Top positive review
A searing exercise in brilliance. Strap in for one of Patterson's best thrillers.
on 24 October 2016
Jack and Jill is definitive Patterson, and definitive Alex Cross. It's the book that introduced me to Patterson's writing - and what a way to enter his world.
Alex Cross is having a very bad week: someone has started killing kids near the school attended by his own beloved children...and someone else has started slaying high-profile media and political figures, leaving heavy-handed hints that much worse is to come.
Patterson immerses us in Cross' warm and welcoming home life with his diverse and well-depicted family, as well as his crew of rounded and interesting fellow detectives. He also isn't afraid of painting a picture of social inequality and street-level degradation, but these are always touches that support the story, not just salacious grime for atmosphere's sake.
Similarly, the multiple killings that ratchet up the fear-factor in both cases are described with just enough brutality to appal, but a writer's flair for letting the imagination fill in the gaps.
Here we get almost everything you could possibly put into a murder thriller set in Washington DC - politics, celebrity, white culture, black culture, police procedure...you name it. What we also get is a fantastic ear for psychopathic behaviour and thinking. The descriptions of the characters are brilliant - the way one of the killers involved in one of the main plots maniacally gets tunes stuck in his head and seems so 'hyper' he's barely under his own control mirroring information in books I've read about psychological studies of real serial killers. It adds an air of terrifying veracity to a propulsive, brilliantly written thriller that manages the absurd feat of upping-its-own-game almost every chapter until its twisting conclusion.
There are perhaps four or five books of Patterson's that stand head and shoulders above the others by their sheer brilliance. Jack and Jill is one of those burning lights.