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on 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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on December 3, 2003
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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on April 12, 2004
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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on January 31, 2004
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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on February 13, 2004
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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on January 13, 2004
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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on April 12, 2015
Alex Cross has accepted an offer from the FBI, Hoping the job will give him more time with his children. His best friend Sampson has done the unexpected, found a great woman and married her. They're going to be parents. In the meantime Alex's new job has him on a case involving kidnapping and slavery. When the trail leads to the Russian mafia things become deadly. FBI agents and their families are being murdered and Alex's family is threatened. I don't think you want to miss this exciting James Patterson novel.
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on May 17, 2013
I swear, what happened to James Patterson?! He just took a beloved series and turned it into something else. He was nearly on the right course of the "Four Blind Mice" putting it back on track. But this one just throws right back off.

Okay, positives. I do like that Alex is a FBI agent now. It opens the door for new challenges and new tougher villains for him to take on. But sadly, it doesn't happen (which we will get to later on in the negatives). I really love that we get more of Kayla Coles from the previous novel. I'm just loving that character. And I will admit, the Mastermind cameos are pretty memorable.

But the negatives are just way to high for me to like this novel. The villain is no good and the fact that Alex is taking on criminal organizations that the CIA or even James Bond would handle just doesn't fit the universe of the series. We could have seen Alex face off against new kinds of criminals that are worse and see him go through some life changing decisions. Christine Johnson returns in this novel and how she returns just freaking ticks me off. This is not the Christine I remember from the past novels before "Roses Are Red". In fact, I'm starting to hate her character now. I still can't get into Alex and Jamilla's romance. Even the ending when they say "I love you" to each other, I don't believe it for one second. I still like Jamilla as a character, but I seriously don't like the romance.

This has got to be the dark ages for Alex Cross. I mean it! "Cat & Mouse" was the early stages of it. "Roses Are Red" and "Violets Are Blue" officially made it happen. And now we have "The Big Bad Wolf" keeping it that way.
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on February 8, 2016
Tense, intense and devastating for our man, Alex, and other series characters. However, there repetitive "bring non-series readers" up to date instances. Also, seem hesitant to cut repetitive plot twists.

Nana reigns!

But the reading is, as always, otherwise enjoyed and compelling.
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on May 7, 2012
I am a great fan of all James Patterson books. But my favorites contain the detective/psychologist Dr. Cross. Alex Cross is again the main detective in "Big Bad Wolf" when Cross joins the FBI. I love the crime mysteries and also that you get to know Alex Cross and his family which is something I look forward to in each of the books he is featured in. There is Mamma-grandma who raised Alex and then his two small children as well, who have lost their mother. With each novel Cross finds time for a new love interest but it never gets in the way of his crime solving addiction aided by some police and FBI mates. Solving crimes is what Alex Cross is about and the tougher the criminal and the more unsolvable a case appears the more he is determined to solve it. The police and FBI colleagues you get to know as well as his family make you feel like you know them all. I think I've read almost every Patterson novel where Alex Cross is at the center of crime solving, but that's not to say I like his other books any less. I just like, for now, the blend of family, their involvement, and police and FBI friends you get to know. You wonder how he does it. You will try, but won't be able to solve the crimes Alex is assigned. Page turners, all of them. Thank you James Patterson.
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