From Publishers Weekly
Forensic psychologist Alex Cross's storied career in private practice, with the FBI and as a Washington, D.C., cop has brought him into contact with all kinds of seriously disturbed killers, but his 12th outing from bestseller Patterson (after 2005's Mary, Mary) may be the ultimate in lunatic deadliness. Beginning with a flashback to the murder of Cross's wife, Maria, Patterson quickly introduces Michael Sullivan (aka the Butcher of Sligo). What follows is a frenetically paced series of brutal rapes and killings by Sullivan, once employed by the mob as a freelancer and now at war with them. Cross juggles being a single parent and being involved in the dangerous game of tracking serial killers until he finally decides to give it up for his family. Needless to say, he's drawn back into the game when it promises a chance of finding Maria's killer. Cross's competence and vulnerability make a stark contrast with Sullivan's sadistic mutilations and psychological manipulations of his victims. Fans know that Cross will survive, but at what cost? (Nov.)
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Patterson's departure from the nursery-rhyme titles in his latest Alex Cross yarn is a tip-off that the focus this time is not so much on the case as on the man. For the first time in Patterson's 13-year-old series, we relive the day in 1993 when Cross' wife, Maria, was murdered. Alex was a young gun with the D.C. police then, and Maria was a social worker in the poorest and most dangerous section of the city before she became the victim of a drive-by shooting. Cut to the present, and Alex--who has been with the FBI for some time, become a successful crime writer, and started to lose a bit of that "dragon slayer" touch--decides to devote more time to his three kids, much to the delight of Nana Mama, Alex's nonagenarian three-in-one grandmother, nanny, and guiding light. Alex is nothing if not loyal, so when his former partner John Sampson asks him to help track down a sicko who is serially raping Georgetown coeds, Alex cannot say no. Little does he know, however, that the search for the rapist will have ties to Maria's death. That her killer was never found is a constant source of frustration for Alex, and this case offers a chance to finally put Maria's memory to rest. Even as the story whips by with incredible speed, Patterson manages to pack it full of suspense, emotion, and a resolution that, while perfectly satisfying, carries the author's trademark teaser hinting at the "more" that surely will come. Mary Frances Wilkens
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