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I used to read James Patterson books quite regularly but gave up a few years ago as it’s impossible to keep up with his level of output. According to Fantasticfiction.co.uk there have been 174 books published since 1993 with a further 14 due for release this year alone. I don’t know how he does it.

‘Spider was his first published work and the first Detective Alex Cross novel. I don’t think I read it when it first came out; more like 15-18 years ago so it was interesting to revisit. I got a bit confused at first as Cross best friend and fellow policeman wasn’t gay and I was convinced he was. Turns out I was getting confused with the Alex Delaware series by Jonathan Kellerman! Woops.

I liked the twist towards the latter part of the book and the whereabouts of the kidnapped child. I did see the ‘who did it’ of that part coming but that may be residual memory from first time around.

I think the story holds up after all this time although some bits are outdated simply from the improvements to technology. I’m also watching Broadchurch on TV at present and just comparing the 2 court cases. Patterson talks of reporters rushing to telephones to report the news for the following days papers while on Broadchurch (and modern day) the court case news is updated to the internet as it happens. The book came out the year my son was born, 21 years ago and it’s amazing (to me at least) how quickly technology has leaped forward.

I was surprised re-reading by the racism Cross was subjected to. Again I’m looking at it from a different perspective. He talks of people not wanting to talk to a black psychologist and someone creating a burning cross in the garden of a place he stayed. That seems like something from the 1950’s rather than mid-1990’s – maybe equality hadn’t moved forward as much as I’d like to think it had.

It’s not the greatest book in the world and a passable debut. To give positives I don’t mind that it flips between first and third person POV’s as they’re done in separate chapters and I like to see how the other characters are thinking. The chapters are short which is always a plus point for my attention span. They also give the reader a good pace to read. It also makes it harder to put down; it’s very easy to read ‘just one more chapter’ when they’re only 2 pages long.

I’m not sure if I have the energy to go and read the remaining 173 books he’s published  but I might revisit some of the again now I’ve started one of them. So a middling mark – it’s quick and easy to read, not so much gripping but more un-put-downable due to the short chapters and flows nicely but there are better authors out there that I think are producing better stories

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