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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.

Part One: THE UNTHINKABLE

Chapter 5

"EASY DOES IT, gentlemen. No one is to be hurt. Not this time."

Nearly eight hundred miles away, the Wolf was watching in live time what was happening in the desert. What a flick! There were four cameras on the ground at Sunrise Valley that were pumping video footage to four monitors in the house in the Bel Air section of Los Angeles, where he was staying. For the moment, anyway.

He watched closely as the inhabitants of the mobile-home park were escorted by army personnel into waiting transport trucks. The clarity of the footage was very good. He could see the patches on the soldiers' arms: NEVADA ARMY GUARD UNIT 72ND.

Suddenly he spoke out loud, "Shit! Don't do that!" He started to squeeze the black handball rapidly in his fist, a habit when he was anxious or angry, or both.

One of the male civilians had pulled a gun and had it pointed at a soldier. Incredibly dumb mistake! "You imbecile!" the Wolf shouted at the screen.

An instant later the man with the handgun was dead, facedown in the desert dust, which actually made it easier to get the other retards from Sunrise Valley into the transport trucks. Should have been part of the plan in the first place, the Wolf thought. But it hadn't been, so now it was a small problem.

Then one of the handheld cameras focused on a small cargo plane as it approached the town and circled overhead. This was just gorgeous to behold. The handheld was obviously on board one of the army trucks, which were, he hoped, speeding out of range.

It was amazing footage - black and white, which somehow made it even more powerful. Black and white was more realistic, no? Yes - absolutely.

The handheld was steady on the plane as it glided in over the town.

"Angels of death," he whispered. "Beautiful image. I'm such an artist."

It took two of them to push the bladder of gas out the payload door. Then the pilot banked a hard left, fire walled the engines, and climbed out of there as fast as he could. That was his job, his piece of the puzzle, and he'd done it very well. "You get to live," the Wolf spoke to the video again.

The camera was on a wide angle now and captured the bomb as it slowly plummeted toward the town. Stunning footage. Scary as hell, too, even for him to see. At approximately a hundred feet from the ground, the bomb detonated. "Ka-fucking-boom!" said the Wolf. It just came out of his mouth. Usually he wasn't this emotional about anything.

As he watched - couldn't take his eyes away - the Daisy Cutter leveled everything within five hundred yards of the drop site. It also had the capacity to kill everything within an area that large, which it did. This was utter devastation. Up to ten miles away windows blew out of buildings.

The ground and buildings shook in Elko, Nevada, about thirty-five miles away. The explosion was heard in the next state.

And actually, much farther away than that. Right there in Los Angeles, for instance. Because tiny Sunrise Valley, Nevada, was just a test run.

"This is just a warm-up," said the Wolf. "Just the beginning of something great. My masterpiece. My payback."

Copyright © 2004 by James Patterson

Read by Peter J. Fernandez and Denis O'Hare
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