Two decades after the very first Alex Cross novel debuted, James Patterson is still thrilling readers with suspenseful plots and lifelike characters.

His latest installation, Cross My Heart, leaves readers clinging to the edge of their seats through the entire novel. If you’re looking for a Christmas present to get a suspense reader in your family, this is it!

Fans have grown up with Alex Cross for the past 20 years, learning about his tough past and growing with him as he becomes a successful homicide and special cases officer in Washington. D.C.

One of the joys of reading Patterson’s novels is discovering the characters as if they were personal friends. Throughout the Cross series, readers have enjoyed learning about the protagonist’s intensity of character, his conviction, his strength as a detective and his fierce loyalty and devotion to his family. 

Cross’s family is the center of this new novel, and the detective finds himself at a crossroads between his family and his job. The Cross family consists of his new wife Bree, his grandmother Nana Mama, and his children Ali, Jannie and Damon. Each of these individuals we have come to know and love as much as Alex Cross himself.

In the opening prologue, we instantly learn that something terrible has happened to this close-knit family of his, something that our courageous hero has been unable to come to terms with. And so begins Cross My Heart.

The antagonist of the novel is Thierry Mulch (also known as Marcus Sunday) – “the perfect criminal.” Marcus Sunday, we quickly learn, has a Harvard degree in philosophy, is a best-selling author and is obsessed with Alex Cross. Marcus Sunday has just published a popular novel, titled The Perfect Criminal, in which the author describes unsolved murders and the philosophies behind these criminals.

The theory revolves around “existential nihilism” or the disbelief in God and a complete lack of morals. While Sunday’s book has received rave reviews, one person disagreed with the author’s findings: Alex Cross.

Readers are left high in suspense throughout the course of the novel as Cross and his family are pursued by this madman. As the book description reads, “Alex Cross becomes the obsession of a genius of menace set on proving that he is the greatest mind in the history of crime.”

You won’t be able to put this book down, from start to finish. Patterson throws one curve after another, and the jaw-dropping ending will leave you wanting more. Patterson is certainly the king of suspense; he knows exactly how to keep his readers reeled in and connected to the story he tells. 

Cross My Heart has received rave reviews from both fellow authors and entranced readers alike. Reviewers use words like “thriller … lightning-fast plots … suspenseful … terrific … heart and soul.” The chapters are short and easy to read, or stop if it’s even possible for you get distracted.

Patterson’s writing is so simple and compact, his plots so perfectly thought-out that just about any lover of suspense novels will delight in his books. Do beware however, this latest Cross installment is violent and bloody, more so than his usual novels. If you’re purchasing this book for a younger reader you may want to do a quick read-through to be sure it’s age-appropriate.

The novel may be interesting to religious readers as well since it combines Patterson’s typical crime scene stories with the question of God and ethics. Alex Cross and his family, as fans well know, are quite religious, attending church on occasion and contributing to their community as any believer does.

In Cross My Heart, we see a very real conflict between an existentialist non-believer and a God-fearing family. How this plays out in the end will likely leave readers feeling a bit hopeful and a bit frustrated at the same time. Will there be another Alex Cross novel after this one? Without a doubt.

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