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Category: CTM - James Patterson

  1. Kat's Review of Hope To Die by James Patterson (Alex Cross #22)

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    Synopsis: Detective Alex Cross has lost everything and everyone he’s ever cared about.

    His enemy, Thierry Mulch, is holding his family. Driven by feelings of hatred and revenge, Mulch is threatening to kill them all, and break Cross for ever.

    But Alex Cross is fighting back.

    In a race against time, he must defeat Mulch, and find his wife and children – no matter what it takes.

    Kat’s Rating: 4/5

     Kat’s Review: It’s been nearly 10 months since I last read a Patterson Book, and 22 months since I last read an Alex Cross novel. Lately I have been a bit despondent with them although to be fair the last Alex Cross novel I read was a pretty good read. With that in mind I decided to fall back into Alex life, which with a Patterson novel is usually pretty effortless. Thankfully James Patterson demonstrates just how easy he finds it as I was plunged straight back into Alex Cross world and the one thing guaranteed to break the man, the loss of his family.

    This latest release is book 22 in this series, which in itself is something of an achievement. Alex Cross has become a legendary fictional character and some of his early books from this series are still in my opinion some of the best I have ever read. However the series, along with many other JP books appear to be on shaky ground with fans across the world. I can include myself in that group as sometimes there is such a thing as ‘too much of a good thing’. Thankfully the last book ‘Cross My Heart’ was a vast improvement even though I wasn’t impressed with the ending. When you reached the end it makes it impossible for you to not buy this latest release as there are no conclusions until now. That kind of irritates but enough whining, on with the review of this latest.

    With Alex Cross now in a perilous situation, we see him at possibly his most vulnerable. His arch enemy and frankly ruthless killer Thierry Mulch has taken those dearest to Cross, his family and Alex has now become the victim. This makes for an astonishing and very fraught opening with the book and one that has you reading incredibly quickly. Alex becomes a character that we not only know and love, but one that we now see stripped bare.

    The book is based on the cat and mouse game between Alex and Thierry and has all the elements for a perfect Patterson/Cross novel. Short, sharp and punchy chapters interspersed with danger and threats from every corner. I have to be honest and say I was pretty gripped with the storyline from start to finish. I felt like this was Patterson going back to his roots and shows all of this authors talents at it’s finest. There were a few minor gripes (hence the 4 and not 5 stars) but overall I felt like James Patterson was finally back to his true style of writing. I found myself eager to get book 23 ‘Cross Justice’ but at nearly a tenner, I think I’ll wait!

  2. Kat's Review of Burn by James Patterson (Michael Bennett #7)

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    Kat's Rating: 3/5

    Synopsis: Detective Michael Bennett finally returns to New York City – and to the most unsettling, horrific case of his career. At last, Detective Michael Bennett and his family are coming home to New York City. Thanks to Bennett, the ruthless crime lord whose vengeful mission forced the Bennett family into hiding has been brought down for good. Back in the city that never sleeps, Bennett takes over a chaotic Outreach Squad in Harlem, where he receives an unusual call: a man claims to have seen a group of well-dressed men holding a bizarre party in a condemned building. With no clear crime or evidence, Bennett dismisses the report. But when a charred body is found in that very same building, he is forced to take the caller seriously – and is drawn into an underground criminal world of terrifying depravity.

  3. Kat's Review of First Love by James Patterson & Emily Raymond

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    My Rating: 4/5

    Availability: Hardcover, Paperback (14.04.15), Kindle, Audio, Nook and Kobo

    Synopsis:  An extraordinary portrait of true love that will move anyone who has a first love story of their own.

    When Axi Moore decides to take a road trip across the US, the only person she wants to go with her is her best friend Robinson - who she also happens to be secretly in love with. She's planned it all out, and all he has to do is say yes.

     Axi has had a tough life: her little sister died young, her mother walked out and her father turned to the bottle for comfort. Her parents escaped their grief in their own ways; this trip will be hers. But life doesn't always work out as you plan it, and there are some things you just can't run away from.

  4. Kat's Review of Unlucky 13 by James Patterson (Women's Murder Club #13)

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    James Patterson Unlucky 13
     
    My Rating: 4/5

    Synopsis: When two dead bodies are found inside a wrecked car on the Golden Gate Bridge, Detective Lindsay Boxer doubts that it will be anything as simple as a traffic accident.

    The scene is more gruesome than anything she has seen before. It definitely wasn't the crash that killed these people.

    While Lindsay starts to piece this case together, she gets a call she wasn't expecting. Sightings of her ex-colleague-turned-ruthless-killer Mackie Morales have been reported.

    Wanted for three murders, Mackie has been in hiding since she escaped from custody. But now she's ready to return to San Francisco and pay a visit to some old friends.

    My Review: My last few books in this series have been something of a let down. However, this latest instalment has somewhat restored some of my previous faith in these Patterson books. It seems that Lindsay Boxer has returned somewhat to her previous personality. What at first appears to be a routine accident on the Golden Gate Bridge, actually turns out to be the start of a disturbing case. The victims look like they have ingested bombs. Lindsey and Richie need to work out who and why.

