Roses Are Red (Alex Cross)
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66 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on October 19, 2000
After the disappointing "Cradle and All" Patterson is back in the vein of his sensational bestsellers "Along came a Spider", "Kiss the Girls" or "Cat and Mouse". This may be his best novel with his most evil villain yet. The Mastermind even tops Gary Soneji, Casanova or the Weasel. The end will simply blow you out of your shoes.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on October 21, 2000
I like Alex Cross books and this one is one of the better ones that James Patterson has written. The ending is sure to keep readers waiting for the next one as it even surprised me. I read this book on a 10 hour plane flight and completed it so it is a fast read. Here I had planned on sleeping on the flight and ended up not sleeping a wink because I couldn't keep my head out of this book!
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2000
Let's see. This is the first James Patterson novel I have read. It was a pretty good, extremely fast paced read. I was a little skeptical reading first person form (which I am not fond of), but Det. Alex Cross, was quite an interesting character. This is a sequel of sorts to a previous novel "Kiss the Girls", in which the good guy, Det. Alex Cross is crime solving again. I don't know if any characters other than Cross were in Patterson's other novel, since I have not read it yet. (But I plan to)
In this suspenseful drama, there is a lunatic out on the loose in the DC area. He is called the Mastermind. He truly is masterful, because he leaves no clues and is meticulous about everything he does. His reasons are understood by no one. He definitely enjoys the killing and preying on of innocent people. Nothing he does adds up to Det. Cross and the FBI. We are swept into a world of crime, where nothing makes sense. I was on edge wanting to know what will happen next. And believe me, some of you will be shocked by the outcome. (although I had my suspicions)
This book was better than I expected. I was a little annoyed with the page and a half chapters (125 chapters in a 300 page book,is a little extreme), but that seems to be Patterson's writing technique. He is a good author, and I suggest giving him a try.
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35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on October 16, 2000
ROSES ARE RED IS A RETURN TO FORM ALMOST! FOR JAMES PATTERSON,AFTER THE LAST COUPLE OF ALEX CROSS NOVELS WHICH LEFT ME A LITTLE FLAT AND WONDERING IF THE SERIES HAD GONE OFF THE BOIL ALONG COMES THIS STORY WHICH WAS AN ABSOLUTE PAGE TURNER WHICH SUDDENLY GROUND YO A HALT 50 PAGES FROM THE END WHEN WE GO INTO A PROTRACTED ENDING SEQUENCE WHICH LEFT ME THINKING WILL WE EVER FIND OUT WHO THE EVIL MASTERMIND REALLY IS FINALLY WE GET THERE WHEN THE IDENTITY IS REVEALED ON ALMOST THE LAST PAGE WHICH GAVE ME A REAL SHOCK I BETCHA YOU WONT FIGURE OUT WHO IT IS ,ANYWAY HERES HOPING FO A 100% RETURN TO FORM IN THE NEXT BOOK THE ONLY DOWNSIDE BEING WILL JAMES PATTERSON RUN OUT OF STORIES OR NURSERY RHYMES FIRST.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Caution: This book contains much graphic slaughter of the innocents and the guilty. If such things offend you, avoid this book. Also, Mr. Patterson likes to use vulgar language to provide a sense of colloquial English that may also put off some.
I'm serious about stopping on page 398. In fact, cover page 399 with a sheet of paper so you don't accidentally see anything on it. Reading the last two pages of Roses Are Red will reduce the attractiveness of this story to you, and eliminate most of the potential pleasure you can experience in Violets Are Blue, the next Alex Cross novel. The last two pages of Roses Are Red simply should have been edited out! Be cautious about which reviews you read of this book also, because some reviews reveal the material on those two pages . . . the ultimate in giving away a spoiler!
Mr. Patterson's strength is writing plots that are well paced, varied, surprising, and unusual. I thought that his plotting in Roses Are Red was unusually good. You will find yourself racing through the book, wanting to find out what's going on and who's behind it all.
