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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alex Cross and the FBI are a perfect match!!!
I have been disappointed with the last few Alex Cross books, and I suggested that James Patterson should retire Alex Cross as he was becoming a superman. Well, in this book there is still some superman to Alex Cross, but seeing Alex in training at the FBI and in a small office and being talked down to was a refreshing change of pace.
The character of Wolf was the...
Published on December 3, 2003 by B. Larson

versus
33 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Damn! Patterson just misses...
Will the real James Patterson please stand up? Most Patterson loyalists have been waiting for this moment. When will the real Patterson emerge again? We've had glimpses of the greatness and BIG BAD WOLF ("BBW") is no exception however, Patterson seems to just fall short time and again. It always seems worth the read just to determine if the magic has returned...
Published on January 31, 2004 by R. Shaff


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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Alex Cross and the FBI are a perfect match!!!, December 3, 2003
By 
B. Larson (Palatine, IL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Big Bad Wolf (Hardcover)
I have been disappointed with the last few Alex Cross books, and I suggested that James Patterson should retire Alex Cross as he was becoming a superman. Well, in this book there is still some superman to Alex Cross, but seeing Alex in training at the FBI and in a small office and being talked down to was a refreshing change of pace.
The character of Wolf was the best villain that Cross has faced off against yet. There are many twists and turns in this one, and that will keep the pages turning. I also enjoyed that Patterson threw in a "family crisis" that really did not revolve around some type of attack at his home. All in all this book was very fun to read.
As always with Patterson, if you are looking for great literature, look elsewhere. Patterson's writing style if fast and sort of choppy. This is another of the famous 150 page books jammed into 400 pages. Some people may not enjoy a 2 or 3 page chapter, but I think it makes you want to read that one more chapter before turning off the lights.
Overall, much better than the last few Alex Cross novels, and a fun, light, quick read!
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33 of 42 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Damn! Patterson just misses..., January 31, 2004
This review is from: The Big Bad Wolf (Hardcover)
Will the real James Patterson please stand up? Most Patterson loyalists have been waiting for this moment. When will the real Patterson emerge again? We've had glimpses of the greatness and BIG BAD WOLF ("BBW") is no exception however, Patterson seems to just fall short time and again. It always seems worth the read just to determine if the magic has returned. Regardless and like most Patterson fans, I'll continue to buy and read his books until I tire of waiting for the real Patterson to stand up.
Early in BBW, the Wolf, a renegade Russian mafiya soldier, is introduced to the reader. In something of urban myth fashion, the Wolf has gained underground notoriety as a ruthlessly cold killer without face or name. One particularly telling tale revolves around the Wolf's encounter with a jailed U.S. mob boss. As the story goes, the Wolf is able to walk into a 'super-maximum' security prison in Colorado to speak with jailed mob boss, don Augustino "Little Gus Palumbo." Ostensibly, the Wolf has a proposition for Little Gus. The Wolf completes his business and walks out off prison grounds undeterred. The next day, Little Gus's body is found in his cell with virtually every bone in his body broken. Those familiar with Russian mafiya tactics know this as "Zamochit." The urban tale became reality and the universal underground came to know that the Wolf's reputation was well deserved.
At the end of the previous Cross iteration, Alex had just joined the FBI. As BBW opens, Alex is in the early stages of training at FBI headquarters. Given his impressive law enforcement background and experience, Alex is finding much of the "newbie" work and training quite rote however, ever the good trooper, Alex presses on and doesn't complain openly. Alex's theoretical training soon becomes on the job training. Alex is called in when the wife of a prominent judge is kidnapped in the parking lot of an Atlanta shopping mall. Unbeknownst to Alex, an underground, internet-based cabal of twisted individuals "places orders" for human slaves. This woman seems to have become the next victim of this perverse group.
Alex is whisked from newbie orientation and flown to Atlanta. The Director of the FBI wants Alex on this case. Alex soon learns of the case and the fact that this isn't the first unsolved disappearance; to the contrary, the FBI has recent unsolved disappearances in several other states. The puzzling and troubling aspect of each of these disappearances is the total lack of contact, no ransom demand and no reappearance of the missing person. After a tip, the FBI is able to track down the two-person team responsible for the Atlanta kidnapping. The two turn out to be low-level associates in the Russian mafiya, Slava and Zoya. But, neither can shed any light on the whereabouts of the judge's wife as they are both found dead...Zoya, by means of Zamochit.
The plot thickens when Alex and his FBI team run on to 14-year-old computer hacker Lili Olsen. It seems Lili, a modern-day Kevin Mitnick, has hacked her way into a secure chat room called "The Wolf's Den." Lili clandestinely observes the dialogue between such aliases as Sterling, Mr. Potter, Sphinx, Marvel, and, of course, The Wolf. The dialogue centers on buying individuals with certain characteristics and attributes. However, the talk quickly descends to the depths of sickness when the discussion turns to disposal of these "slaves" and their willingness to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for their next minion.
BBW has all the makings of a great Patterson offering. The storyline is brilliant however, where BBW falls short is character development and ultimately, climax. The reader has peripheral glimpses of the characters in this book, other than Alex, his kids, and Nana Mama. If Patterson had taken the time to truly allow the reader to see inside the characters, to know them, this novel would have been fabulous. Instead, it became a middle-of-the-road novel written by an author who used to write great novels. And, one of my great pet peeves of Patterson in his Cross novels, Alex always seems to find some personal tragedy in the midst of an intense investigation. It gets old. You want to scream, "When does Alex ever win
Overall, this is a very readable and worth reading book. It is still not the Patterson of old but it is a reasonable offering.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Big Bad Wolf blows the last two in this series away!, May 26, 2006
Avid readers of James Patterson have been wondering lately if he'd lost his touch. The last two books in the Alex Cross series (Violets Are Blue and Four Blind Mice) were average at best, and some of his other works (The Jester and The Lake House) were downright atrocious. Fortunately, Patterson is back in true form with The Big Bad Wolf.

