Convictions happen every minute of every day. Criminals plead not guilty to crimes they blatantly committed. What happens right before an execution is heartbreaking and leads Alex Cross and his partner John Sampson to wonder if the wrong man was executed and someone out there is about to commit murders the same way. Mikey Egerton has it all planned to go up in flames. His family present and the family of the victims . Harsh words all over and then he dies a painful death. But that’s just the beginning of the nightmares that Alex Cross will face as he’s haunted , stalked and then sent to a crime scene that replicated the ones this man just died for. On the corpse they are sent to see says: You messed up big time Dr.Cross and from this point he becomes obsessed with reviewing back cases and then recounts an interview with a cop who’s next to be executed claiming an old nemesis of Alex is alive.
What happens next takes Alex and Sampson chasing a killer that signs his notes as M. Taunting him by placing these notes and hints on the mutilated bodies he and his partner run down many leads that take them to too many crime scenes. But a former agent, Martin Forbes requested Alex visit him in prison and what he reveals sends him in many different directions but is what he claims true?
Profiles done and suspects questioned and on dangerous and armed there are several back stories that add to this multiple plot.
A woman kidnapped and an unusual ransom demanded another murder for Criss to investigate but not the one that’s threatened. Daughter Janine is about to race and falls ill to Mono and cannot compete for quite a while as his genius son Ali develops an interest in mountain biking and when riding his tire blows bringing him face to face with Captain Abrahamsen who stops to help Ali but is he really who he claims to be?
Ali is ten and when talking to Cross about the murders he manages to link M and the kidnap victim Diane Jenkins and the connection to Arlene Duffy death years before with a gruesome murder with her decapitated head. M is killing like Mikey with a necktie and a long time ago the Meat Man with the head in the car all figured out by his son.
Nothing is what it seems, and Ali put an app on his phone that disappears in seconds. He and Sampson are outside River’s bunker and the scenes that followed are graphic, violent and the murders are like that of Meat Man . Several heads and then Rivers winds up pinned in a car and Alex must decide what to do. Saving him brings about doubt about why he was at his bunker and creates a rift between him and his partner. Taunting him with text messages M is playing him but how does he always know where he is and why does the killer look like a dead man?
Things spiral out of control even further when Cross decides to straighten it out with Sampson, but someone is out to destroy him, and the result is a chase and a definite message that you won’t believe.
Added in Janine is approached by the coach of the University of Texas hoping to get a full scholarship, but the result and interview was not what her family expected. M seems to have the upper hand and Cross is always several steps in the wrong direction. Flashbacks to incidents dealing with M and the meat man and the necktie killer leave you wondering which one is committing the murders and why the police never get the assailants.
The murders increase the MO the same as in the past as Alex flashes back to the murder of Kissy Raider and the trophies found in Mikey’s apartment but the past will consume more of the present as he visits Forbes again claiming the Kyle Craig is alive and came to visit him in prison but what would the videos show?
Gaslighting him, taunting him and his wife, as Chief of Police might pay a heavy career price because this killer is just warming up as once again author James Patterson takes readers in a terrifying collision course hoping to reach the final finish line. But who wins ?
If a person or thing cross cross an area they travel from one side to the other and back again many times and follows different paths or routes as this killer/killer is leading Alex back to the beginning of one killer’s reign and repeatedly to another crisis crossing the events.
A simple app takes the spotlight as Alex and his wife Bree, the chief of police find themselves in a series of crossfires but this killer is not done as yet and sends a strong warning to Alex to watch out for the safety of his family but not everyone will escape the killer’s web. Nana Mama, my favorite character is the voice of reason, intelligence and calm when Ali falls prey to this killer and winds up his victim.
An officer is killed in action and Bree as Chief of Detectives is taking the heat. Added in the information about Alex’s journey with this killer called M until the present. But more heads, more evidence and an agent framed as the unthinkable is realized . Each note justifies the murder claiming the victim or victims deserved their fate. Playing both judge and jury.
Someone is pretending to be the late Kyle Craig and Cross needs assurance that the body buried in his grave is really Craig’s. What happens is startling and what he learns about the cemetery and why these people are buried this a serious eye opener that shocks Cross and the reader. Learning the identity of the lookalike and his identity sends Cross on a miso thinking he’s M. Added in he confronts the family of Mikey Edgerton and the end result leaves him looking in more directions as Special FBI Agent Ned Mahoney, Cross and Sampson realize that an innocent man needs to be freed and this fake Craig whom they identified he hopes to find. A chase that is heart stopping and more bodies uncovered, and the unusual money transfer leads them to William Nolan. The kidnapped woman’s husband paid her ransom in cryptocurrency where it winds up leads him in a direction and to someone you won’t believe.
Just when he thinks he has it under control, something changes it all and Ali becomes the next target. Did the Captain take him? Is he M? Learning more about the app and apprehending the Captain something causes Cross to snap and the final revelation you won’t believe as he uses himself as bait to catch a killer but in the end once again author James Patterson sends us more than just a curve ball and a twisted mind that out does any killer that he’s created in the past. M faces Cross and the final confrontation takes them both in the same direction but in the end will he tell him where Ali is buried, and will he manage to save him? The ending will surprise you and the ingenious and methodical brilliance of a ten year might shock you as Ali and someone else fight for their lives but will Bree and the police get there in time. As Jannie finally can compete the last paragraph of the novel lets you know that there is much more to come as M sends his final text.
Once again James Patterson creates a plot filled with surprises, unusual events, colorful characters and an ending that lets you know M has more to come for the Cross family but who will win the final showdown?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews