I read this as part of our project to read Karen's list. I think she added everything Patterson ever wrote to her to-read list, and I (bonehead) offered to read all the Patterson books on her list.
These books have some good points - Alex Cross is a likable character (as are most of the other recurring characters), and there are some good surprise moments in the books. But there are plot points that don't add up, and dialog that doesn't make sense, and just basic things like a police detective and a school principal being able to afford hotel rooms at the Astoria in New York and fancy dinners. Sure, it was a beautiful, romantic scene that works really well for the book, but is it actually feasible in real life? Cross says he hasn't felt towards a woman the way he feels towards Christine since his wife died; as another reviewer points out, he said something similar in regards to the women he was with in the other books in this series. And finally, he's a high profile detective, a profiler of serial killers, and (apparently) his home address is easy to find out. Gary Soneji actually broke into his house and almost killed his children and his grandmother in a previous book. But does he move? Does he invest in a security system or, I don't know, some better locks on the doors? Obviously not, since someone BREAKS INTO HIS HOUSE, AGAIN, AND ALMOST KILLS HIS ENTIRE FAMILY, AGAIN!
There are two storylines going on in the book, two murderers - Gary Soneji and "Mr. Smith". The Soneji storyline is actually wrapped up about two thirds of the way through, and the Mr. Smith storyline gives us the big climactic scenes at the end of the book. It makes things a bit confusing, jumping back and forth between the two plots, especially with Patterson's style of switching from first- to third-person storytelling, and of switching from one narrator to another. The reader can figure out who is speaking, but it does slow down the flow of the story. Some reviews have complained about Patterson's short, 2-3 page chapters, but I actually like them. It gives you an easy stopping place if you're only able to read for short periods of time.
One last thing - I'm still not sure how I feel about the sort of sexual banter between Cross and Sampson. It's intended as good-natured ribbing, sure, and I realize Cross and Sampson have been friends since childhood, but I can't tell if it's supposed to be the sort of anti-gay joking-that's-really-a-warning that straight men often do. I really hope I'm misreading this, because it seems like in all other ways, the friendship between these two men is a really cool thing.