Alex Cross #22: Cross My Heart by James Patterson (Cornerstone Digital)

Detective Alex Cross is a family man at heart–nothing matters more to him than his children, his grandmother, and his wife Bree. His love of his family is his anchor, and gives him the strength to confront evil in his work. One man knows this deeply, and uses Alex’s strength as a weapon against him. When the ones Cross loves are in danger, he will do anything to protect them. If he does anything to protect them, they will die.

The Alex Cross series is one of the longest running series of novels that I’ve actually had the chance to read, and unfortunately, like most of Patterson’s more recent works, they’ve suffered in quality, not being as memorable as the earlier entries. However, they’ve still been engaging quick reads, and Cross My Heart, despite a rushed ending that ends on a cliffhanger, setting up readers for the second half of this current story, manages to be one of the better Alex Cross novels in a while, as the titular Detective finds his family used as a weapon against him by a cunning antagonist who knows to play to Alex’s weaknesses. However, if Cross tries to protect his loved ones, they’ll die, as simple as that. The stakes are higher than ever as James Patterson delivers one of the more personal entries in this saga so far.

Alex and his long-running partner Sampson are investigating two seemingly unrelated crimes, the murder of four people at a massage parlour including a famous footballer and the kidnapping of two babies, however, the antagonist is using this as a distraction to gain information about the Cross family – Alex’s wife, fellow Detective Bree, three children, Damon, Jannie and Ali, as well as their grandmother, nicknamed Nana Mama. Marcus Sunday is keeping a watchful eye on all of the Cross family, and waiting for the perfect moment to strike.  Tension is kept high throughout the novel and in true Patterson style, the pages are short and in a split first person/third person narrative with the first person used for Cross whilst the third used for Marcus Sunday, giving us an insight into the villain. There’s nothing overly groundbreaking in what Patterson does here in terms of what we’ve seen from him before, but Cross My Heart is well written enough for it to be a pretty solid read, even if it’s understandable the amount of people that were annoyed by the cliffhanger ending, which didn’t bother me too much as some other fans (seriously? You’re saying that you’re not buying the author’s work again because of the ending? What’s up with that?) as Patterson more often than not will be able to provide a satisfactory resolution in the coming book.

It was refreshing to read a book in the Alex Cross series where he’s not in control, as the Detective usually is. He finds his life turned upside down as he’s thrust into an uncomfortable position and it’s instantly refreshing to explore one of the more memorable characters in popular thriller fiction and it’s great to see what happens and how it unfolds. As I’m twenty two books into the series it’s getting harder and harder to really to say anything new about these books and chances are fans will have already read Cross My Heart by now. But basically, if you haven’t, go in expecting a cliffhanger ending and you shouldn’t be disappointed. I can’t wait to get my hands on the next instalment, and the latest in the series, Hope to Die, which should prove to be just as much fun as the previous entries have been.

VERDICT: 8/10

Alex Cross Recommended Reading Order: Along Came a Spider, Kiss the Girls, Jack & Jill, Cat and Mouse, Pop Goes the Weasel,  Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, Four Blind Mice, The Big Bad Wolf, London Bridges, Mary, Mary, Cross, Double Cross, Cross Country, Alex Cross’s Trial, I, Alex Cross, Cross Fire, Kill Alex Cross, Merry Christmas, Alex Cross, Alex Cross, Run, Cross My Heart, Hope to Die, Cross Justice (Upcoming)

 

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