Study Guide

Alex Cross's Trial Genre

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Mystery; Historical Fiction

This book might not be what you think of when you hear the word mystery—there are no hidden passages, foreboding lightning strikes, or twisty stairwells—and yet it has the two biggest features of mystery novels, namely crime and the unraveling of secrets. Ben is tasked with finding out what is going on in Eudora, which leads him to a series of contradictory clues: Some newspapers talk about hangings and even describe all the gory details, while others insist they never took place. If that doesn't sound like something Nancy Drew could get behind, we don't know what does.

As for the novel being historical fiction, unfortunately much of what it details is totally true. Ben and Abraham and even Alex Cross might be made-up, but Jim Crow laws, lynch mobs, the KKK, and Teddy Roosevelt are all taken straight from history. So pay attention while you read; you just might learn a thing or two about the United States' past.

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