    In addition to this, we see Yuki (2nd of the 4 WMC) get married to Brady (who also happens to be Lindsay’s boss). As they go off on their honeymoon, it appears that another thread to the story emerges with an attack on their Cruise ship. If that wasn’t enough then the return of Mackie Morales is the thread to complete the lot. Mackie was an ex-colleague of Lindsay’s who turned out to be a ruthless killer. She is now back and looking for her revenge. It seems that while Mackie is back, Cindy (the 3rd in the 4 of the WMC) is chasing her right back to give her, hopefully, the biggest story of her career in journalism. It appears that Clare (the 4th of the WMC) didn’t want to make much of an appearance.

    The writing style is the usual short and sharp affair, which always maintains my interest. Although there are three threads to the story the downside was that it at times appeared a little disjointed. That aside, I thought it was pretty pacey and the reintroduction of Mackie Morales made for a pretty exciting story too. I think the series is a far cry from being where it was in the early days, however this latest book I think is a big improvement on some of the others.

  5. Kat's Review of Gone by James Patterson (Michael Bennett #6)

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    James Patterson Gone
    My Rating: 4/5

    Synopsis: Forced into hiding from a mass murderer seeking vengeance, Detective Michael Bennett must decide whether to stay and protect his family, or hunt down the man who is hunting them.

    When Bennett arrested Manuel Perrine, he thought he had brought an end to the drug cartel boss's reign of terror and would get justice for the murder of his best friend. But then, during the trial, Perrine escaped.

    In a bloody shoot-out, Bennett killed Perrine's wife. Now he wants nothing more than to make Bennett suffer, to make him pay.

    The whole family are moved to a safe-house in California. But as Perrine's attacks on US soil become more vicious and more daring, it's clear there is a war coming.

    No one, anywhere, is safe.

    My Review: Well, at last it seems that James Patterson is returning to form, or is it Michael Lledwidge that’s responsible for that? Who knows, but I for one am extremely glad. The Cross series, the Women’s Murder Club and some of the stand alones have been woeful of late (although the latest Cross was much better). Thankfully the Michael Bennett series also seems to be staying strong. Michael Bennett, his nanny Mary Catherine, Seamus and his ten kids make for an unusual family set up. However, if you have followed the series from the beginning it will be perfectly normal!

    This story picks up from where the last one left off, meaning the Bennett’s are actually living in Protective Custody. For the 13-strong clan this means living in the back end of beyond which is quite a struggle to get to grips with. It is nice however, to see more of the Bennett kids, each with their own difficulty in the adjustment to life in the countryside. The reason for their situation is that the big drug cartel boss Manuel Perrine has escaped, and Bennett is his number one target.

    The story has pretty reasonable pace from the very beginning as we see the brutal crew who work for Perrine start to make attacks. I was caught up in the story and knew it wouldn’t be long before Bennett had to come back into play. As predicted Bennett is landed once again back in the thick of it and between Bennett trying to help the case, and his kids trying to lead normal lives things heat up in no time. Although this is still a far cry from JP’s early books, this series is fast becoming my preference over Alex Cross. I like the characters and the story always seems to follow along at a good level. Overall I enjoyed this latest Bennett book and will actually look forward to the next one. I can only hope that this series doesn’t suffer the same fate as the Alex Cross and Women’s Murder Club has!

  6. Kat's Review of Cross My Heart by James Patterson (Alex Cross #21)

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    James Patterson Cross My Heart
    My Rating: 4/5

    Synopsis: Alex Cross's whole world is crashing down around him.

    He has been hunted, stalked like prey, his predator priming himself for the kill.

    Cross has devoted his life to protecting others. Now he's unable to protect even those closest to him.

    As a police detective, he has made many enemies, but never like this.

    Everything he loves is being taken from him.

    Soon he will have nothing and no one left.

    My Review: I am guessing that if you are reading this review you know about James Patterson and his infamous Alex Cross series of books (who doesn’t?). I will be honest and say that I am extremely critical when it comes to JP, and for good reason. In one respect he is the King of this genre and has been in this game for many years, however it seems like in recent years, myself along with a growing number of fans are getting tired of the book churning going on. According to Forbes his earnings were $91 million as of 2013, so it seems his success is certainly paying off. However, to earn that sort of money and be so successful over so many years he HAS to have the talent, surely? Well, if this book is anything to go by we see glimpses of why he has got to where he has. However, I think MANY fans feel like they have been ripped off as the book itself ends on a major cliff-hanger meaning you HAVE to buy the follow on to find out what becomes of one of the most well known fictional characters in recent times.

    The flip side of that is that although it ends on a major cliff-hanger, the story itself was a LOT better than many recent additions to the Cross series. It almost felt like Patterson was trying to give the series a boost by switching the table on Cross and instead of him being the hunter, he has become the hunted. As usual the short sharp chapters were in abundance and there seems to be two main plot threads running through this book. I found myself enjoying the story and actually liking the fact that for the first time in a while we are reading something new with Cross being on the receiving end. We also see the usual suspects alongside Cross such as his partner John, wife Bee and the rest of his family.

