School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up—Ali Cross is the son of celebrated Washington, D.C. detective Alex Cross, and his dream is to follow in his dad's footsteps and become a great detective. When his friend Gabe goes missing, Ali sees it as his chance to help the police solve a real mystery. But tensions are high in his community after his dad is accused of hurting a suspect's family member, and Ali has to deal with bullies, reporters, and his own father's protectiveness in his quest to rescue his friend. Told in the alternating perspectives of Ali and Alex, this is a fresh look at the world of James Patterson's most famous protagonist through a middle grade lens. Though the message of police violence is simplistic compared to other offerings for the age group, this entry-level police procedural will be an exciting read. Patterson drops frequent references to other children's detective novels throughout, leaving a breadcrumb trail of recommendations. VERDICT Patterson blends the fun of James Ponti's "T.O.A.S.T." mysteries and Stuart Gibbs's "Spy School" with a bit of commentary about the complications of policing in the modern era. A good buy for any collection serving young Patterson fans and middle grade action/thriller audiences.—Madison Bishop, Plymouth Public Library, MA
The prolific king of the beach read is back with an intergenerational mystery for the 9-to-12-year-old set.
Ali Cross, the son of Patterson's most famous creation, African American homicide detective Alex Cross, is "starting to think the worst might have happened" to his mixed-race friend Gabriel "Gabe" Qualls, who disappeared on Dec. 21 and hasn't been heard from as of Christmas Eve, when the book opens. Ali offers an impromptu prayer for Gabe at the pre-holiday service at his all-black church as well as an impromptu press conference outside of it as journalists and paparazzi confront Alex about his alleged coma-inducing assault of a murder suspect's father. Then someone robs the Crosses' home that night along with four other homes; the Crosses' Christmas gifts are stolen. Ali, obsessed with finding Gabe and feeling that these events will distract his dad and the police from searching for him, starts his own investigation—complete with looking at some contraband footage of Gabe's unusually loaded backpack obtained by Ali's stepmother, also a cop—and questioning his school and gaming pals, a diverse group. Writing in Ali's voice with occasional cutaways to third-person chapters that follow Alex, Patterson sprinkles the narrative with pop-culture references even as he takes readers through the detective process.
Written in workhorse prose, it's an amiable enough read. (Mystery. 9-12)
From the Publisher
"The prolific king of the beach read is back with an intergenerational mystery for the 9-to-12-year-old set."Kirkus Reviews