Patterson, James. Mary, Mary. Little, Brown. Nov 2005. c.400p. ISBN 0-316-15976-X. $27.95.

In Patterson’s 11th Alex Cross thriller (after London Bridges), the FBI agent is asked to investigate a serial killer who targets women with two things in common: they're all connected to Hollywood studios, and they're all the mothers of young children. In each crime, the killer leaves behind three stickers with the letters A, A, and B; shortly thereafter, a Los Angeles Times entertainment columnist receives an email addressed to the victim with an explanation of how she was stalked and murdered. A self-styled “Storyteller,” the killer signs these gripping messages with the name “Mary Smith.” But is the killer a man or a woman? And has the “story” spun out of control? Complicating the investigation are Alex's own family problems: he’s about to lose a custody battle over his youngest son, his other children are being neglected, and his relationship with a female police inspector is at risk. Though lacking the richness and complexity of other psychological thrillers, e.g., Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island, Patterson's story, told in 121 brief chapters, flows effortlessly and with mounting suspense to its final, shocking twist; a fascinating psycho will captivate the author’s many fans. Recommended for popular fiction collections.

LJ, vol. 130, no. 16 (October 1, 2005), 68.


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