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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.


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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.

Daniel X: Watch the Skies by James Patterson & Ned Rust

I’ve been a bit busy reading, but I have some reviews from my mom, Pat, to share.  Today, my mom is going to share her thoughts on the latest young adult book from James Patterson.  Please give her a warm welcome.

James Patterson and Ned Rust’s Daniel X:  Watch the Skies is the next book in Patterson’s young adult series.  In this book, the aliens are taking over the town of Holliswood.  With the prevalence of televisions, computers, and portable devices, its easy to be in the face of every resident and document their downfall.

Daniel X, his sister Emma, and two brothers are still searching for who killed their parents.  This family must face the good and bad in this action-packed book.  Readers will speed through the drama to reach its conclusion.  It’s a page-turner and a five-star, must read.

Please check out the book podcast.

My mom would like to thank Hachette Book Group for sending her a free review copy.  Clicking on title links and coverage images will bring you to my Amazon Affiliate page; no purchase required.

We’ve since passed along this book to Anna at Diary of an Eccentric‘s girl and maybe she’ll come back and give us her perspective.

8th Confession by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

James Patterson and Maxine Paetro’s 8th Confession is the latest installment of the Women’s Murder Club series.

Today’s review is from my mom, Pat. Let’s give her a warm welcome.

The Women’s Murder Club mystery continues in 8th Confession and is a suspenseful, fast moving story. In the beginning, a homeless man is found brutally murdered. Meanwhile, wealthy residents of San Francisco continue to have lavish parties, including Isa and Ethan Baily. Someone close to them watches their every move until they are murdered. However, it is unclear how they were killed and there is no apparent evidence of a crime.

Murders continue to happen throughout many locations in California and the Women’s Murder Club must solve these murders. The 8th Confession is not revealed until near the end of the book. Patterson has created another action-filled, five-star read.

Thanks, Mom, for another great review.

***Remember my Rooftops of Tehran giveaway***


MAX by James Patterson (audio)

James Patterson‘s MAX on audio is chock full of sound effects, drama, and thrills. MAX is the fifth book in the young adult Maximum Ride series, which centers on winged kids that range from ages 6 to 16. Max leads the flock of winged children, and in this novel, they attempt to find Max’s kidnapped mother with the help of the U.S. military.

Not only does this novel immerse readers in the angst, confusion, and desire of these kids to fit in, it also is a coming of age story for Max as she begins to understand her feelings for Fang.

Listeners will be completely absorbed in the twists and turns of this thriller as the flock flies from South America to other locations and boards submarines to locate Max’s mother beneath the ocean’s surface. Check out this audio excerpt from James Patterson’s Website to hear the sound effects and the charged voice of Jill Apple.

If you are interested in this audiobook, just leave a comment to be entered. I’ll draw a winner on July 25, 2009.

Run for Your Life by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge

James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge’s Run for Your Life is another in the Michael Bennett crime drama series. My mom, Pat, will be your guest reviewer today, please give her a warm welcome.

Run for Your Life chronicles another adventure of Michael Bennett, a detective in the New York Police Department who is a single father to 10 children. In this novel, a murderer who calls himself “the Teacher” takes New York City by storm, slaughtering the powerful and arrogant rich people of the city. “The Teacher” selects his victims from those he meets.

Michael Bennett races across the city to investigate these vicious crime scenes, and many of these are difficult to visit. While “the Teacher’s” rampage across the city continues, Det. Bennett’s children fall ill with the flu, making his job even more difficult.

Run for Your Life is another page turner that readers will be unable to put down. Another five-star crime drama from James Patterson, chock full of action.

Thanks, Mom, for another detailed review. Look forward to more from her later this week.

MAX by James Patterson

Welcome my mom’s (Pat) review of MAX by James Patterson; she was kind enough to read this one a month ago, and I’m just catching up on posting some of her reviews.

MAX, the fifth book in the series, features the bird kids–Gazzy, Angel, Fang, Nudge, Max and others–after they join forces with the coalition CSM to stop the “madness.” Off the Hawaii coast, ships, fish, and other creatures are being destroyed by something or someone. The bird kids always seem to be in danger, but they are keenly aware of the dangers they face.

