Thursday, November 17, 2016

cross, cross, cross

As I stated earlier, I have been reading a lot of James Patterson lately. I have so much happening on the home front these days that these mostly mindless mysteries have been somewhat soothing. But I think I'm done for a while. I thought that the books solo-authored by Patterson would be less factory-like, but alas, that doesn't seem to be the case. As much as I liked the first novel featuring his African-American psychologist/detective Alex Cross, in the series, Along Came A Spider, the rest of the books in this series seem cookie-cutter and sooooooo receptive. We get it - Alex is torn between his sugary-sweet family life and his career chasing seriously gruesome serial killers - which he seems to love, because he spends way more time chasing sickos than going to school concerts. I may have checked my mind at the door a bit too much recently. Admittedly, I have been bouncing around in the chronology, based on whatever is available at the library, but I think if I want a cozy bedtime mystery read I'll go back to Agatha Christie from now on.

Here are the books (listed in published order) that I have been tearing through the last month or so:

Cat and Mouse - A sequel to Along Came a Spider of sorts, Alex is once again matching wits with serial killer Gary Soneji, but that's not enough. A really creepy dude who calls himself Mr. Smith is causing mayhem in Europe and the U.S.

Pop Goes the Weasel - A killer dubbed The Weasel is running wild in Southeast D.C. As he is chasing The Weasel Alex also grows closer to his girlfriend Christine, but that puts her in danger ...

Roses are Red - The Mastermind is orchestrating some deadly bank robberies and Alex must work with the FBI to catch him ... except this story is a to-be-continued ... (and must have really pissed off Patterson junkies when it first came out and they read the whole thing, which was really just a set-up for ...

Violets Are Blue - This is a truly terrible book. The Mastermind is still round, but so is a vampire cult of killers. The murders are even grosser than usual, and as always there is no reason or motivation for the heinous crimes. If Alex was my shrink, or detective, or police analyst, I'd fire him. He doesn't find clues, he trips over them.

The Big Bad Wolf - Alex has joined the FBI now, but his problems and modus operandi seem the same. This time the killer is "The Wolf", but don't expect Alex to solve anything. Again, just another set-up for the next book ...

London Bridges - This time Patterson teams up The Wolf with The Weasel to do their worst. Does anyone Alex investigate ever stay in prison?

I don't think there are enough shelves for all of his published books

Mary, Mary - This one was better-than-average, which made me wonder if someone else may have ghost-written the book. While on vacation with his family, Alex is pulled into a serial killer case in Los Angeles that seems to be targeting celebrity moms. Can't his kids and ancient grandma Nana Mama ever catch a break?

Cross Country - Another truly awful one. Alex travels to Africa, against everyone and anyone with a brain's advice, to chase down a brutal killer called the Tiger. He doesn't ever seem to solve his cases. He survives them, making consistently bad decisions at almost every step along the way, while those around him drop like flies.

Cross Fire - The Mastermind is back, putting Alex and his family in danger. Again.

Cross Justice - Alex travels to North Carolina to help his cousin, who has been accused of murder. But in order to solve that case he must also delve into his family's past and unearth some deep dark family secrets.

So ... that's it. I think I have read enough about the "Muhammed Ali look-alike" super detective Alex Cross. I do like how Patterson is pro-reading and my daughter seems to like his Middle School and I Funny kids-book series. So there's that.


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