Author James Patterson tells the reader something crucial early on, but it's not revealed to the key character, Detective Alex Cross. I found myself wondering exactly how and when Cross would find out for himself. Of course, I'm not going to give you any clues, but this mystery did keep me turning the pages.
The novel is largely about a series of murders in Washington, D.C., Cross's base. The victims include a corrupt politician, a crooked lobbyist, and a venal tycoon. These were people hated by many, but Cross is determined to solve the case. While investigating the murders, he finds a complex math formula in a most unusual place, gets a big lead from a submerged Suburban, and makes a life-long commitment.
Also in the picture is Kyle Craig, Cross's long-time nemesis. Patterson does a good job constructing Craig as a total monster.
This is the twelfth book written or co-written by James Patterson that I have reviewed for this site. It's near the top of the list. The prose is skillfully crafted. The pages fly by.
on November 22, 2010
As one might readily guess by the title, CROSS FIRE is the latest installment in James Patterson's Alex Cross series. As often happens in a series once it reaches a certain point in its life span, this 17th book constitutes a perfect place for newcomers to jump on, while giving fans more reasons --- as if they needed any --- to continue on.
I should also say that, if you were an early fan of the series and haven't dropped in on it for a while, this is a wonderful opportunity to renew old acquaintances. Patterson returns to old form here, and the novel is much better for it. The plot is deeper and more complex than those of his more recent predecessors, yet his stated goals in his writing --- to move the plot and the reader along quickly --- are still met, and admirably so. This is a book that should make everyone very happy indeed.
Quite a bit happens in CROSS FIRE. As the cover will tell you, Alex Cross gets married, and Kyle Craig returns. Craig is Cross's one-time friend turned bitter enemy. Having escaped from an imprisonment that Cross was instrumental in effecting, Craig has vowed revenge and pursues it with single-minded intent. Cross is involved in a high-priority case that threatens to literally blow Washington, D.C. away. A pair of highly skilled snipers are killing high-profile white criminals, seemingly at will and vanishing without a trace. Cross is unaware that Craig has infiltrated the investigation, and is not only working side by side with Cross but also inserting himself into his household.
In the meantime, Craig cannot resist taunting Cross over the telephone and going so far as to leave him cryptic messages at other crime scenes. Cross doesn't need the distraction, particularly because he and long-time love Bree Stone are in the middle of planning their wedding. And indeed, the nuptials take place. It's what happens afterward that will have readers declaring this to be the most memorable book in the series to date.
While CROSS FIRE marks a watershed of sorts for Patterson and the Cross novels, there are enough plot threads left dangling to keep the series going for as long as Patterson wishes to keep writing it and his fans to keep reading it. The reappearance of another, nearly forgotten character from the past lays the groundwork for a storyline that could easily continue for another two books --- or more --- and a hint or two dropped at the end indicates that Patterson may be planning a crossover (no pun intended) novel between Cross's world and another extremely popular series of his, as well as the possibility of a new spin-off series.
Patterson, whose name seems to appear on a new book each month, is not slowing down; rather, he appears to be amping up, and his willingness and ability to constantly create new projects while adapting and tinkering with his established ones is commendable. CROSS FIRE is proof of that.
--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub
on November 16, 2010
I've been a big Patterson fan for years and the Cross series has always been my favorite. Unfortunately, the last few have been "mere shadows of their former selves". I suspect Mr Patterson's too busy with other projects to give this once great story the attention it deserves. In the end, a "not so great" Alex Cross story is certainly better than none, but the Kindle price ($14.95) is a bit high for the length (I finished in just a few hours) and quality of this one.
on November 18, 2010
I was very excited to read this book. I loved 'I, Alex Cross' and after reading the previews of 'Cross Fire' I thought that this book couldn't miss especially with the return of Kyle Craig.
The story starts out interestingly enough. Kyle Craig is plotting and planning in elaborate ways to snake his way into Alex Cross's life. In the meantime there are sniper shootings going on all over Washington, D.C. The problem that I found with these concepts was the fact that they really didn't seem to be all that original. We've all heard about the sniper shootings that took place in Washington in 2002 and it seemed like Patterson simply played off of that concept in order to create this story.
The other issue with this storyline is it seems to be almost unfinished in many ways as well as very familiar in his other stories. It seems as though there is always a 'boss behind a boss' when it comes to murderers in Patterson's books and this book was no different. However, this storyline seems unfinished in the sense that the reader is lead to believe that there is another big bad wolf out there and then all of the sudden nothing more is mentioned of it.
