Cross Kill: A BookShot (Alex Cross #23.5), by James Patterson

Eight stars

Patterson takes the reins in this BookShot that tells a great story from the author’s longest-running series. While working at a local church to bring hot breakfasts to those in need, Alex Cross is confronted by a man firing a gun. When Cross and his partner, John Sampson, try to corner the man, Sampson is shot in the head and left for dead as Cross tries to pursue. Failing to do so, Cross cannot help but realise that his old nemesis, Gary Soneji, is the man doing the firing. Problem is, Soneji has been dead for over a decade and Cross saw him die. With Sampson clinging to life in the ICU, Cross must determine if it was Soneji he saw and where the criminal mastermind might be hiding. Working some leads puts Cross in the crosshairs and has him shot at on a few other occasions, with Soneji taunting from the shadows. When he eventually trips upon a sadistic Soneji fan club, Cross wonders if the group is idolising a dead man or harbouring a fugitive. Torn between sitting with Sampson as things take a turn for the worse and finding Soneji, Cross must make the ultimate sacrifice to save himself and those he loves. With an explosive ending that will leave the reader slack jawed, Patterson delivers something reminiscent of his writing of old. 

I have devoured the six BookShots on which I have been able to put my hands, finding each one a unique journey into stories that stir the mind and keep the heart pumping. This is the first BookShot of Patterson’s core series and he does not disappoint. Using the central Cross characters effectively, he is also able to instil a wonderful sense of dread with the reemergence of Soneji and how that is processed. The story flows effectively and Alex Cross is at his best, struggling between his job and those he loves in a way only he has mastered. If other BookShots fit as nicely into the Patterson series, readers are in for a wonderful treat over the next year or two.

Kudos, Mr. Patterson for rediscovering your niche and writing effective and superior pieces. I can only hope that this will continue, both in BookShots and full-length novels.