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    Merry Christmas, Alex Cross: (Alex Cross 19) (Alex Cross) (Paperback) By (author) James Patterson

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    DescriptionOn the night before Christmas, Detective Alex Cross is at home celebrating with his family. But when Alex's phone rings, he knows that this won't be a merry Christmas. A father has taken his children and ex-wife hostage. Armed to the teeth and high on crystal meth, Henry Fowler is dangerously unstable. The lives of everyone in that house are hanging by a thread. As this suburban nightmare is unfolding, another far greater threat is approaching. It will be a terrorist attack like Washington DC has never seen, and when nobody expects it.


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    Marianne Vincent Merry Christmas, Alex Cross is the nineteenth book in the popular Alex Cross series by prolific American author, James Patterson. It actually consists of two separate stories linked only by their proximity to Christmas. On Christmas Eve, with a blizzard set to engulf Washington, Alex Cross is called, much to the dismay of his family, to a hostage situation. A once-prestigious heavily armed lawyer is holding his ex-wife, his children, his ex-wife's new husband and a next-door neighbour hostage. Cross risks his own life by entering the house (twice) and eventually defusing the situation and disarming the drug-crazed offender, using background information about the lawyer, combined with his considerable negotiating skills and his psychological expertise. Then with just a few hours of sleep, he is called to Union Station, where Hala, a ruthless Saudi terrorist and cold-blooded killer (whom readers will remember from Kill Alex Cross) has been spotted using facial recognition technology. As they try to track Hala, Cross wonders if this is a diversion for something worse. There is plenty of action in this story: cyanide poisoning, grenades, booby traps, shootings, torture of children and sniffer dogs all feature. Lots of technology is used: iPads with G4 are commandeered from commuters; cell phone calls are monitored; Skype links to Saudi Arabia are instrumental. Cross partakes in something he would usually consider beneath his standards. And would Arab children being tortured speak English? Finally, Cross and John Sampson manage to foil the terrorist plot almost by accident and without actually knowing what it is. Cross spends quite a bit of time considering his job and its effects on his family. Fast-paced, short chapters, a quick read but not a patch on earlier Alex Cross novels. by Marianne Vincent

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