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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The 20th Victim – James Patterson and Maxine Paetro | A Book Review

The 20th Victim - James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Title: The 20th Victim

Author: James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Genre: Mystery Thriller

About the book: It’s the twentieth book in the Women’s Murder Club series that follows Lindsay Boxer, an SFPD sergeant, as she investigates a string of murders. She finds out that the victims were dealing drugs, and the shooters are preparing to kill again.

First impressions: A few years ago, I read another book in the series. The premise of this one sounded promising, so I was curious to see how the story would unfold. It would be easier to pick up the books in order, but they can be read on their own.

Characters: There are a lot of different characters, so I found it tougher to keep track of everyone. The story follows a group of four women in Lindsay, Yuki, Cindy, and Claire. They work in different professions, helping to solve various crimes together. I appreciate that the main cast is diverse.


“Now he is left to take the weight of justice alone.”

Writing: The writing is simple, and the sentences are short. It’s a little under 400 pages, but the pacing felt slower in the middle. Patterson and Paetro weave multiple storylines, and I was more invested in some than others. I think that’s partly because I haven’t read most of the other novels in the series.

Final thoughts: The ending ties up loose ends, and everything is explained. At times, I could predict what would happen next, so the twists and turns weren’t that surprising. The 20th Victim is a crime thriller with many moving parts.

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The 17th Suspect – James Patterson | A Book Review

The 17th Suspect - James Patterson

TitleThe 17th Suspect

Author: James Patterson

Genre: Mystery

About the book: It’s the 17th novel in the Women’s Murder Club series. A serial killer starts murdering homeless people, and Lindsay Boxer tries to solve the crimes while Yuki Castellano takes on a high profile rape case.

I received a free copy of the book from Hachette in exchange for an honest review.

First impressions: I haven’t read anything by James Patterson in a long time, but I felt excited to read this thriller. I liked the beginning. Even though I haven’t read the other books in the series, I didn’t feel lost or confused.

Characters: The two main characters, Lindsay and Yuki, are likeable. I would’ve liked to learn more about the secondary characters like their husbands and friends though. I also wanted more backstory on the bad guys.


“Hunches are valuable in this line of work.”

Writing: While I love short chapters as much as the next person, some of them seemed too abrupt. Patterson is pretty concise, and he gets to the point. He doesn’t drag out scenes, so the novel feels shorter than it actually is at almost 350 pages. I think more detail and description could have gone a long way. At times, the story touches on some important issues without delving deeper. Despite people being murdered, the writing isn’t too violent or gruesome.

Final thoughts: Both Lindsay and Yuki resolve their cases, so the ending seems satisfying. Although The 17th Suspect isn’t a highly unpredictable read with crazy twists, it is a fun, fast novel. That said, I wish the book was a little longer. Due to the mature themes, I’d recommend it to an older audience.

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Completing The 30 Books Challenge

1. A book you love:

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

I love this book with all my heart. And I’m trying to make other people love it too.

2. A book you can’t forget:

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

My grade five teacher recommended it to me. Bless her for doing so.

3. A book that motivated you:

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King

King makes me want to be a better writer.

4. A book that made you think about life:

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

It’s thought-provoking.

5. A book with a colour in its title:

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

I adore Brown and his brain.

6. A book with a number in its title:

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

I had to read it for school, but I liked the modernized zombie tale.

7. A book everyone needs to read:

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Timeless classic. What more can I say?

8. A book that was recommended to you:

All the Rage by Courtney Summers

A good friend of mine made me pick this one up.

9. A book you didn’t expect to like as much as you did:

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Because of the hype surrounding Maas and her work, I thought I wasn’t going to like her novels. But I enjoyed ToG so very much.

10. A book that made you cry:

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

It didn’t directly make me cry, but I was holding the book while I cried. Does that count?

11. A book that reminds you of your childhood:

The Giver by Lois Lowry

I was a naïve child.

12. A book you have reread or would reread:

Thirst No. 4 by Christopher Pike

I reread the fourth book prior to reading the fifth in order to jog my memory. The second read through was just as good, if not even better than the first.

13. A book that was turned into a movie:

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

I read the book before I watched the movie. If you know me at all, you know I’m firmly in the camp that the book was obviously better.

14. A book you wish was turned into a movie or TV show:

The Escape by David Baldacci

This needs to be made into a movie.

15. A book you couldn’t put down:

Endgame: The Calling by James Frey

Action-packed fun.

16. A book that kept you up at night:

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

I remember finishing the novel late at night and being blown away by the ending.

17. A book you travelled with:

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz

I carried the novel in my bag with a water bottle I didn’t close properly. Safe to say water and paper don’t mix unless you’re painting with watercolours.

18. A book you wanted to toss across the room:

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Because of how it ends.

19. A book you received as a gift:

If I Stay by Gayle Forman

From my one and only older brother. Thanks.

20. A book you gave or would give as a gift:

The Elements of Style by E. B. White and William Strunk Jr.

I would give it as a gift, especially to someone who likes writing.

21. A book you think is underrated:

Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris

I don’t see or hear many people talk about Norris and her books.

22. A book that lived up to its hype:

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

I didn’t think it would, but it did.

23. A book that broke your heart:

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

It was my first Picoult novel. I’m happy to say it was not the last. I really felt for the characters in this one.

24. A book that restored your faith in humanity:

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Young, awesome characters tend to restore my faith.

25. A book with a pretty cover:

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

It’s my aesthetic.

26. A book that reminds you of summer:

Atonement by Ian McEwan

The novel takes place in the summer.

27. A book that brings back good memories:

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Technically it’s a play I performed with some of my best friends in high school.

28. A book that makes you happy:

Nevermore by James Patterson

I enjoyed the entire series.

29. A book you will never get tired of talking about:

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult

I could go on and on about this gem.

30. A book you wish you wrote:

Carrie by Stephen King

If I had to be honest, I wish I wrote every novel King wrote. Carrie is no exception.

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We Can’t Be Friends If…

We can’t be friends if…

  • you dog-ear the pages in a book.
  • you refuse to read something outside of your comfort zone.
  • you hate Stephen King, James Patterson, or Jodi Picoult.
  • you rather watch a movie than read the book.
  • you write in the margins of novels.
  • you don’t use a dictionary or a thesaurus frequently.
  • you treat books worse than you treat your friends.
  • you think libraries and bookstores are boring places.

There is a chance you can be my friend if you…

  • take care of books,
  • read a bit of everything,
  • appreciate authors,
  • prefer books over movies,
  • avoid ruining books,
  • look up words,
  • love books more than people,
  • enjoy surrounding yourself with books.