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Cross My Heart

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.

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The First 4 Chapters

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Part One | SIXTEEN DAYS EARLIER...

Chapter 2

IN A NORMAL YEAR the murder rate in Washington, DC, waits for the stifling days of summer to peak. In July and August, when the air along the Potomac is the consistency and temperature of a rabid dog’s mouth, people just seem to snap left and right. In my line of work you come to expect it.

But beginning with the terrorist attack at Union Station on New Year’s Day, there had been a steady run of homicides through the winter and on into spring. It was barely April, but this was shaping up already as one of the worst years in three decades for homicide in the District of Columbia.

That had put enormous political pressure on the mayor and the city council, which meant the Metro police chief, too, was under enormous pressure. But the squeeze was especially tight around the homicide and major case squads. Since I was now a roaming investigator for both teams, the nonstop murders meant the biggest squeeze had been put on me and on my partner and closest friend, John Sampson.

We had not had a day off in nearly two months, and our caseload seemed to grow every day. To make it worse, I was fielding calls from a contractor who was about to remodel the kitchen and put an addition on our house. So the last person I wanted to see around nine thirty that Thursday morning was Captain Roelof Antonius Quintus, who ran Homicide.

Captain Quintus knocked on the door of my office, where I’d been finishing up a breakfast burrito and a second cup of coffee while looking at a cabinet hardware catalog my wife had shoved into my hand as I left home. Sampson, a locomotive of a man, was on the couch, devouring the last of his morning meal.

Sampson saw Quintus and groaned. “Not another one?”

Quintus shook his head. “I just need an update to take to the chief. The mayor’s out of her mind and hounding him nonstop.”

“We cleared three this week, but you handed us four,” I replied. “So the takeaway is that we’re making progress but falling behind.”

“Sounds about right,” Sampson said. “Like that king in mythology who keeps pushing the boulder up the hill, only it keeps falling down.”

“Sisyphus,” I said.

“Like him,” Sampson said, pointing at me.

“C’mon, Cross,” Quintus said. “We’re counting on you to put some of the higher-profile cases like Rawlins and Kimmel to bed, get the Post off our backs. Did you see that goddamned editorial?”

I had. Just that morning they’d run a piece that described the effect the murders were having on tourism, called for the police chief to resign, and floated a proposal to have the FBI take over the department until the murder rate could be lowered.

“Tell you what, Captain,” I said. “You tell people to stop killing each other, and we’ll have more time to work on cases like Rawlins and Kimmel.”

“Funny.”

“I wasn’t joking.”

“No, really, you should try stand-up at open-mike night, Cross,” Quintus said, turning to leave. “I think you may have missed your calling.”

Copyright © 2013 by James Patterson

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Read by Michael Boatman & Tom Wopat

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