Alex Cross's TRIAL [Hardcover]

by James Patterson

Other authorsRichard DiLallo (Author)
Hardcover, 2009



Detective Alex Cross tells the story of an ancestor, Abraham Cross, and his experiences with lawyer Ben Corbett, recounting one man's pursuit of justice in the face of the resurgence of Ku Klux Klan racism and violence in 1906 Eudora, Mississippi.

Library's rating


(288 ratings; 3.8)

Media reviews

Readers will have to discover the adventure for themselves.
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Children's Literature Reviews
Detective Alex Cross tells the story of an ancestor, Abraham Cross, and his experiences with lawyer Ben Corbett, recounting one man's pursuit of justice in the face of the resurgence of Ku Klux Klan racism and violence in 1906 Eudora, Mississippi.
A good book from one of America's most prolific and loved authors. You can't go wrong with that combination.

User reviews

LibraryThing member gruenchen
Not a typical Alex Cross Novel but a exellent written piece about Cross great grandfather and how he fought against lynchings and the KKK.
LibraryThing member loralu
This book's main character is a young white man from MS now living the life of a progressive lawyer in Washington DC. He receives a special task from Ted Roosevelt to go back to his home town and look into the lynchings and other inequalities occurring - something he believes can't be true. He returns to a town that looks the same but is inherently different and to a people who no longer welcome him with open arms as the son of the local Judge, but as the Yankee "n*gg*r-loving" outsider. His secret task takes him down a dangerous path where he not only learns what the life of a black person in that area is like, but also learns that some of his white friends are not who he thought them to be. A great read.… (more)
LibraryThing member DavidLErickson
This is, without a doubt, the best Paterson novel I've ever read. It made me angry to think that American's could be sold cold and evil, even though I'm well aware of the lynching terror that pervaded the South after the Civil War. I'm not sure if the kudos should go to Paterson or Richard Dilallo as this is far different than Paterson's other novels. It kept me turning the pages, each character was so real, the scenes well drawn and disturbing, the attitudes and hate so clear. Describing the weather, I could feel the sweat dripping off me.… (more)
LibraryThing member lsh63
I am a big fan of James Patterson's Alex Cross series. Alex Cross's Trial, however, is not the typical Alex Cross mystery novel. It is the story of Alex's great uncle Abraham Cross's struggles against the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1900's.

A young lawyer named Ben Corbett travels from Washington DC to his hometown of Eudora Mississippi at the request of President Theodore Roosevelt to investigate the almost daily lynchings that have taken place. When Ben returns to his old hometown he reconnects with old friends and also meets the courageous Abraham Cross and his lovely daughter Moody. Ben risks his marriage and family and also has to cope with his less than perfect relationship with his father, who also happens to be a judge.

I was skeptical of this book at first, but I became engrossed in the historical aspects of the story and found it an interesting read. The horrific content of these events may be difficult reading at times, but this book illustrates beautifully the courage and perseverence one must have possess in order to fight for justice and one's ideals, however unpopular they may be.
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LibraryThing member Twink
The latest in the Alex Cross series by James Patterson, Alex Cross's Trial isn't actually about Alex. Instead it is a book within a book - a novel that Alex pens about his great uncle Abraham Cross.

Ben Corbett served with Teddy Roosevelt in the war. He is asked by the president to return to his hometown to secretly investigate reports of rampant racism and injustice. Roosevelt tells him to connect with Abraham Cross in the black quarter of Eudora, Mississippi.

What follows is a disturbing and appalling story of discrimination and corruption. Some listeners may find the descriptions of violence unsettling. Ben's attempts at justice seem to be thwarted at every turn as the presiding judge in town is his estranged father. Much of this tale has it's origins in history. What's discouraging is that some of the scenarios used are not at all in the the past, but still operating in the present.

I listened to this in audio format. The opening preface is read by Shawn Andrew as Alex. Gospel music is used effectively as background. Dylan Baker is the main reader and his voice is perfectly suited to portray Ben. His folksy, down home voice captures Ben's initial innocence and his later, his determination and purpose. His cadence and inflection somewhat reminded me of Garrison Keillor.

Patterson features short cliffhanging chapters in his books. In audio, I find I can't stop until I've listened to the entire disc!
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LibraryThing member Pam1960ca
Wow - couldn't put it down from the moment I started reading. Excellent book. Very different from any of the Alex Cross novels and well worth the read. The characters are all very well written and you will be hooked from the first chapter.
LibraryThing member readafew
Alex Cross's Trial was pretty amazing. Even though this is considered the 15th book in the Alex Cross series, it only fits because Cross "wrote" this book about his relative (Great ^4th Grandfather?) who was pushing for civil rights in 1905. Other than the name Cross on a couple characters and the 'Forward' by Alex Cross, this is a book on one man's fight to stop racial hatred. I've recently been reading a bunch of the Cross novels and I have to say that Trial is a step above the rest. The plot has far fewer and smaller holes than normal and it really makes you feel like you're in Mississippi in the hot explosive summer of 1905.

