Ali Cross: The Secret Detective – James Patterson | A Book Review

Ali Cross The Secret Detective - James Patterson

Title: Ali Cross: The Secret Detective

Author: James Patterson

Genre: Middle Grade

About the book: It’s the third book in the series that follows Ali Cross, a middle school student and secret detective. Ali sneaks out to crime scenes, and he finds himself in the middle of a debate about police violence.

I received an advanced reader copy from Hachette Book Group in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I was curious to see how this story would unfold. Although I haven’t read the other books in the series, it’s still easy to follow. I thought the premise would revolve around Ali solving a mystery, but Patterson explores the subject of policing in more detail.

Characters: The book is written in first person point of view from the perspective of Ali Cross. He’s a flawed character who isn’t perfect, and I think young readers may relate to him. At times, I felt more invested in the characters than the plot itself.


“But I’m telling you this—it’s something I learned because I’ve lived so long. And here it is: we all need one another.”

Writing: It’s about 250 pages with short chapters. The author examines some complex issues using simple writing. I wish there was more of a mystery or a case for Ali to solve, but he does grapple with difficult questions.

Final thoughts: The ending isn’t hard to predict and provides closure. I think Ali Cross: The Secret Detective is an interesting book for preteens and young adults who want to read more about police and crime in America.

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