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James Patterson has had more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer, ever, according to Guinness World Records. Since his first novel won the Edgar Award in 1977 James Patterson's books have sold more than 300 million copies. He is the author of the Alex Cross novels, the most popular detective series of the past twenty-five years, including Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.
George Guidall, a masterful reader of light mysteries, may seem an odd choice for this serial-killer tale, but his patented folksy style can give an odd spin to the rantings of bloodthirsty loonies. While Richard Ferrone reads the sections narrated by stolid detective/psychologist Alex Cross, Guidall reveals the points of view of the two murderers with whom the District of Columbia policeman must contend. Gary Soneji, sent to prison in Along Came a Spider, is back to torment Cross with brutal murders in Washington's Union Station and New York's Penn Station. When the Soneji case is resolved halfway through, Cross is immediately faced with another killer, known as "Mr. Smith." Not only is Smith not as perversely compelling as Soneji, but Patterson constantly slows down the tale to dip into Cross's love life with his children's school principal. Patterson's psychos are more interesting than his normal characters and the police work is rather pedestrian. Recommended for collections where the author's gruesome thrillers (e.g., Hide and Seek, Audio Reviews, LJ 8/96) are popular.ÄMichael Adams, CUNY Graduate Ctr.
Always a generous author (lots of plot and intrigue) if not a stylish one, Patterson now gives his fans two thrillers, loosely linked, for the price of one. The first features convicted mass murderer and prison escapee Gary Soneji, returning from Along Came a Spider. The second focuses on Mr. Smith, a fiend who performs live autopsies on his victims and who boasts to one, "Gary Soneji [is] a pussycat compared to me." Both benefit from the humane presence of Patterson's popular black Washington, D.C., detective/psychologist Alex Cross, who sweetly romances a school principal when not hunting down the villains. There's action aplenty here, beginning with Soneji's rampage in the famed train station, intercutting with Mr. Smith's diabolical handiwork and peaking with a nighttime assault on Alex and a cruel conclusion. There's much mystery, too, as Patterson‘writing in the third-person as well as through two first-person voices‘lays down the games suggested in the title. The many puzzles‘who is Mr. Smith? why is Soneji possessed of bloodlust? etc.‘and their solutions are on a Hardy Boys level, and Patterson's prose is equally rudimentary, littering the narrative with as many exclamation points as dead bodies: "Rush hour! Eight-twenty A.M. Jesus God Almighty, no! A madman was on the loose inside Union Station"). With his trademark short chapters, cleanly delineated characters and flair for cheesy melodrama, however, Patterson again delivers the sort of undemanding, swiftly paced fare that has made him a champ of the charts. 500,000 first printing; Literary Guild main selection; author tour. (Nov.) FYI: Paramount Pictures promises a "multimillion"-dollar campaign to promote the release of Kiss the Girls in September. Warner will publish the mass market edition of Jack & Jill in October.
"FAST-PACED...THE PROTOTYPE THRILLER FOR TODAY".-- San Diego Union-Tribune