Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Review - Merry Christmas, Alex Cross by James Patterson

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross
By James Patterson
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Pub. Date: November 12, 2012
ISBN: 978-0316210683
Pages: 352


It’s been several years since I have read a James Patterson novel. My grandmother was a huge fan of his books and after her death I have continued to buy each new release. The latest Alex Cross novel has been sitting on my coffee table for a few weeks. With some free time on my hands, I started reading it yesterday afternoon.

In his nineteenth outing, Detective Alex Cross is looking forward to spending a quite Christmas Eve with his family, but one phone call will change his holiday plans. A distraught man, Henry Fowler, forced himself into his ex-wife's home on Christmas Eve. Henry has taken her hostage along with her new husband, Dr. Barry Nicholson, and her three children. Alex knows that man is on a short fuse and could begin killing the hostages at any second, but Alex is their only hope of surviving the night.

Just as Alex is ready to return home to his family, an enemy from his past emerges from the shadows and intends on bring deaths millions.

What is up with the book cover? It looks like a sasquatch walking in the snow. It has to be one of the ugliest book jackets I have ever seen!

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross was actually released last year in a 101 pages paperback version. From my understanding, it only contained the hostage plot. The recently released hardcover is the expanded version with the terrorist plot added to it.

James Patterson's earlier novels contained detailed plots. For several years now, he has released nearly a new book a month, typically with a co-author. (Note: James writes the outline of the novel and lets the co-author write the first draft.) He likes to use short chapters so a reader will be glued to the book. This is a great idea for his young adult books, but I'm an adult and I found it more than annoying that Merry Christmas, Alex Cross had 109 chapters!

There are two plots in the novel, a hostage situation and a terrorist threat. I enjoyed reading the first part, but the terrorist threat seem to forced and unrealistic. Alex spent hours on Christmas Eve saving hostages and it is unlikely that he would be thrown into another situation so quickly. It seems as if, James ran out of ideas on how to expand the original novella plot and threw together a misguided terrorist plot. Merry Christmas, Alex Cross may be a fast-paced read, but it also felt rushed and lazily written. I was expecting a completely different read. I was entertained, but I was also utterly disappointed.

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