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Cross Country by James Patterson

James Patterson’s Cross Country is full of action, conspiracies, and danger.  Detective Dr. Alex Cross is called to the scene of a horrific murder of an entire family when Cross realizes that Ellie Cox was his first love in college.  Her death and that of her family tug at his heartstrings and strengthen his resolve to find her killers.

As he investigates the crime, he discovers a gang of boys led by a man calling himself the Tiger is behind the murders and much more.

“The boy was eleven years old and fearless as a crocodile in a muddy river.  He raised his pistol much larger than his own hand and fired it into the shivering father’s forehead.”  (Page 5)

Through short chapters and quick action scenes, Patterson builds the tension in Cross Country, leaving readers on the edge of their chairs as Cross hunts down another vile criminal who recruits boys as young as ten who have been orphaned in a number of African nations to become killers.  Traveling to Nigeria, where it is clear Cross has not seen as much horror as he thought he had, the detective lands in hot water with local police and a swath of criminals.

“I shook off whoever was on my right arm and swung at whoever had my left.  None of them was stronger than me, but collectively they were like fly paper covering every inch of my body.  I fought even harder, fighting for my life, I knew.”  (Page 183)

Patterson is an excellent story teller, and Cross Country has more violence in it than the previous Cross novels.  Readers may be disturbed by the sexual violence and blatant murders committed by the criminals in this novel.  Additionally, the resolution of this novel comes about more because of luck or circumstance than because of Dr. Cross’s deductive skills, which readers traditionally look forward to in these novels.  However, those looking for a great police procedural with a mix of nearly impossible overseas intrigue, Cross Country is for them.

For another take on Cross Country, visit my mom’s review. Also take a look at Washington, D.C., and my Alex Cross poem.  Check out the other bloggers posting for Detectives Around the World Week.  Thanks to Hachette Books for providing me with a free review copy.

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Also don’t forget about today’s stops on the National Poetry Month Blog Tour at the life (and lies) of an inanimate flying object, her giveaway, and Evelyn Alfred.

This is my 5th book for the 2010 Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge.


  • I think my last Alex Cross book was CROSS, so I know I’m a few behind now. I had heard Patterson took him to Africa. An interesting setting for the FBI agent, which is good. Patterson needed to try something fresh with him. I’ll have to put this on my audio list.

    Thanks again Serena for your great contributions to Detectives Around the World! I’m glad you represented one of the most popular detectives in American crime fiction. It would have seemed a little strange to celebrate detectives and have him missing!
    .-= Jen Forbus´s last blog ..ROLLING THUNDER – Chris Grabenstein =-.

  • Unfortunately I haven’t had very good luck with Patterson novels but then again I’ve not read any in his Cross series. I may have to check these out one day to see what I’m missing!
    .-= iliana´s last blog ..Book Buys =-.

  • lilly

    I used to love Patterson’s Alex Cross series but then I think I overdid it and haven’t read one for years. I don’t know, maybe it’s time to revisit Mr. Cross.
    .-= lilly´s last blog ..The Surrendered by Chang-Rae Lee =-.

  • Kay

    Even though this book took Alex Cross out of his usual setting, I thought it was very good. Glad you highlighted it!
    .-= Kay´s last blog ..National Library Week – How is your library doing? =-.

    • Thanks for checking out my review.

  • I have the Cross Country audiobook but just haven’t listened to it yet. I’m listening to Worst Case right now and that is pretty intense also.
    .-= Jo-Jo´s last blog ..Current Giveaways!!! =-.

    • I bet this would be great on audio!

  • Even though parts of this book were disturbing, I enjoyed it. I passed it on to my mother and she enjoyed it too. Great review!

    • I really enjoyed this one as well. My mom loved it before I even read it.

  • I’m going to have to try the Alex Cross books at some point. James Patterson is so hit-or-miss with me, and lately its more miss than anything. This one sounds good, though.
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Review: Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Pattillo =-.

    • I really enjoy the Cross novels the most.

  • As much as Patterson’s production-line novels grate on my nerves, I do like the character of Alex Cross. He is solid, a good father that makes good choices. I know I’m never going to be totally blow away by these books, they are always very entertaining. I like the fact that this one gets away from home.
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..This World We Live In – Susan Beth Pfeffer =-.

    • Sandy: I agree about Patterson’s production line, but the Cross novels have always been the best series from him in my humble opinion. I think he’s got a connection with this character and Cross continues to evolve and be a good cop and father.

  • Now I think I need to get back to these books… I need more time!!!
    .-= Beth F´s last blog ..Review: The Postmistress by Sarah Blake =-.

    • I think we all need more time for reading. If only there were more hours in the day for leisure.