Cross My Heart by James Patterson

Cross My Heart is the twenty-first book in the Alex Cross series by prolific American author, James Patterson. While Alex Cross and his friend John Samson are kept busy with a multiple murder/kidnapping in a massage parlour, Detective Bree Stone investigates the abduction of a child from a day care centre. At the same time, Alex and Bree are trying to track down Ava, the troubled teen who has recently run away from their home. And unbeknownst to Alex and Bree, a ruthless murderer is targeting their family.

The theme of Alex Cross’s family being, once again, in grave danger from a criminal with some sort of grudge against him, is perhaps wearing just a bit thin, although this time it is carried a lot further than previously. And while his family’s somewhat casual attitude to personal security may be explained away by the cleverly staged situations in which they are taken, readers may wonder at the lack of any sort of security devices like motion sensors (a pretty standard installation in many households) in the home of such a high-profile cop.

Patterson’s trademark short chapters have the story moving along at a fast pace; the villains are suitably evil, if shallow; there are twists and red herrings, there are masters of disguise, and while three of the ongoing matters are satisfactorily resolved, some with a dramatic climax, the book ends in a huge cliff-hanger, something which certainly annoyed faithful readers, especially those who had to wait 22 months for the next book.

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