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The Big Bad Wolf

Series: Alex Cross, Book 9
Length: 8 hrs and 13 mins
4 out of 5 stars (1,374 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Who's Afraid?

Alex Cross battles the most ruthless and powerful killer he has ever encountered: a predator known only as the Wolf.

Alex Cross' first case since joining the FBI has his new colleagues stymied. Across the country, men and women are being kidnapped in broad daylight and then disappearing completely. These people are not being taken for ransom, Alex realizes. They are being bought and sold. And it looks like a shadowy figure known as the Wolf, a master criminal who has brought a new reign of terror to organized crime, is behind this business in which ordinary men and women are sold as slaves.

You're afraid.

Even as he admires the FBI's vast resources, Alex grows impatient with the Bureau's clumsiness and caution when it is time to move. A lone wolf himself, he has to go out on his own in order to track the Wolf and try to rescue some of the victims while they are still alive.

As the case boils over, Alex is in hot water at home, too. His ex-fiancie, Christine Johnson, comes back into his life-and not for the reasons Alex might have hoped.

Full of the unexpected twists and heartrending surprises that James Patterson delivers better than any other suspense writer alive, The Big Bad Wolf is an unforgettable thriller.

©2003 James Patterson (P)2003 Time Warner AudioBooks, A Division Of The AOL Time Warner Book Group

Critic Reviews

"Vastly entertaining." (Publishers Weekly)
"Phillips proves himself once again to be a wildly creative storyteller." (Booklist)

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Wolfing down the Wolf

"The Big Bad Wolf" is one big, bad story! After listening non-stop during a seven hour drive, we made an "extra" half hour drive just to hear the conclusion--and it wasn't what we were expecting. Patterson makes extensive use of foreshadowing to lead, and sometimes mislead, the listener. The plot is like a mountain road--you are always moving forward, but the twists and turns keep you on your toes.
The production values are excellent. The use of two distinctly different narrators is a welcome feature; and both speak clearly, distinctly, and with just the right inflection. Unlike most books I've listened to, this one even adds some appropriate sound effects and background music at times.
I recommend the book with the only reservation being that some of the dialogue might be offensive to those with children listening in.

92 of 96 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ed
  • 11-24-03

Alex Cross returns

James Patterson has gone in a number of directions in the past several novels.With 14th Century jesters and flying children as recent protagonists it's easy to miss his old characters. With this latest, Alex Cross returns in a new role as a rookie FBI agent.Having been lured away from his Washington PD job by an FBI Director who wants to change the status quo at the Bureau, Cross returns to the pages in the orientation class at Quantico. Balancing his family life with the professional skill and curiosity that draws him inevitably into the crosshairs of the most recent villian, Cross is the same character with whom we have grown comfortable.
Another fast paced novel, expertly narrated by a team of performers , who keep you sitting in the car long after you have arrived at your destination as you wait for the chapter to end. It is an exciting ride, with a setup for more.

30 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kevin
  • York, PA, USA
  • 04-06-05

less mystery, more cross

the story is not terribly suspenseful or compelling. Much of this book is further development of the Alex Cross character, which as usual is a bit obvious and predictable. The book introduces the Wolf, which makes the book somewhat useful to read as a prelude to London Bridges, a much better listen.

If you have read the series and are interested in keeping up with Cross, it is an average read. If not, go directly to London Bridges.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Rebecca
  • Newport, KY, USA
  • 04-23-04

What a Letdown

I gave this book two stars, if only for the terrific narration. What started out seeming to be a juicy steak of a novel, totally wimped out in the end. It left me wondering if Patterson overslept when he should have been writing, and just turned in any old ending to his editors on the last day. Too bad the Big Bad Wolf turns out to be nothing but a whining pup. I wish I could recommend this book, but I can't. I felt ripped off by the author.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good but ending disappoints

Like many of James Patterson's books, particularly those in the Alex Cross series, the story is fast-paced and interesting but the ending is a disappointment. It's almost as if several of the books in this series just hit the wall in the last 20 pages or so. Too bad.

All in all, worth listening to if you are an Alex Cross fan, though...

14 of 17 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Big Bad Wolf

I did not like "Big Bad Wolf". However, Mr. Patterson is a fine author and I have enjoyed several of his earlier novels. He is a skilful storyteller who brings dignity and wit into the inter-ethnic relationships of his characters.

However, it strikes me that recently Mr. Patterson has begun to introduce more than one genre into a single novel. "The Big Bad Wolf" is a good example and "Cradle and All" is, in my view, an extreme example. I cannot help asking myself whether these stories are mystery or melodrama?

Personally, I find genre mixing in "Big Bad Wolf" both distracting and frustrating because the sharp disconnects fracture my "suspension of disbelief". Unfortunately, recent narrators see to stress the melodrama line.

It is clear that Mr. Patterson has strong moral and philosophical convictions and that his convictions add depth and dimension to his work. However, I believe an author needs to decide which genre he wants to pursue.

Leonard Stearns
Boise, Idaho

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Ina
  • Goldsboro, NC, USA
  • 12-02-03

Ran out of steam....

I used to like the Alex Cross series, but this book feels as if Patterson had to come up with another story because of a contract and couldn't care less about the book. While the plot works nicely in the first 5/6 of the book, all of a sudden, the story accelerates and reads like a summary or the cliff notes to the book. Patterson can spend an hour describing how Cross brushes his teeth and what he thinks, but in the last few chapters of this book, major events are described in one sentence, and some story lines (this book is way too full of them) simply just drop away to nothing - or maybe to the next Alex Cross book. I thought I had missed out on something and checked -but no, what should have been a major development was reduced to an aside and the unraveling of the story is so quick that you know that he lost interest in the plot.
Like the last few of Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series (Werewolves??? - please!), this one feels like the author simply was obligated to come up with yet another installment in the series and the stories and characters suffer. Don't waste your money and time on this one - it's fine to listen to it once, but get it from the local library - I wish I hadn't spent my credits on it.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Leslie
  • 07-26-04

Couldn't stomache it

It was an okay read. I normally really enjoy his books. The harsh sexual acts were too graphic and horrifying for ME to find entertaining. However, this is not why the book "lost stars" from me. The sub plot of Alex Cross's personal life was weak and unneccesary and therefor annoying taking away from the story. But that is what the fast forward button is for.

I've never really given narration much thought before this book. I can only imagine that is very difficult. I'm not saying I could do better, but the Russian accent was awful and made it a difficult listen.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Clara
  • Bronx, NY, USA
  • 02-29-04


Patterson is definitely leaving room for the sequel. That's all I can say besides the fact that it was interesting.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

What a let down!

I wish I had read the reviews on this book before purchasing. The story line is good but has absolutely NO CLOSURE. I couldn't believe I had listened for almost 8 hours and nothing was accomplished. I felt like Patterson had a contract to write a set number of pages & that's what he did, with no concern for the story or the reader. Don't waste your time

3 of 4 people found this review helpful