I received an ARC of Kiss the Girls via NetGalley and I would like to thank James Patterson, Random House UK, Cornerstone and Arrow. Although this is a well-known classic thriller, first released in 1995, a new version with that strikingly awesome cover is being published on 29 June 2017. Kiss the Girls is the second outing featuring detective and psychologist Alex Cross and it follows on from the excellent Along Came A Spider.
The story starts with Alex arriving home one day to find a houseful of crying relatives. The reason for this is that his niece Naomi has gone missing whilst she is away from the family studying law in Carolina. They are shocked and devastated of course. To make matters more complex, this is not an isolated incident. This has happened to at least six attractive, intelligent women recently so the police are suspecting a serial kidnapper. As this is personal, Alex talks his way from Washington D.C. to Carolina where he aligns himself with the local police force and the FBI who are investigating these mysterious disappearances which have left no evidence or even the smallest lead.
Kiss the Girls includes familiar characters that are frequent throughout the series such as Alex’s partner, the “Man Mountain” Detective John Sampson and also his FBI contact, Special Agent Kyle Craig. I really enjoyed reading more about these characters as well as about Alex himself. Similar to the majority of these thrillers, we are introduced to new highly interesting and deep characters such as the complexity of the “two killers” and the intriguing female student Doctor and karate expert, Kate.
The action switches between Washington D.C and Carolina. The novel flows at breakneck speed and the chapters are always short, sharp and precise keeping the action intense and gripping. Alex does what he does best which is attempting to get into the minds of these notorious “monsters” to try and find a trail that sheds some light on these horrific happenings. I have read approximately six Alex Cross novels and my experience throughout these books, Kiss the Girls included, is that Patterson does compose some gruesome and upsetting scenes including rape and murder so this is not for the lighthearted.
I don’t want to divulge any real details about the plot or the direction this book takes. When I read, I always try and predict what will happen. Kiss the Girls was so hugely unpredictable that I didn’t bother trying to guess but just buckled myself in so I could appreciate and enjoy the journey. Apologies for the cliche, but the narrative is like an intense roller coaster. It plummeted my mind in one direction, then there was a twist, then I thought a certain revelation was awesome only then to realise I was blind sighted and things weren’t as they seemed at all. It can leave you slightly disorientated but in a great way. As Alex’s parts are in the first person, I emphasised with his distress and confusion at certain segments as he tries to solve this case yet, I was also given a real buzz when something unraveled in Alex’s favour and when his deductions proved fruitful. The other characters are presented in the third person which means that readers have a complete view of everything that is happening and are with Alex when he puts the pieces of the puzzle together to try and rescue his niece, amongst the other missing ladies. To call this a thriller is an understatement. This is my favourite Alex Cross book so far and I can’t wait to read Cat and Mouse next and complete the series chronologically. (I have already read Jack and Jill before anyone states that I have the order wrong lol!) Highly recommend.