Jan 23, 2016

Cross Justice (Alex Cross, #23)

Cross Justice (Alex Cross, #23)Cross Justice by James Patterson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really liked this book but there were a few problems with the plot in my opinion. This book takes everything you thought you new about Alex Cross and everything he thought he knew about himself and turns it upside down.

It's been 35 years since Alex left Starksville, North Carolina, now he is returning to help Naomi "Scootchie" Cross (she was in Kiss the Girls) defend their cousin Stefan Tate. Stefan a gym teacher at the local Middle and High School is on trial for the brutal murder of a young mixed race boy, Stefan had befriended (Rashawn) and the rape of a High School girl (Sharon Lawrence), who swears Stefan invited her to his home when his fiancee (Patty) was away, gave her booze and drugs and had his way with her. Conveniently Sharon kept her panties in a zip lock bag until she decided to come forward a week later after Rashawn was killed. The evidence is stacked against him, but Stefan maintains that it was planted, and he is being framed after getting to close to finding out who is producing and selling drugs in Starksville.

Meanwhile in Florida a cross dresser is murdering socialites after painting their picture and catching them at the pinnacle of their beauty. He enjoys creating the perfect ensemble out of the dead women's wardrobes.

(Spoilers)

Soon after he arrives Alex discovers that his Mother, Christina, didn't die from cancer like he believed but was smothered. His Father, Jason, was the cheif suspect. Jason didn't die from a drug overdose like Nana Mama was told but was drug through the streets by Marvin Bell (the local drug dealer) and then shot by police while trying to escape his body tumbled off the bridge into the gorge and was never recovered. Alex witnessed the shooting, but suppressed the memory. (OK I find it kinda hard to believe that Nana Mama didn't attend her son's funeral and never tried to visit his grave in the intervening 35 years)

While trying to deal with flashbacks from the past Alex also has to deal with Stefan and Patty's next-door neighbor getting shot practically in front of their eyes. It's assumed that Sydney Fox was shot by mistake and the actual target was Patty. But it's also possible that Marvin Bell's adopted son and Sydney Fox's ex-husband Finn used the opportunity to kill her

Alex and Bree are both shot at several times and warned to stay away from the case. But the final straw as far as Alex is concerned is when drugs are planted on Jannie. But another matter takes Alex to Florida just as things are heating up in Starksville. Alex's Uncle Clifford suffers from Alzheimer and has been baffled by everyone's insistence that Jason is dead several times. Something he says makes Alex wonder if there is more to the story of his Father's death than he was told. Cousin Pinkie (who for some strange reason Clifford confided in before getting Alzheimer's) reveals that Jason didn't die, but that Clifford found him, took him to his lake cabin and nursed him back to health and got him out of town, without telling a soul until he confided in Pinkie years later. Pinkie also reveals that a woman called Clifford and told him Paul Brown (the alias Jason Cross was using) committed suicide in back of her church. Alex leaves for Florida to see if he can find his Father's grave and learn more about him and his death.

Serendipitously Alex meets Detectives Johnson and Drummond. Alex helps them solve the socialite murders and Drummond helps Alex find the woman (Reverend Maya) who called Clifford. Reverend Maya takes him to Paul Brown's grave and tells Alex how she meet Paul Brown......................but she leaves a lot out of the story. Alex goes home where Pinkie and Bree have continued to gather evidence to exonerate Stefan.

With the evidence they have found Naomi gets Sharon to admit on the stand that she was lying about Coach Tate and that she was paid to lie by Finn. She also admits to planting the drugs on Jannie. The rape charges against Stefan are dropped. But they are no closer to finding out who really killed Rashawn.

Then Drummond walks into the courtroom dragging Marvin Bell by a rope. After being "persuaded" by Drummond Bell is willing to unburden himself, yes he deals drugs in Starksville he buys them from Caine the local fertilizer manufacture who sidelines in meth. And Caine killed Rashawn to frame Stefan and get rid of his "black bastard grandson" at the same time. And then the truth about Christina Cross's death comes out. Marvin Bell smothered her while Jason was to high to do anything but watch. He then forced Jason to work for him until he feared his control on Jason was slipping at which time he drug him through the streets and accused him of murdering Christina and then had the local police who were in his pocket, kill Jason on the bridge. How did Drummond know all this .........................He is Jason Cross.

I would like to see Jason get his own book. 



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