Century | 2018 (15 November) | 448p | Review copy | Buy the book
When the funeral cortege of the President of the United States processes through the streets of Washington DC one freezing late January morning, psychologist Alex Cross is there to watch. With Alex is his entire family, including his wife Bree Stone, DC Metro’s chief of detectives. It’s a sombre day but America’s mourning is about to be cut short, just a few days later, by a sniper’s bullet which strikes at the heart of the country’s government. Alex is called in to help the FBI with their investigation and he begins to suspect that the assassination was not a one-off, that it is just the beginning of something much, much larger, that could threaten everything. Alex Cross has faced some tough cases in his time, to put it mildly, but nothing like this.
Target is the 26th novel in what is perhaps James Patterson’s most famous series, the one featuring Alex Cross. I’ve dipped in and out of this series over the years but I think you could very easily read Target without any previous knowledge of these books at all. There are links to earlier novels, but nothing that gets in the way too much (there is just one element, which I think might leave you in the dark), and it’s very easy to pick up on the close bond of the Cross family, which is such a theme of the series. Alex Cross is not a man who operates alone. His family is the most important thing in his life and they’re always in his thoughts. In this case, he’ll need the comfort that they bring.
I love political action thrillers like this and Target is such a good one. It moves so fast and it is thoroughly exciting! Much of the novel is narrated by Alex Cross but the rest moves between a whole range of different characters, mostly killers. You do have to keep your wits about you remembering names as we move back and forth but it’s well worth the effort as we’re taken deep into the thought processes of an assassin. The political element is fascinating and the whole thriller seems frighteningly timely and topical. The situation here is extreme but no less worrisome for that. The cool, calm head of Alex Cross is just what is needed.
Target is a hugely entertaining, tense and action-packed thriller. Its multiple threads wind through the novel and they knit together perfectly, driven along by intense short chapters. It’s so fast and exhilarating to read. I love this sort of book when it’s done well and this is one of the best I’ve read in quite a while. James Patterson knows exactly what he’s doing and which boxes to tick, and Target is the perfect example of a Patterson thriller at its very best.