Little, Brown & Co., 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Audio, CD
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Reviewed by Hilary Williamson
ames Patterson treats terror with his usual light touch in his latest (tenth) Alex Cross thriller,
. It's the best of the series in some time. Cross has a different role, as an FBI team player, rather than a loner, but as always, in his reactions to unfolding events, Alex represents the reader as
t begins with
's reluctant introduction to '
', beginning the partnership of two of Cross's old enemies (is it something about Alex that those he defeats seem to come back in pairs to haunt him?) Then a trailer town in Sunrise Valley, Nevada is roughly evacuated by men in uniform just before it becomes '
a burn mark in the desert.
' Both events set the scene for another terrifying tale by a master of mind games (I refer to the author as much as to his latest criminal mastermind, the Wolf).
lex, in emotional upheaval after visiting son Alex, who now lives with his mother Christine in Seattle, is pulled (literally) out of the comforting arms of Jamilla Hughes in San Francisco to investigate the Sunrise Valley site and chase the Weasel. Soon afterwards, he's listening to the Wolf's exorbitant demands in a conference room full of Intelligence agents. If they're not met, the bearded bad guy promises the '
' of major cities around the world. Is he allied with terrorist organizations or is it personal? Alex begins to suspect the latter after a key Intelligence director dies, and bridges begin falling down.
lues are elusive, but Alex flits around the world chasing them anyway. In the process, he earns a '
' with the villain, who calls him '
'. In between, Alex decompresses with his family, worries about Nana's health, and feels stirrings of attraction towards her lovely and attentive doctor, Kayla Coles (of whom we're sure to hear more in future episodes). As deaths and tension escalate, Alex muses that '
We don't seem to be getting any smarter as a species, just crazier and crazier ... a whole lot more dangerous. Unbelievably, unbearably more dangerous.
, James Patterson teases his readers with all sorts of possibilities regarding the identity of the Wolf. There are betrayals and a series of shocking,
revelations. Has Alex really defeated the bad guys at the end? Going on past trends, probably not. Does even the author know who the Wolf is? My guess is that he's saving that call up for more chilling thrills in future Cross episodes. Don't miss this one.
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