Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cross Country by James Patterson

Book Details
Cross Country by James Patterson
Hardcover, 416 Pages
2008, Little, Brown and Company
ISBN: 0316018724
Series: Book 14 of Alex Cross

When the home of Alex Cross's oldest friend, Ellie Cox, is turned into the worst murder scene Alex has ever seen, the destruction leads him to believe that he's chasing a horrible new breed of killer. As Alex and his girlfriend, Brianna Stone, become entangled in the deadly Nigerian underworld of Washington D.C., what they discover is shocking: a stunningly organized gang of lethal teenagers headed by a powerful, diabolical man--the African warlord known as the Tiger. Just when the detectives think they're closing in on the elusive murderer, the Tiger disappears into thin air. Tracking him to Africa, Alex knows that he must follow. Alone.

As readers, we have to be willing to suspend our disbelieve once in a while for the enjoyment of a book. Cross Country, the 14th Alex Cross novel, asks readers to go well beyond normal suspension and travels very far into unrealistic territory.

Alex Cross, devoted family man who often feels guilty for abandoning his children for a day or two, travels to Africa on a case. He ventures into known danger, leaving his family, friends, girlfriend, police job and psychiatric patients behind to chase after his old college girlfriend's killer. Off the clock, even, since the department definitely didn't send him.

The huge amount of information about Sierra Leone, Nigeria, Darfur, among other places, is interesting to someone like me with no knowledge of African lands, but much of it was presented in a manner that felt much like a news story or documentary.

Gangs of children are killing entire families in DC and elsewhere. A large portion of the story was focused on governmental corruption - both in Africa and America. There were many of the twists Patterson is known for, but few were unforeseen.

Ultimately, people were dying because of Alex's involvement and for what? Alex has a tendency to go a little gung-ho, but this was out of character and bordered on ridiculous. A book that doesn't portray the series main character true to form is never a good thing. Cross Country does nothing for the series and I feel my long-time love for James Patterson waning in the aftermath of this book.


James Patterson's website


  1. :( I was afraid that series would go the way of the P. Cornwell Scarpetta series. I love the Alex Cross books (though I have only read the first 6)!

  2. Aw, sorry to hear about this book! I've never read anything by Patterson, so I'll definitely pass on this one. I enjoyed your review, though!

  3. I just finished reading this book earlier in the week. And I am in total agreement with your review. Sad that this was my first Alex Cross book in a few years. I don't feel encouraged to read more.

  4. @Felicia - I have a bunch of the Scarpetta series, but haven't started it yet.

    @Emidy - Thanks!

    @Аманда - I'll probably finish the ones I own, but won't be buying any more if the rest are like this one.