James Patterson raises the stakes to their highest level, ever-when Alex Cross becomes the obsession of a genius of menace set on proving that he is the greatest mind in the history of crime.
Detective Alex Cross is a family man at heart—nothing matters more to him than his children, his grandmother, and his wife Bree. His love of his family is his anchor, and gives him the strength to confront evil in his work. One man knows this deeply, and uses Alex's strength as a weapon against him in the most unsettling and unexpected novel of James Patterson's career.
When the ones Cross loves are in danger, he will do anything to protect them. If he does anything to protect them, they will die.
CROSS MY HEART is the most powerful Alex Cross novel ever, propelled by the ever-ingenious mind of James Patterson, the world's #1 bestselling writer.
Part One | SIXTEEN DAYS EARLIER...
SITTING IN A PARKED work van on Fifth Street on a beautiful April morning, Marcus Sunday used high-definition Leica binoculars to monitor Alex Cross’s house and felt a genuine thrill, thinking that the great detective was sure to make an appearance sometime in the next half hour or so.
After all, it was a Thursday and seven thirty in the morning. Cross had to work. So did his wife. And his children had school to attend.
Sunday had no sooner had that thought than Regina Cross Hope, Cross’s ninety-one-year-old grandmother, came up the sidewalk from the direction of St. Anthony’s Catholic Church. The old bird was tough and moving at a surprising clip despite the cane. She walked right by his van, barely gave it a glance.
Then again, why would she?
Sunday had attached magnetic signs to the van that advertised over the moon vacuum cleaner company. And behind the tinted glass he was wearing the uniform of said company, a real find at the Salvation Army. Fit perfectly.
The used vacuums in the back of the van had been purchased at a secondhand store out in Potomac for sixty bucks apiece. The phony magnetic signs had been ordered online through FedEx Office. So had the phony badge on his left shirt pocket. It read: thierry mulch.
A lithe, fit man in his late thirties with close-cropped salt-and-pepper hair and slate-gray eyes, Sunday checked his watch as Cross’s grandmother disappeared inside the house. Then he took up a black binder stowed between the driver’s seat and the center console.
Flipping it open, he noted the tabs on the first five section dividers, each marked with a name: Bree Stone, Ali Cross, Jannie Cross, Damon Cross, and Regina Cross Hope, otherwise known as Nana Mama.
Sunday went straight to the Regina Cross Hope/Nana Mama section and filled in the exact time the old woman had entered the house and from what direction. Then, waiting for more sightings, he flipped to the back of the binder and found a four-page copy of the floor plan of the house, which had conveniently been filed with the city planning board last month as part of Cross’s application for permits to redo his kitchen and bathrooms.
Alternately studying the plan and the house itself, Sunday made notes on the diagrams regarding entries and exits, positions of windows, landscaping, and the like. When Cross’s wife, Bree Stone, also a detective with the DC Metro Police, came out on the porch to fill a bird feeder at 7:40, he recorded that act as well, and the fact that her backside looked glorious in a tight pair of jeans.
At 7:52, a truck bearing a logo that read dear old house pulled up in front of Cross’s house, followed by a waste disposal company hauling a construction Dumpster. Out came the great detective onto the porch to greet the contractors and watch the unloading of the Dumpster. So did his grandmother, his wife, and two of his three children: fifteen-year-old Jannie and seven-year-old Ali.
Nice happy family, Sunday thought, studying them through the binoculars in turn. The future for them seems bright. Looks full of promise. Doesn’t it?
Sunday allowed himself a smile, thinking that a good deal of the fun in any adventure lay in the planning, the preparation, and the anticipation. Maybe more than half, he decided, enjoying the way his ever-fertile brain conjured up various dark ways to destroy the dream scenario unfolding before his eyes.
Then Dr. Alex left with his kids. The three of them walked past Sunday on the other side of Fifth, but the detective barely looked at the work van.
Then again, why would he?
Sunday felt deflated after Cross and his children disappeared. It just wasn’t as enjoyable scouting the house with the detective absent, almost like looking at a maze in desperate need of a rodent.
Sunday checked his watch, shut the binder, and put it away, feeling that he was a free, authentic man with a purpose that would not waver no matter the consequences. He started the van, thinking that wavering in any way was almost an insult to one’s opponent. You had to want to destroy your enemy as much as he wanted to destroy you.
As Sunday drove off, he believed he was up to his task.
He also believed Cross’s family deserved the wickedness to come. Each and every one of them. Especially Dr. Alex.
Copyright © 2013 by James Patterson
Read by Andre Braugher & Zach Grenier
Andre Braughner is an Emmy-award and Obie-award winning actor. His most recent film and television credits include Salt, Passengers, and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and Men of a Certain Age. Born and raised in Chicago, he earned A BA from Stanford University and an MFA from Juilliard.
Zach Grenier’s film credits include Fight Club, Zodiac, Ride With the Devil, and Twister. He has appeared on such television series as The Good Wife, Deadwood, and 24. Most notable among his stage credits is the Broadway production of 33 Variations.