Kiss the Girls
It’s the second of Patterson's blockbusting novels to feature his main protagonist, Alex Cross, a forensic psychologist and police detective often known as ‘Doctor Detective’. In this outing, he finds himself pitted against two serial killers calling themselves, ‘Casanova’ and ‘The Gentleman Caller’, the former of whom is responsible for abducting Cross’ niece, Naomi, a talented student and musician. Cross travels to North Carolina to investigate personally, and is immediately embroiled in the case.
When you’re a household name like James Patterson, familiarity can sometimes breed contempt. However, picking up Kiss the Girls is a salutary reminder of how Patterson came to find worldwide success: whilst remaining eminently accessible, the book is a finely-crafted thriller, full of pace and tension, and takes good care to orientate the reader in whichever city or country setting Cross happens to be in. The protagonist is likeable — a feat, as any author will tell you, which is not always easy to achieve — and the antagonists deadly, ruthless and compelling, as the best baddies surely ought to be. Though the novel was adapted for the screen during the nineties featuring Morgan Freeman in the title role, this is one of those instances where the book is every bit as cinematic, and turning the pages isn’t far from reading a screenplay. Satisfying reading, for those wintry nights!
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