Hope to Die by James Patterson

It has become a kind of genre standard recently for mystery author's to end their series novels with a cliff-hanger. Patricia Cornwell ended her latest Scarpetta novel with one, and Jeff Lindsay ended his penultimate Dexter novel with a non-ending. Both instances didn't serve the story that preceded them and wreaked of shameless promotion for the next novel. Author James Patterson employs various co-authors to maintain his prolific output, but has remained the sole author of his Alex Cross series. As such, the series has maintained a level of excellence over the course of its 22 installments. It was understandable then that fans were outraged when Patterson chose to end his last Alex Cross novel, Cross My Heart, with a cliff-hanger. Many feared that this marked the end of the series's consistent quality. While I too was worried about this development, I concluded in my review of the novel that the ending served the story and left room for a necessary conclusion.

I'll preface my review of Hope To Die, the twenty-second novel in the Alex Cross series, by saying that while this novel certainly can work as a stand alone story, it is meant to be read as the second in a two part narrative. Therefore, you really should read Cross My Heart, before tackling this one. In the previous novel, disgruntled author and psychologist Thiery Mulch set his sights on Alex Cross. Cross was the only critic of Mulch's theory that there could be a "perfect criminal". To prove his point, he decided to commit the perfect crime against Cross. Mulch carefully surveyed the Cross family and meticulously planned his actions. When he abducted Alex's wife, grandmother, and children, Cross was left devastated and helpless.

Hope To Die finds Alex Cross a broken man. Normally a proactive star detective, Cross is reduced to a forlorn shadow of his former self. The worst part is that he has no idea how he can even begin to find the man who is destroying his life. Mulch has done a thorough job in erasing his identity and essentially becoming a ghost. When the body of a woman matching his wife's description is found mutilated, Alex is inconsolable. Despite the unrelenting grief, he knows that he has to persevere and do everything in his power to find Theiry Mulch. His life and the lives of his grandmother and children depend on it.

This is one of the best Alex Cross novels in years. Cross My Heart, was a stellar prelude, but Patterson really knocks this conclusion out of the park. The strength of the Alex Cross series has always been the Cross family dynamic. Over the years, readers have learned about each family member and the group has come to feel like our own. First and foremost, Alex has always been a family man. They are his number one priority. He even left his high profile job at the FBI for a position at the D.C. Metro Police, just so he could be closer to home. By placing the Cross family in genuine danger, Patterson thrusts his protagonist into the most personal case he has ever faced. Invested readers will share in the sadness and fear as they read each page. This, combined with Patterson's quick pace and short chapters, makes for a ceaselessly sensational read.

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

(2015, 20)

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2 Responses to “Hope to Die by James Patterson”

  1. Ooh, I am glad the series seems to be at it's peak with this book! I haven't read any James Patterson yet, but I hope to at some point. Maybe I will start with this series.

    1. If you're into mystery/crime thrillers, this is definitely a great choice. You seem to read a good bit of YA novels, so you may enjoy his Maximum Ride series as well!


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