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Double Cross    by James Patterson order for
Double Cross
by James Patterson
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

In the thirteenth in his chilling Alex Cross series - anxiously awaited by a legion of ardent fans - James Patterson pits his famous serial profiler/investigator once more against his infamous ex-friend Kyle Craig. How can that be, you ask? A very clever jailbreak, of course, even from the maximum security prison cell where the Mastermind has spent the last four years, plotting his revenge against those who put him there - and everyone close to them.

Lately in the series, there have typically been multiple villains and Double Cross is no exception to that rule. In Washington, D.C., a serial killer (or is it a duo?) goes on the rampage, staging performances of gruesome murders in full public view - from a victim tossed from a high apartment building to the torching of an actor on stage, and death in an IMAX theater. The perpetrator leaves videos for the police, his first addressed directly to Alex Cross.

While all this unfolds, readers get to see the evolution of Alex's personal life - after his stint in the FBI and a sabbatical in private practice, he offers his services once more to the police department, where he works with his new lover (he calls her 'the sexiest woman I'd ever known'), Detective Brianna Stone.

It being the age of information, the killer posts an Internet blog that generates a huge, obsessive following. As the detectives and the FBI Cyber Unit follow clues, they uncover links between these staged killings and Kyle Craig, and wonder what the relationship could be between these psychopaths. The reader is let in on the fact that individuals close to Alex are involved. And someone very close to the psychologist is targeted in a chilling finale.

Though the antics of the supervillains who bloody the pages of Double Cross and the other entries in the series are pretty improbable, they're well matched by the intelligence, determination and decency of the good guys and in particular our favorite investigator, who's an odd combination of workaholic and family man. Fans do not want to miss the gripping Double Cross.

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