The book's main theme is crime as a work of art expressing the ingenuity of a brilliant, but twisted criminal. As a result, the crimes are mentally very challenging to understand. You will think that you are reading about the criminal plans of Dr. Moriarty, Sethos, and the Riddler combined.
The weaknesses of Mr. Patterson's Alex Cross novels are also present here. He doesn't really show any detection, just detectives chatting with each other interspersed with developments driven by the criminals. The characters are about as little developed as they could be and still be differentiated from one another. The dialogue often reads like detective fiction rather than real dialogue.
But if you feel that you have enjoyed other Alex Cross novels, you will definitely like this one.
After you read Violets Are Blue, come back and read the last two pages of Roses Are Red.
Where else can less be more? Would the story, "The Lady or the Tiger," have been as interesting to you if you knew how it turned out?
Grasp the exact solution to provide the most for the least effort!
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon December 1, 2000
Let me begin by saying that I like Patterson's books, and have read, and enjoyed, all of the Alex Cross novels. They are fast-paced, filled with events and action, and hold my interest. With the short chapters and lack of a lot of description, they are easy to read in only a few hours. That having been said, I must admit, to my chagrin, that I did not like this work as much as I had expected, and it's all due to the ending. I never spend time while reading trying to "guess" who the killer or such is; I know the author will let us know in the end. In most books, there are subtle clues that, ocasionally, point to the correct person, and astute readers may be able to discern his or her identity. In this book, I really believe that the author pulled the villain out of thin air, for there is nothing anywhere in my reading of the book that even remotely connected this person to the action and crimes involved. I was greatly disappointed, for I expected more from Mr. Patterson. My rating should be lower, I know, but I gave him the benefit of the doubt, for it's possible I missed something along the way while I was reading. Don't get me wrong; you'll enjoy this book, and it will keep you turning the pages quickly. It's the ending, though, that may give you pause. (I'm holding up the ballot to my forehead, looking for the dimpled chad, and discern..... a sequel!)
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 26, 2005
This book should carry a warning for potential readers - that in order to get anything out of it all you really need to have read all the previous Alex Cross novels and also purchase the sequel - for the ending is clearly not the 'real' ending - more a 'to be continued'. As I was at a bit of a disadvantage here since this is my first (and frankly probably last) Alex Cross book so all the stuff from previous books like the relationship with Christine was a bit lost on me. Frankly I was a bit annoyed at the way she was shunted out of the book to make way for a new love interest before I'd even worked out why she was so special to Alex!

I'm going to give JP the benefit of the doubt since he is a best selling author and assume that his earlier books have been of a higher standard than this thrown-together, formulaic effort. He seems also to be suffering from Patricia Cornwall syndrome - ie carrying over plots from previous books, leaving trailing relationships, unresolved storylines (minor things of course such as dangerous serial killers still on the loose!). When I buy a book, as many others have said, I expect it to be complete in itself - sure people who have read the whole series will probably get more out of it - but I still expect it to stand on its own for the casual reader.

The book started out well but ended as a mess, with a RIDICULOUS last minute twist, no explanation of the Mastermind's motive (probably to be disclosed 6 books later :)). The writing was quite sharp though I could have done with less digressions concerning Cross's perfect family (who were so storybook unbelievably perfect they stretched credibility to breaking point). A subplot involving his daughter having a brain tumour (which she recovered from faster than most people recover from having a tooth removed) seemed particularly pointless.

However I WOULD have given the book at least 2 points, were it not for the ending which was a pure insult to anyone who had paid money for this (thankfully I picked it up free from the bookswap bin at work). It's an absolute disgrace that a writer can get off with building up to an exciting denoument and then leaving the reader dangling in midair with a last sentence which overturns entirely everything that has gone before.
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39 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2000
I read through the other reviews of this book. Apparently many readers agree with me. We have given James Patterson and Alex Cross many, many chances. I was on the edge of giving up on these books after reading the last Alex Cross. But because of the fine quality of earlier books, I plunged into this last one, Roses are Red. Never again.
