Monday, September 16, 2013

Library Reads: Merry Christmas, Alex Cross

So after Kill Alex Cross I was unsure that Merry Christmas, Alex Cross would continue the series any better. Especially since the reviews seem just as lackluster. While it's not return to the better days it still does at least improve. The writing seems to be more Patterson by far. I also do like the return to seeming to more personally explore Alex Cross as a person then just trying to just get us involved by using certain propaganda to make an attachment with the character.

Summary: It's Christmas and Alex Cross' family just wants him home with them. He gets a call though that sends him out on two high profile cases, and he just hopes his family can understand that if he doesn't go he could have innocent lives on his mind that were lost by him refusing to show. One case involves a hostage situation where one man has went off the rails and is threatening his own family's life on Christmas. The other involves one of the FBI's most wanted terrorist who is plotting a disastrous train explosion in Washington D.C. With Alex being the best negotiator and  detective they go he believes it is on him.

Characters: Alex Cross definitely goes through more major character development than he has in awhile. There were some things I thought were good and bad. One being that Alex Cross has become sort of a goody goody. While I agree with some of the things he opposed, like the use of torturing kids to get a mother to talk, he just seemed to have a demeanor that needed to be counteracted with some imperfection. Maybe that was why he had him debating the whole issue of leaving his family on Christmas or not though. We also seem to get a Cross that is more connected to his faith and family in this one in previous ones. Overall the whole array of characters seem better developed though.

Writing: The writing is different than the prior book, which strikes me as odd. The sentence structure reads different. There is less focus on the action and more internal thoughts of the characters as they discuss feelings. It seems to be a book that wavers more over the personal problems of the characters. The book also feels like it is less in your face political propaganda than the last in the writing. I felt like I was Olympus Has Fallen, and getting the way the government wished people felt about it.

Plot: The plot is better, but it's almost facing the same problem the prior book did. Unlike other Cross books where we get a main bad guy and follow him through the book it seems the last two seem to be feeling they don't have enough content to carry us the whole way through. Instead we have a different bad guy at the beginning, and then at the end switch to a long running one. I sort of miss the days where you got into a bad guy's head and you stuck toward this huge build up at the end where Alex Cross confronted them.

Alex Cross shows it still has something to squeeze out though it isn't much. Maybe the last books can continue to improve from here. The book has this underlining tone though that feels Patterson is giving us more than a story about Alex Cross at times though, and weaving some of his own views into fiction that don't quite fit. You have more likable characters though, and Alex Cross seems to have come back a bit as a real feeling person.

Rating 7 of 10.

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