Book review

Four Blind Mice
James Patterson

Four Blind Mice A few years ago I went to town in posession of a WH Smith gift voucher and came home clutching two James Patterson novels. I devoured them within days - they had everything a thriller should have; furious action, tight plot, twists and turns galore . . . disappointingly, everything this book hasn't got.

Four Blind Mice begins in the same vein as most other Alex Cross novels. We find Detective Cross at home contemplating life, love and children when old police partner John Sampson arrives - this time begging his help in investigatiing the murder of three young military wives. An old army buddy of Sampson's has been accused and he desperately needs help in proving his innocence. Reluctantly Cross agrees to help and the duo are immediately plunged into the closed and hostile world of the military.
    Three suspects emerge, the 'three blind mice', but are they just pawns in a bigger game? As key records go missing and revelations from the Vietnam War come to light, Cross and Sampson must battle against an increasingly tight bureaucratic barrier in an effort to clear the accused sergeant . . . and just who is the fourth blind mouse?

Other than it's unrelenting pace, this book is almost unrecognisable as a Patterson novel. The characters have become stale and repetitive and the bad guys are the stereotyped baddies from any second rate thriller. The problem this book suffers most from is its implausibility: Patterson has the immensely experienced detectives committing mistakes even the greenest rookie would find indefensible and henceforth it fails the test any book of this genre relies on; it doesn't thrill.
    Admittedly, the three page chapters make it readable, but after a while the cringe factor sets in when another chapter begins with the policemen's thoughts you've been told countless times already.

Overall, if you're a long time follower of Detective Cross' exploits then this book will be of interest, but if you want a thumping good thriller in the way Patterson used to churn them out, there are plenty of authors vying for his crown on the shelves.

:: Jamie Larkin

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