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Double Cross ? An Alex Cross Mystery
James Patterson
Little, Brown and Company 2007
Hardcover 400 pages

Double Cross, the latest (2007) in the James Patterson mystery novels, is a book that immediately catches and holds the reader's attention.

A former FBI man turned private practice psychologist, Alex Cross is now partnered with his new love, Detective Brianne Stone. In Double Cross he is lured back into the adrenaline pumping world of homicide investigation that lives in his blood. This mystery novel proves beyond a doubt that two psychopaths are better than one, especially when Cross finds himself in the unenviable position of being both hunter and hunted.

The first of many murders in Double Cross is committed by DCAK, a budding serial killer whose expertise in theatrics and disguise makes him both mysterious and elusive. His escalating and addictive need for exposure takes the form of well-orchestrated executions staged in public before increasingly larger audiences.

A parallel killer, made more sinister by his escape from a maximum security penitentiary, is former FBI agent Kyle Craig. Aptly labeled The Mastermind, he is diabolical, confident, and gunning for revenge. Brilliantly manipulative, he collects not only adversaries but admiring fans, the latter he successfully seduces and cultivates to achieve his goals.

Leaving a shocking trail of murders in their wakes, the two killers converge in Washington D.C., home of Alex Cross and those he holds most dear, placing all in mortal danger.

All in all, Double Cross by James Patterson is a smooth, intelligent read you can sink your teeth into. Its pace is fast and exciting. Characters are intense yet believable.

Alex Cross is a well-rounded man of substance whose depth and diversity are revealed in his thoughts about his cases and clients and his relationships with Bree and his family. Bree is a focused, hard-nosed senior homicide detective Cross admires for her on the job guts and professionalism as well as for her fun and adventurous spirit.

The killers, as expected, are cold-blooded psychopaths whose histories and behaviors are twisted and sick. The tale that unravels in this James Patterson mystery is as interesting as it is complex with more than a few surprises along the way. Great chase and fight scenes provide excellent blow by blow visuals.

Patterson's incorporation of pop culture and current electronic gadgetry keeps the book contemporary. Likewise his tapping into the fears and vulnerabilities that permeate society serves to effectively blur the line between fiction and what is really out there.

Aside from an escape scene that appeared a bit too easy and clues too obscure to be deciphered by mere mortals -thank goodness James Patterson explains them and we realize how clever the killer really is-Double Cross is a strong, addictive page turner. It is definitely worth the trip to the book store.