Patterson, who has never been rightfully accused of failing to give his readers their money’s worth, pulls out all the stops in the newly published The People Vs. Alex Cross. Yes, as the title indicates, Cross is in the courtroom, and on the wrong side of it, as he finds himself on trial not only for his job but also for his life...and that’s only part of the book ... The People Vs. Alex Cross is a turning point of sorts. Patterson, who is without peer in the creation of frightening antagonists, is also a master of throwing curves at irregular intervals into the lives of his protagonists. If the conclusion is any indication of what is to come, it appears that Cross and his family will be experiencing some major changes in the next several installments of the series. If you have been away from Cross’ world for a bit, now may be the time to get reacquainted.
Patterson switches between...plotlines using his trademark short and quick chapters to bounce the story around, saving a few twists and turns for the satisfying final act. James Patterson, one of the most recognizable authors working today, has no shortage of bestselling series to his name. None, however, are better than this one, as Patterson continues to pour his best work into his fan-favorite Alex Cross franchise.
He is able to take us from Alex Cross under scrutiny of murder, to the dark world of subterranean humans—even mix in his family relationships—and pull it all together, then wrap it up in a nice bow for the denouement ... However, some of the characters make appearances far apart, and readers are likely to lose track of more than a few characters’ raison d’etre. With so many characters, and so many scenes, Patterson would serve us better if he included a list of characters and their roles in the front matter ... His sparse use of coarse language is refreshing ... He’s able to break the rules and combine first person singular with third person omniscient. Still, readers may have a couple of concerns, or maybe complaints, concerning The People vs. Alex Cross; it needs less setting description and fewer scenes that don’t drive the plot. Maybe readers would be better served with more 60,000-word novels, instead of 110,000.
One of the fun things regarding The People is Patterson reviews how many times Cross has lethally used his gun during the popular series. The firearms use seems fitting within the context of an ongoing series of thrillers but it would be a shocking number if it occurred in the real world. Patterson portrays this well. Patterson fans know what to expect from an 'Alex Cross' novel. There is a formula and it still works successfully. What will be unexpected for some dedicated fans is the feeling they have stepped into the middle of an ongoing story and not knowing why.
His courtroom ordeal is only one element...of an exhaustingly hectic novel that also encompasses a serial abduction case (why are young blonde women disappearing?) and subplots involving Cross’s family. Each storyline duly delivers a denouement, but the biggest revelation of all is that Patterson is hopeless at dialogue when writing solo. Perhaps one of the co-authors of his myriad other series (The Women’s Murder Club’s Maxine Paetro, say) should do it for him in future?