Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Cross Country

Yeh, this is the newest book in the Alex Cross series by James Patterson (unless he's gone and released another since I last checked. It was okay. An interesting plot, and for once Alex Cross did not jump into bed with anybody. Or at least, when he did, he just lay there next to a woman and did nothing else! Which is quite amazing for a James Patterson book (I have to confess, I do tend to skip completely or at the very least skim those bits...). Alex Cross determined to go after this guy known as the Tiger, who was involved in a couple of messy murders. He stumbles into corruption etc. I thought the portrayal of Africa was a tiny bit moralising and OTT regarding the whole crooked crops, everything's awful and so on. I know it is, but it struck me in a rather similar vein to The Final Warning (Maximum Ride book 4, and you honestly don't want to read it). IE James Patterson had a bee in his bonnet about a 'big issue' and decided to spread the word around using his stories. Fine, but Alex Cross really wasn't the person to get the point across. A different person would've been better, because yes Alex Cross has had to draw his weapon etc but at the end of the day he's a psychiatrist not an action hero. If you want a book that deals with the issues around Africa and is also a great read, go with Bait. The other thing that bugged me is that the threat to Alex's family has been done so many times before in previous novels (and I haven't even read all of the Alex Cross ones). It would be interesting to see how Alex would relax to get home to a scene of slaughter--the kidnapping thing (and I'm not too bothered about giving the plot away because this book is not worth reading) was out of character for the villain. It was, to be quite frank, ridiculous. By the end of the book, I wanted the bad guys to win, if only to get rid of Cross' irritating smugness (and somehow he kept right on bouncing back after being beaten up--something I thought only I was guilty of doing, and then only in my first drafts when I start running out of ideas and just decide to shoot people). I also wanted Nana and the kids to get splatted, which shows how bad this book was, because in the past books I have quite liked the character of Nana. So yeh, don't bother with Cross Country, unless you want to see what has been a pretty good series (I quite enjoyed Double Cross, enough to buy a copy secondhand) brought to a pathetic end. I can't honestly say I'll be reading any more James Patterson books, the quality seems to be declining with every new release.

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