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Monday, June 25, 2012

Four Blind Mice (Alex Cross #8) (audiobook) by James Patterson

Good but not great

Published by Hatchette Audio in 2002.
Read by Peter J. Fernandez and Michael Emerson.
Duration:  8 hours and 7 minutes.

I am glad to get back to the world of Alex Cross. I have read or heard 3 other Patterson books this year and have been sorely disappointed with two. I only liked one (Jester) and I was looking forward to getting back to comfortable ground with Alex Cross.

After reading a few reviews, it sounds like the audio version actually helps Four Blind Mice a bit. The two narrators are both quite good, with the exception that some of the bad guys sound too much like one another.

The strength of Patterson's Cross books is the realistic conversations - the rhythms, cadences, colloquialisms and vocabulary sound right and this was certainly accentuated by great audio performances by Peter J. Fernandez and Michael Emerson. They sound so right that I am reminded of a personal story. Way back before Patterson's picture was plastered all over the back of every one of his books, I used to work in a used book store. The Alex Cross books started filtering in and Mrs. Rivers, the assistant manager and an elderly African-American woman (also an avid mystery/thriller reader) placed Patterson's books in the African-American authors section because the characters felt so right to her. She was shocked when a book came in with his face on the back. She commented that she never would have believed that a white man could have pulled that off so well. He still pulls it off.

However, the story flows in a herky-jerky manner. Sampson and Cross gleen clues from things that should not provide clues. For example, while in Raleigh, NC investigating an old ritualistic multiple murder, they hear that a single prostitute was killed. No details are provided of the prostitute's murder, but still they know it is connected. How?

Patterson is intent on moving the personal lives of Cross and Sampson forward. That is appropriate. At times, though, it felt as if that was the only part of the story he really put a lot of thought into. The rest seemed to be rather sloppily tossed in there - the connections were loose, characters are introduced than dropped.

So, my grade: 4 stars out of 5.

Good conversation. Like the characters. My suggestion: Slow down "James Patterson, Inc." and take the time to work out some of the kinks and make these books better.

Reviewed on May 3, 2007.

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