And so my love/hate relationship with Mr. Patterson continues. *sigh*
I'm generously giving this book four stars because I feel like it was one of the better books in the Alex Cross series (of those that I've read so far anyway). Although I had my suspicions about who the Mastermind is/was I wasn't taking them seriously because I thought it was too predictable/obvious so if the Mastermind actually is Kyle Craig then I find it extremely hard to believe.
I enjoyed the storyline of this book. Say what you like about Patterson but he never fails to come up with these totally OTT situations this time a Mastermind recruiting people to rob banks on his behalf and kill (or not, depending on the bank) the hostages, including the families of the bank workers. You just try to imagine this happening in your own city and you can't, and I find that a lot with Patterson's novels but with all works of fiction you don't mind that. It's certainly more exciting and readable than A kills B and is caught by C, the end.
I said in a review of Pop Goes the Weasel (Alex Cross, #5) that I didn't like or believe the relationship between Alex and Christine and after reading this book I stand by that. It annoyed me that a family man who loved his dead wife could suddenly fall in love with a woman and her suddenly become the love of his life. I also found it hard to believe that a woman, any woman, no matter what she had been through would just leave her kid behind, I know she left him with Alex (and no doubt Superman as I like to call Alex will once again become SuperDad to another kid but it's just ridiculous. I don't know when/if Christine will make an appearance in future books but I certainly won't miss her if she doesn't.
This time round I loved the scenes with Alex and his kids and Nana Mama is a fantastic character. There's one part of the book where she jokes to Alex that she made his favourite dinner while he was working away on a case and it's just bits like that that make me enjoy a book that little bit more. I love crime fiction but especially series crime fiction where you get to know a character and feel like part of their family with each book that you read.
People are always going to criticise Patterson, myself included, but if you want a quick, enjoyable (most of the time), OTT read then a Patterson novel will give you that.