By the same token, the characters were not particularly what you would come to expect from James Patterson. Kyle Craig is a cold, calculated psychopathic murderer and it seems as though in this book and with this story line he has lost some of his craziness. I was waiting for this big event to take place and although there is some drama toward the end of the book, it is not quite the showdown that I really accepted.
I enjoy reading Alex Cross books and I will continue to read them. However, after waiting a year for another Alex Cross book, I am slightly disappointed by this one. I had great hopes for it based off of the last book. It almost seems as though James Patterson is running out of ideas for this character. Although the ending of the book clearly indicates that there will be another Cross book and possibly an appearance from a main character from another series, I think that Patterson needs to put some more time into the next Cross book.
on January 11, 2011
From the first page of the book I was hooked into the story and it never let me draw a breath until the final page of the last chapter. Alex Cross is tested to the max by his arch enemy, Kyle Craig, and I loved the fact that Craig was a worthy opponent. For all you Patterson (and Alex Cross) fans, Cross Fire is a "must read".
on September 30, 2011
As a big fan of the thriller/mystery genre, I've spent many happy hours reading the works of Jeffery Deaver, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Jonathan Kellerman, Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbo, Stieg Larsson, Lawrence Block, and so on. I finally got around to reading Cross Fire, by James Patterson. I was astounded.
In the course of this fast-moving, action-packed thriller, Washington D.C. Police Detective Alex Cross does not make one intelligent observation, decision, or deduction. Not one!
In a genre where leading characters use their wits, intellect, intuition, and fighting skills to solve horrendous crimes and get out of dangerous situations, the hero of this book wanders around like an idiot while terrible things take place all around him. Politicians and business leaders are gunned down, others are brutally murdered, Cross' nemesis returns to haunt him, and yet Cross remains essentially a clueless observer throughout the story. He doesn't solve a thing. He doesn't even make an interesting observation. Other than a brief skirmish at the end, he doesn't use any fighting skills. He might as well be a lifeless doll, buffeted by the winds of fate, with the reader waiting to see where he will land. I've never read anything like it.
Oh yes, there's also a hackneyed romantic side story, in which Cross' loved ones are presumably in danger but in which nothing much really happens, and in which Cross takes his fiancee to lavish hotels and getaways on a police detective's salary (maybe he's secretly on the take or came into some money in a previous story).
In addition to a complete lack of intelligent behavior by the hero, the story itself is not only ridiculous and unbelievable, major plot lines are left completely unresolved. I'm not kidding: completely unresolved!
So we have a hero who may as well be a lifeless doll, an absurd story, and major, unresolved plot lines. The result: Without question, the worst book of this genre that I've ever read. There's not even a close second.
Was Patterson just having a bad couple of months when he wrote this book? I guess I'll never know.
My advice: Do not, under any circumstances, go near this book, even if someone offers to pay you to read it.
on November 17, 2010
I enjoyed every page of this heart-stopping, suspense novel by James Patterson. It is vicious, wicked, depraved, and at times tender.
As Alex Cross attempts to protect himself and his family from his old nemesis, Kyle Craig, murders of Washington's elite are taking place. Detective Cross has a BIG SURPRISE awaiting him... right under his nose, so to speak. How will he get out of this one? His death seems inevitable; it's bound to happen this time.
I believe Cross Fire is Patterson's best Alex Cross work so far. The tale has depth, characters are well-developed, and the suspense is riveting. I was hooked from the first page!
on November 30, 2010
This is the first Cross (heretofore my favorite of Patterson's several series)to disappoint me. There is remarkably little local color of DC and even less complexion of Cross family members who in previous books etched a place in the hearts of readers. Patterson's usual strength of character development is glaringly lacking and one more roust with Kyle Craig produces not much more than a yawn. The end leaves the impression the next book will cross Alex with Lindsay Boxer. Will that bridge help restore Patterson's credibility as a top-notch master of mystery? Hard to know but also hard to imagine he will do worse than Cross Fire....
on November 20, 2010
I think the clock has run out on James Patterson and his Alex Cross line,
especially with Patterson electing to hawk this book on TV!! Even Kyle
Craig has lost his edge--time to hang it up on this collection.
on November 27, 2010
Ok storyline but the end was a great disappointment. How can you end a good book with such a sucky ending. This book builds you up for a great explosive ending, you cant wait to get to the end, when you reach the end, its like "what the hell" James Patterson is losing his touch. Get this book from your local library.