Alex Cross is back in a novel with a cast of characters more sinister and deadlier than ever. Gary Soneji, a dying prison escapee, is looking for revenge on Cross, while another insane killer is pursued by Thomas Augustine Pierce--a brilliant and relentless detective who may even be better than Cross. As the bodies pile up, and Cross is nearly murdered in his own home, the game of cat and mouse leads to one final trap, and it's anyone's guess who will survive.
Always a generous author (lots of plot and intrigue) if not a stylish one, Patterson now gives his fans two thrillers, loosely linked, for the price of one. The first features convicted mass murderer and prison escapee Gary Soneji, returning from Along Came a Spider. The second focuses on Mr. Smith, a fiend who performs live autopsies on his victims and who boasts to one, "Gary Soneji a pussycat compared to me." Both benefit from the humane presence of Patterson's popular black Washington, D.C., detective/psychologist Alex Cross, who sweetly romances a school principal when not hunting down the villains. There's action aplenty here, beginning with Soneji's rampage in the famed train station, intercutting with Mr. Smith's diabolical handiwork and peaking with a nighttime assault on Alex and a cruel conclusion. There's much mystery, too, as Patterson--writing in the third-person as well as through two first-person voices--lays down the games suggested in the title. The many puzzles--who is Mr. Smith? why is Soneji possessed of bloodlust? etc.--and their solutions are on a Hardy Boys level, and Patterson's prose is equally rudimentary, littering the narrative with as many exclamation points as dead bodies: "Rush hour! Eight-twenty A.M. Jesus God Almighty, no! A madman was on the loose inside Union Station"). With his trademark short chapters, cleanly delineated characters and flair for cheesy melodrama, however, Patterson again delivers the sort of undemanding, swiftly paced fare that has made him a champ of the charts. 500,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection; author tour. FYI: Paramount Pictures promises a "multimillion"-dollar campaign to promote the release of Kiss the Girls in September. Warner will publish the mass market edition of Jack & Jill in October.
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Cat and Mouse
This is an amazing story, I couldn't put it down.