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Four Blind Mice (Alex Cross) Hardcover – November 18, 2002

535 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

In this latest thriller from perennial bestselling author James Patterson, Washington cop Alex Cross gets involved in his partner's effort to save the life of an old Army buddy who's facing execution for a horrendous and inexplicable murder spree in North Carolina. The Army's evidence against Sergeant Ellis Cooper, a decorated Vietnam vet, is overwhelming, which isn't surprising since it's all been planted by a quartet of killers whose reason for framing the erstwhile hero isn't revealed until long after they are. The big secret is who set the murderers loose, and in true cliffhanger fashion, Patterson keeps it under wraps until the very end. Meanwhile, his usual blend of action, violence, fast pacing and uninspired-though-serviceable prose prevail, and will probably do so all the way to the top of the bestseller lists. --Jane Adams

From Publishers Weekly

With Patterson continuing to move in unexpected directions (his next novel, The Jester, due out in March 2003, is a medieval adventure), it's a pleasure to see him touch home base with another Alex Cross thriller this one the best Cross yet. The mice of the title are three homicidal Army Rangers, Vietnam vets, and their mysterious controller; as is usual in the Cross novels, we know this much sooner than does the black Washington, D.C., detective, who gets involved when an army careerist, Sgt. Ellis Cooper, an old pal of Cross's colleague and best friend, John Sampson, is found guilty at military trial for the brutal murder of three women, but claims innocence. Traveling to North Carolina, where Cooper awaits execution, and to Fort Bragg to investigate, Cross and Sampson encounter stonewalling among the military which only intensifies as they uncover a pattern of other military men executed for like crimes they may not have committed. As the duo visits West Point, they confront an even thicker "gray" wall of silence. Meanwhile, the killers strike again, and when Cross and Sampson identify them, the Rangers begin hunting the cops. The action leads, as is Patterson's custom, to a firecracker string of climaxes; the finale finds Cross handcuffed and stripped naked in deep woods, about to be killed. Throughout, Patterson expertly balances the conspiratorial action with intriguing developments in Cross's domestic life, including health problems for his family's anchor, the elderly Nana, and growing romance between him and a California cop. Everything clicks in this novel, from Patterson's patented short chapters (115 here) to the whiplash plotting. This may not be high lit, but it sure is entertainment.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: Alex Cross
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown; 1st edition (November 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316693006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316693004
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.3 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (535 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,127,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

It is no surprise that in January, 2010, The New York Times Magazine featured James Patterson on its cover and hailed him as having "transformed book publishing," and that Time magazine hailed him as "The Man Who Can't Miss." Recently, NBC's Rock Center with Brian Williams profiled Patterson's prolific career, AARP named him one of the "50 Most Influential People Who Make Our Days a Little Brighter," and Variety featured him in a cover story highlighting his adventures in Hollywood.

In 2013, it was estimated that one-in-five of all hardcover suspense/thriller novels sold was written by James Patterson, his books have sold over 300 million copies worldwide, and he holds the Guinness record for the most #1 New York Times bestsellers of any author. And his success isn't based solely on thrillers like the perennially popular Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club and Michael Bennett series. Patterson is now also the current bestselling author in the young adult and middle grade categories.

