Cross Kill

QUICK REVIEW : Cross Kill – James Patterson

Cross Kill, by James Patterson, is the first in a series of quick reads called Book Shots, designed to be rapid-fire stories that can be read in one go. While most of these titles are co-authored, this one comes entirely under Patterson’s name, and features much-loved character Dr. Alex Cross. Set ten years after the events of Along Came a Spider, it sees that book’s antagonist Gary Soneji apparently returning from the grave to take revenge on Cross, first shooting his partner in the head and then returning to plague Cross as his investigation continues.

At a little over a hundred pages it’s essentially an extended short story; with two- or three-page chapters and almost no description at all, it’s all about plot and pace as events unfold in rapid succession and Cross battles to survive and solve the mystery of Soneji’s apparent resurrection. Written in a colloquial first person Patterson gives Cross a strong voice and a clear identity, but there’s such a laser-like focus on forward motion that it all feels a bit shallow and predictable. It also ends strangely, the main arc resolving but leaving a number of unanswered questions (like why now, ten years later?), as though it was an excerpt from a wider novel and not a standalone story. Overall it’s perfect for Patterson fans looking for a quick taste of action, but lacks substance and ends up unsatisfying.

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