Patterson’s young adult bird kid series really heats up in MAX. But will Max and her mother live through this ordeal? If you are eager for another page turner, this is the book for you. Action-packed up until the end, and you will want read it again just to see how the kids find their way out of trouble. Five stars, a must read.

Thanks, mom, for another review, and thanks to Hachette Group for sending this book along. Stay tuned for my review of MAX, which the hubby and I are listening to on audiobook.

Have a great weekend everyone; I’ll be offline spending time with the hubby and spring cleaning in June.

Check out this giveaway:

1 copy of Holly’s Inbox by Holly Denham, here; Deadline is June 10, 2009, 11:59 PM EST

Cross Country by James Patterson

Miriam at Hatchette Group sent Cross Country by James Patterson for my review. However, while I’ve been an avid James Patterson reader for some time, I decided to have the biggest James Patterson fan I know review it. My mom, Pat, offered to review the book for me. I’m sure my review will follow sometime in 2009.

About the book (from Amazon.com):

In this 14th Alex Cross thriller, Cross, a Washington, D.C., police detective, takes on a very different quarry—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.

Here’s what Pat had to say about the latest in the Alex Cross Series:

James Patterson’s Cross Country is a page turner from beginning to end.

Alex Cross and Brianna Stone are called to a horrific crime scene, one of the worst murder scenes Cross has encountered in his entire D.C. police career. Families are brutally murdered in their homes. One scene involves Cross’ ex-girlfriend Ellie Randall Cox and her family, and the death of the entire family. Ellie was a reporter who uncovered a series of brutal murders happening both in the United States and Nigeria, Africa.

Cross ends up in Africa on the trail of a notorious killer, Tiger, and his boy killers. From the moment Cross sets foot in Nigeria, he is kidnapped, beaten, and shot at. The fast-paced style that Patterson has cornered the market on continues in this latest Alex Cross story. Everyone Cross comes in contact with is dying or in danger, and eventually, Tiger follows Cross back to Washington, D.C.

This book is fantastic, and I would rate it with 5 stars. It will keep readers glued to the page until they are finished. This is one of the better books in the Cross series, and setting a portion of the tale in Africa was unique and believable.

***Don’t forget about the Gods Behaving Badly Contest, which runs through January 5 at Midnight EST.***

Against Medical Advice by James Patterson

James Patterson and Hal Friedman’s Against Medical Advice is the first book my mom, Pat, will be reviewing here on Savvy Verse & Wit.

According to Amazon.com’s Product Description:

Cory Friedman woke up one morning when he was five years old with the uncontrollable urge to twitch his neck. From that day forward his life became a hell of irrepressible tics and involuntary utterances, and Cory embarked on an excruciating journey from specialist to specialist to discover the cause of his disease. Soon it became unclear what tics were symptoms of his disease and what were side effects of the countless combinations of drugs. The only certainty is that it kept getting worse. Simply put: Cory Friedman’s life was a living hell.

Against Medical Advice is the true story of Cory and his family’s decades-long battle for survival in the face of extraordinary difficulties and a maddening medical establishment.

Without further ado, here’s mom:

Patterson usually writes fiction, but this non-fiction work is well written. Patterson and Hal Friedman met at an advertising agency and both are writers. They took four years to write this true story about Hal’s son, Cory, who has Tourettes Syndrome. One symptom of the ailment is body ticks. After a variety of medical treatments and medications, symptoms were not alleviated and lead to Cory’s over-eating and weight gain.

Cory, an athlete in school, eventually gets into trouble with the “wrong” crowd. Alcohol consumption exacerbates Cory’s medical problems and things spiraled out of control for him. After a number of treatment facilities, Cory is sent to a wilderness camp to help him cope with his ailment.

This is a story of one family’s struggles with a disease that is hard to treat and deal with, and about how this struggle impacted them. I would recommend this book to James Patterson fans and would consider this among his best books. I consider this as a 5-star book.

Thanks mom for your review of James Patterson’s Against Medical Advice.

