James Patterson

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross



It is Christmas Eve and Alex Cross is settling down with his family to see in the festive season. Then Cross receives a phone call. A father has taken his children and ex-wife hostage in the family home they used to share. High on crystal meth and alcohol, he threatens to kill them all.

In another part of D.C. an old adversary of Alex's is preparing to bring the country to its knees through a terrorist attack of huge proportions with countless lives at stake. As Alex's Christmas goes from bad to worse in a single night there will be many dead bodies before the perpetrators of this heinous scheme are brought to justice.

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You more or less know what you're going to get when you crack the spine of a James Patterson. They normally follow a set formula and despite recognising the familiar terrain they tend to give you a few hours entertainment. The short, sharp chapters are still present and they do tend to speed the narrative along even if the story is a little extreme. The strange thing with this book is that it actually contains two stories which are not related to each other besides Cross being involved. The hostage situation at the beginning was quite thrilling and the part of the book I enjoyed the most. It is when the terrorist Doctor Hala al Dossari enters that the book suffers. The hunt for al Dossari felt laboured and thin when spread over so many pages. The book definitely nose-dived during the interrogation part which made for very uncomfortable reading and I was surprised it was allowed to be kept in the book. I know this sort of interrogation happens in the world but if you are going to write about such a delicate issue then the author needs to choose his words very carefully. Patterson deals with a sensitive issue in a heavy handed manner and delivers a crass scene that can only show the Americans in a very bad light indeed. My advice would be to read the hostage part of the book and then dump the rest. Not his best but engaging despite the end.

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