Hope To Die is the 22nd book in the popular Alex Cross series by prolific American author, James Patterson. It follows on directly from the cliff-hanger that ended Cross My Heart, so cannot really be read without reading that book first. Thierry Mulch has kidnapped and supposedly killed all the members of Alex Cross’s family. But Ava, the runaway Nana Mama took in, gives Alex hope that all is not lost.
Before they can even start searching for where the five might be held, though, another blow hits Alex: a mutilated body is found, unidentifiable, but a body that looks like his beloved Bree, her build, her clothing, her jewellery. And then another, again unidentifiable, but resembling his eldest, Damon. And demands from Mulch, a heinous deed to be committed if Alex is ever to see the rest of his family alive.
If the reader can suspend disbelief regards the place and manner the hostages are held, Cross’s post-crash climb, the extreme convenience of the former profession of Mulch’s accomplice and the current career of Gloria Jones, then some quite good investigation keeps the story rolling at a fast pace. But the “danger to loved ones due to his profession” card, taken to the extreme in this installment, has been rather overplayed in this series and really is getting a bit tired. Maybe now Cross will put in a burglar alarm and teach his family some basic security?
Patterson employs his trademark short chapters and Cross does a lot of travelling around the country in this one, even surviving a car crash and “Duel”-type mountainside descent. Atticus Jones is a delightful character and Patterson introduces a new detective in Tessa Aalijah who proves quite resourceful. Readers will be grateful there is no annoying cliff-hanger ending, this time.