Pat is an avid James Patterson reader and loves to follow his latest novels. I even thanked James Patterson in person for getting my mom to read. She didn’t read much when I was growing up, at least from what I can remember. Now, if we could only get dad to start reading.

***Don’t forget my giveaway for an inscribed copy of Matrimony by Joshua Henkin. Deadline is Dec. 21 and the contest is international.**

***Check out the winner of the Green Beauty Guide and an announcement about First Book.***

7th Heaven Sure Is a Firey Pit

Despite a bump in the road with 6th Target, James Patterson has picked up the Women’s Murder Club Series in 7th Heaven, and it looks like Lindsay is on the brink of yet another emotional dilemma. In this book, Michael Campion, who has a bad heart and happens to be the son of a former governor, disappears, but a tip comes in leading to a potential suspect. At the same time, a series of homes are set afire, robbed, and their occupants killed; these fires appear to be arson or accidental, but the detectives must follow a gruelling set of leads to discover the truth. Meanwhile, Lindsay Boxer continues to live with her FBI boyfriend, Joe, even though she has yet to say yes to his proposal from 6th Target.

***Spoiler Alert***

While this book has a much cleaner plot and the suspense is kept high for most of the book, I don’t see the attraction Lindsay has to Rich Conklin, her partner. I know that Patterson is setting it up to be a love triangle with Lindsay caught between two men–her partner and her former FBI boyfriend–but I guess I am partial to Joe. I want to see her happy, and after cheering him on and happily applauding his decision to finally move to San Francisco and quite the FBI to be with Lindsay, I want my happy ending for them. I knew once Jacobi was moved up and no longer her partner, another hunk was moving into her life. I wonder if it is her desire for Conklin or her inability to commit that has her so confused about the men in her life. I gather its a bit of both.

This is one thing I have noticed about Patterson’s crime stories–and it bugs me–the main characters who are detectives in police forces never can just have a happy home life. Wives die, marriages end in divorce, partners become lovers, and other activities happen that keep these detectives merely bouncing from bed to bed. I find that disturbing. I would like to see something out of the ordinary from one of his main characters; I would like to see them fall in love, get married, and have families all while remaining on the job and platonic with their partners.

As for the crimes, the Campion case takes a series of twists and turns that even had me baffled for a while, though I finally had it figured. I love the ending to this case, folks. If for nothing else, you should read this book to find out what really happens to Michael Campion. I have to say the conversation with Boxer, Conklin, and Campion’s father was the biggest clue to the ending for me. It was a good point in the story to bring it out as well.

The rash of fires in the area among wealthy families was intriguing and the discovery of who Pidge and Hawk really are was captivating. The only question I have for those characters is what sick and twisted world do you live in that setting fires and killing people can be equated with 7th Heaven? Talk about a disturbing title for a graphic novel/manifesto of crime. It makes one wonder how these minds become that twisted to think hey let’s set fire to homes, rob them, and kill the couples inside rather than sell this really detailed graphic novel that received rave reviews and become rich ourselves. I think in this instance, I would have preferred a bit more detail into how these criminals came to those conclusions. What motivated them to kill, rather than make money and change their lot in life? Then again, I suppose most cops and prosecutors never find that out even if the perps are arrested.

***End Spoiler Alert****

Also, keep a watchful eye on this book for the newest addition to the Women’s Murder Club. The group is growing. Overall, this was an enjoyable, quick read that kept my interest throughout. While some parts angered me and there is still no resolution to the Joe, Lindsay, Conklin interactions, I would recommend this crime drama, 7th Heaven, as a must read part of the series, just skip over the 6th Target.

Double XX, Marks the Spot

Double Cross by James Patterson, the latest in the Alex Cross series, is a gripping continuation. There are two psychopathic killers on the loose and they are in competition with one another. Alex has yet another love interest, Bree Stone, who just happens to be a detective with the Washington D.C. police department, but Cross is no longer with the FBI or the police department. In fact, he’s become the family man, with his own psychiatric practice and patients.

This is the book I’ve been waiting to read from Patterson. The last two Patterson books I’ve read have left me wanting better writing and more intricate plots. This has most of both. The writing is better, the characters are sympathetic and varied, and the plot is definitely much less contrived than the previous two.

