Double Cross

September 3, 2008

Title: Double Cross
Author: James Patterson
Readers: Peter J. Fernandez & Michael Stuhlbarg
Audiobook: 2007
Length: 7 hours

Ears: 3

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The national obsession with serial killers is beginning to wear a bit thin for me. There are countless authors who have gotten rich off of the blood and gore from a homicidal maniac. Television shows such as the very dark and brutal Criminal Minds continue the trend. In fairness to James Patterson, he’s been at the serial killer genre for quite awhile. Some of his earlier works in the Alex Cross series are really very good.

Double Cross has its moments the killer who will become known as DCAK (I’m not going to tell you what that means) is rather interesting and original. The good news, if there is any, is that DCAK is not your overdone serial rapist and torturer of women. So the early part of the book keeps you guessing. The bad news is, as typical for a Patterson book, one plot is certainly not enough.

The second story involves the reemergence of “The Mastermind”, FBI agent turned serial killer Kyle Craig who has been rotting in a maximum security prison for four years. He has had time to get very angry and hatch a rather preposterous plot to wreck vengeance on those who wronged him, most specifically retired Alex Cross. Craig has appeared in several earlier Alex Cross stories, but you can get a good idea about his ego and capabilities from the overwrought dialog.

Part of the fun of these thrillers is that bad things happen – often and without regard to much logic or coherence. Patterson piles on improbabilities at a rapid rate while keeping the action moving.

I’m not sure which of the readers voiced each part. I’m guessing one reader does Cross and the other our killers. I felt the reading of Cross was a bit too bright and cheerful. But perhaps that is because I recently saw the movie Along Came A Spider which features Morgan Freeman as Cross, a much more restrained version. The reading of the killers involved several accents that helped mask their identities.

Spoiler Alert: [You may not want to read this paragraph – it gives away a minor although obvious plot point.] There’s nothing wrong with a good thriller, and I certainly was kept entertained by this one. I knocked off an ear because Patterson just will not end a book with a good final scene. I’m tired of various bad guys rising to rampage in the future. Come on, put them down once and for all and write something new!

Reviewed on 9/3/2008 by Robert W. Karp

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