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Friday June 28, 2013

’Tis not the season for James Patterson

It had to happen sometime ... a fan finally gives up on one of her favourite writers.

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross
Author: James Patterson

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 352 pages

OK, I am just going to come right out and say it: James Patterson has lost his mojo. For the past few years, I had been making so many excuses to justify Patterson’s terrible performance on keyboards (or a typewriter ... I don’t know him personally).

From assuming that he’s possibly on the verge of losing his mind to temporary insanity to writer’s block, I have always defended one of my favourite writers, saying that he would get back to excellent over time.

I mean, did you read Cross in the Alex Cross series? That hit rock bottom, and to me, there was no way that Patterson could churn out something worse than that poor excuse for a novel.

Guess what? I was wrong. Merry Christmas, Alex Cross is in my opinion the worst in the Alex Cross detective series!

To be honest ... I didn’t finish the book. No, not because I didn’t have time to read it but simply because I couldn’t accept the fact that Patterson has become the kind of writer that he is today. Oh, it also didn’t help that Merry Christmas has a crappy storyline.

We all know that Alex Cross loves his family and would never do anything to hurt them ... except to leave on short notice and miss out on most holidays and celebrations, which annoys his family no end.

Well, he does that again and this time over Christmas, a decision which doesn’t sit well with grandma Nana (who must be over 100 years yet shows no sign of leaving for the afterlife), his children and his new wife Bree.        

Nevertheless, Alex does what Alex wants and a day before the celebration, he leaves the comfort of his yummy Christmas-goodies smelling home to stop a man from killing his ex-wife and two children. What a great way to spend Christmas eve, right?

OK, so he kind of solves that problem (it’s Alex we’re talking about here) and returns home just in time for another big case that apparently only he can handle. Like, for real? I mean, I would like to think of Alex as a great detective, but is he really that indispensable? What about the other men working in the police department? Are they just there to cheer him on or do they just make up the numbers so that the FBI seems like a cool place to work at?

Anyway, the new case is about a female terrorist who gets caught while planting bombs at a train station and, of course, it was Alex who caught her before figuring out that the terrorist cell group has a bigger hit planned.

More terrorists are introduced in the story, Nana and the family are angry at Alex for always being missing in action, Alex acts like a wimp, and the story gets boring as heck.

That’s when I threw the book against the wall and yelled “Damn you, Patterson!”

You want to know why? Because I finally realised that Merry Christmas, Alex Cross is not a “proper” novel but just a means for Patterson to make more money. No big, bad crazy man terrorising the city, no clever mastermind wreaking havoc on people’s lives, no intricate plots or even a half-baked storyline here. In fact, it is just a collection of short stories set around the common theme of the festive season. Well, I wasn’t interested in reading that.

I seriously don’t care what happens to Alex now. He could’ve died at the end of the book but, hey, maybe it’s time for the once great detective to go and leave the job and family that always demands more than he can give.

At least then Patterson wouldn’t have an excuse to write crappy books that don’t even come close to living up older Alex Cross titles like Along Came A Spider, Cat And Mouse and Kiss The Girls.

Sigh.

You’ve disappointed me again Patterson, and there’s nothing merry about that.

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