Friday, October 31, 2003

James Patterson is the Nora Roberts of the mystery world: a writer of some talent who churns out bestsellers at a pace that all but guarantees most of them won't be very good -- but ensures he'll make dough hand over fist.

His latest is The Big Bad Wolf (Little, Brown & Company, $27.95) and it's actually pretty darn good; probably the best book he's written in some time. It helps that it's in the Alex Cross series, which is the only good work he's done.

I still like Alex as a character, even though he's not even remotely believable. Pet peeve: Patterson really has to stop saying that Cross looks like a "young Muhammad Ali." The young Ali was in his 20s. Cross must be at least 50. Give it a break, J.P.!

Stephen King recently called Patterson's books "dopey bestsellers" and he's right. Sometimes, though, that's the kind of book you want to read. If that's the case, you could do worse that Big Bad Wolf.