Sunday, 20 July 2014

Series Spotlight: Alex Cross by James Patterson

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my love for book series and said that I was going to start blogging weekly about the series I have read/am reading.

So first up we have the Alex Cross series by James Patterson. I've chosen this one as along with Patricia Cornwell's Dr Scarpetta series this one of the first series I ever started reading. These days I do like to start with the first book in the series but back in 1990s when I first discovered James Patterson I started the Alex Cross series with Kiss The Girls (book 2) as I has seen the film with Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd and loved the plot.Plus I hadn't realised that it was part of a series. Normally I much prefer to read the book before watching the film but these was years ago and whilst I was a reader I didn't read anywhere near as many books as I do now. 

Once I'd finished Kiss the Girls I was hooked and set about getting my hands on every Alex Cross book I could find. At the time there were only 4 other Alex Cross books out there so once I had flown through all of those I then I had to sit and wait for the next book in the series. The trouble is Patterson only writes one Alex Cross book a year so every year I am eagerly awaiting the next Cross book. Of course then the problem I have is that I can quite easily sit and read an Alex Cross book in an evening which means I have waited a year and it is all over and done with so quickly.

Alex Cross is one of my favourite characters in a book. He is a smart, family man who is set on ridding the world of some of the worst serial killers you will ever meet. He has been with the FBI, been a detective and eventually ends up with a private psychology practice still working with the police. He lives with his family in Washington DC and is one of those characters you can't help liking because of his strong values and his need to do good.

I know a lot of people don't like the fact that Patterson churns out so many books a year and writes books with other authors but this is the only series of books that he writes alone and I think that for me is why Alex Cross is perhaps his strongest character.We are now on book 21 Cross My Heart with book 22 Hope To Die due out in November this year.

What is it that makes this series so successful? 

It's characters are wonderful and I feel that I have grown up with them over the years that I have been reading the series. You have Alex's grandmother Regina Cross, affectionately known to all as Nana Mama. She has pretty much raised Alex and is now helping him raise his own children. There is such a strong bond between these two that is impossible not to want Nana Mama to take you under her wing.

Then there is John Sampson, Alex's childhood friend who is also a detective. John is always there to protect Alex and his family.

Alex has 3 children who through reading the books I have seen grow up. Damon is the eldest and we see him move from boy to man as he heads off to university in the later books. Then we have Janelle, Alex's daughter who has a bit of a smart mouth and then his youngest son, Alex. 

There have been plenty of love interests for Alex over the years. His wife Maria is killed before the first book and that is something that Alex carries with him. He really doesn't have a lot of luck with the ladies until he marries Bree Stone in the later books, she is also a detective so understands the pressures of his job. In fact whilst he doesn't have much luck with the ladies it could be said some don't have much luck with him often ending up dead at the hands of a mad man.

So if you are looking for a series that whisks you off for a few hours of mindless reading with good overcoming evil then I strongly suggest you pick up Along Came A Spider

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