Alex Cross has finally met his match. There's been a horrendous bank robbery and triple murder out in Silver Spring. Kyle Craig of the FBI comes to visit Alex at home, right in the middle of his son's christening party. Much to the dismay of his family, Alex is immediately on the case.
This is no normal bank robbery. While the Citibank branch was being held up, the manager's family was being taken hostage. One false move by the bank manager and her family would be killed.
As it turns out, the manager was a few seconds too slow in getting the requested money. She was locked in the vault, while her husband, young son and nanny were shot at point blank range in their own home.
This crime stands out among other heists. Most bank robbers aren't murderers. They simply want money and they leave when they get it. Why were these people senselessly killed? Were these robbers trying to make a statement?
No sooner are these questions asked, then there's another robbery/murder. This time it's the employees that are killed, also for making a small mistake during the takeover.
Alex and the rest of the team must act fast before other innocent victims are killed. They pursue various leads until they find they are dealing with a single man who calls himself The Mastermind. He hires groups of killers to execute his carefully calculated crimes against the banking industry. When the tasks are completed, The Mastermind simply removes the old group and hires another, all under a mask of anonymity.
The Mastermind knows Alex is coming to him and is positively giddy. However, the bad guy is always one step ahead of the law, playing a dangerous game of cat and mouse that leads Alex and others throughout the Northeast in search of answers and justice.
Meanwhile, Alex has troubles of his own back home. One of his children is seriously ill, so Alex must juggle his time between finding The Mastermind and being with his family.
Can Alex hold it all together and solve these brutal crimes? Just who is The Mastermind and how does he know so much about Alex? Can the evil man be stopped before more innocent men, women and children die needlessly and horrifically?
The answers can be found in Roses Are Red, by James Patterson.
Reviews of this author's books are always hard to write. There is an urge to explain the story in order to get the reader interested. However, it is difficult to tantalize without revealing the jaw-dropping twists that are a familiar part of James Patterson's works. I hope I have succeeded in both and piqued your interest as well.
I read the story in three sittings. The chapters are short and suspenseful, making if difficult to put the book down. I kept finding myself reading just one more chapter in an attempt to find the answers to this thrilling case.
If you're new to the work of James Patterson, it may take some time to get used to his fast-paced shotgun suspense style of writing. The story lines tend to be violent and sometimes difficult to digest. However, the author weaves suspense in such a way that even the most seasoned readers can be surprised by the unfolding events of his stories.
Patterson is to be commended for his interesting and unusual character choices. The two that stand out in my mind are John "Stef" Stefanovich, the wheelchair-bound cop in The Midnight Club and Alex Cross, featured in Pop Goes the Weasel and Violets are Blue as well as Roses are Red.
I happen to prefer Alex Cross over other cop-type characters because he seems genuine. He puts his family and community before his job. He has feelings and he's human. Besides, when I read about him, I don't get a mental image of Dennis Franz like I do when read various John Sandford or Lawrence Sanders novels.
Roses are Red is a very good book, but it doesn't have the same pacing as its predecessor, Pop Goes the Weasel. However, the ending is an absolute stunner. As I read the last sentence, my jaw dropped. Then I smiled. "James Patterson has done it again," I thought. "He got me."
Please don't be tempted to peek at the last page when you read the book, as it will completely diminish the experience. Simply start at the first page and let yourself be taken on the wild ride that is a James Patterson novel. You won't regret it.