely not regretting that I haven't spent money on new copies of the last few books that have come out (prior to this one and this one included). It makes me really glad that all I need to do is use a credit. (And patience is not a problem, because I'm hoping by the time I get the next one, my disappointment in this one will have faded so I won't be so annoyed by the content if it sucks.) But, I can say, if this downward spiral into "you gotta be kidding me" continues, I'll be looking for other authors who aren't just selling books because they've been around so long they feel like they can get sloppy. Although, and I know the show was fictitious, but I remember watching the episode of "Castle" where Patterson chided Rick for killing off his star character because that's where you keep getting your money. At the time it was funny, but I think he was serious...
I'm also not sure how much research Patterson did on animal life when he wrote this book, but to make it more "suspenseful" Cross was attacked by a crocodile. The whole description of the scene just didn't make sense because Cross saw the water rolling and backed away just as he saw the croc come to the surface and then he ran from it, etc. Okay, I'm sure the average person could've watched some re-runs of The Crocodile Hunter to know that you don't get that kind of warning from those things. If it played out accurately, I'm pretty sure Mr. Cross would've had a messy and painful retirement.
I was also scared to find myself actually agreeing with Nana in this book, in regards to Alex going to Africa. The man seems to stupidly, and consistently, do things to put his family in danger and then seems surprised that the bad guys go after them. (It made all those times he gets his butt whooped on his journey more like just desserts and not outrages. Unfortunately, it didn't knock any sense into him.)
Overall, this book was mediocre at best. I read it because I've been trying to keep up with the series, but I'm definitely only wish-listing the next two books because after this one, I really don't care when I next read about the misadventures of Alex Cross.
This is the most intense of the Cross books. It's a really fast read, but the subject is really creepy. Great for those of us who love the creepiness...James Patterson can't write fast enough for me!!!
I was a little mixed on this one. This was definitely not a typical Alex Cross story. This one takes Cross to Africa in search of the killers of an old college sweetheart (who had been working on an expose of the goings on in Nigeria) and her family. As usual, this was a page-turner with some extremely bad characters from Africa committing some extremely brutal murders in both the U.S. and Africa. While in Africa, Cross sees first hand some of the outrages being perpetrated on the African people in Nigeria, Sierra Leon, and the Sudan including the refugee camps in Darfur. While these parts of the novel are eye-opening, I'm not sure an Alex Cross novel is the best forum to expound on the political turmoil in Africa. The whole premise of Cross running off to Africa to seek the killers is a little preposterous. Cross is never in command of the situations when he gets to Africa or for that matter throughout the book. He seems to be working completely in the dark and does not really use his wits as he does in some of the earlier novels in this series. Overall a mild recommendation.