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on September 12, 2002
I never saw the movie. Never read a book by Patterson. Never really wanted to. So when I idly picked up "Kiss the Girls" while browsing a local bookstore, I didn't expect much; it was on a table of "fun beach reads" or some such thing.
I read the first page or two. I bought the book. And I can't remember much after that, except that, heart pounding, palms sweating, I entered the obscenely diabolical world of two serial killers: The Gentleman Caller, and Casanova, terrorizing both Coasts at once. With skill and his own brand of genius, Patterson takes the reader into the crazed yet terrifyingly logical minds of each killer. We are there while they stalk their victims: young women who are smart, educated, self-assured, and perfectly beautiful. At least in the eyes of their killers. We are there during some of the most gruesome and terrifying murders. We are there as Casanova sexually tortures his live victims in his House of Horrors, in which one infraction of the "house rules" results in horrible death.
What is the connection between these two killers? What is their sick purpose? It falls to police detective/psychologist Alex Cross to solve the mystery. But Alex has more than a professional interest in the case. His beloved niece Naomi is one of the missing women.
I challenge anyone to put this book down once begun. I was absolutely amazed at the hold it had on me--and still does. I immediately ordered the next in Patterson's Alex Cross series, "Jack and Jill." And I have recommended "Kiss the Girls" to every book-loving friend I have.
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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.
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on October 22, 1998
Yes, this book is frightening and very suspenseful. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a passion for nail biting thrillers. This is a mystery that keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. If you like mysteries this one was written for you. Kiss the Girls is about frightening man in his mid twenties. He goes by the name "Casanova". This creepy character stalks and then captures beautiful, inteligent, young women. Once captured he brings them to his home deep within the thick forrest of North Carolina and locks them up in a room. He then goves them certain rules to follow. If they break these rules Casanova puts a frightening end to their life. In this distrubing case there are many detectives trying to solve it. There is one detective Cross who is passionately involved because his neice Naomi has been captured by Casanova. Detective Cross refuses to rest until Casanova is captured and broughtr to justice. The terribly suspenseful, frightening ending has several surprising twists. I guess you'll just have to read it to find out. This book has a lot of good aspects. It is loaded with gripping suspense from start to finish. The frightening story never lets you take a rest. Another great aspect of the book is that it has very short, snappy chapters. Each chapter is only about 2 to 3 pages long and ends in a very suspenseful twist. This style of writing makes for non-stop, action-packed thrills. There are not many bad aspects about this book. One of the drawbacks is that the author goes into too many gory details. It is also very hard to follow who is who in this book. The good aspects of this story definitely outweigh the bad aspects, therefore, rush to your nearest bookstore and buy this book today.
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on December 27, 2000
If you didn't like the movie, which I didn't, then you'll like the book, as I also did.
Here is a quick review of the book. Casanova is a collector of something rare and beautiful....women. When he sees one he thinks is both beautiful and rare, he takes them and keeps them in his personal collection. The problem comes when he takes a family member of Alex Cross, a dectieve. Alex is soon on the case to get back the one he loves. There are also murders across the coast on the opposite side of the states. Could there be two serial killers wanting to out do each other? Or are they working together? If so, how can Alex Cross stop them both? I suggest that you read the book if you want to find out.
Alex Cross is an interesting character. I liked how he had an instant bond with Kate. It seems that Kate and Alex we're almost a mirror image of each other.
When it comes to fiction, it's important to have "good" good guys, but I feel it's more important to have better bad guys. Patterson accomplishes this. Cassanova and The Gentleman are *incredible* some of the things that Casanova does is out right creepy.
The style that Patterson writes in take a little getting used to. It's in both first and third person. When you get used to that, it's a sinch to read. The chapters are 2 and 1/2 pages tops.
The book goes into way more detail that the movie. As I said, if you didn't like the movie, you'll like the book.
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on December 18, 2000
I read this entire book in about a day... it's easy when the author conveniently supplies us with bite sized chapters, perfect for this modern world! Who wants to be bogged down in depth, or character development? We want a world of red herrings galore, and cardboard characters.
That much I can actually deal with. What bothered me in this book was Patterson's rather disturbing juxtaposition of descriptions of well muscled, and flawless bodies (male and female) against the background of hideous violence. (The scene with the snake was completely uncalled for). Patterson almost seems to be at awe of the villains well muscled physique and *ahem* other body parts...he certainly writes enough about it. But the idea of these women being paraded around in lavish evening gowns in front of their sick captor is just absurd. And honestly, our heroine may be strong, but how many times can she be victimized and beaten and STILL live?
This book is a disturbing look at violence against women,made even more disturbing by the needless eroticism of the violence. This is just rather irresponsible. And set as it is against the flat, unimaginative prose, "Kiss the Girls" adds up to a book that you need to take a shower after reading.
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VINE VOICEon May 4, 2000
Of all of Patterson's "Cross" novels, this still remains my favorite. The premise was (at the time of writing) original and amazing. You could practically feel yourself there among the women trapped in Casanova's collection at times, and it was all in all a great book. The movie tried to be faithful to it, but 60-year-old Morgan Freeman as a thirtysomething Alex Cross just didn't cut it. Don't base your opinion of the book on that movie...trust me. This book is one you'll finish quickly and enjoy tremendously.
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on August 8, 2007
As is the case in nearly all James Patterson's novels, the villains are over the top here--geniuses, handsome devils, phi beta kappas--and the crimes they commit over years are well beyond belief. There are no crimes in real life to compare with those in this book or in other Alex Cross novels. Not even Jeffrey Dahmer or Jack the Ripper could compete with Casanova and his sidekick, The Gentleman Caller.

