Jack & Jill

James Patterson, Author Little, Brown and Company Inc $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-316-69371-4
Patterson's most recent thriller, Hide and Seek, lacked his customary hero, Alex Cross, and didn't catch fire with readers. Here, Patterson brings back the black psychiatrist and Washington, D.C., homicide cop (Kiss the Girls, etc.) for a gripping game of death that will have fans flocking. Two simultaneous investigations bear down on Cross: the first concerns the killings perpetrated by a duo known as ""Jack and Jill,"" who are murdering famous people (beginning with a U.S. senator) in Washington, taunting the police and ""practicing for the big one""; the second involves the brutal slayings of young black children in Cross's own Southeast D.C. neighborhood. The Washington P.D. makes Cross its liaison with a frantic Secret Service, FBI and CIA while he sets up his own off-duty team to track the child-killer. Through crisp cross-cutting of multiple points of view, first-person and third, Patterson grabs readers right from the beginning and sweeps them along toward riveting dual climaxes. He adds texture by devoting space to Cross's concern about his own motherless son and daughter (the first murdered child attended the same grammar school as Alex's boy), his growing interest in the school's attractive principal, his dealings with his octogenarian grandmother, Nana Mama (think of an acerbic Dilsey from The Sound and the Fury) and life in the largely black Southeast district. It's fine, full-blooded entertainment from start to finish, with a last-page surprise from an earlier Cross nemesis promising at least one more Cross installment to come. Literary Guild main selection; simultaneous Time Warner AudioBook. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/02/1996
Release date: 09/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
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