Ben Corbett, a lawyer in Washington D.C., is a white lawyer willing to honestly defend the poor colored folk. He even does quite a bit of Pro bono work. This of course does not make him a rich lawyer by any means, and his wife is getting a little tired of all his long hours and small financial returns. The President (Theodore Roosevelt) calls him to the White House for a special assignment to send Ben back to his home town in Eudora, Mississippi to look into the reports of lynching and the resurgence of the KKK. Since Ben had been one of Roosevelt's Rough Rider's the President trusts him with this mission. Teddy gives Ben the name Abraham Cross, an old black man from the poor quarter and willing to help Ben get the information he'll be looking for. Ben risks his marriage and his life in his attempt to shine the light of truth into the darkest corners of the south.
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LibraryThing member jcmontgomery
On the back cover, the blurb states”: “Alex Cross tells the irresistible story – passed down through the generations – of an ancestor’s courageous fight for freedom.”

Actually, the only time we are introduced to Alex, and his true voice, is in the preface. In it, he prepares the reader by telling them they are about to read an account of a man his family knew, a brave man, who was part of a trial, and not just the literal kind, that affected all those who knew him.

As the story unfolds, learn about Ben Corbett in a way that we quickly forget that this is a book within a book.

Ben’s voice is strong, and it is through his eyes we see a Mississippi in a time when racial tensions still ran strong, and at times, was a deadly affair.

Corbett, a lawyer in the early 1900’s, takes on cases for the right reasons, but somehow ends up on the wrong side of the judgments, and his family, as he continually champions against racism; not a popular cause at the time.

There is a resurgence of violence in the South, the Klan becoming active and more dangerous than ever before. Corbett is called upon to return to his home town to investigate and find a way to curtail, if not cease, the Klan’s activities.

I’ve seemingly given you the whole plot, but there is more to the story than a plotline.

For me, the characters have to be as strong, if not stronger, and here is where these writers excel. I must admit, I am unfamiliar with both. Yes, you read that right. This is the first James Patterson I’ve read. DiLallo, is an even greater unknown, but obviously works well with Patterson in developing a cohesive, coherent, and well-paced story with characters that become people you care and cheer for.

My only issues are with the style and the ending, which I feel was a bit curt and forced.

Many Patterson fans will what I speak of regarding the style: Short, as in sometimes paragraph length chapters. As a reader accustomed to literary fiction where chapters sweep you up, take you for a ride, setting you down to catch your bearings before continuing, reading Patterson is like being on a train which likes to travel at breakneck speeds but makes frequent – very frequent – stops.

For some a momentum builder, for me – not so much. It took a while to get used to, and I did manage to enjoy the read regardless of the style. I would definitely choose this author when selecting reads for a trip or commute.

This is also my introduction to Dectective Alex Cross, although as stated above, it isn’t much of one. That’s okay as this book is not about Alex. I have to say though, that after reading this, I do like the character and any other Patterson book I do get, will be one from the series he has written with Detective Cross as the lead.

It’s great to have options and a variety when choosing a book or author to read. I can’t say this one will be ever be a favorite, however I’m happy to add him for author’s to watch and bear in mind when I’m looking for something different than what I’m used to.
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LibraryThing member Reacherfan
I knew going into this book that it really had nothing to do with Alex Cross, and I was fine with it. The problem I had with it is that it's what now I call, "typical Patterson". He needs to take control of his writings and not give it to the co-author. Patterson is more interested in pumping out books with his name on them, than putting out quality books. When I see a new
"Patterson" book, I keep on telling myself, "this has to be better than the last one." As usual, I was wrong.

The story is about Alex's great uncle, Abraham Cross who helps a man, Ben Corbett, who was sent by the President of the United States to look into the lynching of black men and to see if the KKK is still alive and hanging black men in Mississippi. That's pretty much the plot.

One of many problems I had is that I expected Abraham to be a central characeter in this book, he's not. At best, he's a secondary character. The main character really is Ben.


There's a court scene, that just goes on and on and on and on. It just takes up so much of the book, that it was a distraction.


Be smart, and do what I did. Get it at the library. I'd be mad if I paid full price for this book.
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LibraryThing member mountie9
I grabbed this from the new releases shelf at my library, because it had Alex Cross' name on it. Over the years I have really enjoyed James Patterson's Alex Cross novels. Now its my fault for not reading the synopsis, but I have to say I was a little disappointed that the book wasn't "really" an Alex Cross novel. I sort of feel that this was a marketing ploy to get Cross fans to buy the novel.

