This had the potential to be a really good book - finally, we were going to get the backstory on the death of Cross's wife, Maria, and finally, Cross was going to meet (and take down) the man who killed her.
Unfortunately, while these things do happen, the storytelling itself is lackluster. Cross leaves the FBI, and returns to his psychiatric practice, so there's not as much of the exciting action that we've seen in some of his other books. The serial killer in this volume (every Alex Cross book has at least one), the Butcher, is somewhat interesting, but not as interesting as some of the killers in the other books. We do get more of Cross's family life than usual, which is nice, but once again, Patterson brings up a potential love interest for Alex, only to take it away (as usual) toward the end of the book.
I did like the fact that we got to see more of John Sampson, and that he wasn't just trotted out to be Cross's sidekick when it was convenient. One of my biggest pet peeves in the books where Cross is on the DC police force, is that Sampson, his partner, is only involved in the action on a very limited basis.
This is one of the last Patterson books I'll be reading for our "Reading with Karen" project. Although Karen had a ton of Patterson books in her to-be-read queue, I think she would have got tired of Cross early on, and wouldn't have read everything in the queue. Now, the Women's Murder Club series, that may have been a different story!