Kiss the Girls


Author: James Patterson

Title: Kiss the Girls

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Publication Date: 1995

Number of pages: 458

Geographical Setting: Chapel Hill, NC/Los Angeles, CA

Time Period: Present

Series: Alex Cross mysteries #2

Plot Summary:

Fans of serial killer villains get two for the price of one in Patterson’s second Alex Cross thriller. Forensic psychologist turned detective Alex Cross has found himself at odds with a brutal serial killer once again, and this time it’s personal.  When his niece goes missing, he quickly realizes that she has been taken by a vicious killer going by the name of Casanova. His most fervent hope is to find her alive. Assisted by one of Casanova’s escaped victims, Cross scours Chapel Hill, NC for clues. As he searches, a reporter across the country is killed while researching another string of murders. The killers are connected in some way. Are they competing with each other? And will Cross find his niece alive?

Kiss the Girls is by turns suspenseful and thrilling, and is a compelling, plot-driven mystery. As Detective Cross plays cat and mouse with the killers, we are given a glimpse into each of their heads. These alternating viewpoints contribute to the intrigue. In addition, Cross’ close relationship with one of the victims adds extra tension to the story. The storytelling shifts between taut anticipation and heart-pounding action, and while the novel ends with a clean resolution, fans of the main character can rejoice knowing that another Alex Cross title is just around the bend.

Subject Headings: African-American detectives, African-American psychologists, Missing teenage girls, Police, Police Psychologists, Serial Murderers.

Appeal: African-American protagonist, suspenseful, thrilling, fast-paced, action-filled, multiple points of view, multiple plotlines, disturbing, spare writing.

Three appeal terms that best describe the book: suspenseful, disturbing, fast-paced

Relevant nonfiction works and authors:

Serial Killers: the Method and Madness of Monsters by Peter Vronsky.  Vronsky recounts a varied history of serial murders from ancient Rome to modern times. Readers wanting to know more about serial killers will find this book to be comprehensive and riveting.

The Measure of Madness by Cheryl Paradis. Those attracted to forensic psychology will be interested in this title, in which the author  gives a background on the subject as well as looks back on the varied and fascinating cases she has handled.

The Sociopath Next Door: the ruthless versus the rest of us by Martha Stout.  Readers interested in the inner workings of sociopaths, how to recognize them, and how to forearm themselves against them may find this book interesting.

Relevant fiction works and authors:

Eyes of Prey by John Sanford. Readers may also enjoy this thriller, as it is also about a serial killer who mutilates his victims, and utilizes psychological suspense. Fans of series books will appreciate that it is one in a long series of titles.

Smash Cut by Sandra Brown. Smash Cut is a suspenseful thriller involving  a serial killer as well, but it also adds elements of romance and a “film buff” frame.

Amnesia by G.H. Ephron. Forensic psychology enthusiasts will enjoy this novel which follows a doctor assisting his patient in remembering a vicious crime that has been committed against her.


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