That being said, I enjoyed it. It is by no means a great book, but you won't be disappointed. It is your typical easy and fast read by James Patterson. The type of book you want for the beach or your vacation (or in my case a long frickin Go bus ride, during a snow storm).

The characters are interesting, if not overly developed, and the plot keeps you hooked. This is a little different than some of his other stuff, but I imagine that has to do with his co-writer on the story. The story is set during the early 1900's in a racially tense small Mississippi town. It is the story of Alex Cross's grandfather and his relationship with a white lawyer who comes to investigate lynchings on behalf of President Roosevelt.

I know a lot of people knock James Patterson's novels, but he is a good storyteller, which is far more important to me than if the author is a "great writer"
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LibraryThing member dsdmd
James Patterson is like many successful authors. He writes a really good book or two, becomes famous, and then pours forth one mediocre (or sometimes just plain bad) book after another. I keep reading them hoping for another one like the really good ones, but it never appears. This is better than the last few of his I have read.

It occurs at the turn of the century when the blacks are free in theory but still under the suppression of the whites, particularly deep in Mississippi where this story takes place. A Washington DC lawyer who grew up in Eudora, MS, returns there at the request of the President to quietly investigate the alleged actions of the Klan against the blacks. He finds it is even worse than reported with frequent lynchings for the slightest perceived provocation, or just because they want to do so. He becomes friends with Abraham Cross, an elderly black man, and his family. When Klan action escalates and is directed toward the Cross family, he sets out to help convict those involved. The characters are okay. The plot is okay. The book is not a great book, but it certainly is readable and a little different from his previous stories. It is not a book I would tell a friend they should read, but if you are a Patterson fan, you probably will enjoy it.
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LibraryThing member IandSsmom
It was a good book with a good story. Kind of John Grishamish. Seems like the Alex Cross was to sell the book because I don't see where it was really necessary.
LibraryThing member hemlokgang
Audiobook............A good piece of historical fiction set in Eudora, Mississippi during Teddy Roosevelt's presidency. The story is told by one of the author's longtime astute detective characters as he writes a piece of family history, about the role of the family in revealing the continuing practice of lynching in the South. Although the lynchings are described in all too vivid detail, the book is well worth reading!… (more)
LibraryThing member adpaton
tMove over John Grisham – James Patterson has decided to try his hand at courtroom dramas: you can say what you like about Patterson but he’s a jack of all trades when it comes to literary genres.

Romance, Fantasy, Adventure, Thrillers – he’s done the lot, but black action hero Alex Cross is his favourite: in fact, this book was ‘written’ by Cross, which put me off but, actually, it’s not bad.

