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CBR4 #2: Cross Fire by James Patterson

This is James Patterson's 17th Alex Cross mystery. Now, I haven't read all of them -- I think I've only read the first two or three -- but I seem to recall that the ones I read were considerably better than this.

Detective Alex Cross finds himself chasing down a pair of deadly snipers while trying to plan his wedding. AND there's a killer carving mathematical equations in the foreheads of his victims! AND his youngest child's unreliable mother is giving him stress. AND his arch nemesis--serial killer Kyle Craig--has returned!

It's frankly a lot going on, and most of it is a lot less exciting than it sounds. Kyle Craig reveals his plan very early, so there is no suspense at all for the audience. The two murderers are left mostly unexplained, and one (the more interesting one, actually) is pretty much used as a plot point and then immediately discarded. Alex's home drama churns but goes nowhere and changes nothing. Maybe this was a book designed only to lead up to the next chapter of Alex Cross's saga, but it didn't feel like it was leading up to anything (the main plots tied up pretty neatly at the end). Instead, it just felt slapdash and unfinished.

Maybe if I'd invested sixteen books worth of effort into this series I'd be more interested. As it was, I was mostly bored and disappointed. I knew I had serious problems with the tale when I found myself rooting for Kyle Craig, hoping he'd perhaps bump off two or three of Cross's dull, poorly fleshed out family members. Actually, if he'd murdered everyone except Nana Mama, Cross's sassy grandma, I would have been totally psyched.

Recommended only for those who are Alex Cross completists.

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