And Alex Cross, the psychologist police detective, is perhaps just a little too good in places and a bit naive, even blind, in others. Coupled with his character flaws are more serious plot flaws. Casanova has captured a good many women and is holding them in a cellar at a remote rural area. He parks his car some distance away and visits regularly to have his way with them. But when Cross goes looking there, he finds no path, and there surely must have been one with all the foot traffic in and out. Another flaw: Casanova gets some nasty karate kicks when he captures one victim, bone crushing kicks to the face, as they are characterized. Would there not have been clear signs of his injuries next day when he resumes his public persona? Didn't anyone notice that his nose was purple and bent sideways? It seems to me that the laws of physics apply in fiction, the same as in real life. There are other flaws as well, but two will suffice here. Certainly there are many readers who like crime fiction that goes far beyond reality, but for me it just gets funny, rather than scary, when the laws of nature are abrogated.

I have to add one observation with respect to this book and other Alex Cross novels: it is very dangerous for any woman to become closely involved with our hero. Such women get shot, raped, cut, traumatized for life, kidnapped, tortured, electrocuted, etc. Cross's love affairs are not to be envied, despite the fact that he keeps meeting gorgeous and willing females. Perhaps he should consider celibacy for the sake of society.
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on April 29, 2005
KISS THE GIRLS involves America's favorite detective, Alex Cross, who becomes involved in a series of murders and kidnappings in the Raleigh, North Carolina area when his niece, Naomi, is kidnapped from Duke University. His digging eventually leads him to Kate McTiernan, a medical student who has escaped the house of torture where this sicko takes his victims. After her escape, we find out that there are really two nutcases involved (one on the West Coast and one on the East Coast) who meet to compare notes and victims.

The story is very good and keeps you on your toes to keep up with the action. There are a few gaps that Patterson jumps instead of bridging. For example, the fact that two psychos would play this kind of game of one-upmanship is never thoroughly explained and is brushed off by stating that they've been friends for years and met in school. James Patterson also alludes to romantic feelings between Alex Cross and Kate McTiernan but never fully explores the potential relationship and all that would entail (nor does he bring Kate McTiernan back in any of his subsequent novels to date, which does not keep in the character of Alex Cross).

I do have to applaud Patterson on making his Cassanova villain worse than most introduced by any writer. I've wondered just where he came up with some of the tortures described in this book (the snake and milk scene is one of the worse and is haunting). A writer will be hard pressed to top this villain.

KISS THE GIRLS is very good and I feel James Patterson gets better as he goes on down the list of his nursery rhyme named books. I'd recommend this book be added to your list of reading material even though he leaves a few loose ends. It's still one that will leave an impression with the reader long after they've finished that last page.
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on March 9, 2006
This was the first "Real" Book I had ever read growing up, and my cousin gave it to me and told me I simply had to read this book. I read it straight for 14 hours and completed it. At the time, I was 13. I couldn't put it down. I'd recommend it to anyone with an open mind and a thirst for a good read! 5 stars

- Megg
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on December 21, 2015
The book starts with action-packed suspense, and it never lets go. This is not the book for you if you are easily offended by sadistic behavior, graphic violence and off-color language. This is; however, the book for you if you can handle all of the above and enjoy a rather devious plot that speeds the heartbeat and sends chills up and down the spine. The story is filled with an abundance of scary twists and turns, action and surprises. I would put this in the category of definitely must read list for addicted readers of mystery, suspense and thrillers! You just may experience sweating, hair standing on end and goose bumples while reading the story of stalking, kidnapping, rape, captivity and murders.

Casanova has been lurking in the ductwork of a house for weeks. He has watched every move of the family living there. Whew! Now, that is a bit far-fetched since the man is over six feet tall, but...... he is thin and nimble! Casanova has been watching and waiting; however, no one is aware of his presence. Well, that does get the reader's attention, and that just might quickly turn to fury.

Alex Cross is a Washington D.C. homicide detective and also a family man. An evening with his children is interrupted by the sound of the doorbell. A young boy is in need of urgent help as his life hangs by a thread. Alex rushes him to a hospital. From there on, there is non-stop suspenseful action for detectives Alex Cross and John Sampson.

Alex has a niece for whom he has played the father role since the death of his brother. Alex loves Naomi like his own daughter. Suddenly, he learns she is missing from North Carolina's Duke University where she is a student.

Alex goes to North Carolina, to assist in the search for Naomi, where, in 1995, black men were sometimes still looked upon with contempt or suspicion. He has always been able to hold his own both verbally and physically, and along with his side-kick Sampson, the gentle giant and fellow homicide detective, not many people are willing to want to get into a serious confrontation with either one of them. They are both BIG guys....tall, muscular and good cops. Sampson initially goes with Alex, but has to return to D.C. for a short period of time before returning toward the end of the grisly tale.

While in North Carolina, Alex is confronted with frustration around every corner. Yes, they know he is a successful Washington D.C. homicide detective, but the FBI and local law enforcement do not initially want him involved in the search for Naomi. Reluctantly, they do agree to let him participate on a limited need to know basis. He decides to do some investigative search and rescue with or without the help of the super powers. His exploits are a bit extreme at times and perhaps a little far-fetched, but do provide mind-boggling reading. The story quickly becomes creepy and rather scary when more young Duke university female students disappear. More brutalized bodies continue to show up showing the police what kind of barbaric killer they are dealing with.

There is extreme violence with erotic killer overtones and probable unrealistic happenings that are very graphic in detail; but they do give the story some spice that may serve to anger the reader while inducing some adrenalin flow.

There are two deranged killers...one on each coast and young women’s brutalized bodies have been found for a number of years. There are similarities in the murders on each coast. Are the killers connected in some way. Casanova is on the east coast, and The Gentleman Caller is on the west coast. The killers are barbaric and sadistic, and Alex Cross is determined to hunt down both of the villains.
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