At the end of Four Blind Mice, Cross left the Washington D.C. police department to pursue a career at the FBI. This is where we find him at the beginning of the book. Not long after his orientation, a major case begins brewing. Someone with ties to the Russian Mafia is kidnapping women all over the country, possibly forcing them into prostitution and slavery. It's up to Cross and his new team of agents to find these women before it's too late.

Wolf contains all of Patterson's trademark twists and turns, and the last 50 pages are simply mind blowing. Never before have 400 pages flown by so quickly. He delivers yet another cliffhanger ending, leaving readers waiting in suspense until next November when the next book in the series will be released. Definitely worth your time and money.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Alex Cross Series Gets New Life, May 28, 2004
This review is from: The Big Bad Wolf (Hardcover)
'The Big Bad Wolf' is the 2003 edition to the Alex Cross series. It is also the best Alex Cross novel in years. 'The Big Bad Wolf' is the story of how Alex Cross joins the FBI and is thrust into a case involving the abduction and slavery of white, usually rich, suburban women. Along the way, Cross is frustrated by the politics of the FBI and faces turmoil at home when the mother of his youngest child returns to D.C. to seek custody. The reason for improvement can be traced to several sources.
First, James Patterson actually had Cross do some investigative work. In the last several novels in the series, Cross tended to stumble upon leads and just wait for the 'bad guy' to screw up. In 'The Big Bad Wolf,' Cross puts his doctorate in Psychology to work. In addition, he follows his instincts and follows leads that not every one else had thought about.
Second, Patterson seemed to put more thought and effort into this novel. In past novels, Patterson seemed to be living off the reputation of earlier novels in the series, such as 'Kiss the Girls' and 'Along Came a Spider.' More recent novels featured villains that were always one step ahead of the police without any real great tricks until Cross stumbles upon them. In 'Big Bad Wolf,' Patterson created lairs of intrigue from the beginning and lets them unfold throughout the novel instead of just springing them on the reader. In addition, a portion of the story takes place in Dallas, Texas. Since I live in the Dallas area, I was pleased to see that he did enough research to at least get most of the details of the area correct.
Third, and this is a very minor spoiler, the 'bad guy' of the novel is not some high ranking government official or someone close to Cross. This theme had gotten redundant in recent novels in the series. This is not to say that there isn't betrayal present in the novel, there is, but its not exactly what you expect. In this regard, the novel is not as 'cookie cutter' as the few previous novels.
My one complaint is that while a lot of effort seemed to have been placed in the first 3/4 of the novel, the last 1/4 of the novel seems to have been rushed. I'm afraid this is because he had written one novel, and then he decided to split it into two parts to save himself the effort of writing another Cross novel in 2004. This is only my suspicion, and I hope it is not played out with a lack luster follow up.
While good, this is not the best novel in the series. Patterson's first two installments, 'Kiss the Girls' and 'Along Came a Spider,' are still the best, and have proven to be a tough act to follow. As mentioned earlier, this novel harkens back to those in feel and the effort put into it. Not everything was tied up neatly at the end of the novel, and I expect the next installment in the series will continue the story. As with all the novels in this series, it is quickly paced (with three and four page chapters), and it is full of pop-culture references. I recommend the novel for fans of thrillers and detective fiction.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I must be a masochist ... (Warning - Some Spoilers), January 22, 2005
This review is from: The Big Bad Wolf (Alex Cross) (Mass Market Paperback)
to keep listening to Patterson's audio books. I have despised his books for years, but unfortunately, my library resources for audio books are very limited and I travel a lot.

"The Big Bad Wolf" is about as bad as it gets. At the risk of repeating previous reviews, I must say that we'd be hard put to find a more amateurish, unsophisticated, boooooring writer of best-selling fiction. The only thing Patterson has going is a pretty good imagination for a general plot. It's all downhill from there.

You will not find one original sentence or phrase in any of this guy's books. The descriptions are hackneyed and bring to mind 5th grade schoolwork. All characters are one dimensional and stereotypical.

The protagonist, Alex Cross, is the most perfect human being to have ever lived. We know this because we're hit over the head with it over and over again, especially at the beginning of the story. Everyone throws compliments at him like confetti and superlatives abound. Of course, he takes it in stride because Cross is also modest. Perfect cop, perfect father, perfect son, perfect boyfriend. He must also be extremely lucky, since in this book he is able to bypass FBI prerequisites to get hired, skip most of his training, work on a major case, and get promoted all within a week or two. Wow!

Not only is the hero a saint, but his children are well-behaved, beautiful and brilliant and his mother is the grouchy grandma with the heart of gold.

Now, the victims are duly frightened and the villains truly villainous. "The Wolf" manages to murder his ex-wife at a large crowded party and escape without trouble or detection. For some reason, no one in the police or FBI is able to guess the identity of the killer. Huh?

The holes in the plot (and I use the word generously) are too numerous to count. Some of the backstories are hinted at, but never followed through properly. But some things are just blatantly silly and unintentionally funny.

"The Wolf" holds a kidnapped sex-slave in a closet, while living in a multi-million dollar mansion. What, he couldn't afford a whole room? The victim knows him as "The Wolf". I guess he must have introduced himself before he raped her. But at least we know that there must lights in the closet because the victim has seen The Wolf's very private tattoos.

The dialogue is amateurish and ridiculous. The scenes between Cross and his family are nauseatingly saccharine. Listening to the cliched "thoughts" of the victim (and others) is worse than any soap opera on TV. I wish I could remember an example from the tape, but I found myself laughing out loud when I was supposed to by sympathetic. Patterson has no clue about how women think.