    The last part of the book was better than the first half but when I realised where Patterson was heading with the ending I had mixed feelings. When I say he ended it on a cliff-hanger I mean it! There is no glimpse into whether Alex has any light at the end of the tunnel. However, from past experience, and feeling cheated with some of his ‘co-written’ books I made a decision a while ago to not rush out and buy these books pre-publication. Now I sit back and wait until the price comes down or the mood takes me. I think many people (myself included) would actually prefer James Patterson to announce that he is planning on only publishing one or two books a year. People would be pre-ordering until the cows came home. Myself, I would rather wait a whole year for one amazing book, than buy and read 4 or 5 that are mediocre. Thankfully this latest Cross was a vast improvement, but get the impression a lot of people are unhappy at the ending. I thought the series felt a little bit refreshed and the writing was certainly leaning more towards his original style. However, there is still a long way to go before we see the return of the old style writing Patterson used to do. I’m going to cross my fingers and hope that the next book shows me just that!

  7. Kat's Review of Merry Christmas Alex Cross by James Patterson (Alex Cross #19)

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    James Patterson Merry Xmas
    My Rating: 3/5

    Synopsis: On the night before Christmas, Detective Alex Cross is at home celebrating with his family. But when Alex's phone rings, he knows that this won't be a merry Christmas.

    A father has taken his children and ex-wife hostage. Armed to the teeth and high on crystal meth, Henry Fowler is dangerously unstable. The lives of everyone in that house are hanging by a thread.

    As this suburban nightmare is unfolding, another far greater threat is approaching. It will be a terrorist attack like Washington DC has never seen, and when nobody expects it.

    My Review: When I read the synopsis, I immediately thought “is that it?”. The synopsis just seemed a bit ‘bleugh’ if you know what I mean. Sadly this latest Cross novel left me feeling exactly the same way. As ever with any JP book, the chapters are short and sharp meaning it’s incredibly easy to read. Sadly a few chapters in, and I just had that dreaded feeling of “I’ve been here before with this character”.

    The Henry Fowler character takes his children and ex-wife hostage and as usual Alex Cross is called in, but it happens to be Christmas morning. The story started to pick up pace and I thought we may well have been in for a treat, but I was to be disappointed as that part of the story finished rather abruptly. The reader is then briskly rushed onto the next part of the story involving a terrorist plot. I don’t recall how far into the book this happened but it all just felt a bit disjointed.

    The second plot of the book involving the terrorist plot certainly had all the right elements. However, it just seemed to lack any real feeling. I have been reading James Patterson for years and I took the time to pull my older reviews up today. It seems like my opinion of mediocrity has been recurring for a few years now and it seems like I am not learning my lesson. It feels like a huge number of us Patterson readers keep reading through both loyalty, and the hope that he will once again create brilliance like his early days.

    Overall, it’s a book that would keep you entertained for a few hours, but that’s it. It shows how my interest is waning when I wait nearly a year from publication to read a Cross book. No doubt I will swiftly move onto the next book (book 20 in the series entitled Alex Cross Run). Overall, not a terrible read, just not like some of his earlier books.

  8. Kat's Review of 12th of Never by James Patterson (Women's Murder Club #12)

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    James Patterson 12th of Never
    My Rating: 3/5

    Synopsis: A baby on the way and two killers on the loose. Will Detective Lindsay Boxer be pushed to breaking point? An eccentric professor walks into Lindsay's homicide department to report a murder that hasn't yet happened. A convicted serial killer wakes from a two-year coma. He says he's ready to tell where the bodies are buried, but does he have a much more sinister plan in mind? Lindsay doesn't have much time to stop a terrifying future from unfolding. But all the crimes in the world seem like nothing when she is suddenly faced with the possibility of the most devastating loss of her life.

    My Review: I have read each and every one of the Women’s Murder Club books and just lately they seem to be losing their flair. It seems that for each book, one of the characters has a major change of personality. Having said that, book 11 was a vast improvement on book 10! With this latest instalment, I was hoping to see things settle down once again but sadly this wasn’t the case.

    With Lindsay Boxer as a new mother, her baby’s birth was the intro to this latest book. That alone is something that just feels secondary to the series and no real thought had gone into it. Yuki is now running a case which seemed to take over for the majority of the book and I have to be honest and say that this particular part of the story didn’t grab me. It is a case involving Keith Herman, a disgraced attorney, who is being prosecuted for the murder of his wife. Whilst Lindsay and Yuki are busy, we see Claire get demoted following the disappearance of a body from her Morgue, and finally we see fleeting glimpses of Cindy whose relationship with Lindsay’s partner Rich Conklin appears to be running into trouble.

    I read this book pretty quickly, which wasn’t difficult as JP books are never meaty anyway. But by the end of the book, although I couldn’t say it was terrible, I also couldn’t say it was brilliant. It felt like storylines were created for all 4 characters and there was far too much going on for them individually. This made me feel like I was jumping from pillar to post, without any real sense of connection. Like many others I have probably read at least 60-70% of James Patterson’s books, but am finding that my patience is wearing a bit thin. I would prefer to wait all year for one book from the man himself, than to constantly try and catch up with all the various series and co-written books he produces. Overall, another James Patterson disappointment!