Fear No Evil is the 29th Dr Alex Cross mystery and as you’d expect from the thrill-meister James Patterson it’s a fast-paced, twisty adventure with a rip-roaring ending. Opening with torture and murder in the nooks and crannies of the Washington spy world, it leads to a deadly manhunt in the wilds of Montana via some nasty shenanigans in Paris. The pace isn’t quite consistent but it’s pretty full on. Cross, his detective partner John Sampson and their families are in grave danger from a would-be nemesis as they pursue a personal mission.
Patterson’s output is prodigious, he writes across the sub-genres, from high octane spy stories and police procedurals to psychological thrillers. But it’s Alex Cross who will always have a special place in the hearts of fans, no matter how many other characters he creates or collaborations he gets involved in. Fans won’t feel let down although this is not one of the best in a long and distinguished series. The Paris strand of the story feels a little forced but there are enough Patterson traits and there is enough action to sustain the main story. The pace rattles and fizzes as Cross and Sampson are pitted against two teams to assassins in the Montana wilderness.
Fear No Evil begins with a blond woman tied to a chair which is bolted to the floor. With some bravado, Catherine Hingham warns her captor that she’s CIA and he’s in big trouble but the threat is empty. Matthew Butler knows exactly who she is and he’s done asking polite questions. He breaks one of Hingham’s fingers. Recognising her situation as hopeless she caves and is soon offering the confession Butler wanted, details of her betrayal, including details of her secret Maldives accounts. When she’s done writing it Butler shoots Hingham leaving the confession with the body for the police.
John Sampson and Alex Cross are about to set off for a holiday in Montana but Cross can’t resist the ring of his phone. Commissioner Dennison wants them on a new case – a body has turned up and the victim is CIA. No arguments; leave cancelled. Someone is toying with them and the body has been placed in the basement of the Spy Museum. When CIA agent Dean Weaver tries to bluff his way on the scene Cross prevents him spiriting away vital information on the grounds of national security. Hingham was supposed to be in Nogales, Mexico, disrupting the Alejandro drug cartel. Her team already put Marco Alejandro behind bars but it looks like Hingham was taking bribes – nearly $1.75 million in all – to sabotage future multi-agency operations against the cartel. Hingham’s confession implicates CIA, FBI, National Security personnel and two congressmen. A political storm is brewing.
Meanwhile Bree Stone, now a private investigator, is looking into entrepreneur, Philippe Abelmar. There are nasty stories of the way he treats young women – in particular Ivy League interns rotated to his Paris HQ where he preys upon them. This didn’t bother the corporation overly until it emerged Abelmar was also embezzling huge funds to his personal accounts. Maybe as much as $400M.
Things hot up in Paris for Bree, Cross and Sampson. They are embroiled in a dangerous case. They can handle that but they’re also in the cross hairs of a man with an axe to grind. When they get stuck into a personal mission in the forests and mountains of Montana they are on their own –no local law, no backup and no way out except to fight back.
Fans will eat this up but newcomers can be assured it can be read as a standalone. There’s a nod to climate issues and #MeToo here but it’s heavily action driven, so enjoy with the ride. Amazon, Paramount and Skydance are working on a new TV series of Dr Alex Cross adventures. Watch this space for more information when it comes.
Check out other Alex Cross titles https://crimefictionlover.com/2012/06/kill-alex-cross/ and collaboration with https://crimefictionlover.com/2021/06/the-presidents-daughter-by-bill-clinton-and-james-patterson/
CFL Rating: 4 Stars