He's been called the busiest man in publishing, and that's not just because of his own books. For the past decade, James has been devoting more and more of his time to championing books and reading. From the James Patterson Pageturner Awards, to his website, to his College Book Bucks scholarships and his regular donations of hundreds of thousands of books to schools here in the states and troops overseas (see interviews on Fox & Friends, The Dennis Miller Radio Show and, Patterson has passed on his passion of books and reading and supported those who do the same. Jim personally funded a major ad campaign re-printing a recent opinion piece on about how it is our responsibility to get our kids reading. The ad has run in the New York Times, The New Yorker, and USA Today. Those ads are a call to action to parents to make their kids reading a top priority; and were featured by USA Today here. Patterson believes that we cannot rely on schools, teachers or the government to get our kids reading; only parents can make this crucial change in the reading habits of our kids. Here are links to some interviews on his first-ever dual lay down (two books, one for parents and one for kids, in one day): AOL's You've Got, NBC's "Today Show" with Hoda and Kathie Lee, USA Today and Family Circle, NBC's "Today Show" with Al Roker, as well as an interview with AARP.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Tucker Andersen VINE VOICE on November 25, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a more than adequate prototypical James Patterson assembly line thriller involving another case for fans of DC Detective Alex Cross. The dialog is simple, the action is fast, the murders are brutal, there is a mastermind to catch, and the chapters are shorter than ever (less than four pages on average). However, I found this book much more enjoyable than the last few Cross books. First, we don't get so many mindnumbing gruesome details about the murders. Second, John Sampson's character gets fleshed out and he has a more instrumental role in the story. Third, it was much more a straighforward police procedural and detective story despite a few stupid and unrealistic actions by Cross (including breaking and entering at the home of one of the suspects). Last, I personally was glad that a bestselling author like Patterson addressed the continuing effect of the Vietnam War on many veterans and the ethical dilemmas which they faced, even if this is a very superficial treatment.
As usual, Patterson hooks you through immediate action and the fact you're several chapters in the book almost before you have begun, since it's always easy to read another three or four pages. This is no literary masterpiece and there are no long descriptive sections, just the necessary facts to advance the plot intermixed with more than usual degree of involvement in the personal lives of Cross (and his new girlfriend Jamilla), Sampson, and Nana, Cross' grandmother.
Sampson's Vietnam buddy, Ellis Cooper, is convicted of a brutal triple murder based on compelling physical evidence. He contacts Sampson from Death Row and he and Cross become convinced that he was framed. As they investigate, they uncover several previous murders where Vietnam vets were apparently similarly framed and executed.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By JC on November 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Every time James Patterson releases a book, readers use this space to complain about his latest work. People who have never read Patterson should understand something: He does not write with the forensic detail of a Ridley Pearson, or develop a plot like Jeffery Deaver, nor does he have the hard-boiled edge of a Michael Connelly. James Patterson attempts to do one thing and one thing only - entertain his readers - and he does it very well.
Four Blind Mice is the eighth installment in the Alex Cross series of books. While this one is not quite on par with Kiss the Girls or Along Came a Spider, it is certainly better than any of the more recent Cross novels, especially Violets Are Blue.
There were several positive aspects to this novel. The first and most noticeable is that Patterson brings John Sampson in for his most fully developed role yet. Sampson is a very likeable character and plays well with Cross. In fact, the Sampson character highlights the better parts of Cross more than any other. The second plus to this book was that the plot is better than it has been in the previous two Cross novels. Although most of Patterson's plots are unrealistic, and this one is no exception, this one seems more grounded in plausibility than Violets Are Blue, for example. The killers, whom we know are a group of former army rangers less than 10 pages into the book, are much better as villians than Vampires. This only ads to the story. The final thing frequent readers of Patterson's novels will notice is that the Cross character is fleshed out more fully and from different angles. We get to see Cross the detective, Cross the buddy,Cross the Dad, Cross and Jamilla, and Cross and Nana-Mama. This really helped to give the character a three-dimensional feel.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Silver Springer on March 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
You can count on being entertained by James Patterson's Detective Alex Cross series. The characters are familiar and well-drawn and the plots are challenging and provide page-turning entertainment.
In this installment, the first after the "Mastermind" killer was jailed in Violets are Blue, puts Alex's partner Sampson in the forefront as he suspects that an Army friend has been framed for murders he did not commit in Fort Bragg. So starts what appears to be a pattern of cases where Army soldiers are framed in a convincing way in a pattern of ritualistic and gruesome murders. As the plot continues we find a connection with a series of murders that took place in Vietnam in 1969. But who is ordering the murders and why--this is the element that holds your interest until a very satisfying ending.
Also of interest in this book are love interests for Cross and Sampson and a health threat for Nana Mamma who is the heart and glue of the Cross household.
Some reviews call Patterson's work predictable. The only predictable element I find is that I am fairly sure that when I pick up a Patterson novel I will be happily entertained and challenged with plot twists. This was a very enjoyable and quick read--I finished it in one 24 hour period.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on December 8, 2002
Format: Hardcover
After reading 'Violets are Blue', I felt that James Patterson had become locked into a pattern in his suspense stories. At one end of the story is Alex Cross, psychologist turned homicide detective and at the other is one or another variation of the psychotic mastermind. Because this is such a generic formula, one can get a lot of mileage out of it before it becomes noticeably repetitious. However, 'Violets are Blue' was not all that well written, and I found myself predicting too much of the book's events.
'Four Blind Mice' is a much better vehicle, although the basic pattern is still present. This time Alex's partner and friend, John Sampson drags Alex into a case that starts out ugly and then gets very frightening. Sgt. Ellis Cooper, a man Sampson admires greatly, is sitting on death row awaiting execution for crimes that he apparently did not commit. The two detectives pour a tremendous amount of energy into finding the truth, but they can only find shadows and whispers of a pattern of murder and accusation that has led a series of Viet Nam veterans to their deaths.
Again Patterson exposes the killers almost immediately, and leaves the reader waiting impatiently for Cross and Sampson to catch up, while we get to spend time inside the heads of the killers. Even when it is clear that the executions are really assassinations, it is difficult to uncover the underlying motivation. Cross finds himself receiving anonymous messages from someone named 'Foot Soldier', who is apparently the mind behind much that is going on. But nothing comes clear easily.
Alex has a lot going on in his life to distract him.
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