I knew before I bought this book that it was not a traditional Alex Cross novel, it is a book "written" by Alex Cross, based in 1906 America, telling the story of a man named Ben Corbett who returns to his hometown Eudora, Mississippi after being instructed by the President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt to meet with Abraham Cross (Alex's great-uncle) and write a report on the murderous lynchings and try and stop the racial tension that was very common in the deep south back at the turn of the century.
I am a big fan of James Patterson, having read most of his novels over the years, and despite misleading marketing by putting Washington DC's favourite fictional detective in the title (even though he only appears to write the short 2-page prologue at the beginning) which will no doubt be a big disappointment to anyone who hasn't read the description before buying it, I found this book to be very good and had me gripped from the opening chapters. I don't know a great deal about early 1900s American history but this book (which is apparently close to being non-fiction) has really opened my eyes to how bad things were between black and white people back then, with sickening murders and torture (much of which is in very graphic detail in this book) and abuse. The story itself is told from the perspective of Corbett, a lawyer from Washington who leaves his wife and daughters to do the work the President has given him, seeing his old hometown in a completely different light from when he was a boy.
Overall this was a very interesting and different read that I found to be surprisingly good with decent characters, a fast-paced plot and a good ending. If you read this not expecting it to be an Alex Cross book and you have an interest in historical fiction then you will more than like enjoy this. If you're after the next Alex Cross novel in the series however, you'll have to wait until the end of October.