Detective Alex Cross arrests renowned plastic surgeon Elijah Creem for sleeping with teenage girls. Now, his life ruined, Creem is out of jail, and he's made sure that no one will recognize him—by giving himself a new face.
A young woman is found hanging from a sixth-floor window, and Alex is called to the scene. The victim recently gave birth, but the baby is nowhere to be found. Before Alex can begin searching for the missing newborn and killer, he's called to investigate a second crime. All of Washington, D.C., is in a panic, and when a third body is discovered, rumours of three serial killers send the city into an all-out frenzy.
Alex's investigations are going nowhere, and he's too focused on the cases to notice that someone has been watching him—and will stop at nothing until he's dead. With white-hot speed, relentless drama, and hairpin turns, ALEX CROSS, RUN is James Patterson's ultimate thrill ride.
Prologue | DIE YOUNG AND LEAVE A BEAUTIFUL CORPSE
“POLICE! WE’RE COMING IN!”
Sampson’s voice boomed over everything else. He gave one hard pound on the paneled mahogany door—his own version of knock and announce—and then threw it open.
Elijah Creem was standing just inside, looking every bit as pulled together as the pictures I’d seen of him—slicked-back blond hair, square cleft chin, perfect veneers.
He and Bergman were fully dressed. The other three—not so much. Bergman had an iPhone held up in front of him, taking a video of the freaky little ménage à trois they had staged there on the king-size sleigh bed.
One girl was laid out flat. Her bra was open at the front, and her bright pink thong was down around her ankles. She was also wearing a clear breathing mask of some kind, tethered to a tall gray metal tank at the side of the bed. The boy on top of her was buck naked except for the black blindfold around his eyes, while the other girl stood over him with a small digital camera, shooting more video from another angle.
“What the hell is this?” Creem said.
“My question exactly,” I said. “Nobody move.”
All of them were wide-eyed and staring at us now, except for the girl with the mask. She seemed pretty out of it.
“What’s in the tank?” I said as Sampson went over to her.
“It’s nitrous oxide,” Creem said. “Just calm down. She’s fine.”
“Screw you,” John told him and eased the mask off the girl.
The buzz from nitrous is pretty short lasting, but I didn’t assume for a second that it was the only thing these kids were on. There were several blue tabs of what I assumed was more XTC on the nightstand. Also a couple of small brown glass bottles, presumably amyl nitrate, and a half-empty fifth of Cuervo Reserva.
“Listen to me,” Creem said evenly, looking me in the eye. As far as I could tell, he was the ringleader here. “Do you see that briefcase in the corner?”
“Elijah? What are you doing?” Bergman asked, but Creem didn’t respond. He was still watching me like we were the only two in the room.
“There’s an envelope with thirty thousand dollars in that case,” he said. Then he looked pointedly from a brown leather satchel on the antique setback cabinet, over to one of the three windows at the back of the bedroom. The fringed shades were all drawn, but it was pretty clear to me what he was going for.
“How much time do you think thirty thousand dollars is worth?” he said. He was unbelievably cool about the whole thing. And arrogant. I think he fully expected me to go for it.
“You don’t seem like the climb-out-the-window type, Creem,” I said.
“Ordinarily, no,” he said. “But if you know who I am, then you know I’ve got quite a bit at stake here—a family, a medical practice—”
“Six and a half million in revenue last year alone,” I said. “According to our records.”
“And then there’s my reputation, of course, which in this town is priceless. So what do you say, detective? Do we have a deal?”
I could tell he was already halfway out that window in his mind. This was a man who was used to getting what he wanted.
But then again, I wasn’t a seventeen-year-old girl with a self-image problem.
“I think my partner put it best,” I told him. “What was it you said, John?”
“Something like screw you,” Sampson said. “How old are these kids, Creem?”
For the first time, Dr. Creem’s superior affect seemed to crack right down the middle. His silly grin dropped away, and the eyes started moving faster.
“Please,” he said. “There’s more cash where that came from. A lot more. I’m sure we can work something out.”
But I was already done with this guy. “You have the right to remain silent—”
“I don’t want to beg.”
“Then don’t,” I said. “Anything you say can and will be used against you—”
“For Christ’s sake, you’re going to ruin me! Do you understand that?”
The narcissism alone was kind of staggering. Even more so was the cluelessness about what he’d done here.
“No, Dr. Creem,” I said as I turned him around and put the cuffs on. “You’ve already done that to yourself.”
Copyright © 2013 by James Patterson
Read by Michael Boatman & Steven Boyer