James Patterson has had more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer, ever, according to Guinness World Records. Since his first novel won the Edgar Award in 1977 James Patterson's books have sold more than 300 million copies. He is the author of the Alex Cross novels, the most popular detective series of the past twenty-five years, including Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.
After experimenting with the love-story genre in Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas (LJ 7/01), Patterson picks up where he left off in Roses Are Red (LJ 10/1/00) Dr. Alex Cross's girlfriend is dead, and maniacal murderer Mastermind is taunting him with daily cell phone calls. Still working with FBI operative Kyle Craig, Alex is called to California to investigate a series of grisly murders seemingly committed by vampires who drain the victims of blood and then hang the bodies upside down. The case takes on national importance as similar murders are discovered in Las Vegas, Washington, DC, and Charleston, SC. The case requires Alex to travel for weeks on end, taking him away from his children and reliable DC police partner John Sampson and leading him to wonder whether the job is worth it (the shocker of an ending decides that for him). As usual, Patterson moves at breakneck speed in short chapters, which disguises the plot's thinness. Patterson's many fans won't care, however. Recommended for public library thriller collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/01.] Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet Lib., Hammond, IN Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Washington, D.C., police detective Alex Cross returns for another visit (after Roses Are Red) to the top of the lists and for two new cases of disparate quality. The first, which dominates the narrative, takes place within America's vampire underground and is as exciting as anything Patterson has written; the second, in which Cross at last defeats the nemesis known as "the Mastermind," feels tacked on only to knot loose ends. In San Francisco, two joggers are slain, seemingly by both tiger and human teeth, and their blood drained; then an upscale couple is killed similarly in Marin County deaths suggestive of an earlier Cross case, prompting the detective's old pal Kyle Craig of the FBI to ask for his help. Craig's plea plunges Cross not only into a fetishistic netherworld in which thousands play at being vampires and a handful actually do kill for blood, but into personal turbulence as he alienates his family by his dedication to work, and as his always troubled love life takes further dips and flights, the latter in the company of SFPD Insp. Jamilla Hughes, who joins him on the cases. We know the good guys' immediate quarry, but they don't: two golden young men, brothers and self-styled vampires, with a pet tiger at their side. But who is the Sire, their ultimate leader? Meanwhile, the Mastermind, a brilliant homicidal maniac, plagues Cross with threatening phone calls. Most readers probably won't finger the Sire, but anyone who can't name the Mastermind long before Patterson reveals his identity must be reading this book backwards. The action reels around the country, from D.C. to California to Las Vegas to North Carolina, and readers will be swept away by it and by Patterson's expert mixing of Cross's professional and personal challenges. The narrative split between the two cases, vampiric and Mastermind, jars but not enough to seriously mar fans' pleasure, and the two cases will probably mesh more elegantly in the inevitable movie to come. (Nov. 19) Forecast: Is there a writer hotter than Patterson? A 10-city author tour, the forthcoming TV miniseries of his First to Die, and the simultaneous AudioBooks (unabridged and abridged, tape and CD) of Violets Are Blue will only increase the heat. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
"Particularly juicy . . . Enjoyably spooky . . . Bottom line: bloody good creepfest."--People "Another page-turner . . . You won't be able to put 'Violets' down until you've reached the back cover."--New York Times