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London Bridges

Alex Cross is back in his tenth and most explosive adventure yet.

In broad desert daylight, a mysterious platoon of soldiers evacuates the entire population of Sunrise Valley, Nevada. Minutes later, a huge bomb detonates a hundred feet above the ground and lays waste to homes, cars, and playgrounds: a town annihilated in an instant.

And so is the Wolf
Alex Cross is on vacation in San Francisco with his girlfriend, Jamilla Hughes, when he gets the call. The Russian supercriminal known as the Wolf claims responsibility for the blast. The Wolf is the deadliest nemesis Cross has ever faced, and the fact that he is still at large is agonizing for him and his new bosses at the FBI.

And so is the Weasel
Major cities around the globe, including London, Paris, and New York, are threatened with total destruction. The Wolf has proven he can do it - the only question is who can stop him in time. Surveillance film of the blast reveals the presence of another of Alex Cross's most dangerous enemies, the ruthless assassin known as the Weasel. The thought of these two dark geniuses joining forces makes Alex's blood run cold.

Now are you scared?

World leaders have just four days to prevent an unimaginable cataclysm. In a matter of hours, Cross is catapulted into an international chase of astonishing danger. Joining forces with Scotland Yard and Interpol, Alex fights his way through a torrent of false leads, impersonators, and foreign agents before he gets close to the heart of the crimes. Racing down the hairpin turns of the Riviera in the most unforgettable finale James Patterson has ever written, Alex Cross confronts the truth of the Wolf's identity - a revelation that even Cross himself may be unable to survive.

Prologue: THE WEASEL RETURNS, AND WHAT A NICE SURPRISE

Chapter 2

THE WEASEL JUST WANTED to die now. He was hanging upside down from the ceiling of his own master bedroom. The room had mirrors everywhere, and he could see himself in several of the reflections.

He looked like death. He was naked, bruised and bleeding all over. His hands were tightly cuffed behind his back, his ankles bound together, cutting off the circulation. Blood was rushing to his head.

Hanging beside him was the young girl, Maria, but she had been dead for several hours, maybe as much as a day, judging by the terrible smell. Her brown eyes were turned his way, but they stared right through him.

The leader of his captors, bearded, always squeezing a black ball in one hand, squatted down so that he was only a foot or so from Shafer's face. He spoke softly, a whisper.

"What we did with some prisoners when I was active - we would sit them down, rather politely, peacefully, and then nail their fucking tongues to a table. That's absolutely true, my weaselly friend. You know what else? Simply plucking hairs ...from the nostrils . . . the chest . . . stomach . . . genitals . . . it's more than a little bothersome, no? Ouch," he said as he plucked hairs from Shafer's naked body.

"But I'll tell you the worst torture, in my opinion, anyway. Worse than what you would have done to poor Maria. You grab the prisoner by both shoulders and shake violently until he convulses. You literally rattle his brain, the sensitive organ itself. He feels as if his head will fly off. His body is on fire. I'm not exaggerating.

"Here, let me show you what I mean." The terrible, unimaginably violent shaking - while Geoffrey Shafer hung upside down - went on for nearly an hour.

Finally he was cut down. "Who are you? What do you want from me?" he screamed.

The head captor shrugged. "You're a tough bastard, but always remember, I found you. And I'll find you again if I need to. Do you understand?"

Geoffrey Shafer could barely focus his eyes, but he looked up to where he thought the captor's voice had come from. He whispered, "What ...do you...want? Please?"

The bearded man's face bent close to his. He seemed almost to smile. "I have a job, a most incredible job for you. Believe me, you were born for this."

"Who are you?" the Weasel whispered again through badly chapped and bleeding lips. It was a question he'd asked a hundred times during the torture.

"I am the Wolf," said the bearded man. "Perhaps you've heard of me."

Copyright © 2004 by James Patterson

Read by Peter J. Fernandez and Denis O'Hare
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