Review: Double Cross by James Patterson

Double Cross is James Patterson’s 13th novel in the Alex Cross series. I can’t remember if I read any of the others- I probably have, but it’s been a while. Needless to say, I saw this for $1.00 when I went to a used book store last weekend and had to pick it up, along with Red Dragon, which is the only Thomas Harris book of the “Hannibal” series that I have not read.

In Double Cross, Alex Cross, who retired from law enforcement and opened up a private psychiatry practice, finds himself up against not one, but two vicious serial killers. Kyle Craig, a former FBI colleague who was discovered to be “The Mastermind” serial killer in a previous book in the series, broke out of prison and is wreaking havoc across the country and abroad. The vicious DCAK (D.C. Audience Killer) is an attention-hungry sadist who kidnaps and publicly executes innocent people. Cross decides to come back into law enforcement, cooperating with his love interest Detective Brianna Stone and former associates to hunt down and stop these madmen in their tracks.

Since this is a murder/mystery book involving two vicious serial killers, there is no shortage of blood and gore; however, Patterson artfully describes these grisly scenes without going overboard on descriptive language. Whether this is good or bad is up to the reader to decide. Personally, I’ve read worse; scenes described in such a way where I found myself periodically looking up from the book to look around the room, just to make sure said sadistic psychopath wasn’t standing in front of me in spirit.

Like the grisly murder scenes, the love story between Cross and Stone wasn’t explicitly described either, but had just enough detail to cause periodic eye rolling. As one Amazon reviewer put it: “How can Alex and his partner be thinking about making love (like two immature teenagers) every 15 minutes when there are two crazy killers out there WHO HAVE BOTH THREATENED HIM, HIS FAMILY AND HER??! They travel to Montana and are upset they don’t have time to “do it”, while back in DC there are TWO killers wreaking havoc?” Looking back, that’s a damn good point. If there were two vicious serial killers on the loose, I would be nervous to take off my clothes to take a shower, or get dressed, let alone even thinking about having sex in the middle of the woods. Just saying.

In short, the book wasn’t a horrible read, but lacked some of those excessive, over-the-top grisly moments which sometimes make books of the genre intriguing and disturbing (in a good way) to read. The chapters are broken up into short, manageable sections, which I found to be beneficial. I blasted through this book in maybe two evenings, setting it down periodically to do other tasks, but coming right back to it to see what was going to happen next.

3 out of 5 stars.