James Patterson Uses 'Cross Justice' to Paint a Fuller Picture of Alex Cross

Book Review - Jackie K Cooper
CROSS JUSTICE by James Patterson

Some people may sneer whenever it is announced James Paterson has authored a new book. They point to how most of his books now have a co-writer. This adds to the release of numerous new books during a year's time, which many consider a cheapening of his talent. Still Patterson has kept the "Alex Cross" books as his own and doesn't share any credit on them. CROSS JUSTICE is book number twenty three in this series and the adventures of the Washington, D.C. metro police detective continue.

At the start of this book, Cross, his wife Bree, his grandmother Nana, his daughter Jannie and his son Ali are headed south. They are driving to Starkeville, North Carolina which is Cross' hometown, but is also a place where he has not been in thirty-five years. He left following the death of his mother and father and has never returned.

He is now making this trip because his cousin has been accused of murder and his niece Naomie is handling his defense. Cross will be there to do his "Cross" thing and to give moral support. This doesn't mean he thinks his cousin is innocent; he is keeping an open mind on all that. If he determines that his relative is guilty, then he will do what he can to make sure justice is served.

This is a very satisfying Alex Cross book as it answers some of the questions that have been raised previously concerning Cross' childhood and family lore. We learn through this story the why and how of Alex Cross, and what has brought him to this point in his life. It is all a bit convoluted but it does get questions answered.

The least satisfying aspect of this story is in the "superman" events that occur. Cross gets into one tight situation after another. There are people in Starkville who want him dead, and they try over and over again to make this happen. But Alex Cross might as well be bulletproof. The logic of how he escapes so many attacks is asserted but it just doesn't hold water. After the third or fourth attempt on his life, reasonableness goes out the window and pure luck is the only explanation.

It is nice that Patterson still pushes forward the story of Nana Momma, an integral member of the Alex Cross cast. He also brings daughter Jannie's story up to date as she pursues a career in high school track events. It is to Patterson's credit he can gather such a large cast together and give each individual his due.

Once again Patterson keeps his plot fairly simple and his chapters short. The book is so nimble in its jump from chapter to chapter that it almost reads itself. This is the main aspect of Patterson's brilliance and the primary reason he is still working his craft after all these years. And doing it very successfully I might add.

If you have been a die hard Alex Cross fan then you will slurp this one up like gravy. It has all the things you like about the characters and Paterson's writing. The fact it is all just too much to be believed shouldn't slow you down a bit.

CROSS JUSTICE is published by Little, Brown. It contains 448 pages and sells for $29.00.

Jackie K Cooper

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