The Barnes & Noble Review
Why are James Patterson's novels so successful? Is it the gritty plotlines? The colorful cast of good guys and bad guys? The pithy, addictive chapters (the literary equivalent of potato chips)? Or could it be those quirky TV commercials featuring Patterson himself rhyming up a storm in front of the camera?
It's all of the above, of course, but the real reason Patterson has become such a force to be reckoned with on bestseller lists is his uncomplicated, no-nonsense, bare-knuckles approach to storytelling. No fat here! In a time when some authors don't know when to shut up, filling their narratives with too much inflated detail, Patterson has honed to razor-sharp perfection the art of the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid).
Violets Are Blue, the author's exciting sequel to Roses Are Red, explodes like a potent combination of Coca-Cola and Pop Rocks. It opens with D.C. Detective Alex Cross on the verge of losing his mind. Betsy Cavalierre, his former partner and girlfriend, has just been found brutally murdered. The culprit is none other than Cross's chief nemesis -- the brilliant, sadistic Mastermind. Only moments after arriving at the scene, Cross receives a taunting call from the madman, with savage details of the murder and threats to take out the detective next, along with his children and his mother. To make matters worse, when two joggers are found dead in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco -- their bodies drained of blood and riddled with puncture wounds and tooth marks -- Cross finds himself involved in an FBI case shockingly similar to an unsolved case from earlier in his career. Soon Cross descends into a Hades of sick sex and ritualistic murder involving a group of modern-day vampires that may or may not be the real thing. And let's not forget that the twisted Mastermind is never far behind, nipping at Cross's heels like Old Scratch himself, at every twist and turn in the novel.
Taut, fast-paced, and leavened with Patterson's dark sense of humor, Violets Are Blue is a wickedly entertaining read, an old-fashioned story about the powers of good and evil. Mark another notch on Patterson's belt: This book puts the thrill in thriller. (Stephen Bloom)
Washington, D.C., police detective Alex Cross returns for another visit (after Roses Are Red) to the top of the lists and for two new cases of disparate quality. The first, which dominates the narrative, takes place within America's vampire underground and is as exciting as anything Patterson has written; the second, in which Cross at last defeats the nemesis known as "the Mastermind," feels tacked on only to knot loose ends. In San Francisco, two joggers are slain, seemingly by both tiger and human teeth, and their blood drained; then an upscale couple is killed similarly in Marin County deaths suggestive of an earlier Cross case, prompting the detective's old pal Kyle Craig of the FBI to ask for his help. Craig's plea plunges Cross not only into a fetishistic netherworld in which thousands play at being vampires and a handful actually do kill for blood, but into personal turbulence as he alienates his family by his dedication to work, and as his always troubled love life takes further dips and flights, the latter in the company of SFPD Insp. Jamilla Hughes, who joins him on the cases. We know the good guys' immediate quarry, but they don't: two golden young men, brothers and self-styled vampires, with a pet tiger at their side. But who is the Sire, their ultimate leader? Meanwhile, the Mastermind, a brilliant homicidal maniac, plagues Cross with threatening phone calls. Most readers probably won't finger the Sire, but anyone who can't name the Mastermind long before Patterson reveals his identity must be reading this book backwards. The action reels around the country, from D.C. to California to Las Vegas to North Carolina, and readers will be swept away by it and by Patterson's expertmixing of Cross's professional and personal challenges. The narrative split between the two cases, vampiric and Mastermind, jars but not enough to seriously mar fans' pleasure, and the two cases will probably mesh more elegantly in the inevitable movie to come. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
When two murders in San Francisco recall a case in Washington, DC, that Alex Cross has yet to solve, the wily detective is up and running and he runs straight into a bizarre group of role players who think that they really are vampires. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Only a writer of Patterson's star-wattage could have hoodwinked his publisher into bringing out this unlovely mess, which pits forensic psychologist Alex Cross against two separate serial killers. It begins with the slaughter of still another of Cross's professional and romantic partners, FBI agent Betsey Cavalierre, by Cross's old nemesis, the Mastermind (Roses Are Red), who instantly phones to taunt his adversary. With still another partner dead, how can Cross go on? But he has to, immediately, because another killer is on the loose--actually, a pair of killers, William and Michael Alexander, teenaged vampires whose murder of two army officers in Golden Gate Park is just a warmup for the carnage to come. As the Mastermind keeps trying to get Cross's attention by threatening his adorable kids, his grandmother, and everyone else he's ever known, Patterson, apparently eager to escape the constraints of the low body count in the soapy Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, unleashes the hounds of hell. Under the direction of their dread Sire, the exultant Alexander brothers ("We're immortal! We'll never die!"), leave a trail of gory victims in Las Vegas, Savannah, New Orleans, and Baton Rouge before returning to Santa Cruz for a climactic sequence that finally unmasks the ho-hum Sire. The moment the vampire chronicles end, Cross, without missing a beat, turns to that other serial killer, and soon, courtesy of one of his famous profiler's hunches, has the Mastermind in his sights. Can he hunt down his enemy before the Mastermind exacts a terrible vengeance against somebody else-say, beauteous Jamilla Hughes of San Francisco Homicide-whose death would reduce Cross to babbling despair? The grade-school characterizations of everyone from cops to victims to cackling psychos guarantee that you won't care a bit. A real test for Patterson's huge audience: If they buy this, they'll buy anything.
"Another page-turner . . . You won't be able to put 'Violets' down until you've reached the back cover."
Particularly juicy . . . Enjoyably spooky . . . Bottom line: bloody good creepfest.
"Particularly juicy . . . Enjoyably spooky . . . Bottom line: bloody good creepfest."
"Another page-turner . . . You won't be able to put 'Violets' down until you've reached the back cover."New York Times"
Particularly juicy . . . Enjoyably spooky . . . Bottom line: bloody good creepfest."People