26 October, 2012

#BookReview :: Cross Country (Alex Cross #14) by James Patterson

When the home of Alex Cross's longtime friend, Ellie Cox, is turned into the worst murder scene Alex has ever seen, he is devastated. The destruction leads him to believe that he's chasing a horrible new breed of killer. As Alex and his girlfriend Brianna Stone begin the hunt for the villain responsible for the killings, they quickly find themselves entangeled in the deadly Nigerian underworld of Washington D.C.. What they discover is shocking: a strongly organized gang of teenage thugs headed by a powerful, diabolical man-The Tiger.
As the killing spree escalates, Alex and Brianna realize they are not dealing with any ordinary killer, but one who has brought his personal war of vengeance to America's capital. But just when the detectives think they're closing in on the elusive murderer, the Tiger disappears into thin air. Unable to let the killer get away with this narrow escape, Alex makes it his duty to bring the brutal butcher to justice. He knows that he must follow The Tiger. Alone. 
When Alex arrives in Nigeria, he discovers a world where justice is as foreign as he is. Unprotected and alone in a strange country, bombarded on all sides by the murderous threats of The Tiger, Alex must draw on his fiercest instincts just to survive in a lawless world. 

This is the 14th book in the Alex Cross Series and the 6th book that I have read. 

In this instalment, things get personal for Alex Cross as a long-time friend and her family is brutally tortured and murdered. As he investigates, Alex finds similar torture & murder scenarios all over United States and Africa. As the name ‘Tiger’ leads him to Africa, he is prepared to leave everything behind and travel to a different continent all together in search of justice for his friend. Politics, corruption, hired goons, murders, refugee camps… there’s no scarcity of spice in this particular plot.

Alex Cross has a reputation – reputation of being the tough guy with a great mind. I mean the way he has been up against the likes of Gary Soneji and the Mastermind. Alex Cross always comes through and though he does it again this time, it was hard to see him getting beaten up so many times. It is just so unlike Alex Cross. I mean I can believe the first time, but not so much it happened again which made me feel as if he was a sitting duck. Granted, he was on foreign soil and had almost no back-up, still – it is Alex Cross! For me, this book was also a medium to be introduced to Alex Cross’s latest love interest – Brianna Stone. She has starred in an Alex Cross book already (which I haven’t read yet) and so, I guess I did not get a complete picture of her, but from what I have seen in this book, she is certainly an interesting character.

The situation in Africa is vividly depicted. The inhumane and dismal conditions there broke my heart. While we hear and read things in the news and they do make a mark, reading about the same thing in context of a character we have grown to love and admire (even though fictional) is more unnerving than I care to admit. While listening to the news it is easy to be detached but it is not so easy when you are already deeply engrossed in a novel.  The usual brutality and the gore are present in this book too. I have almost come to take it for granted even though I am always taken by the detailed description by Patterson. Also this time, at any point of the plot, I actually had no idea which direction it would take and was on the edge all along. As usual it is quite fast paced and exciting as Alex Cross trudges over three countries and two continents in pursuit of the culprits. It is, in true Alex Cross style, an addictive page turner.

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