Study Guide

Alex Cross's Trial Narrator Point of View

By James Patterson and Richard DiLallo

Narrator Point of View

First Person (Central)

You might be wondering why the book is called Alex Cross's Trial when Alex never shows up. He shows up in plenty of other books by Patterson, but he's never around in this one. Except for in the preface, that is, where he sorts this confusion out for us:

A few months after I hunted a vicious killer named the Tiger halfway around the world, I began to think seriously about a book I had been wanting to write for years. (Pre.1)

Okay, so forget Patterson—Alex Cross is the "author" of this book. And he's going to tell us a story that he's not a part of. Why? The characters are related to him. Abraham is his great uncle and Moody is his cousin. Patterson provides this backdrop for the story, wherein Alex is the author, so we get the sense that it was written by a close relative of the people in the book. It's a personal story instead of just a political one, written by someone who truly cares.

But once we leave the preface, Cross's voice no longer appears. Instead the story is told by Ben Corbett—he's the main guy and he tells us everything that does down. Check out his description of the courtroom in this scene:

As I walked all the way home from the courthouse on that hot June day, I still had no idea what life-changing things were in store for me and my family. Not a hint, not a clue. (7.1)

Notice how he's telling us what he's experiencing ("I walked") but it's after the fact ("I still had no idea"). This means he's writing about what happened after the fact. The result is a story that is both intimately told and that benefits from hindsight. Ben—like Alex Cross and Patterson—knows how it will end before he begins, and the storytelling benefits from this knowledge.

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