James Patterson is something of an icon among Florida writers, indeed among mystery writers of any locale. His 34th book, Mary, Mary, featuring FBI agent Alex Cross, is here, and it ranks among the best installments of the popular series. Cross is a bit of a throwback: he still lives in a mom-and-pop D.C. neighborhood with Nana Mama (his grandmother), Janelle and Damon (his two children) and a cat named Rosie, and he still drives a Beatles-era Porsche. Cross is taking a well-earned vacation in Disneyland (on the heels of his harrowing adventures in 2004's London Bridges) when he is called upon to investigate the shooting death of an actress outside her Beverly Hills home. When an L.A. Times reporter gets an e-mail accurately detailing the killing, offering bits of information unavailable to anyone but the police and the perpetrator, it becomes painfully clear that this is just one of a series of related murders by the pseudonymous(?) Mary Smith, "killer of the stars." The film industry elite are worried sick who will be next on the list? Mary, Mary is replete with red herrings, both for the reader and for Agent Cross; this will prove to be one of his most convoluted and challenging cases, and it's diabolical entertainment for his cadre of readers.

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