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Four Blind Mice

Alex Cross returns in the most harrowing case of his career-one that risks the life of his closest friend and partner, John Sampson.

Detective Alex Cross is on his way to resign from the Washington, D.C., Police Force when his partner shows up at his door with a case he can't refuse. One of John Sampson's oldest friends, from their days together in Vietnam, has been arrested for murder. Worse yet, he is subject to the iron hand of the United States Army. The evidence against him is strong enough to send him to the gas chamber.

Sampson is certain his friend has been framed, and Alex's investigation turns up evidence overlooked-or concealed-by the military authorities. Drawing on their years of street training and an almost telepathic mutual trust, Cross and Sampson go deep behind military lines to confront the most terrifying-and deadly-killers they have ever encountered. Behind these three highly skilled killing machines there appears to be an even more threatening controller. Discovering the identity of this lethal genius will prove to be Cross's most terrifying challenge ever.

On his visits home, Alex must confront another, more harrowing mystery: what's the matter with Nana Mama? As he explores the possibility of a new relationship with a woman who offers him new hope, Alex must also confront the fact that his beloved grandmother is only human.

The return of Alex Cross in Four Blind Mice also marks James Patterson's arrival at dazzling new heights of mind-bending suspense, explosive action, and lightning-fast plot twists. It is sure to be acclaimed as the best novel yet from the author the Associated Press says "writes thrillers as if he were building roller coasters."

CHAPTER 2

THE REAL KILLERS had taken a small risk by attending the final day of the trial in North Carolina. They wanted to see the end of this, couldn't miss it.

Thomas Starkey was the team leader, and the former Army Ranger colonel still looked the part, walked the walk, and talked the talk.

Brownley Harris was his number two, and he remained deferential to Colonel Starkey, just as it had been in Vietnam, just as it would always be until the day one or — more likely — both of them died.

Warren Griffin was still "the kid," which seemed marginally funny, since he was forty-nine years old now.

The jury had come in with a verdict of guilty less than two and a half hours after they were sent out to deliberate. Sergeant Ellis Cooper was going to be executed for murder by the state of North Carolina.

The district attorney had done a brilliant job - of convicting the wrong man.

The three killers piled into a dark blue Suburban parked on one of the narrow side streets near the courthouse.

Thomas Starkey started up the big car. "Anybody hungry?" he asked.

"Thirsty," said Harris.

"Horny," said Griffin, and snorted out one of his goofy laughs.

"Let's get something to eat and drink — then maybe we'll get into some trouble with the ladies. What do you say? To celebrate our great victory today. To us!" shouted Colonel Starkey as he drove down the street away from the Courthouse. "To the Three Blind Mice."

Copyright © 2002 by James Patterson

Read by Peter J. Fernandez & Michael Emerson
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