Picks and Pans Review: Four Blind Mice
When his best friend's Army buddy is set up, convicted and executed for a murder he didn't commit, hard-boiled detective Alex Cross jumps on the case. In a coincidence ripped straight from yesterday's movies, Cross is one day short of retiring from the Washington, D.C., police force.
The mystery here is a why-dunnit since we know the killers are three diabolical assassins, all veterans of secret ops in the Vietnam War who are going to grotesque lengths to frame other vets for a series of grisly murders. The third novel this year from the frighteningly prolific Patterson (bringing back Cross, who debuted in Along Came a Spider, for his eighth appearance) may have characters that are practically nondimensional, but the pace is rapid. A raft of booby-trapped plot developments and action-packed sequences make for an engaging read. If the book's seen-it-before conclusion is uninspired, well, at least getting there was fun. (Little, Brown, $27.95)
BOTTOM LINE: Fine chase, predictable kill