A couple of day ago I read Along Came A Spider (Alex Cross #1) and enjoyed it so much that I was upset I had no further Alex Cross novels. I really wanted to jump straight back into Patterson’s tough gritty world of Washington DC following our hero Alex Cross. However; when perusing my office/library I noticed this book, grabbed it off the shelf and two days later here we are.
Two main storylines make up this narrative. Two children (once again) have been kidnapped from school leaving no sign or trace. To heat things up a little, they are the President of the United States Children. (Someone is getting fired for letting that happen!!)
The second storyline follows a Saudi Arabian couple who are part of a interesting but shadowy terrorist organisation known as “The Family”. We are given insight to the actions of beautiful, clever and deadly assassin Hala A Dossari and her unattractive chubby husband Tariq who is no where near as exciting. He is the typical “everyman”. She defiantly “wears the trousers in that relationship”! They are one couple out of many Saudi Arabian’s husband and wife duos who have been sent to America to cause chaos to our friends in Washington DC. They also carry potassium cyanide to ingest in case they get intercepted. They are here to wreck havoc and do all sort of errant and indecent actions such as shooting people, poisoning the water supply of the city and blowing up places.
Alex Cross is similar to how I described him in my previous review. Quick recap, clever, intellectual, fit and always ready for action. It shows greatly that he follows his heart as well as his mind in missions. I picture him as being played by Idris Elba. (Aside – I saw in the Along Came A Spider Film he was played by Morgan Freeman – not how I imagine him at all)
With the chaos of the unfolding events as it proceeds there are some nice snippets in to Alex’s family life. He is still living with his lovely, sassy, “old school negro” Grandmother – loving nicknamed “Nana”, his wife Bree and his children (including a new adopted addition called Ava). I can’t help but think these nice scenes are a literary device and show the juxtaposition between his content nature at home to how the President & First Lady must be feeling missing there children. Alex sees this too. It makes him work through his skin to solve the case – even taking the law in to his own hands if needs be.
Now for the criticism. The two story arcs do not fit together well at all throughout this book. They almost seem alien and mismatched. Alex and his partner Sampson are mainly focused on the kidnapping case- but they occasionally accompany the FBI to these terrorist events involving The Family or FBI briefings/interrogations but they don’t really have any impact on how events unfold down that avenue. In addition; the main perpetrator/villain is no where near as memorable as Gary Sonji in Alex Cross #1. He seemed a bit bland.
This story was no where near as complex, long, intricate or unpredictable as Along Came A Spider. I know I have jumped from book 1 – 18. Has Patterson become a machine just recycling these stories knowing they will be best sellers without little care? I would be interested in people opinions regarding this. I can’t judge that myself however after loving one book and thinking that this one was average. I imagine I will go back to the start of the Alex Cross adventures and pick up book #2 Kiss The Girls which I have heard good things about. If I read chronologically throughout the collections maybe I can pinpoint the books where things go sour, if of course that is how it transpires.