The Mastermind orchestrates a series of bank robberies that are notable for their precise demands-and their explosive violence when demands are not met exactly. Detective Alex Cross takes on the case and recognizes that a particular kind of criminal mind is at work. Cross's investigation gets under the Mastermind's skin, and he makes it his personal goal to take revenge on Cross and his entire team.---------------------------------------------------------------------
Amidst all this, Cross's relationship with his girlfriend Christine is falling apart, and his beloved daughter Jannie is hospitalized with unexplained seizures. The pressure rises on every front, culminating in a shocking and explosive climax.GOODREADS
This is my first James Patterson book and I have to admit it's pretty amazing. I've come across this guy's name on goodreads and I've skimmed through one or two of his books in the library( I'm ashamed to admit). I always assumed he was just another thriller writer. I was sourly mistaken, he is indeed a thriller writer but he's done something to make this genre his own. Paterson has created one of the most compassionate, sympathetic, upstanding, humane , accomplished and kindest male leads I've ever met in fiction.
Roses Are Red is a thrilling emotional roller coaster ride. A moving book filled with action, crime, drama and some romancing ( I guess). Alex gets drawn into a case by his friend/colleague , Kyle Graig. The case involves bank robberies and murders. The person behind this calls himself the Mastermind. The very first chapter starts off with the first robbery. They get the money but kill the managers family (who they were holding as hostages) , at the second robbery they kill the people in the bank, then there's the third attack , this time a kidnapping of a bus load of people, who they let go alive. There's no pattern, and this confuses Cross and the other cops on the case. Eventually they get a lead and catch Fredrick Szabo. Catching Szabo and the evidence that proofs he's the Mastermind is only the beginning of the game: "are you the mastermind". When Cross catches Szabo, his words to Cross are "you've got he wrong guy" .They later follow another lead (inspired by the inconsistencies of the Masterminds description). This leads them to Dr Francis, Szabo's psychologist. They go to take him in but he runs and then kills himself. What are his last words to Cross? you guessed it : "you got the wrong guy". So then who the hell IS the Mastermind?!
Other then catching the bad guy the book also focuses on Cross's family life , his daughter ends up in the hospital after having seizures and his relationship with this woman Christine is on the rocks. At first I thought the whole thing was unnecessary information but after a while , it turns out Cross's family life and other relationships with people is important to understanding Cross himself and what motivates him to work. Cross wants to make his side of Washington (his neighborhood) a safe place again. He does his best because he doesn't want to disappoint his family. In a way this is a moving book. Cross is a moving character.
There's this scene where Cross finally accepts Besty's (fellow FBI agent) offer to "get a drink" they end up in her hotel room and Cross breaks down. All the stress , his daughter , Christine and the Mastermind. He breaks down and cries.
"Let's just hug "she said. "I think we both need hugs. Hugs are good."
I'm not a hugging person, but at this point even I needed a hug.
It's a wild and interesting ride to catch the Mastermind, there are some running after the bad guys scenes, a scene where the FBI and local authorities take down the bad cops, and the part where the kidnappers lead Cross and his team on a train to drop off the ransom money, all the while wearing them out. It's written really well and the situations are described well . The chapters are all relatively short and the book is divided into 6 parts. The first part (prologue) is called ashes to ashes and part five is called all fall down. I mention this because it's eerie and because it correlates with the title. Roses Are Red. If you remember the nursery rime:
Ring-a-round a rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
We all fall down.1
Then we have the other titles in the Alex Cross series: like the earlier books all seem to have names from nursery rhymes or fairy tales. The nursery rhyme "Roses Are Red" is also one of Cross's daughters favorites in this book, she often sings it while dancing/twirling with the cat ( or so it's described in the book, I hate cats).
So how does it end? after all that, is the reader then left with no resolution? because that's how I felt. It didn't add up. I just couldn't believe any of those guys were the Mastermind. Throughout the book we get glimpses into the guys head. but do not fear, there was an epilogue fittingly titled The Right Guy. I can't say I was surprised or shocked, because I'd expected it to be a cop ,somebody on the inside. but I was pissed. the Mastermind is none other then........... Kyle Graig, Cross's friend! this is where you punch the book ( literally). I've gotten so attached to Cross that finding out that Graig, his friend, could hurt him is just infuriating!! It's unjust, mean, evil. goddamn! But all that being said this was a wonderful ride and introduction into the Alex Cross series (although this was book 6 ).
*no books were hurt during the writing of this review