It's just the same old thing over and over. A weird serial killer has a personal vendetta against Alex. I could even take another good book about that. But here's the real problem that has displayed itself in so many of the past several books - there is no solution or conclusion to the story lines.
The killer from either 3 or 4 books ago is still around. Alex thought he had gotten him, but it is revealed that he has just killed someone else. So, first of all, we are told that the criminal from a previous case has never really been captured. The story of the relationship between Alex and Christine is also just left hanging. If I was not familiar with the Alex/Christine story from other books, the description of what happens between them would make no sense at all.
Then, in this current book, there are several captures made of people who are thought to be the murderer. Every time a capture is made, the person says "You have got the wrong man". Of course, this being an Alex Cross book, it always is truly the wrong man because the real perpetrator is rarely caught in these stories. He is always free to roam to become the focus of a sequel. The final few sentences of the book supposedly do finally tell who the killer is. But, in my opinion, it was such an unbelievably dumb choice after reading the entire book, it didn't satisfy my curiosity. It just made me mad. And, even this dumb choice of a serial killer is not caught.
After I have invested my time in reading a book, any book, I feel that I deserve a conclusion to most of the plot lines in the story. I do understand about sequels and that sometimes things need to be left hanging to keep the reader interested until the next installment. But these Alex Cross books go too far. The plots are never wrapped up. There is way too much left unsaid. I feel like I have been jerked around by James Patterson. If you lure me into the story, give me some satisfaction by the end of the book.
Maybe in some future book, James Patterson will take all of these loose threads and weave them into one huge and final conclusion. Even if he does, I will not be reading about it. This book was really my last Alex Cross.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2000
A new serial killer is loose in the Washington D.C. area, robbing banks and killing both bank employees and their families. He calls himself the Mastermind and expects his very precise instructions to be followed exactly. There's no room for even the smallest mistake without suffering dire consequences. Detective Alex Cross along with his partner, John Sampson and newcomer, FBI agent Betsey Cavalierre are on the case. But even though they seem to be getting closer and closer to their target, are always at least one step behind following false leads and hitting dead ends. This is a book with a great premise and great villain, but James Patterson just doesn't deliver. His short chapters (sometimes only two or three paragraphs) and choppy writing style detract from what should be a tense and suspenseful story line. Instead, the plot jumps around too much and you're never left on the edge of your seat. His secondary story lines, about all the problems in Alex's personal life, are distracting and add nothing to the story. The characters are all one dimensional and the plot, which should be tight and compelling, has all the depth of a movie of the week. But my biggest problem with this book is that the Mastermind has no motivation for the crimes he's committing. We never get into his head, know nothing about him and why he's become this heinous serial killer. At the end of the novel, we're left with no real conclusion or solution, just the idea that there's a sequel being written. Roses are Red is a disappointing read with an unsatisfying ending that leaves you hanging, but not wanting more. Skip this one, there are too many really good thrillers out there to read!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2002
There is a vicious killer loose on the East Coast who calls himself the Mastermind. He is behind several bank robberies that turned into multiple murders. Once again, Alex Cross is called upon to help solve this high-profile case.
While I have enjoyed several James Patterson novels in the past, I have noticed that his more recent stories have been very sloppy. This one is no exception. There were several events that took place that did not flow very well with the rest of the story. It was almost like Patterson was trying to make the book longer by adding nonsensical events. Also, unlike in most thriller novels, there does not seem to be a clear killer. I thought the story looked completely resolved, then there was a surprise twist at the end of the book that did not seem to make any sense whatsoever. It is hard to explain exactly how sloppy the story was without giving away too much, so I will just leave it at that and say that I was pretty disappointed.
Although I find Patterson's writing quite easy to read--he uses quick short chapters that encourage you to keep reading because you do not have to tackle 20 pages all at once--the stories are really starting to get repetitive. Alex Cross appears to be this superhuman hero who can work 12-hour days, raise his perfect kids, and be involved in intense romantic relationships. Patterson needs to go back to his earlier novels like "Along Came A Spider" and "Kiss the Girls" so he can remember how to write good stories that actually make sense.
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