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Cross Fire

Wedding bells ring
Detective Alex Cross and Bree's wedding plans are put on hold when Alex is called to the scene of the perfectly executed assassination of two of Washington D.C.'s most corrupt: a dirty congressmen and an underhanded lobbyist. Next, the elusive gunman begins picking off other crooked politicians, sparking a blaze of theories—is the marksman a hero or a vigilante?

A murderer returns
The case explodes, and the FBI assigns agent Max Siegel to the investigation. As Alex and Siegel battle over jurisdiction, the murders continue. It becomes clear that they are the work of a professional who has detailed knowledge of his victims' movements—information that only a Washington insider could possess.

Caught in a lethal cross fire
As Alex contends with the sniper, Siegel, and the wedding, he receives a call from his deadliest adversary, Kyle Craig. The Mastermind is in D.C. and will not relent until he has eliminated Cross and his family for good. With a supercharged blend of action, deception, and suspense, Cross Fire is James Patterson's most visceral and exciting Alex Cross novel ever.

Part One | SHOOTER READY

Chapter 8

BACK AT HOME, I high-stepped over the second and third porch steps, avoiding the squeak with my long legs. It was just after one thirty in the morning, but the kitchen still smelled like chocolate chip cookies when I came in. They were for Jannie, who had some kind of school function. I gave myself half credit for knowing she had a function but points off for not knowing what it was.

I stole one cookie — delicious, with a hint of cinnamon in the chocolate — and took off my shoes before I snuck upstairs.

In the hall, I could see Ali’s light was still on, and when I looked in, Bree was sleeping next to the bed. He’d been running a slight fever before, and she had dragged in the ancient leather armchair, aka laundry stand, from our room.

A library copy of The Mouse and the Motorcycle was open across her lap.

Ali’s forehead was cool, but he’d kicked off the blankets in the night. His bear, named Truck, was upside down on the floor. I tucked both of them back in.

When I tried to take the book from Bree, her hand tightened around it.

“And they all lived happily ever after,” I whispered in her ear.

She smiled but didn’t wake up, as if I’d worked my way into a dream of hers. That was a nice place to be, so I slipped my hands under her knees and arms and carried her back to bed with me.

It was tempting to help her out of her pajama bottoms and T-shirt, and everything else while I was at it, but she looked so beautiful and peaceful like that, I didn’t have the heart to change a thing. Instead, I lay down and just watched her sleep for a while. Very nice.

Inevitably, though, my thoughts returned to the case, to what I’d just seen.

It was impossible not to think about those dark days in 2002, the last time we’d witnessed anything like this. The word “sniper” still strikes a bad chord with a lot of people in Washington, myself included. At the same time, there were some scary differences here, considering the skill of this shooter. It all felt more calculated to me, too. And then, thank God, I was asleep. Counting bodies instead of sheep, though.

Copyright © 2010 by James Patterson

Read by Andre Braugher & Jay O. Sanders

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