Study Guide

Alex Cross's Trial Writing Style

By James Patterson and Richard DiLallo

Writing Style

Fast-paced and Suspenseful

You don't have to read very far to get a glimpse of the fast-paced style of the book. After all, every single chapter leaves us with a mini cliffhanger, making us unsure of what's going to happen next and pretty much forcing us to keep reading. The chapters are only a page or two each, and this format keeps the plot moving, hopping from mini cliffhanger to mini cliffhanger until we can't believe how many pages we just read in one sitting.

It's a fitting style for a book that features such high stakes. With violence just around the corner and corruption and racism running the show, this quick and suspenseful styles mirrors and uncertainty of life in Eudora for Ben and his pals. For instance, consider when Ben and his friends are stealing Scooter's photos:

What a record of guilt! What amazing evidence! I couldn't take the pictures down fast enough.

"Just put 'em all in the box," I said. "We need to get out of here."

"No, y'all can stay," I heard. (116.19-21)

Huh? We're not sure who's talking or why, but since Ben is on a stealth mission to steal Scooter's photos, we're pretty sure that voice isn't a good sign. We can tell that Ben and his pals are in danger, but the chapter just stops right there, leaving all of our questions unanswered and us on the edge of our seats to find out how this interaction unfolds. Throughout the book Patterson uses short, quick sentences (and chapters) to keep us on our toes and heighten the suspense. We're not sure what's happening, but we know we want to find out, so we keep turning the pages.

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