Review

Roses Are Red

by James Patterson

As Robert Parker
has his Spenser, so does James Patterson have his Alex Cross. As
Parker did, and is still doing, with Spenser, so does Patterson
with Cross --- make him better with every book and make every book
better as well. ROSES ARE RED continues in that tradition.

ROSES ARE RED commences with a suspense factor set at about Warp
Factor Eight and doesn't let up from there. A bank robber wearing a
President Clinton mask enters a Citibank in Sliver Springs
Maryland. She advises the bank manager that his wife and children
are being held hostage and will be executed unless her directions
are followed exactly --- and we learn, all too horribly, exactly
what that means.

It develops that this and subsequent, similar, robberies are the
work of the Mastermind, a brilliant, deranged individual who is not
only two steps ahead of the police but also appears to be behind
them and next to them as well, knowing exactly what they are going
to do almost before they do it. Alex Cross, the Washington, DC
police psychologist, reluctantly permits himself to be drawn into
the case. Cross has major concerns. Christine, his lover and the
mother of his son Alex Jr., is still suffering from the trauma of
her kidnapping at the hands of Geoffrey Shafer --- suffering that
increases one hundred fold when it is learned that Shafer is alive
and at large. Cross is concerned for Christine and for his
relationship with her, as they grow further apart. Then Cross's
beloved daughter, Jannie, is hospitalized as a result of
unexplained seizures.  

The Mastermind, meanwhile, continues to strike, while the stakes of
his prizes grow larger and his actions become bolder. The police,
the FBI, and Cross grow more and more puzzled; just when they think
they have the mystery of The Mastermind's identity solved, they are
proven wrong again and again. Who is The Mastermind? Will the
puzzle ever be solved? And how does he do it?

Be warned --- Patterson pulls off an interesting trick at the
conclusion of ROSES ARE RED. Some will not like it. At first
anyway; it infuriated me, initially. The more I thought about it,
however, the more I admired Patterson's willingness to take a
chance with his readers. No matter how you feel about what
Patterson does here, however, all should be forgiven due to his
creation of The Mastermind, possibly the most interesting criminal
in suspense literature since Hannibal Lecter. Cross is almost
eclipsed here; that he is not is due to his continuing growth as a
sympathetic character who struggles to balance his responsibilities
to his profession with his duties as a father. ROSES ARE RED is the
latest in a series to keep reading and watching for. Highly
recommended.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 23, 2011

Roses Are Red
by James Patterson

  • Publication Date: October 1, 2001
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Vision
  • ISBN-10: 0446605484
  • ISBN-13: 9780446605489