I could go on and on with the faults of this book (and this writer, in general), but it would require reading or listening again and I don't have the stomach for it. Let it be said that Patterson would not know a lyrical, originally-phrased sentence if it bit him on the nose. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

There are hundreds of writers out there in this genre who could write rings around Patterson. Unfortunately, the average reader can't tell the difference. May I recommend Dennis Lehane, Robert B. Parker, Lee Child, James Lee Burke, Eric Handler, and the list goes on.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good Action, little else...spoilers contained, April 12, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Big Bad Wolf (Hardcover)
After this book, I'm of the mindset to not read anymore Patterson. This was my 4th Alex Cross book, after Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, and Cat and Mouse. I loved Cat and Mouse and Roses are Red, Violets are Blue was just OK. But this. THIS piece of garbage is horrible. Everything just falls into place for Alex. He's handed every clue/suspect on a silver platter. The fact that you don't really find out who the Wolf is, is really annoying. I'm tired of Patterson selling half a book for full-book price. Sell one book as two, make twice the money. Well, he won't be making any more of mine. At this point, I don't CARE who the Wolf is or who his FBI "mole" is.

Most unbelievable part of the plot...when they catch "Sterling" and the Wolf drives by in his limo and shoots at the FBI and cops. The chapter ends, and you hear no more about anyone chasing the limo or even mentioning that they were shot at.

My recommendation is save your time and money. If you want good investigation stories read Jeffery Deaver's Lincoln Rhyme books.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Painfully disappointing and written DOWN to the reader., February 13, 2004
By 
Amazon Customer "WildWiseWoman" (MARIETTA, GA, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Big Bad Wolf (Hardcover)
James Patterson has gotten lazy, and worse, disrespectful of his readers. Stephen King - infamous for treating his own readers like undeserving children - described the Alex Cross series as "dopey" and after choking down "Big Bad Wolf" I have to concur; it continues the downward spiral of the last few additions. It's almost as though Patterson is coming up with titles to match his nursery rhyme-themed series and then feels trapped into writing a story that will - sort of - match it. As a bedtime reader not looking for deep spiritual fulfillment or intellectual stimulation, I appreciate Patterson's one-and-a-half page chapters, but I can't support the fact that he no longer writes in complete sentences, only in staggering bursts of phrase which wear one down and reverberate in a "buh-buh-BUMP" pattern in one's head.
A couple of books back when Christine gave birth while held prisoner in an island cave, I rolled my eyes. When she conveniently left the baby behind to "find herself" and because Alex's job was too dangerous (huh??), I snorted derisively. Now she sweeps back in and reclaims the child as though she'd never left, and the courts says, Yeah, that sounds right. Alex is no longer - as far as this book is concerned, a psychologist, and his new status as an FBI agent has him alternately treated like a newbie grunt and then suddenly he's in charge of every operation without finishing his orientation. The "Wolf" is described so inconsistently and with such comic book immortality that he is surely one of those escaped villains from Krypton in the "Superman" movie. If you are able to finish this novel - it'll only take a couple of hours - you'll be astounded with all the loose ends and the unabashed corruption of Alex Cross's once-high morality. He doesn't get laid in this book. Maybe he'd behave better if he did.
