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Kill Alex Cross

The President's son and daughter are abducted, and Detective Alex Cross is one of the first on the scene. But someone very high-up is using the FBI, Secret Service, and CIA to keep him off the case and in the dark.

A deadly contagion in the water supply cripples half of the capital, and Alex discovers that someone may be about to unleash the most devastating attack the United States has ever experienced.

As his window for solving both crimes narrows, Alex makes a desperate decision that goes against everything he believes—one that may alter the fate of the entire country. KILL ALEX CROSS is faster, more exciting, and more tightly wound than any Alex Cross thriller James Patterson has ever written!

Book One | UNACCOUNTED FOR

Chapter 4

MPD PATROL SERGEANT BOBBY HATFIELD HAD JUST SPOTTED A GRAY van, doing at least sixty through downtown Georgetown, when the emergency call came from dispatch. "All units, patrol area two-oh-six. Possible armed kidnap in progress. Two kids. That's two! We have a gray panel van, traveling at high speed, south on Wisconsin, Northwest. Secret Service is in pursuit. Requesting backup! Please turn to channel twenty-three."

Hatfield fired up his siren and pulled a fast three-point turn just as a telltale black Yukon went racing by. As soon as he got onto the dedicated channel, he could hear Secret Service broadcasting the chase.

"We are proceeding south. Plates are DC, tag number DMS eight-two-three—"

"Secret Service, this is MPD unit two-oh-six," Hatfield cut in. "I'm coming right up on your back."

"Copy that, MPD."

Hatfield accelerated as the Yukon fell back and let him take the lead. Already, the speedometer was pushing toward seventy, and his adrenaline was going off the charts. There was a whole lot more that could go wrong here than right.

At M Street, the van careened left, almost looked like it might tip.

It took the corner too wide and sideswiped two parked cars without stopping. Hatfield coasted into the turn—slow in, fast out, was the drill—and punched it as soon as he was pointed in the right direction. It gained him some ground on the van, but not enough.

"Suspect headed east on M," he called in. "This guy's flying. Where's the damn backup? C'mon people!"

When they came to Pennsylvania Avenue just before Rock Creek, the van peeled off to the right. It was a wider street now, and whoever was doing the driving picked up even more speed, weaving dangerously across the bridge.

Hatfield blinked hard to keep his vision from tunneling. There were cars and pedestrians everywhere. The whole scene couldn't possibly be more confusing.

This thing is not going to end well. He could feel it everywhere in his body.

At Twenty-eighth Street, a second marked unit finally fell in behind. Hatfield recognized James Walsh's voice as he took over radio communication. Walsh was a pal of his on the force, but also a tormenter.

"How you doing, Robert?"

"Fuck you, how am I doing?"

"Continuing southeast on Pennsylvania," Walsh went on.

"Suspect's driving is extremely erratic...seems to be a single occupant, but it's hard to tell. We're going to hit Washington Circle any second now and—oh, shit! Bobby, look out! Look out!"

As the van came into the rotary, it cut left instead of right, straight into oncoming traffic. Cars and cabs swerved to get out of the way.

It was like the parting of the Red Sea from where Hatfield was sitting—and there, on the other side of the gap, was a city bus, too big to avoid. The bus driver cut hard to the right, but it was no good.

All he did was give the van a solid wall to run into!

Hatfield slammed his brakes and sent his own car into a hard skid. Even then, his eyes never came off the van.

It crashed, head-on at full speed, right into the Neiman Marcus ad on the side of the bus. The front end crumpled like an accordion. Glass flew everywhere and the van's back wheels lifted a good foot off the ground before the whole mess finally came to a sliding stop.

Hatfield was out of his car right away, with Walsh running up behind him. Miraculously, it looked like the bus had been out of service—nobody but the driver on board. But Washington Circle was a tangle of stopped cars and rear-end collisions.

Within seconds, another half-dozen marked units had converged on the spot.

Uniformed officers were suddenly everywhere, but Hatfield was the first to reach the back door of the van. Its gray metal panels were buckled inward and the chrome handle was smashed to shit.

His heart was still thudding from the chase and he could feel the blood pounding in his ears. This wasn't over yet. What the hell were they about to find on the other side of that door? Armed gunmen? Dead men?

Even worse—dead kids?

Copyright © 2011 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.

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