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Cross Country

A MURDERER OF ASTOUNDING CRUELTY
Detective Alex Cross is called to the worst murder scene he has encountered in all his years on the force. Someone with less than zero regard for human life has slaughtered a family–and then more killings, each one more ruthless than the last, quickly follow. One of those death comes terrifyingly close to home, and Alex realizes that he is chasing a horrible new breed of killer.

A CITY IN CHAOS
As Alex and his girlfriend, Detective Brianna Stone, dig deeper into the case, they become entangled in the deadly African underworld of Washington DC. What they discover there is so shocking that they can barely comprehend it: a strongly organized gang of teenage thugs headed by a diabolical warlord known only as the Tiger. When the elusive killer's trail turns up in Africa, Alex knows that he must follow. Alone.

ALEX CROSS TRACKS A KILLER CROSS COUNTRY
When Alex arrives in Nigeria, he discovers a world where justice is as foreign as he is. Unprotected and alone in a strange country, bombarded on all sides by the murderous threats of the Tiger, can Alex manage to both survive and catch the killer? From the #1 bestselling author James Patterson comes Cross Country-the most heart-stopping, speed-charged, electrifying Alex Cross thriller ever.

Chapter 4

BUT I DIDN'T even begin to understand the horrible murders of five family members. Not that night, anyway. I was as baffled as everybody else about the possible motivation of the killers.

What made the mystery even deeper was something that happened about an hour after I got to the crime scene. Two officers from the CIA showed up. They looked around, then left. What was the CIA doing there?

It was a little after three thirty in the morning when Bree and I finally got back home to Fifth Street. In the stillness of my house, I could hear Ali's little-boy snores wafting down from upstairs. Reassuring and comforting sounds, to be sure.

Nana Mama had left the hood light on over the stove, and she'd Saran Wrapped a plate of the last four hermit cookies from dessert. We took them upstairs, along with glasses and a half-full bottle of wine.

Two hours later I was still awake and still messed up in the head. Bree finally sat up and turned on the light. She found me sitting on the edge of the bed. I could feel the warmth of her body against my back, her breath on my neck.

"You sleep at all?" she asked.

That wasn't really what she wanted to know.

"I knew the mother, Bree. We went to Georgetown together. This couldn't have happened to her. Shouldn't have, anyway."

She breathed in sharply at my revelation. "I'm so sorry, Alex. Why didn't you say so?"

I shrugged, then sighed. "I'm not even sure if I can talk about it now," I said.

She hugged me. "It's okay. No need to talk. Unless you want to, Alex. I'm here."

"We were best friends, Bree. We were a couple for a year. I know it was a long time ago, but..." I trailed off. But what? But–it hadn't just been kid stuff, either. "I loved her for a while, Bree. I'm blown away right now."

"You want to get off the case?"

"No." I'd already asked myself the same question, and the answer had come just as quickly.

"I can get Sampson or somebody else from Violent Crimes to cover. We'll keep you up to the second–"

"Bree, I can't let go of this one."

"This one?" She ran a hand softly up and down my arm. "As compared to...what, Alex?"

I took a deep breath. I knew where Bree was going with this. "It's not about Maria, if that's what you mean." My wife, Maria, had been gunned down when our kids were small. I'd managed to close the case only recently. There had been years of torture and guilt before that. But Maria had been my wife, the love of my life at the time. Ellie was something else. I wasn't confusing the two. I didn't think so anyway.

"Okay," she said, stroking my back, soothing me. "Tell me what I can do."

I folded us both under the covers. "Just lie here with me," I said. "That's all I need for now."

"You got it."

And soon, wrapped in Bree's arms, I went off to sleep–for

a whole two hours.

Copyright © 2008 by James Patterson

Read by Dion Graham & Jay O. Sanders

Dion Graham appears on HBO's The Wire and narrates A&E's The First 48. An award-winning and critically acclaimed actor and narrator he has performed on Broadway, off-Broadway, internationally, in films, and in several hit television series.

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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