Top critical review
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Improvement from the first book
on December 13, 2004
I might even go as far as to say three and a half stars, as this work is a bit better than the previous one, Along Came A Spider. However, as popular as Patterson may be, he still writes in such a mediocre way which is overcome by the fact that he nails down interesting stories and keeps the action going.
This book, like the first Alex Cross offering, is over the top in concept, much of the stuff here could never happen (or at least should never happen assuming the cops and FBI aren't filled with totally incompetent people). One of the things that Patterson keeps doing, here and in other works, is that he creates false tension and suspense by having the characters do stuff that is so unbelievably stupid, it's hard not to let it ruin the story. Think for a moment, you're a woman that's just survived a brutal kidnapping and rape from your home, by an intelligent and resourceful killer, who knows where you live. Now, after leaving the hospital you insist on going home and staying there, unprotected. That and the FBI and local police, who know the killer would like to see you dead (after all they did guard you at the hospital-you're a potential witness) don't bother to stake out your home, leaving you at the mercy of the killer. Yeah, okay, that's believable, I guess, if you're fourteen or something.
One other huge impossibility, and this happens in the prologue, so this is hardly a spoiler or anything, the young killer, future antagonist in our story is hiding in a house watching them, waiting to kill. He's hiding, get this, in the ducting system. Apparently Patterson has watched too many stupid heist movies, because, if you'll glance up from the computer as you read this, and look at the air register in the room you're in, you'll notice that it would be physically impossible for a six foot tall man to climb out of it and murder you. In fact, it would be impossible for a child to crawl out of it. I realize that in the movies, the bad guys are always crawling around in ducts, but, those are usually in commercial buildings, like banks or something, and, the bad guy isn't seen removing a grill from inside the duct and climbing out into a bedroom. A bedroom never has a duct with a two foot wide diameter opening, no bedroom would ever need that much air, it isn't just silly, it's beyond belief.
The problem with these little factual problems is that they destroy the credability of the rest of the story. We the readers have to assume that the information about stuff we know nothing about is accurate, but how can we when there are such major errors in stuff we do know something about?
In any case, the fast paced action and general readability of the work make it an above average thriller, so for those that like this kind of stuff, I still recommend it.