Alex Cross’s Trial by James Patterson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Alex Cross’s Trial by James Patterson & Richard Dilallo delivers an incredible, yet alarming story. The setting is early 1900’s, during the era of President Theodore Roosevelt. Ben Corbett is a young lawyer who does not take on the big money cases, choosing to fight against oppression and racism instead. The President asks Ben to probe into some nasty rumours about what the outlawed Ku Klux Klan is up to in the Deep South, Ben having been born and raised in Eudora, Mississippi. He is told to look up Abraham Cross when he arrives, that this man will be of great assistance to Ben. His cover story is that he is down there to scout out future judges for the Bench.
On his way to Eudora, Ben scans a number of back issues of local newspapers and is bombarded with sensational stories of lynchings of coloured people. The articles made the killings seem so spectacular––a spectacle not to be missed. Ben also learns, from a fellow passenger, that the white man doesn’t really hate the coloured man––they are afraid of them––mostly that the coloured men will take jobs away from the white man because they are willing to work cheaper. “Yes, sir, the black man has to figure a way to get along peaceable with the white man, without taking his job away … if the black man don’t come to understand this, why I reckon we’ll just have to wipe him out.”
Finally in Eudora, Ben has a few ghosts of his own to revisit. Instead of staying with his father, the renowned Judge E. Corbett, Ben checks into a rooming house. We discover soon enough the reason for this, his father not approving of Ben’s direction in law. Ben looks up Abraham Cross and discovers that he is an elderly black man. Together, they begin to unravel the dire situation as Abraham shows Ben the reality of the situation in the South. Ben, himself, after a time, realizes first hand how hated the black people are, and those who sympathize with them! Ben is shocked at who betrays him, and whom he can trust.
Ben makes his report to the President, and then waits for a reply. In the meantime, his own little family is falling apart, his wife having written that she is leaving him. She can no longer handle the frustration of having to live so frugally because of the types of cases her husband feels he needs to take on. Eventually, a horrendous event takes place and some white men are arrested for murder and attempted murder, and the trial of the century begins.
“Alex Cross’s Trial” is an excellent, well-written story that will have you riveted to each page as it takes you through a part of history that should never have happened. Having said that, though, I am happy to see that no matter how depraved some of mankind are, there are always those who will come forward and fight for justice. Make sure you have some idle time available because you will not want to put this book down.