Alex Cross Returns

Weasel versus dragonslayer? No contest.

"Pop Goes The Weasel" begins with one of the most stunning opening chapters in recent crime fiction. Geoffrey Shafer, a diplomat with the British embassy in Washington, leaves his home early one morning, slides into his black Jaguar, and begins the drive to work. As he hits a traffic jam, he's suddenly overtaken by a wave of anger and frustration; he turns the car around and begins to drive towards his office by an alternate route - against oncoming traffic! As cars swerve and dodge his rapidly accelerating vehicle, he laughs out loud, and pushes the pedal to the floor...

Thus begins James Patterson's latest thriller, a fast-paced suspense drama starring forensic psychologist Alex Cross and his partner John Sampson. Fresh from tracking down a vicious serial killer, Cross is looking forward to spending some time with his girlfriend Christine - until unidentified bodies start popping up all over his part of town. Cross and his fellow detectives nickname the killer "the Weasel", and begin an unauthorized investigation; before long, the body count piles up and the investigation becomes personal, especially when Christine is kidnapped by the Weasel.

Once again, James Patterson has created a fast-paced action/adventure, in the style of previous Cross novels; many chapters don't span more than a single page, and the constantly shifting point of view - sometimes Cross narrating the story, sometimes the Weasel - is a compelling literary device that grabs the reader's attention and doesn't let go. The story is sometimes brutal, sometimes surprising, and Alex Cross's character, his passion to find the killer and his love for Christine, come through very clearly. Suspense thriller fans won't want to miss this one!

This article was first published on 17 Apr 2000.