WIJFR: Cross Country

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Alex Cross, a Washington, D.C., police detective, takes on a human monster known as the Tiger with ties to the African underworld. When the Tiger and his teenage thugs butcher writer Ellie Cox, her husband and children in their Georgetown home, Cross is devastated because Ellie had been his girlfriend in college. The Cox family massacre proves to be just the first in a series. Cross pursues the Tiger to Nigeria, where the profiler finds himself at the mercy of corrupt government officials who may be working with the Tiger.

I just finished James Patterson’s 14th Alex Cross thriller, “Cross Country.” I’ve read other Patterson books in the past, but never any of the Alex Cross novels (though I have seen the movies of “Kiss the Girls” and “Along Came a Spider”).

I don’t have that much to say about it: Cross ends up chasing a killer from D.C. to Africa in a hunt that takes him to Darfur, Sierra Leone, Lagos, and other impoverished locations. I’m not trying to be insensitive, but after a while it felt like I was reading a political statement instead of a novel. It just wasn’t that interesting or thrilling to me and maybe that’s the reason I wasn’t that impressed (plus, I could only see Morgan Freeman in my head as I was reading).

The novel is not short, but at 403 pages it contains 158 chapters. That’s about 2.5 pages per chapter! As a result the narrative seemed choppy, but on the other hand it read very quickly (and gave me lots of places to stop). Maybe Patterson’s earlier Alex Cross stuff is better and after 14 books, the ideas are running out …

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