***Spoiler Alert***
Alex Cross has his patients and comes home for dinner with the family on a daily basis, which is something that his kids are certainly not used to. It’s good to see him with the family and the newest love of his life, but you know something will happen to draw him back into the game. First there are a series of killings by a serial murderer interested in having an audience for his crimes, and those audiences get bigger and bigger. Then, Kyle Craig, Alex Cross’ archenemy The Mastermind, escapes from the inescapable prison in Colorado. What is Craig after and how did he escape. I almost wished there was more with this storyline, rather than the DCAK murders, but I’m sure that Craig will resurface in the next installment.

DCAK is a ego-maniac in search of his own infamy…he wants to be larger than life, bigger than Kyle Craig, himself. It’s this desire to be better and then thinking he is better that becomes DCAK’s downfall. I love the meeting of DCAK and Craig. That is the best interlude in the book. The showdown in the alley near the end is suspenseful and nerve-wracking. I couldn’t wait to see the outcome.

***End Spoiler Alert***

Patterson does a better job in this book of maintaining my interest in this book. Overall, this series is the most well-crafted of the ones he has created and is probably why it remains so popular. The suspense in the latter half of the book is phenomenal, and I over-thought the book a bit when I was waiting for Bree Stone to turn on Cross and shoot him and reveal herself as part of the coup. It’s a great addition to the Cross series, and this time around the end gives you an even bigger lead in to the next book that is sure to come in the series.

The Quickie

How shabby can a plot or characters get? I remember a book I read long ago by Zane in which the character was not well created and everything under the sun happened to her by the end of the book. The Quickie by James Patterson is much like the title suggests, a quickly written novel to fill the space between two better written novels. I already reviewed Step on a Crack and You’ve Been Warned.

Unlike those two books, which has suspense and plot twists, The Quickie was a roller coaster ride you wanted to get off quickly. When I reached about halfway through the novel and it ended in a shootout with the bad guy, I thought thank goodness that is over. But it wasn’t over. I handled the transition to the subplot behind Detective Scott Thayer’s odd behavior and ultimately his death relatively well, but I could not absorb the other twists thrown my way.

***Spoiler Alert***

Lead character Detective Lauren Stillwell of the NYPD is not a good detective at all. She had no idea Scott Thayer was playing on her vulnerabilities and insecurities, and she is a “tough as nails” cop. She was equally blind where her husband was concerned, and still wanted to save his sorry butt even after learning he has another “wife and child” with twins on the way, not to mention he committed robbery, shipped off millions to be laundered in a foreign nation, oh and killed her lover boy Scott Thayer. Nevermind, Paul’s sordid past.

How is it that Patterson can write this many novels in one year without making mistakes? At one point she is driving around in her mini cooper when she has to head home to tend to “brownies” when she leaves to return to the scene she has a completely different car–did she misplace the mini, was it beamed away while she was looking for her husband or hiding the evidence that he killed Scott, or was it the editors and Patterson forgetting to keep the story consistent? Miraculously, and this is the part that really got me thinking about Patterson’s production levels this year, Lauren gets pregnant and it is determined she’s been pregnant a lot longer than she initially thinks, especially given she just slept with Thayer 6 days before the news. However, many places in the book, the character refers to her and her husband’s stagnant love life at home…which leads the reader to believe they are not sleeping together. So, I ask you how did she get pregnant? Immaculate conception or his sperm jumped through the air when they passed one another in the mornings. I have no idea.

There are so many plot twists and subplots in this book, it was driving me insane. The narration was all over the place and not tied together tightly enough for me to believe in it. The main character is a detective; Patterson writes about them all the time, but this one has to be the dumbest detective I have run across.

***End Spoiler***

I suggest you skip this one and read one of the other two I have mentioned. They are much better books.

Someone asked me if I think it is James Patterson’s use of co-authors that has hindered the plots and entertainment of some of his latest books, but I can tell you that is not the case. Step on a Crack had the same co-author, Michael Ledwidge, as the Quickie and it was a better book. I think it has more to do with Patterson’s schedule; he is cranking out too many books per year these days. I say slow down man, we can wait for a better book.