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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on 11 December 2012
Love the Alex Cross books but this one was a let down, no where near as gripping as previous seemed a little bit thrown together ? .
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50 of 56 people found the following review helpful
TOP 50 REVIEWERon 22 November 2012
James Patterson has written a pacey action-packed book with no co-writer mentioned. The author throws Detective Alex Cross into a frenetic 24 hour period over Christmas, a period normally a happy family get-together. Cross is the ultimate in maintaining high standards. His dedication to his service commitments are unquestionable. On Christmas Eve, Cross and long-term friend and colleague John Sampson apprehend a known repeat offender attempting to steal church moneys' to feed his drug habit. Returning home to his family for a festive, relaxing Christmas Eve, his phone rings, calling him urgently to a hostage scene.

Henry Fowler, a once rich and successful attorney, lost his job through malpractice.His life rapidly took a nose-dive into bitterness and substance misuse. He is holding his ex-wife, his three children, her new husband and a congressman's wife (a neighbour) prisoners. He is heavily armed and is threatening the lives of his captives. The hostage negotiator has upset Fowler and Cross is brought in to sort out the potentially explosive scene. In a bold manoeuvre and using his experience of the 'psychological approach', Cross finds himself in a courtroom scenario in the house with Fowler. He is curious to know the reason behind the drug-fuelled hatred of his family, the circumstances of his downfall and hence how best to tackle the problems in front of him with a view to solving the crisis

Meanwhile his family sit at home worrying about the danger he has again exposed himself to. I wonder how families cope with these sudden and often prolonged absences, particularly at Christmas, with a wife or husband and children involved. Their own commitment seems the old cliche, 'marry the man (or woman) ,marry the job', yet there has to be a break even relationship that Cross has achieved. He goes home to his family whenever he can, even for short bursts. He is always at the end of a telephone, however. No apparent 'time-off' for Cross! Other professions (medical,nursing,firefighters, police,servicemen & women) come to mind yet shifts are at least predictably structured.

With the Fowler situation cleverly resolved one way or another, Cross settles in with his family for a relaxing Christmas Day having spent Christmas Eve 'convincing a crazy man not to kill his family'. That afternoon, his cell phone call propels him into a further, even more potentially dangerous and catastophic dilemma. Hala Al Dossari is a member of a terrorist organisation Al Alya, rooted in Saudi Arabia but active in the USA. Known to Cross through previous acts of treachery, she is part of a team who are hell-bent on a mass act of killing on a dreadful scale. Aided by fellow members of the Al Alya 'Family', the plot involves sabotage of a train and a cunning, evil plan to carry out their orders in the name of Inshallah, the Will of Allah, even if martyrdom is the eventuality.

Cross and trusted colleague Ned Mahoney throw themselves into an action-packed counter-attack on the terrorists using their police skills and aided by specialist colleagues and the snow and icy weather. The eventuality hangs on a thread with suspense and surprise. Al Alya operatives do not fold easily even under extreme means, driven by religious fervour, making their apprehension and stopping a major tragedy difficult to avert. The methods used to do this may be disturbing, and not in Cross's comfort zone, but gaining knowledge of the movements and intentions of the fanatics is imperative. The chase is on leaving the reader following a maze of activity until the end.

Patterson's latest Alex Cross novel is full of action and suspense. Situations that Cross plunges into are inevitably perilous. His decisions need to be made on the spot inthe face of adversity. He shoots, talks or intuitively and skillfully finds a way out with his colleagues. He is, after all, a survivor. It is a relief to have him back. The read is shorter than the pages indicate and some of the situations are predictable but don't detract from the book. I found the novel an exciting and enjoyable read. Really, these are two stories linked by Christmas and Cross's family.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 24 December 2012
I used to really enjoy James books but he seems lately to be going more for the quantity of new books he can publish in a year rather than the quality, I would prefer one good book a year rather than 3 average. Oh and isnt it about time Nana passed on to greener pastures.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 6 December 2013
Quite disappointed - storyline boring - glad I only paid £3.00. Not a patch on some of his other books. Its as she just churned this out for Christmas.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 9 December 2012
Being a fan of the Alex Cross books and James Patterson, I opened this book (on kindle) with anticipation.
I was extremely disappointed, it is 2 novels linked together only by being set over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day,
There was not the time or space for the normal build up and suspense. It was also quite unbelievable. I know Washington DC is violent, but come on, Mr Patterson, show some respect for your readers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2013
Nowhere near as good as his early books about Alex Cross. This one is effectively 2 short stories set within a Christmas holiday, and the final quarter of the book is a preview of another book entirely!

The story lines are improbable, and Alex Cross seems able to make wildly intuitive leaps, to carry the story along.

James Patterson seems to have taken the commercialisation of authorship to a completely new level.

Based on this book, I will not be buying any further Alex Cross books, I felt this was a waste of money, and a waste hour or so of my life, that it took me to read it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 8 December 2012
Im a massive fan of the Alex Cross sagas, but this one completely failed me. There was none of the usual suspense, just a simple straight forward read. Quite boring actually!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 August 2014
Being a big fan of James Patterson and especially of his Alex Cross series it pains me to say that I was really disappointed with this one. It didn't have the same feel as his other books felt a bit rushed. The storyline was boring and had none of the suspense that I love in his books. I hope the next book in this series is better!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 November 2014
An enjoyable read, but then I always enjoy the Alex Cross books, yes some are better than others and I always seem to enjoy James Patterson when he writes by himself and not with another. Alex Cross has now been with us for sometime and his story is almost like taking a peek into someone else's life that we know and are fond of. I shall look forward to more of the Cross books. I have found as I said some of his other books not really up to par and did not enjoy the Private books perhaps because I could not like the main man. But my son - younger generation loved them. Careful Mr Patterson I think you are becoming a little too "samey" and like some other author's repetitive although not as bad as Martina Cole.
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on 8 July 2014
There is no doubt that James Patterson always gives us a quick read and a real page turner, however it is a shame that his only solo effort now is the Alex Cross series, and this I’m afraid has slowly gone downhill. There can only be so much mileage that a writer can give to a super-human detective whose family hate the job that he does, before it becomes tiresome. If Alex Cross was a real person then he would now be the Head of something in a central location sending out some other young buck to get caught up in a series of near-death experiences, the fact that this isn’t the case gives a mild suggestion that Alex Cross is slightly egotistical, believing on some level that only he can ‘catch the bad-guy’. I can’t actually believe that after all that he has done, that he wouldn’t be entitled to early retirement.

So with slightly fewer-than-normal pages, we have two short stories for the price of one, and whilst they are entertaining, they could well have been conceived in a few minutes over a late night port, whilst JP counted out his millions. There is only so much artistic license that one can accept. Personally I think that the Alex Cross series has run its course. I won’t get into the debate of how much input Mr Patterson has in each book, but I also feel that the Woman’s Murder Club is showing signs of wrinkles and creaking-bones; but that said the Michael Bennett and Private books are very good, as are the majority of the stand-alone thrillers. This is not a revelation but Mr Patterson, how about quality instead of quantity?
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