Criss Cross by James Patterson

"Long-buried images of my past rose up, blurry at first, and then gradually coming into focus, all of them deeply disturbing."

Reading the latest Alex Cross novel by James Patterson has become one of my yearly traditions. Dating all the way back to my years as a reluctant high school reader, my mom has given me the latest novel as a Christmas gift. The books usually release in November, so this gives me an entire year to procrastinate on reading it until I inevitably receive the next installment. Each of the 26 books in the series has varying levels of success as pieces of writing, but I look forward to breezing through the new one regardless. Criss Cross, the 27th book in the prolific series, has been waiting for my attention for nearly a year now. With the holidays rapidly approaching, I decided now was as good a time as any to finally dive in and give it a read. 

With so many Alex Cross books under my belt, I pretty much know what to expect when I pick up the latest. There's a comfort in the familiarity of Patterson's characters and plot structures that allows me to settle into the words and read them quickly. With that many books, I've also grown to know what kinds of stories work best for these characters. In the case of Alex Cross, the best novels always feature a balance between the hunt for a secretive serial killer and the continued development of the extended Cross family. Fortunately for me, Criss Cross perfectly finds that balance. 

Alex is being taunted by a mysterious murderer who goes simply by the name M. We learn that this particular killer has been a part of Alex's career from the very beginning, an elusive criminal who takes as much pleasure in the act of murder as he does is toying with the famed detective. Alex is truly stuck. His usual intellect fails him at every step of the way, keeping him always one step behind M. 

If the case wasn't causing enough stress, Alex has plenty to worry about on the homefront. After recovering from a season-ending injury, his daughter is finally poised to make a triumphant return to track and field. And not a moment too soon. She's caught the eye of several university coaches, each wanting to see how she performs after her recovery. Just as things seem to be moving in the right direction, she comes down with an illness that threatens to end her season and any hopes and receiving one of the coveted track scholarships. 

A James Patterson novel is usually either pretty good or absolutely rubbish. Criss Cross falls into the pretty good category. Patterson keeps the suspense moving through several flashbacks and detours of family drama, constantly driving the novel forward to a pretty satisfying conclusion. I always enjoy getting to check in on the Cross family, and this book was no exception. Patterson has smartly allowed his characters to age with the series. This means there are new life experiences for the characters with each new book and new angles for us to see them in. The mystery is one of the more intriguing puzzles Patterson has written in recent installments. I genuinely didn't know who the murderer would be until the very end, a rarity for a seasoned crime reader like myself. The Alex Cross series will never win awards for literary merit, but it has become a hallmark of my holiday tradition. I will always enjoy reading these books, and I can't wait to unwrap the next one soon. 

For more information visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads

(2020, 47)

This entry was posted on Friday, November 13, 2020 and is filed under ,,,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

14 Responses to “Criss Cross by James Patterson”

  1. What a fun holiday tradition! And this one sounds like one of Patterson's good ones. I've only read a few Alex Cross books, but I did really enjoy them. I'll have to check this one out sometime. :)

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  2. Sometimes there’s just such a feeling of familiarity in picking up a book by a long-favorite author. And maybe it’s not literature *said in my snootiest voice* but who cares? :) I’ve read several by Patterson over the years but strangely enough never one of the Alex Cross books. So glad this one hit the spot!

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    1. I agree. If it holds my attention and entertains, I'll take it!

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  3. Comfort reads are a must in this climate....

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  4. It is comforting to pick up a favorite author and what a lovely yearly tradition! Glad to here this one fell into the "pretty good" category and you didn't guess the killer until the very end. I've actually never read a James Patterson. Can you believe it? Something to look forward to. :)

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    1. Anything that is written by him as the solo author is usually worth the read. His co-authored efforts tend to be more hit or miss.

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  5. Wow! You and Alex Cross have quite a history. I wish I had a series like that. You can sort of chronicle you life along with Alex's missions. Glad this one was ended up in the pretty good column for you

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    1. It is pretty cool to be able to look back at different parts of my life in relation to the series.

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  6. LOL, I agree on your assessment of his books. I am glad this fell to the good!

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    1. I keep coming back for more, so he must be doing something right!

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  7. I have the same with JD Robbs In Death series! I’ve never read an Alex Cross book, they do sound good easy reads.

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    1. My Mom is actually a huge fan of the In Death series!

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