Set in the Mississippi, the story features idealistic lawyer Ben Corbett, who is sent into the Deep South to investigate increased incidents of lynching by President Theodore Roosevelt. A surprisingly readable tale.
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LibraryThing member live2read_read2live
Not really a mystery like James Patterson's other books. This takes place at the turn of the century in Southern Mississippi and involes the racial inbalance at the time in history. It is a very easy read and a piece of history that should be brought forward and discussed.
LibraryThing member RelaxedReader
I am a true Patterson fan that found this book enjoyable.
This is not the usual Patterson style, however, the book holds your interest and keeps you turing pages.
LibraryThing member tarenn
ALEX CROSS'S TRIAL by James Patterson & Richard Dilallo is a intriguing thriller set in 1900 Eudora, Mississippi. It has betrayal, racism, lynchings, friendships, trust, prejudices, and bravery. When Ben Corbitt, an attorney from Washington, DC, is sent to his hometown by the president to investigate the alleged lynching and KKK involvement he encounters betrayal, horrible discoveries, new friendships, near death and survival. He also encounters the trust and friendship of Abraham Cross and his granddaughter, Moody. This is a compelling, heartbreaking, fast paced, page turner story. It will pull you into the story and engulf you, you will see the injustice of the time. This is a story of survival of the African American family and the hardships they endure in the South. It is about the trial of some of the KKK that was involved in the death's of three men, and the injustice that occurred with that trial.
I would recommend this book. I must warn you it is heartbreaking, but also a part of our history. This book was received for review and details can be found at My Book Addiction and More and Grand Central Publishing.
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LibraryThing member reads4pleasure
At last, Patterson has redeemed himself in my eyes. For too long he has cranked out book after book full of fill-in-the-blank story lines. The names and scenery would change, but the story remained the same. It had gotten to the point where I could figure out "who done it" within the first five chapters of any of his books. But this book? This book here? The master storyteller is back!Titled Alex Cross's Trial, don't be fooled. Alex Cross is briefly mentioned in the first two pages, but the story is that of Washington, DC attorney Ben Corbett. Set in the early 1900s, Ben finds himself summoned to the White House by President Theodore Roosevelt. At the president's request, Ben is dispatched to Eudora, Mississippi to investigate the rise in lynchings. A native of Eudora, Ben is familiar with the ways of the south, but isn't prepared for the journey that lies ahead of him. With the assistance of Abraham Cross, Alex's great great uncle, Ben sets out to complete the task at hand. Along the way he discovers that old friends can't be trusted and new friends come from the most unlikely places.At times I had to simply put the book down and take a break because it set my emotions on edge. Patterson and his co-author, Richard Dilallo, do a fine job of capturing the essence of the town's characters, both black and white. There is no sugar coating of the horror of lynching and the era in history that most of mainstream America would like to pretend never existed. This is a definite must read from Patterson for the first time in a long time.… (more)
LibraryThing member delphimo
I have read many of Patterson's books, and enjoy his easy reading style. I found this to be the best novel that he has written. I am surprised that Patterson chose to tell a Southern story, and a story that did not end with the trial decision anticipated. The story happens in 1906 in a small town in Mississippi and President Theodore Roosevelt has sent a lawyer on a secret mission to explore the tales of lynching of black people. Patterson presents a town torn between humanity dignity and fear of peers in the struggle of racial equality. The story is well told by Patterson.… (more)
LibraryThing member justicefortibet
An electrifying story placed in Mississippi in 1906. A fictional tale of the struggle of southern whites to keep the coloreds in their proper place. Though fiction, I fear the story is based on true events. duration 8:53:17
LibraryThing member JeanneMarkert
A bit different for Patterson. Its a Alex Cross book, buts him telling about his ancestors courageous fight for freedom. A powerful drama & a good thriller, a very important one.
LibraryThing member neK_00
This book is no where near as good as other installements in the series. Although the setting was a somewhat good idea, it seems to have sloed down the author's pace. The premise was good, but the book is not enjoyable.
LibraryThing member AnarchicQ
This was my first James Patterson novel though I am familiar with the movie adaptations of his Alex Cross books.

Spoilers below.

I found this to be an easy read. I picked it up for a time killer while getting ready for the day and was pulled in. I enjoyed it up until the end. All throughout the book Ben and his friends were fighting for what was right but by the end they were just being deliberately provocative and my sympathy began to wane. The big twist at the end with FDR was so obvious you expected a well educated lawyer like Ben to see right through it. And then there was the family, no tension there, and they didn't even feel like characters, just templates.
Everything just seemed to wrap up too quickly and it was all sorts of meh.
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LibraryThing member whybehave2002
It threw me off when I started to read this because it was not truly an Alex Cross book. I tried it a second time and kept going. Once I realized not to expect Alex I really got into the story as a stand alone book.
LibraryThing member terk71
Alex Cross is featured in nearly two dozen novels under the James Patterson brand. This book’s title, however, is a bit deceptive if the reader is expecting another modern psychological thriller. One of the chief characters is A. Cross—Abraham, not Alex. The story purportedly is a rendition from the files of Benjamin Corbett, illustrating Abraham Cross who is fingered as an uncle to Alex’s grandmother, Regina Cross, otherwise known as Nana Mama in the other Cross tales.

Ben Corbett is a Southern-born Yankee lawyer who is commissioned by President Theodore Roosevelt ostensibly to investigate the accuracy of lynching reports in the Eudora, Mississippi, Corbett’s hometown. A Washington D.C. resident, Corbett grapples with a long-distance fear of his marriage’s dissolution while he suffers through infernal muggy weather, intolerable myopic citizens, and an excruciating near-death experience before becoming involved in a racial murder trial—a trial of the century—under the gaze of Judge Everett Corbett, Ben’s estranged father.

There are plenty of gory details describing the vigilante lynching and racial beatings occurring between whites and blacks in the area. The Klan might be legally barred, but its members practice illegal barrages upon the black townspeople. Racial hatred is at its purest in the South at the turn of the 20th Century, and the book’s chronologic details of daily life in Eudora are quite vivid.

Despite the title’s slight-of-hand twist, this clever story-telling device knits Alex through his grandmother to his great-grand uncle in order to show that there was more than one hero in the Cross clan.

The book is best read on a chilly day; but if taken along to a sweltering beach, the reader can’t help but sweat the details of this topical adventure.
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Little, Brown and Company (2009), Hardcover

Original publication date



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