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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
James Patterson, bestselling author of Pop Goes the Weasel, Cradle and All, and Kiss the Girls, returns with Roses Are Red, his latest gripping dark crime tale featuring brilliant profiler Alex Cross. As fans have come to expect from Patterson's work, this novel is fueled with high emotion and resonates with moral outrage. As always, Patterson gives his book a healthy measure of both poignant humanity and horrendous cruelty, once more demonstrating that he is at the top of his game, mining an area of psychological suspense that is all his own.
Cross's latest case is one of his most frustrating. It concerns an ingenious criminal called the Mastermind, who forms vicious teams to rob banks and yet changes the pattern of the crime each time. If his plans are not followed precisely, he threatens to kill whole families taken as hostage -- and does so without hesitation. In another instance all the members of a bank staff are murdered without reason, simply because the Mastermind wants the police to find a scene of carnage. And in an effort to sever all ties to himself, the Mastermind slays his own lackeys as well.
But the Mastermind isn't all that Cross has to worry about. His girlfriend, Christine, held captive for a year by the insane but brilliant Weasel, cannot overcome her fears and paranoia that she or her newborn child, Alex Jr., will once again fall prey to some madman. Cross's daughter, Jannie, suddenly becomes victim to grand mal seizures, and soon doctors discover that she has a brain tumor. The one shining light amid all his troubles is Cross's fledgling relationship with his new partner on this case, Agent Betsey Cavalierre, who offers him friendship and a stabilizing force for his disintegrating personal life.
The Mastermind grows more and more bold, raping a young woman because he wants a child and becoming ever more dangerous and erratic. And when Cross and his team become too great an annoyance, the Mastermind decides to make his next gambit a much more personal one and exacts a horrifying vengeance.
The novel is written in chapters that sporadically alternate between Cross's viewpoint and that of the Mastermind, giving a greater depth to both the hero and the maniacal antagonist. The major subplots focus on Cross's greatest personal fears: the illness of his child and the loss of his beloved. Cross's personal and professional lives are becoming even more difficult for him to separate, as the trials he faces at work come home to haunt him. The fact that Cross tries desperately to function on two planes -- facing madmen during the day and hoping to relax with his family at night -- tightens the novel to the breaking point as the story progresses through a series of brutal crimes that stalk closer to his loved ones.
Patterson uses incredibly short chapters that speed the narrative along and compress the story line. The plot elements become all the more complex and gripping as we're drawn further into the realm of a lunatic's thoughts. Once again, Patterson proves that he's capable of turning in an engaging, cunningly crafted tale that transcends the serial killer subgenre. He has another guaranteed bestseller on his hands with Roses Are Red, an intense, action-packed, and thought-provoking novel that will leave the reader awestruck and gasping for breath.