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31 of 31 found the following review helpful:
Patterson and Cross are back in the groove now...Mar 18, 2006
By Thomas Duff
After James Patterson's last Alex Cross novel London Bridges, I was beginning to think that the Cross character had perhaps run its course. So with a little trepidation, I picked up Mary, Mary from the library. It now appears that London Bridges was an anomaly, and Patterson/Cross are back on track.
Alex Cross is vacationing with his kids and grandmother at Disneyland, when he gets a call asking for a short one day consult on a celebrity killing in LA. Reluctant to give up his vacation time, he decides to make this one exception. That was his first mistake... While he was gone, the mother of his 3 year old shows up and takes the child back to Seattle, while also petitioning the court for permanent custody. His ongoing romance to Jamilla is also floundering, so he's left with little social life and a feeling that his personal life as a father is failing. The Mary Smith killer is keeping him occupied however. Pretty soon he finds himself traveling coast to coast on a regular basis helping the LAPD analyze the emails and clues as to who "Mary Smith", the killer, might be, as well as who might next be in the sights of the killer. And even when they have a person in custody who fits all the evidence, Cross isn't quite sure there isn't something else going on...
The action part of the story line for this novel was good. There are a number of characters that Patterson puts "in play" as potential suspects, and there's really not much elimination until the end. I was completely surprised at the twist ending, which was good. From a character standpoint, Patterson has set up Cross for some significant romantic changes ahead. All the regular players are moved out of the picture, and a few new ones make their appearance. All goes to show that Patterson isn't done with this series... And if they continue to play out along these lines instead of London Bridges, that will be a good thing...
27 of 30 found the following review helpful:
Okay OkayDec 19, 2006
Mary Mary by James Patterson is typical of his Alex Cross novels-- single dad Alex tries to juggle parenting and career along with a love life. This book centers around a series of murders of Hollywood mothers, with the killer sending emails to a Hollywood reporter and signing them as "Mary." FBI Agent Alex is pulled off a vacation with his family to Disneyland to help the LAPD with the case, although they are not exactly appreciative of his help.
I do enjoy the Alex Cross novels; I appreciate that Cross is a loving father and his conflict between taking care of his children and satisfying the demands of his job. The plot in this book, however, has holes big enough to drive a Zamboni through. The motivation for the face slashing of the victims is never adequately explained-- or, I should say, the slashing of the original victim is never explained satisfactorily. How the killer eventually catches up to Alex at the end is another big question. In this, as in so many other books, Patterson does not play fair-- he withholds crucial information till the end of the book in order to be able to keep the identity of the killer a surprise.
Underlying the main story is another continuing storyline of Alex's attempts to gain custody of his son, Ali, from his ex-wife, Christine. There are hints all the way through the novel that something is going on with Christine, but we never find out what, nor do we find out what causes her big change of heart at the end.
This is my continuing problem with the Alex Cross novels-- Alex Cross is a good, interesting character and the plots are taut and original. But Patterson does not seem to be confident enough in his own abilities as a writer to give the reader all the information necessary throughout the book. He withholds information and then, at the end, after he's almost reluctantly divulged everything in the space of about two pages, he abruptly stops the book before we have a chance to absorb the sudden disclosures and resolve everything in our own minds.
22 of 24 found the following review helpful:
Quite Contrary, How Does Your Alex Cross Adventure Grow?Nov 20, 2005
By James N Simpson
Well I must admit I did wonder if Patterson had another great Alex Cross adventure in him after recent efforts where he seems to have got confused between his star character being Alex Cross or James Bond. I am happy to say though that this is another excellent traditional style Cross adventure with one of the best serial killers yet, that will have readers guessing their identity until it is revealed near the end. Speaking of the ending though I thought it was a little but unrealistically convenient so Alex could be around for the next sequel. That's all I'll say on that though so as not to give it away to anyone who actually reads these reviews before making a decision to purchase books.
Overall I was very pleased with Mary, Mary and recommend it to any fan of quality Alex Cross adventures. I also recommend Patterson's previous novel (not an Alex Cross Adventure) Lifeguard which shows he can still write great stand alone novels as well, again some in this line have been rather average of late. Anyway its great to see Patterson back and hopefully he has learnt from the extensive criticism he got from his mediocre novels and will continue to put the time into producing the great work that we know he can and we all want to read.
22 of 26 found the following review helpful:
Mary Mary, quite contrary...Nov 14, 2005
By The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
Alex Cross, FBI agent, takes his family on a vacation to Disneyland - the first in a long time. Of course he couldn't expect to have a real vacation and he doesn't. On the first day he gets a call from the Los Angeles office that an actress has been murdered and they want his assistance. The murderer has also sent an email to a journalist describing the murder in detail. The email is signed "Mary Smith." The mysterious Mary Smith strikes again and again, killing well-known movie and TV figures and always, she sends her email message to take credit and explain her actions. Can a woman really be such a vicious serial killer? In every case, the woman she kills is the mother of young children. Alex and LAPD attempt to put a motive to Mary's killings; is she a disgruntled wanna-be movie star?
In the middle of the stress of the case, Jamilla, Alex's present lady friend, leaves him; the mother of his three-year-old son, Alex, Jr., comes to Los Angeles to take him back to Seattle and Nana Mama and the kids have to cut their vacation short. As Alex crisscrosses the country searching for clues, he is embroiled in family drama and relationship chaos. Nana Mama has some health issues and Dr. Kayla, the only person Nana Mama will listen to, must be called. On the soothing side, he reconnects with his childhood buddy, Sampson who is married and has a newborn daughter.
MARY MARY is definitely one of James Patterson's best Alex Cross mysteries. James Patterson gives enough background filler so that those who have never picked up an Alex Cross mystery will not be lost. The action was non-stop, both in the murder arena and also in Alex's private life. Each page seemed to have new and vital drama that forced me to continue reading. Alex becomes a truly three-dimensional character as we watch him juggle his professional life with his love life and his family life. To say that this is a delicious mystery is to fall short of what it really is. I highly recommend this book to all Alex Cross fans and to those who've never "met" the man.
Reviewed by Alice Holman
of The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers
24 of 30 found the following review helpful:
1 Star being the lowest - - then deduct TWO more stars!Jan 10, 2006
By T Lan
I really, REALLY mean it this time - - NO MORE PATTERSON BOOKS FOR ME!!! This was the sorriest excuse yet! His publishing company must have paid some of the critics well - I finally gave in and bought this after hearing one of them state -- "the scariest Alex Cross novel yet!!!" Yeah, right!!! The scariest part was the child-custody hearing - I'm sitting there reading chapter after chapter about his child-custody fight??? WTF???
Speaking of Chapters - chapter breaks appeared every-other page!!! In the middle of a thought!!! Patterson must've gotten paid by the page rather than by the word!
The ending was far-fetched and nowhere close to believable. So he got the idea from an inmate of a psychiatric hospital??? So what made him so DRIVEN to continue killing??? Please!
My 8-year-old granddaughter could've done a better job!
Shame on you, James Patterson!!!
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