Ali Cross: Like Father, Like Son (Ali Cross #2), by James Patterson

Eight stars

While I have struggled with some of James Patterson’s writing over the last number of years, I always enjoyed the Alex Cross series. Patterson has come to spread himself too thin and uses his name to sell books, rather than inserting quality into his writing. However, he finds a back on occasion to surprise me. When I discovered that he was expanding the Cross series with a YA collection by young Ali Cross, I took note. I enjoyed the series debut and thought that I ought to give this second novel some of my attention as well. I must say, Patterson did well and kept me hooked throughout.

After solving his first case, Ali Cross is riding a slight high, much to the chagrin of his father, Metro PD Detective Alex Cross. The younger Cross is also getting a tad mischievous as he ages and tells a white lie to get himself out with friends at a music festival. Everything was going smoothly until Ali and his friends witness a stunning crime.

After shots are fired, Ali’s friend, Zoe is struck. Her injuries are not the only concern, as Zoe is being quite sneaky and covering for someone. Ali cannot accept this at face value and begins poking around, which only uncovers more and makes it seem as though Zoe is keeping secrets.

While Ali refuses to back off the case, he is more concerned with his friend than anything else. Accepting some counsel from his father, Ali does his best to connect the dots and tries to help Zoe at the same time. A shorter is out there, a secret Zoe wants kept may come out, and someone will be held accountable.

I found myself quite impressed with this Patterson solo effort, a style of where he strives. The story, while somewhat simplistic, worked well and is perfect for the target audience. It’s just as gritty as many of the other Cross novels, adding humour and some family tenacity to keep the reader engaged.

Patterson creates some great characters that keep things moving along well. While the piece is short, there are some wonderful personalities that fill the narrative, including the Cross family who are definitely a handful of their own. The reader is re-introduced to some of Ali’s friends, who are sure to continue playing a key role as the series progresses.

Patterson pens a nice little story, sure to impress his Cross fans, as well as YA readers who need a little mystery. It was well-paced and flowed well, keeping the reader wondering without unnecessary twists. With great characters and a decent plot, Patterson impresses readers in this budding series, which I can only hope will continue for years to come.

Kudos, Mr. Patterson, for a nice little story to appease readers of all ages. Now, let’s hope the elder Cross series can return to its former glory.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge:

Ali Cross, by James Patterson

Eight stars

James Patterson has a new treat for his young adult (read: teen) fans with this long-awaited debut featuring Ali Cross. Many longtime Patterson fans will know of Alex Cross and his youngest—yet also precocious—son, Ali, who sees things outside of the box. While the entire Cross clan is gathered for Christmas, Ali has other things on his mind. His friend, Gabe, is missing and no one seems to be doing much about it. Ali wants nothing more than to help find his close friend, but the case seems to be gathering little but a peppering of snow over the holiday season. If that were not enough, his father, Dr. Alex Cross, is facing assault charges for a recent arrest that left a suspect in a coma after a fall. While the Cross family remains strong, Ali cannot help but wonder if he needs to do more to help the situation. He enlists the help of his father, as well as his step-mother, Bree Stone, to get some answers and to help fill in some of the blanks around Gabe’s location. Then, it’s time to enter the world of the tween, where social media and gaming takes over, allowing Ali to discover some new and disturbing clues that could help him with his search. As Alex is distracted with his own worries, young Ali takes a gamble or two to save his friend. Problem is, like his father, Ali sometimes forgets to put his safety first, which could have dire consequences. When Ali is able to reach Gabe through a video game they enjoy, this only leads to more complications and places both boys in a heap of trouble. A stellar piece by Patterson that will surely loop in a new generation of Cross fans, with a story that is equally appealing to those who have long enjoyed anything with CROSS in the title. Recommended for young and not so youthful readers looking for a great mystery, as well as Alex Cross fans who want a dose of something a little less intense.

I recently finished James Patterson’s latest Alex Cross novel, which saw an increase in Ali’s presence. It felt fitting to turn to this shorter piece to give Ali his time in the spotlight and to see if younger readers were getting the same intensity in their novels related to this DC family. Patterson does well to pull a new set of Cross fans in, setting a mystery with Ali in the middle. Ali Cross is a middle-schooler who has all the tools to live a 21st century life, including an online presence that keeps him in touch with his friends. However, he has Cross blood in his veins and if he is not going to excel in athletics like his siblings, he might as well take up sleuthing. The reader can see this throughout this piece, as Ali Cross comes into his own. He loves a good mystery and has the empathy to make his work mean something. Other characters help pave the way to a successful story, including Alex Cross, which enriches the entire reading experience. While it is hard to place this on the Alex Cross timeline of books, there is surely a little character development for Alex and Ali, though it might be in a vacuum and not entirely in line with the chronology of the larger Cross series (if that makes sense as I pen it now). The story was strong and helped introduce the reader to Ali Cross in such a way that readers will want to know more. With some eerie goings-on in the Alex Cross series and a few hints that Ali Cross has not tripped on his only mystery, Patterson keeps readers of all ages wondering what will come next in the Cross saga and how long until Ali takes over the spotlight, letting Alex relax and fade into the role of advisor, rather than ‘feet on the ground’ detective.

Kudos, Mr. Patterson, for another great piece in the Cross series. This one has remained solid and I do wish you would focus on those pieces that are stellar, rather than mass producing every idea brought to your feet, for money and acclaim.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: