Wednesday, January 6, 2010

#BookReview: Alex Cross's Trial - James Patterson

At last, Patterson has redeemed himself in my eyes. For too long he has cranked out book after book full of fill-in-the-blank story lines. The names and scenery would change, but the story remained the same. It had gotten to the point where I could figure out "who done it" within the first five chapters of any of his books. But this book? This book here? The master storyteller is back!

Titled Alex Cross's Trial, don't be fooled. Alex Cross is briefly mentioned in the first two pages, but the story is that of Washington, DC attorney Ben Corbett. Set in the early 1900s, Ben finds himself summoned to the White House by President Theodore Roosevelt. At the president's request, Ben is dispatched to Eudora, Mississippi to investigate the rise in lynchings. A native of Eudora, Ben is familiar with the ways of the south, but isn't prepared for the journey that lies ahead of him. With the assistance of Abraham Cross, Alex's great great uncle, Ben sets out to complete the task at hand. Along the way he discovers that old friends can't be trusted and new friends come from the most unlikely places.

At times I had to simply put the book down and take a break because it set my emotions on edge. Patterson and his co-author, Richard Dilallo, do a fine job of capturing the essence of the town's characters, both black and white. There is no sugar coating of the horror of lynching and the era in history that most of mainstream America would like to pretend never existed. This is a definite must read from Patterson for the first time in a long time.

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