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.


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.

Alex Cross’s Washington, D.C.

James Patterson‘s detective series featuring Alex Cross is set in the hub of government and intrigue — Washington, D.C.  I’ve lived in the area for nearly 10 years, and the most anyone ever sees of the city is The National Mall and the Smithsonian museums.

Alex Cross sees the underbelly of city as a cop, but he also enjoys his community near his home on 5th St. SE.  His kids have attended the Sojourner Truth School, and he volunteers at St. Anthony’s Soup Kitchen, which I believe is mirrored on a number of soup kitchens in the area.

When multiple homicides occur, Cross often is briefed at the Metropolitan Police Department headquarters in the Henry J. Daly Building, which was named after Sgt. Henry “Hank” Daly. He also often runs into the FBI at Quantico and elsewhere.  Cross has crisscrossed the United States a number of times, but now he’s even traversed the ocean.

In Cross Country, Cross leaves his home base to catch a serial killer in Lagos, Nigeria the hub of corruption and crime.  Information is traded for American dollars or other currency in market stalls.  Meanwhile, a corridor exists between Nigeria and Sierra Leone where diamonds are traded for oil and gas — at least in Cross’s world.  Check out the Getty Image below of Lagos.

After reading a number of these novels, I think Washington, D.C., is an excellent location to have as a home base.  The city has a high crime rate and is the home of espionage and more, but in Cross Country, Cross experiences a few African nations that are even more horrifying and lawless.

I’m going to leave you with a little interview from James Patterson, and you can look forward to my review of Cross Country tomorrow.  Also, check out the other bloggers for Detectives Around the World Week.

Don’t forget about the next stops on the National Poetry Month Blog tour at
KCBooks and Author Amok.

Welcome to Detectives Around the World Week (April 11-17)

I agree months ago to be a part of the Detectives Around the World Week, sponsored by Jen of Jen’s Book Thoughts.  It runs between April 11 through April 17.  Don’t forget to go an vote for the best detective in the world, and check out the complete schedule.

For my part, I’ll be sharing a bit about Alex Cross with you from James Patterson‘s long-running series of novels.  You may have heard of Alex Cross if you’ve watched the movies Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls with Morgan Freeman. LOVED THOSE MOVIES AND FREEMAN IS ALEX CROSS — at least in my mind.

Here’s a bit about the character:

Alex Cross is in his fifties and has lived on Fifth Street in southeast Washington, D.C., for a long time and has been a detective on the D.C. police force as well as a psychologist and FBI Senior Agent.  His partner on the D.C. force is a giant man named Sampson, and his current main squeeze is Bree Stone.  Cross is a busy man professionally and personally, particularly being a single father to Damon, Jannie, and little Alex and living with his feisty grandmother, Nana Mama.

As part of my introduction, I thought I would spice up the detective week with a National Poetry Month twist.

Alex Cross is on the prowl

using his mind to uncover motive,

intent, crime.

Stalking the streets with a giant,

Sampson with the blue light special

at his side and the boxing fists.

More than cops, a duo of brawn and brain

ready to take on the criminally insane.

But there are empty holes to fill

a family to protect, and wife to mourn

even as life goes on.

Here’s what you can expect from me this week:

April 14: Guest Post from Author Cara Black with a focus on France

April 15: Washington, D.C. Setting Post

April 16: Review of Cross Country by James Patterson

April 17: Review of Alex Cross’s Trial by James Patterson

I hope you have a great week checking out all the wonderful detectives from across the globe. My selection just happens to be from my part of the world, and what better place to have a detective than the hub of government.