Alex Cross's Trial
Large Print Edition
By James Patterson and Richard Dilallo
Little, Brown and Company (2009), 512 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - May 3, 2010
The fictional character detective Alex Cross allegedly wrote this true story of Alex Cross's great-uncle Abraham Cross and his tragic near-death attempts to survive as a black man in 1906 Mississippi. President Roosevelt asks a lawyer, Ben Corbett, who had served with him during the war against Spain, when the president was a colonel and Ben was a captain, to travel to Mississippi to find out the truth about the lynching of blacks in the State and to suggest how he, as president, can stop them. Roosevelt suggests that he work with Abraham Cross, an 89 years old man, who knows Eudora, Mississippi where Ben was born and spent his early life, and knows where Ben can conduct his investigation. The president suggests that Ben keep his true mission secret, for if the whites in Eudora find out that he is investigating their outrageous behavior, they will kill him.
Unfortunately, Ben is unable to keep his mission secret. He is so appalled at what he sees that the citizens soon realize that he is a "n…r lover," and they ostracize him and try to kill him. Ben and Abraham have adventures resulting in deaths and see lynchings.
There are several subplots in the tale. Ben's frequent attempts before this mission to help blacks took him away from home and caused his wife to want to separate from him and get a divorce. Ben finds a very close friend from his youth, and we wonder if this friend shares Ben's attitude to blacks. Ben meets his girl friend from his youth and she acts as if she is still in love with him and says she does not love her husband. Abraham Cross's granddaughter, a beautiful, very intelligent, and outspoken girl, falls in love with Ben. Ben's father, a judge, is alienated from him and thinks that his work for blacks is wrong. There are also two double-crosses and a trial of three Klu Klux Klan members.
The book moves along quickly and offers readers an interesting tale and a fictional version of true history.
Dr. Israel Drazin is the author of fifteen books, including a series of five volumes on the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew Bible, which he co-authors with Rabbi Dr. Stanley M. Wagner, and a series of four books on the twelfth century philosopher Moses Maimonides, the latest being Maimonides: Reason Above All, published by Gefen Publishing House, www.gefenpublishing.com. The Orthodox Union (OU) publishes daily samples of the Targum books on www.ouradio.org.