A Book Spy Review: ‘The People vs. Alex Cross’ by James Patterson

The people vs Alex CrossFor the twenty-fifth book in James Patterson’s mega-popular series, Detective Alex Cross is put on trial. 

For the first time in his illustrious career, Alex Cross is on the wrong side of the law after being charged with murder following an on-the-job shooting. The prosecution claims that when Cross shot and killed associates of Gary Soneji, it was done in cold blood with murderous intentions. He firmly denies those allegations and sticks to his story that he fired his weapon in self-defense. 

Though he’s nervous–too much so, in fact, to even tie his necktie, an act that requires the aid of his wife, Bree–Cross stays strong for his family, projecting a calmness and strength ahead of his day in court. Outside, he’s calm and cool. Inside, he’s a mess. It’s the opposite of his current living situation. Indoors, surrounded by his wife, their children, and his mother, the Cross family blocks out the outside noise and focuses on each other. Outdoors, media members wait to photograph the detective, along with everyone else who comes and goes. 

Once the trial gets underway, which doesn’t happen until around the one hundred and fifty-page mark, Patterson settles in and ratchets up the suspense. Prior to that, he takes readers back in time six weeks earlier, walking them through a plethora of short storylines that, for the most part, help to show Cross’ mental state of mind before his trial. The quick hits involve a situation with a priest, a young officer who needs counseling, and a young girl whom Cross tries to help. 

It’s obvious as the trial gets going that prosecutors are painting Cross as the most recent police officer–in a long line of trigger-happy cops–to use excessive force without justification. Patterson touches on recent headline-type issues involving police officers, all while Cross and his attorney try, though not very well, to prove his innocence. 

It turns out that the evidence against Cross is very strong, causing him to doubt whether or not he’ll be able to convince the jury that he’s an innocent man. Worse, at least on a personal level, there are those in his family who can’t help but wonder if Cross did, indeed, act in a moment of rage rather than self-defense. 

Meanwhile, while the nation (and readers) wait as the trial plays out, Cross’ former partner John Sampson enlists Alex’s help on a case involving multiple missing young women, each of whom are believed to be linked to a pornographic website. Though he’s on suspension pending his trial, Cross rolls up his sleeves to give Sampson a hand, once again putting victims before himself. 

Patterson switches between both 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. 

Book Details

Author: James Patterson
Series: Alex Cross #25
Pages: 432 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0316273902
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: November 20, 2017
Book Spy Rating: 6.5/10
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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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