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Cross Kill by James Patterson


Let’s face it. Mega best selling author James Patterson is a virtual writing machine.


Every year, Patterson and his team of co-authors release a slew of books, which are usually his series of best-selling thrillers, such as the crime thrillers involving Washington, D.C. police detective Alex Cross, the Womens’ Murder Club and the Michael Bennett mysteries, amongst others.


imgres-2-1This past summer, Patterson’s publisher Little, Brown introduced a new way to enjoy and appreciate his prolific output of novels, which are called “Bookshots”.


Advertised as “stories at the speed of life”, Bookshots are a continuous series of compact, affordably-priced paperbacks, in which new titles  are released on a regular basis, and feature many of Patterson’s best-known series of books. Basically, you can read a James Patterson Bookshots release in one sitting (or maybe two, but no more than that).


The question for Patterson’s many fans is can a condensed, shorter version of one of his novels be as captivating and entertaining as his full length ones? Well, after reading Cross Kill, the first book issued in the Bookshots, the answer is a resounding “yes”.


In beginning of this story, Alex Cross and his police partner John Sampson are seen volunteering their time at a local elementary school breakfast program, when they are unexpectedly ambushed by a lone gunman. Cross survives the fusillade of bullets, but Sampson suffers a serious bullet wound to the head that becomes life threatening.


However, the eerie thing about this deadly assault is that the gunman resembles serial killer Gary Soneji, who was pursued by Cross in one of his earlier thrillers Along Came A Spider. The strange thing is that it can’t be Soneji, because Cross saw him meet a fiery death at the end of that story. …Or is Soneji really alive and didn’t really have an incinerating death?


Seeing the first titles in the Bookshots series on display at a magazine store in Milwaukee this past July reminded me of what Signet Books did 20 years ago with Stephen King’s novel The Green Mile, and decided to issue the story in six monthly installments in the form of attractive, easy-to-read compact pocket paperbacks. All six installments became instant best sellers, and are regarded as collector’s items after The Green Mile was re-issued in a single volume. Bookshots is indeed a new way to enjoy James Patterson’s growing fiction library. And it does succeed, because they are just as thrilling and suspenseful, but at a fraction of the size. And the narrative of Cross Kill provides a couple of interesting plot twists at the end that leave the reader waiting in anticipation for the next Alex Cross installment in the Bookshots series.


This new series of books is great reading for those on their public transit commute to work, or for those long waits at the airport.

(Little, Brown, $5.95)

By: Stuart Nulman – totimes.ca

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