Thursday, May 14, 2015

hope to die

hope to die
alex cross #22
james patterson
little brown & co.
published 2015

Detective Alex Cross is being stalked by a psychotic genius, forced to play the deadliest game of his career.  Cross's family - his loving wife Bree, the wise and lively Nana Mama, and his precious children - have been ripped away.  Terrified and desperate, Cross must give this mad mad what he wants if he has any chance of saving the most important people in his life.  The stakes have never been higher: What will Cross sacrifice to save the ones he loves?

After the long, slow, tortuous buildup that was Cross My Heart I thought Hope To Die would be the end all.  The further along I got, the more I thought, this must be Alex Cross's last book!  Alas, I was wrong on both counts.

**********spoilers of both Cross My Heart & Hope To Die ahead**********

Like all James Patterson books, this was an extremely quick read.  Alex is racing to find his family, who were all kidnapped in Cross My Heart, and always seems to be just a few minutes too late.  There are little things that bothered me quite a bit.  For instance, there is a moment when Cross makes a connection between a case he had been called to consult on and the nutcase that has taken his family.  He is on a deadline, obviously.  He must follow instructions left by the nutcase.  So he's in NYC when we makes this tentative connection and tells his temporary partner to book them flights to Omaha, Nebraska.

Off they go to Omaha to talk to the two detectives who worked the case to tell them what he's discovered.  One even says, 'you couldn't have done this over the phone?'  To which Cross replies, 'I thought you'd want to hear this in person and I wanted to see the scene again.'  But he never goes into the house, he just stays on the curb.  Then after he's said his piece that's all the business they have in Omaha.  So he wasted HOURS traveling some place while the lives of his family are hanging by a thread so he can tell cops in person what he THINKS (he has no proof) about a crime.  It seemed like an unbelievably dumb move.

The other part that really bummed me out was that the most interesting character that exists in the world of Alex Cross is Ava who makes a brilliant reappearance in Cross My Heart, but here in Hope To Die she starts off with Alex and then gets dumped off in Philadelphia to research and we barely hear from her again.  So disappointing.

The villains.....well, Mulch is quite one dimensional and just annoying.  And let's be honest, all of James Patterson's villains are.  They're over-the-top maniacally brilliant.  But there is no depth to Mulch and seriously, what IS his motivation?  Because he can?  That's just lame.  Then you have Acadia who is batshit crazy and vicious in Cross My Heart, but then suddenly has a change of heart in Hope To Die.  And despite knowing how crazy smart Mulch is she does one of the most obvious things she could have done when taking off.

The whole time I was reading I thought to myself that Alex must retire after this.  Patterson could end the series now and that would be all right.  In fact, it would probably be best for all.  But no, another Cross book is due out later in the year.  Yep, he's pumping those out 2 a year now.

Now, for pure mindless entertainment, Hope To Die has you covered.  It's nonstop action.  Everything that could go wrong for Cross does seem to go wrong, but somehow (it seems with prayers to God CONSTANTLY) he makes it through - for the most part.  I'm in no way saying I hated the book, but when you compare these last few books to his first few in the series there is no comparison.  But for a quick, entertaining read Patterson's got you covered.

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