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16 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars J.P. Should Stop Writing Novels and Switch to Comic Books, January 13, 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Big Bad Wolf (Hardcover)
I have read all of the Alex Cross novels and I can state that this is easily the most unrealistic, poorly written pieces of literature that I have ever read. This is likely one of the three or four worst books I have read in the past ten years. The characters are cardboard thin, there are plot gaps so wide you could drive a truck through it and a complete and utter failure in simple logic by the characters that was maddening and frustrating (*SPOILER WARNING* -- for example, if the CIA operatives could identify the Wolf, and were used by the FBI to eliminate one suspect, why didn't the FBI use those operatives to confirm the identity of other suspects?).
My biggest complaint is that Patterson's villains used to be at least marginally grounded in reality (i.e., Soneji). Now, beginning with Kyle Craig and continuing into this novel, his villains are so far beyond the norm that I find them to be more in line with comic book super-villains than interesting characters for a novel (not leastly due to Patterson's infatuation with catchy nomikers, i.e. "the Mastermind," "the Wolf," "the Sphinx," etc.). Without getting into too much detail, it appears that Alex Cross will need to be bitten by a radioactive spider in order to solve this case, since the Wolf is unstoppable by walls, hordes of armed policemen, or armed FBI agents in the middle of a secured facility (all without any explanation of how it was done). Move over, Alex Cross, this is a job for Superman!
I cannot stress enough how disappointing this book is. While Cross is still a fine character, that is due to Patterson's much better earlier novels, which I would recommend, but I cannot in good conscience recommend this book to anyone unless you are someone who obsessively must read every book in a series, in which case I at least recommend that you wait for the paperback.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Phoned In, December 18, 2003
This review is from: The Big Bad Wolf (Hardcover)
Patterson has thrown any attempt at character development, descriptive imagery, or even comprehensible narrative segues out the window in his haste to get from "action scene" to "action scene"; BBW reads more like a hastily-written screenplay than a novel. The books in this series have never been masterpieces from a purely literary standpoint, but it didn't matter because Patterson was a great storyteller; now it seems that that's fallen by the wayside as well. The split perspective and false endings are wearing thin, there are minor inexplicable plot threads appearing from and disappearing back into the ether, and the glut of false trails, haphazard and seemingly random conclusions, and superfluous characters makes the book seem disjointed and crowded, not more suspenseful or interesting. Also, Cross isn't really doing any detective or forensic work; what leads or breaks he gets are from people who are willing to talk, which is really what makes me wonder if Patterson is getting lazy, bored, or both. I want the old Alex Cross books back, the ones that took longer to write than to research; BBW was a real disappointment.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sloppy writing. Mindless cliches....., December 3, 2008
By 
Marty (North Carolina) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Big Bad Wolf (Alex Cross) (Mass Market Paperback)
What a disappointing book!

