Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Publisher: Little Brown / Time Warner 
Release Date: November 17, 2003 
ISBN: 0316602906 
Format Reviewed: Hardcover 
Genre:  Mystery-Police Procedural
Reviewed: 2003
Reviewer: Lawrence Greenberg

The Big Bad Wolf
By James Patterson

     This is a real humdinger. Alex Cross, James Patterson's series detective, has now joined the FBI and is almost immediately assigned his first case which pits him against a vicious pakhan, or chief, of the Solntsevo Red Mafiya-Russian gangsters known for their brutality and cunning. This one, nicknamed the Wolf, is smarter than most of his ilk and is reaping enormous revenue by dealing in white slavery.

     Cross has to contend with multiple issues. There's the series of kidnappings and occasional murders associated with the case. There's his ex-lover wanting their young son back after a year's hiatus. And there's Cross' own standing as a former cop, now in the FBI, who's often viewed with some suspicion by fellow agents. Patterson gives his story momentum by layering on the kidnappings, the piecing together of information by Cross and his colleagues, and by shuttling back and forth between the case and Cross' domestic affairs, as well as the private thoughts of the kidnapped women and the criminal element. Cross' own thoughts and his personal life are meant to, and do, provide the human element of the author's main character.

     Patterson is a smart writer whose Alex Cross doesn't just go through the motions in this case; the sometimes grotesque violence definitely affects him personally. It's easy for the reader to identify with him as he gets involved in the case's intricacies, which include bouts of cyberspace chatting, sudden raids, debriefings, interrogations, and even botched operations. As well, Patterson's writing is clean and concise, with no unnecessary verbiage, a real pleasure to read. And the ending definitely leaves the door open for the return of the Wolf…

Reviews of other titles in this series

Along Came a Spider #1 [audio]
Kiss the Girls
#2  [audio]
Jack and Jill
#3  [audio]
Pop Goes the Weasel
#5  [book] [audio]
Violets are Blue
#7  [book]
Four Blind Mice
#8  [book] [audio]
Big Bad Wolf
#9  [book]
London Bridges
#10  [audio]
Mary Mary
#11  [audio]
# 12  [audio]
Double Cross
#13  [book] [audio]
Cross Country
# 14  [book]
Alex Cross Trial
#13  [book] [audio]
I, Alex Cross
#16  [book] [audio]
Cross Fire
#17  [audio]
Kill Alex Cross
#18  [audio]
Merry Christmas, Alex Cross
Alex Cross, Run
#20  [audio]
Cross My Heart
#21  [audio]
Hope to Die   #22
Cross Justice
#23 [audio]
Cross Kill #23.1 [audio] - short story