Alex Cross (Also published as Cross)

Alex Cross (Also published as Cross)

BY James Patterson

Among the villains Alex Cross has faced—Gary Soneji, Casanova, Kyle Craig, The Wolf—one psychopath tops them all. Alex knows him as his wife's killer.

#1 bestselling author James Patterson returns with the pinnacle of all Alex Cross thrillers.

Alex Cross was a rising star in the Washington, DC, Police Department when an unknown shooter gunned down his wife, Maria, in front of him. Alex's need for vengeance was placed on hold as he faced another huge challenge-raising his children without their mother.

Years later Alex is making a bold move in his life. He has left the FBI and set up practice as a psychologist once again. His life with Nana Mama, Damon, Jannie, and little Alex finally feels like it's in order. He even has a chance at a new love.

Then Cross's former partner, John Sampson, calls in a favor. He is tracking a serial rapist in Georgetown, one whose brutal modus operandi includes threatening his victims with terrifying photos. Cross and Sampson need the testimonies of these women to stop the predator, but the rape victims refuse to reveal anything about their attacker.

When the case triggers a connection to Maria's death, Alex may have a chance to catch his wife's murderer after all these years. Is this a chance for justice at long last? Or the culminating scene in his own deadly obsession?

From the man USA Today has called the "master of the genre," Cross is the high-velocity thriller James Patterson and Alex Cross's fans have waited years to read.

Chapter 4

THE BUTCHER AND JIMMY HATS laughed their asses off about the St. Francis of Assisi Social Club visit for most of the ride down I-95 to Washington, where they had a tricky job to do in the next day or two. Mr. Maggione had ordered them to stop in Baltimore and make an impression. The don suspected that a couple of the local capos were skimming on him. The Butcher figured he’d done his job.

That was a part of his growing reputation: not just that he was good at killing, but that he was reliable as a heart attack for a fat man eating fried eggs and bacon.

They were entering DC, taking the scenic route past the Washington Monument and other important la-di-da buildings. “My country ’tis of V,” sang Jimmy Hats in a seriously off-key voice.

Sullivan snorted out a laugh. “You’re a corker yourself, James m’boy. Where the hell did you learn that? My country ’tis of V?

“St. Patrick’s parish school, Brooklyn, New York, where I learned everything I know about the three Rs—readin’, ritin’, ’rithmetic—an’ where I met this crazy bastard named Michael Sean Sullivan.”

Twenty minutes later they had parked the Grand Am and joined the late-night youth parade traipsing along M Street in Georgetown. Bunch of mopey-dopey college punks, plus him and Jimmy, a couple of brilliant professional killers, thought Sullivan. So who was doing better in life? Who was making it, and who wasn’t?

“Ever think you shoulda gone to college?” asked Hats.

“Couldn’t afford the cut in pay. Eighteen, I was already making seventy-five grand. Besides, I love my job!”

They stopped at Charlie Malone’s, a local watering hole popular with the Washington college crowd for no good reason Sullivan could figure. Neither the Butcher nor Jimmy Hats had gone past high school, but inside the bar, Sullivan struck up an easy conversation with a couple of coeds, no more than twenty years old, probably still in their late teens. Sullivan read a lot, and remembered most of it, so he could talk with just about anybody. His repertoire tonight included the recent shootings of American soldiers in Somalia, a couple hot new movies, even some Romantic poetry—Blake and Keats, which seemed to appeal to the college ladies.

In addition to his charm, though, Michael Sullivan was a looker, and he knew it—slim but nicely toned, six one, longish blond hair, a smile that could dazzle anybody he chose to use it on.

So it was no major surprise when twenty-year-old Marianne Riley from Burkittsville, Maryland, started making none-too-subtle goo-goo eyes at him and touching him in the way forward girls sometimes do.

Sullivan leaned in close to the girl, who smelled like wildflowers. “Marianne, Marianne . . . there used to be a song. Calypso tune? You know it? ‘Marianne, Marianne’?”

“Before my time,” the girl said, but then she winked at him. She had the most gorgeous green eyes, full red lips, and the cutest little plaid bow planted in her hair. Sullivan had decided one thing about her right away—Marianne was a little cock tease, and that was all right with him. He liked to play games too.

“I see. And Mr. Keats, Mr. Blake, Mr. Byron, weren’t they before your time?” he kidded her, with his endearing smile turned on bright. Then he took Marianne’s hand, and he lightly kissed it. He pulled her away from her barstool and did a tight Lindy twirl to the Stones song playing on the jukebox.

“Where are we going?” she asked. “Where do you think we’re going, mister?”

“Not too far,” said Michael Sullivan. “Miss.”

“Not too far?” questioned Marianne. “What does that mean?”

“You’ll see. No worries. Trust me.”

She laughed, pecked him on the cheek, and laughed some more. “Now how could I resist those killer eyes of yours?”

Copyright © 2006 by James Patterson

Read by Peter Jay Fernandez & Jay O. Sanders

Peter Jay Fernandez is a New York based actor and narrator. He has appeared on Broadway in Jelly's Last Jam and The Merchant of Venice, and has performed in numerous off-Broadway plays and musicals. His extensive television credits include Funny Valentines, The Prosecuters, Law & Order, and Cosby. He currently lives in Harlem with his wife Denise and read London Bridges, also by James Patterson, for Hachette Audio.

Jay O. Sanders attended the acting conservatory at The State University of New York at Purchase. He began his career off-Broadway in Shakespearean roles in Henry V, Measure for Measure, and Twelfth Night. Jay has narrated more than fifty audiobooks and has appeared in several films including Half Nelson and The Day After Tomorrow.

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