'Alex Cross, Run' Review: James Patterson, Famed Detective Character, Improving with Age

Author James Patterson's detective hero Alex Cross has taken on a life of his own. The character has been featured in countless novels and brought to the big screen by two top Hollywood actors - Morgan Freeman and Tyler Perry. The character's newest adventure proves one thing: he ain't slowin' down and neither is Patterson.

Last year, Perry portrayed the titular hero in the film Alex Cross which was a more faithful adaptation of the books than previous film installments but was derided by critics everywhere (not this one). The newest Cross adventure reminds us of a world where both Patterson and Cross truly dominate: between the book covers.

Alex Cross, Run is another novel in which Cross is thrown a puzzle of a crime (or two ... or three) and we have to go along with the adventure to find out what is really happening. These central mysteries are, in fact, where Patterson shines, and this one is no exception.

The novel begins with the busting of a few crimes, some homicides and a side story that all are a jumbled puzzle to both us and the famed detective. Part of the pleasure of this series is going along with the journey to discover what is truly occurring in Cross's universe.

Alex Cross, Run also presents danger closer to home as an unknown stalker is watching Cross and his family and seeking revenge for something Patterson keeps hidden for quite some time.

With so much going on, Patterson expertly switches perspectives again and again, from stalker to killer to Cross and back around. With Cross, he writes in his usual first-person style while other characters are written in third person. I've always believed the novels would be stronger if Cross was written in the same manner as the supporting characters. This novel is no different.

However, lobbing criticisms like that at Patterson is almost meaningless. The man is a master of the thriller. He knows how to sell, write suspense and plot his tales with precision. He does all of this with a delicate hand in his newest novel. As cliched as it sounds, Alex Cross, Run is Patterson at the top of his game.

One of the central pleasures of the Alex Cross series that is furthered quite a bit in this newest adventure is that Cross is whole person. We don't just see him at work. We get to know his family. We see him interacting with his wife, mother, children and friends. These moments make Patterson's story stand out and offer more voice than a typical thriller.

If you're one of the millions that waits for new Cross thrillers this one will not disappoint. Patterson manages many suspenseful moments and really is showing off his writing muscles with this character. If you haven't read any Cross novels and maybe hated the Perry movie, give Alex Cross, Run a chance. It's not going to end up on any top ten lists at year's end and doesn't break new ground, but it is a hell of a read by a master storyteller.


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