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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 7

MY MIND WAS WORKING EVEN FASTER NOW, PROBABLY TOO FAST. So was my pulse. And I couldn't catch my breath either.

The president's kids.

George Washington University Hospital was only a few blocks from the crash site so this was going to have to be quick. While the EMTs worked over our suspect and radioed in his vitals, I leaned in as close as I could to get his attention.

"What's your name?" I said.

I had to ask a couple of times before he finally responded.

"Ray?" He said it like a question.

"Okay, Ray. I'm Alex. You with me here?"

He was flat on his back and staring at the ceiling. I ran a finger back and forth in front of his eyes to get him to look at me. "What are you on, Ray? You know what you took?" His expression was as distant as ever. "Just a drink of water," he said finally.

"Don't give him anything!" one of the medics barked at me.

"I'm not," I said. "'Drink of water' is PCP. That's what he thinks he took."

"Thinks?" Agent Findlay asked.

"Something heavily anesthetic, anyway. Probably some kind of nose cocktail." And I was guessing he didn't mix it himself.

"Who got you the van, Ray?" I said. "Who put you up to this? There's somebody else, right?"

"Anyone, anyone," he said. "Five hundred bucks and a little drink of water."

"Five hundred bucks?" Findlay looked like he was ready to tear the guy's face off. "Do you have any idea what kind of shit storm you just landed in—for five hundred dollars?"

Ray wasn't listening to the Secret Service agent, though. He was looking around now, like he'd just figured out where he was. When he got down to his own midsection, and the blood soaking through the heavy gauze dressing, he just grinned. "This is some good shit," he said.

"Ray?" I tried again. "Ray? You said something about 'anyone.' What did you mean by that?"

"No," he said, twitching away. "Anyone, anyone." The fingers on his left hand started moving rapidly; it looked like he was playing scales on a piano.

Findlay and I looked at each other. Whoever had put Ray up to this knew what they were doing. Now, while the trail to the kids was warmest, the one person we had in custody was virtually useless. We were wasting precious time on this guy. That was exactly what the kidnapper wanted, wasn't it?

"We're here!" the ambulance driver yelled back. "Interview's over." The other two stood up and started getting Ray ready to go.

"Who's anyone?" I tried one more time. "What do you mean by that, Ray?"

"An-y-one. An-y-one," he said again, tapping a different finger on each syllable—and I realized it wasn't like he was playing a piano. It was like he was hitting keys on a keyboard. Then I had another idea.

N-E-1-N-E-1.

"Is that a screen name?" I asked. "Did somebody find you online, Ray?"

"Watch out, guys!"

The back of the ambulance opened from the outside. Findlay and I had to jump out first to get out of the way.

An emergency medical team was already waiting, along with an incongruous crowd of gray suits off to one side.

It wasn't just any crowd, either. Findlay stopped short on the pavement, and I almost knocked into him.

"Sir?" he said to one of the suits.

Right there in front of us was the secretary of Homeland Security himself, Phil Ribillini.

"Detective Cross," Ribillini said with a curt nod. We'd met once before, back when I was with the FBI and he was with Defense. There were no pleasantries today. "We'll need a statement from you right away," he said. "But my people will take it from there. Has to be that way."

In other words, I wasn't going any farther with the prisoner. All I could do was watch as they wheeled Ray inside through the automatic sliders and out of sight.

But that wasn't the bad part. The clock kept ticking on those two missing 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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