James Patterson has done such a poor job of writing this book, that you wonder exactly what he had in mind. The dialog is banal and full of cliches. The plot is unbelievable. The characters are one dimensional. Even the ending resolves nothing. It just seems to be setting you up for the next book in the series....

The main character, Alex Cross, is incredibly cliched and unbelievable.
He is a bright young police officer, who happens to be black, who takes a job with the FBI. So far, this could actually happen in real life...

But Patterson has decided that Cross will be a super human, so...
- He was an honor student who hold a Phd. From John Hopkins.
- He was a Psychiatrist,
- He was also a police officer
- He then decides to join the FBI
- He doesn't have to attend FBI orientation, because he is that good
- He plays the piano beautifully
- He is an ideal father
- He is the perfect husband
- Every woman he has ever been with is stunning. And brilliant.
- He can leap tall building in a single bound. Well, you get the idea.

The plot itself is almost incomprehensible. The characters are thin, and one dimensional and their motivations seem incomprehensible. For example, at one point a CEO for a very large corporation, and a very rich man himself, somehow decides to become "the money man" for sex slave ring. So he can pick up a few thousand extra bucks? And make himself a target for the "Red Mafia?" This just doesn't make sense.

Cross has an ex-girlfriend named Christine who abandoned their child because "she wasn't emotionally ready to be a mother." Well... she comes back to claim their son, and inexplicibly wins a custody battle, despite no mention of it in the book. Until it is settled. You would have thought that a super dad might have shown up for that hearing!

I honestly think that making black characters into "super humans" is just as racist as making them subhumans.

Maybe Patterson is playing to some collective guilt, or he just wants to be fashionable.... but he needs to treat black characters like they were real people, and not as cartoon characters. It matters little that Patterson makes his lead into a superman. It's still a racist thing to do.

This book was written on a Junior High School level, and is aimed at very gullible readers. All the dialog is banal and cliched. All the characters are weak. The plot is simply illogical.

I felt cheated.
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The Big Bad Wolf (Alex Cross)
The Big Bad Wolf (Alex Cross) by James Patterson (Mass Market Paperback - October 1, 2004)
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