Cross Kill - Review

James Patterson's Cross Kill - Book Review

Cross Kill - Review

CROSS KILL Long Live Soneji!

With the bad guys seemingly dead, you think you can relax. You think your home is safe.

The veteran crime writer is back with his trusty partner Alex Cross; the pathetic fallacy at the very beginning of the book gives a foreboding sense of something bad about to happen. We aren’t wrong. That late winter storm in Washington DC, with Patterson, expect a tragedy.

Though roses are red and violets are blue, a needle thin jet of blood is all it takes to turn sanctuary, into Cross’ worst nightmare. The ghost of Christmas past has come back as a reminder of the savage horrors of his career since the alarming, action-packed Along Came a Spider, written in 1994.

With James Patterson’s new bookshot Cross Kill on the loose, we’ll all have trouble sleeping. Just when we thought the fight was over for our number one hero, Alex Cross is once again dragged back into the doom and gloom of another case. But this time, the cunning killer that Patterson always portrays was already killed. Ten years ago...

Unusual. Until Alex Cross thinks the poltergeist is who gunned down his partner! This sudden supernatural twist gives the audience much to speculate after the twenty or so years of the Alex Cross vs Mr Chips battle. The long anticipation of having to read one book after another, until the infamous Gary Soneji has finally been killed, now threatens our mental stability – we read Alex Cross watch Gary Soneji die, and now he’s returned from beyond the grave to take revenge?

What’s interesting in this bookshot, like many of his works, is that it’s packed with adrenaline and shoot outs, like something from the movies. ‘I felt the bullet rip past my left ear, grabbed Bree, and yanked her to the ground... “Where is he?” Bree said “I don’t know.” The use of visual description invites us into the mindset and really, into the shoes of the characters. The boundaries cross when looking at other bookshots, such as Bloody Valentine (2012). ‘It was the perfect time. With care, there’d be nothing to be seen on the tapes, because the killer knew the exact angle of the cameras.’

One of the keys to such vivid description on Patterson’s part is really, the onomatopoeia. Patterson has successfully used this in the past to emphasise the tense senses of the characters for the purpose of the audience. This still remains even into 2016 with every crack, shot and scream. ‘My head cracked of the concrete...something crashed close to me.’ The effect of the onomatopoeia helps the audience to understand what is happening in the surroundings, using familiar sounds and sights (in Patterson’s descriptions) to ring true with the audience.

The parallels shown throughout the book sets things off at the beginning, with the description of someone who Cross thinks may be a member of a gang.

“Why did you come up here?” I asked “School. I’m a freshman at Howard... Barely making my tuition.”

I saw him in a whole new light then.’ However, he later realises that he incorrectly assumed the type of character the young man was. This idea is then used as a foreboding element, in order to hint to the audience that things aren’t always as they appear and to not let appearances deceive you – which then follows onto Cross doubting himself after apparently seeing Soneji.

However, one concern about this bookshot is the plot hole. It annoys avid Patterson fans! After waiting for Soneji to be caught, Patterson fans waited as breathless as Soneji was when he finally died in Cat and Mouse. That was really a fitting title to what was the adventure of Cross’s life, in an attempt to capture his adversary. It confuses the audience who must face the book, start to finish, in order to find out what’s really happening and making the audience question throughout as to whether it really is a copycat. Especially with such excellent characterisation of characters. Such as

Dylan Winslow, a cocky teenager – who also happens to be Soneji’s son - confident that his father has returned from beyond the grave.

So now, as we continue to plunge ourselves into the darkness of Patterson’s world to find out the truth, we’re consistently thrown off by the paranoia of Cross, who doesn’t know what to believe anymore. Foreboding scenery to imply what may happen, the testimonies of characters who assure Soneji is alive and well, whilst we as the audience, much like Cross, have not yet been given the honour of seeing him!

We should be used to Patterson giving us just a taste before turning the page and leaving us in the lurch again. Patterson doing what Patterson does best... unfortunately. We should be grateful that he has written more books now, but this one was like a stab in the back – throwing us all off balance, just as Cross was.

Finally, this book can focus more on the mystery side of things, instead of the gore aspect, famous in Patterson’s earlier works.

But be careful...where there’s silence, there’s slaughter.

book reviews
Catherine Smith
Catherine Smith
Read next: Chad Alan Lee
Catherine Smith

Writer by trade and by passion

See all posts by Catherine Smith