Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cross Country by James Patterson

Cross Country is another in James Patterson's extremely popular series about homicide detective Alex Cross. In this book, Alex is called to the scene of a gory crime where an entire family has been massacred. He quickly realises that the mother was his college girlfriend. Other family massacres start occuring, and Alex hears rumors that The Tiger is responsible. The Tiger is a shadowy figure who is known for having no mercy and for using young boys as his gang.
The action shifts to Africa when Alex hears that The Tiger has returned there. He moves from Nigeria to Sierra Leone and Laos, tracking the assassin and finding that he is not welcome by the police in these countries or even by the CIA, whom he expected to help him. Alex meets a woman reporter who helps him untangle the web of interconnections that make up the background against which The Tiger is employed. He encounters the inter-tribal wars, the lawlessness and the hopelessness of the African refugee camps.
After being captured and imprisoned, Alex is released and sent back to America. He returns home to find that his family has been kidnapped by The Tiger. Knowing what he does of The Tiger's methods, he is appalled and determined to do whatever is necessary to bring them home. The book moves quickly to a stunning climax.
This book is recommended for those who have read previous books in Patterson's series and are interested in an additional story about Detective Alex Cross. It is more of an issue-driven novel than the usual Cross motif, where Alex works to arrest and stop serial killers. Cross Country is a mystery but also gives the reader insight into what is occuring in modern Africa.

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