“He was right here,“ I said. “He came in through the kitchen. He was here, where we’re standing.“
“Don’t talk like that, Alex,“ Sampson said. „Sound like Jeane Dixon. Creep me out.“ [for all Germans: Jeane Dixon is the US-American equivalent for Elisabeth Tessier…]
Alexander Cross is homicide Deputy Chief of Detectives with a doctorate in psychology, so he rather gets down to how criminals click. It is what he does on the ghastly crime scene in Soustheast, the not-at-all fashionable disctrict of his hometown Washington D.C. This second killing of Afro-American victims in just less than a week makes him suspect a serial killer. But when two small – and white, and rich - children get kidnapped from their expensive private school, the polical powers are not in favour of the less well-off.
Alex grew up in a rather tough environment of Washington himself – where he moved at the age of nine to live with his grandmother after the death of both his parents. He is 38 now, an avid piano player, Afro-American and still lives with his ‘Nana Mama‘ now as a single Dad with his two kids, Janelle, 4, and Damon, 6, after the drive-by shooting of his wife Maria three years ago. The tough enviroment made his tone harsh, often laconical, and his remarks can be pretty derogative. Well, they probably should – when his boss claims the victims were probably ‘only‘ dealers and prostitutes, his retort seems pretty right “One victim is a three-year old boy in his pajamas. He may have been dealing. I’ll check on it“. He is not given to sweet-talk.
But soon the likeness of the abducted children with his own son and daughter plus the cold bloodedness of the negotiations that follow make him bitterly want to get hold of that criminal as well - without actually forgetting about the older cases. But something goes wrong, miserably wrong. And a barn in Maryland, on a deserted farm with a blue Minivan, a hole with just one shoe does not make things better. And still, while Alex realizes he just cannot let go of the case, he also gets down to his own feelings.
Well, now should one read this? The tension brought me close to biting my nails, my guessing was completely wrong, the twists were pretty imaginative, I had a few smiles, could sympathize with Alex. But the real reason: I got to know Alex Cross some time back in the past, on German TV, being a fan of actor Morgan Freeman. And so I bought another one of the books for that reason: I did not like that one at all, too much violence, and against one of the characters I had started to like. Than I had another go with “Cross Justice“ – which I deeply liked but found none of the “Freeman-Cross“ in it. So this is my third try. And there you go – I do have the feeling of seeing Freeman in every step and word and move from Alex. Folks, I do not know how Mr. Patterson likes that as a reason that I finally "bought“ his Cross-series, but that’s it, weird as it may sound. I had worse reasons.
The only thing I regret is that there could well have been more Nana in the book – she is great. But I know I will simply have to read on.
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