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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 4

I PUT IN a late-afternoon appearance at the Daly Building. This was as good a time as any to catch up on the flood of paperwork that never seemed to stop flowing across my desk.

But when I got to the Major Case Squad room, Chief Perkins was just coming out into the hall with somebody I didn’t recognize.

“Alex,” he said. “Good. You’ll save me another trip. Walk with us?”

Something was obviously up, and it wasn’t good. When the chief wants a meeting, you go to him, not the other way around. I did a one-eighty, and we headed back over to the elevators.

“Alex, meet Jim Heekin. Jim’s the new AD at the Directorate of Intelligence over at the Bureau.”

We shook hands. Heekin said, “I’ve heard a lot about you, Detective Cross. The FBI’s loss was MPD’s gain when you came back over here.”

“Uh-oh,” I said. “Flattery’s never a good sign.”

We all laughed, but it was also true. A lot of new managers at the Bureau like to shake things up when they start, just to let people know they’re there. The question was, what did Heekin’s new job have to do with me?

Once we were settled in Perkins’s big office, Heekin got a lot more specific.

“Can I assume you’re familiar with our FIGs?” he asked me.

“Field Intelligence Groups,” I said. “I’ve never worked with them directly, but sure.” The FIGs had been created to develop and share intelligence “products” with the law enforcement communities in their respective jurisdictions. On paper, it seemed like a good idea, but some critics saw it as part of the Bureau’s general passing of the buck on domestic criminal investigation after 9/11.

Heekin went on, “As you probably know, the DC group interfaces with all police departments in our area, including MPD. Also NSA, ATF, Secret Service — you name it. We’ve got monthly conference calls and then face time on an as-needed basis, depending on where the action is.”

It was starting to seem like a sales pitch, and I already felt pretty sure I knew what he was selling.

“Generally, police chiefs represent their departments with the FIGs,” he continued with his steady, well-paced speech, “but we’d like you to take over that position for MPD.”

I looked at Perkins, and he shrugged. “What can I say, Alex? I’m just too damn busy.”

“Don’t let him fool you,” Heekin said. “I spoke with the chief here, and with Director Burns at the Bureau before that. Your name was the only one that came up in either meeting.”

“Thank you,” I said. “That’s very nice, but I’m good where I am.”

“Yes, exactly. Major Case Squad’s a perfect fit for this position. If anything, it’s going to make your job easier.”

This wasn’t an offer, I realized, so much as an assignment. When I’d rejoined the force, Perkins had given me just about everything I’d asked for. Now I owed him one, and we both knew it, and he knew that I liked to play fair.

“No title change,” I said. “I’m an investigator first, not some kind of administrator.”

Perkins grinned across his desk. He also looked relieved. “Fine with me. Keeps you in the same pay grade.”

“And my cases take priority over anything else I might have to do?”

“I don’t think that’s going to be a problem,” Heekin said, already standing up to go. He shook my hand again at the door. “Congratulations, Detective. You’re moving up in the world.”

Yeah, I thought. Whether I want to or not.

Copyright © 2010 by James Patterson

Read by Andre Braugher & Jay O. Sanders

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