Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Great Beach Read?: Go With James Patterson's D.C. Crime Fiction

I'd never thought anything about author James Patterson. It's amazing to have never even considered reading one of his books. He's sold more copies of his nearly 100 novels than Stephen King, Dan Brown, and John Grisham combined, and holds the Guinness Book of World Records for most New York Times Bestsellers (76!).

But then I was thinking about needing some light reading for my annual North Carolina beach trip (last year's was The Hunger Games) and my mom suggested Patterson and his Washington D.C.-based stories about forensic psychologist Alex Cross. I started reading a sample from Amazon of Along Came a Spider, the first in the Cross series, from 1993, and I was hooked.

The book was made into a movie with Morgan Freeman as Cross, which I'm now looking forward to seeing. The novel itself is a page-turner about Cross becoming obsessed with tracking down an elusive serial killer who kidnaps two kids with prominent parents from a prominent school in D.C.

The story swerves from D.C. to the Caribbean to Florida and the Carolinas. It has dozens and dozens of short chapters that contain a little masterpiece in each. If there is any complaint, it's that there could be a slight bit more character building of Cross, Jezzie Flannagan, and Gary Soneji-Murphy.

That said, they are memorable characters, and I'm no doubt going to dig into the second Cross story, 1995's Kiss the Girls.

****1/2 out of ***** stars

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