Study Guide

Alex Cross's Trial Tone

By James Patterson and Richard DiLallo

Tone

Ominous

You know that music that plays when the shark is lurking in the waters in Jaws? This book is written in the literary-equivalent of that sound. It's ominous, foreboding, and even downright scary. We're on the edge of our seats the whole time, not only wondering, but worrying, about what is going to happen next.

Even before the trial starts, Ben tells us stuff like, "I will never forget the rest of that evening, not a moment of it. Not a detail has been lost on me" (11.1). We can almost hear the dun-dun-dun now. He's hinting at what's to come without actually telling us what has taken place. It turns out here that he's talking about his wife leaving him, but it doesn't matter whether he's telling us about marital woes or lynching experiences, Ben always gives it to us in a nail-biting, stomach-churning way.

For a bit more on how this tone is pulled off, swing by the "Narrator Point of View" section where we explore Ben's hindsight perspective on the action.

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