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I, Alex Cross    by James Patterson order for
I, Alex Cross
by James Patterson
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Washington Detective's latest investigation hits far too close to home in James Patterson's I, Alex Cross, after a horribly mutilated victim turns out to be his estranged niece Caroline. Alex had not seen Caroline since his brother's death when she was four years old and her mother wanted nothing more to do with the family.

But the story opens on another pivotal event, in which a lovely law student (with a bullet in her back) flees killers and hitches a ride with a man in a red pickup. As Hannah loses consciousness, she muses - and share with readers - that 'men from the White House' shot her. With that shocker ramping up reader interest, Patterson zeroes in on another player, a lowlife on the run from cops after the trunk of his stolen car was opened.

The scene set, we're free to join Alex Cross celebrating his birthday with his beloved family, his best friend, and his lover and partner, Detective Brianna Stone. As typically happens when Alex seems to be finally getting a life, the party is interrupted by horrifying news of the discovery of Caroline's mangled corpse. Alex is further pained to learn that his niece was an 'Anything goes' high-end escort.

Sound like a lot to deal with? It gets worse when Nana's failing health erupts in a series of cardiac arrests. His attention torn, Alex identifies other young Washington missing persons with a history of prostutution and a link to 'the very expensive and exclusive Blackfield Farms', where blackmail is part of the service. Unfortunately, the victims' clients were Washington's 'high-resource people', who 'push back hard' and can easily organize cover-ups and damage control.

Of course Alex does bring justice to the perps, even the psycho at the top of the pyramid who calls himself Zeus. The only good part of these terrible events is the amazing support that Bree gives Alex, Nana and the kids during this time. This in turn leads to an exciting announcement for Cross fans and a teaser of an ending when Alex's old nemesis has his say. I, Alex Cross is one of the best in the series.

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