Patterson turns out another satisfying thriller featuring detective turned FBI agent Alex Cross. Alex is vacationing at Disneyland with his family when he's called to help capture a serial killer who's been sending e-mails to an entertainment editor at the L.A. Times, claiming responsibility for the crimes.

The killer signs the e-mails "Mary Smith" and vividly describes the homicides. "Mary" appears to be targeting mothers who are successful in the entertainment industry. The killings are brutal, the victims shot point-blank and their faces maimed by a knife.

Alex attempts to juggle family life with his career, as his family returns home to Washington, D.C., and his former girlfriend gains custody of their young son. As the serial killer continues his rampage, the Los Angeles police and the FBI arrest a suspect, but Alex doesn't think they've found the true serial killer.

Patterson's writing is terse, the perfect style for this white-knuckled thriller. The mystery is expertly woven into a complex web that will hold the reader's attention until the explosive conclusion. (Nov., 392 pp., $27.95)
Reviewed by: 
Sheri Melnick