Like Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Pin Us on Pinterest Follow Us on Instagram Follow Us on YouTube Sign Up for Our Newsletter
eSSENTIAL Accessibility Download
Alex Cross Movie on DVD
Starring Tyler Perry & Matthew Fox
On DVD: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
On Demand: Amazon | iTunes
In Stores Now
Invisible
Hardcover
Private Down Under
Paperback

Unlucky 13
Hardcover
Homeroom Diaries
Hardcover
Private L.A.
Hardcover
See the entire checklist of books by A–Z | Series 
Merry Christmas, Alex Cross
Merry Christmas, Alex Cross
Fiction/General
Hardcover
ISBN: 0316210684
$28.99/U.S.
400 pages
Little, Brown and Company

It's Christmas Eve and Detective Alex Cross has been called out to catch someone who's robbing his church's poor box. That mission behind him, Alex returns home to celebrate with Bree, Nana, and his children. The tree decorating is barely underway before his phone rings again—a horrific hostage situation is quickly spiraling out of control. Away from his own family on the most precious of days, Alex calls upon every ounce of his training, creativity, and daring to save another family. Alex risks everything—and he may not make it back alive on this most sacred of family days. Alex Cross is a hero for our time, and never more so than in this story of family, action, and the deepest moral choices. MERRY CHRISTMAS, ALEX CROSS will be a holiday classic for years to come.

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross
Fiction/General
Hardcover
ISBN: 0316210684
$28.99/U.S.
400 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Book One | MERRY CHRISTMAS, ALEX

Chapter 4

AN IN-FAMILY HOSTAGE SITUATION IS, IN MY OPINION, THE HANDS-DOWN, no-argument worst kind of situation any police officer will ever face. I learned this a long time ago, when I was fourteen, to be exact. A freebaser named Willie Gonzalez took his family hostage down the street from where Nana Mama and I were living. After Gonzalez shot his pregnant wife, his two young daughters, and then himself, I saw one of the police officers who’d been negotiating with him. The poor cop was sitting in his car crying and drinking from an open pint of Jack Daniel’s.

I’ve had the misfortune to be part of a dozen or so of these kinds of details in my career, a few times as lead negotiator, more often as a psychological consultant. There’s a broad spectrum of things that can happen when you’re a cop: You might have to sharpshoot a terrorist. Or meticulously unravel a kidnapping. Or even outfox a serial killer or two. Any of these situations can mess you up psychologically.

But dealing with someone holding family members hostage is like trying to stop a Mack truck carrying a full load of insanity. Usually the person with the gun—more often than not, it’s an obsessive, substance-abusing male, like Willie Gonzalez—is so far gone he doesn’t give a damn about his hostages, or his future. He blames them for something. He blames himself for something. He can’t get his facts straight or see the truth of his circumstances. It’s a lose-lose situation all the way around.

As for hostage negotiators, well, we are usually smart and well trained, but we rarely pull off the heroics you see in movies. Have I ever seen the abductor listen to the negotiator and then throw down his weapon and come out with his hands up? Sure, about as often as I’ve seen the Redskins win the Super Bowl. Two or three times. It’s in the realm of possibility. But the odds are stacked against it.

We got out of the car and headed toward the police vans where McGoey said officers were trying to reestablish contact with Fowler. Nearly an inch of snow had fallen and the storm was only getting worse. My feet began to freeze again.

“Think they have an extra pair of boots?”

The detective looked at my shoes and said, “I’ve only been here six days.”

“Good point,” I said, thinking that I really did not like cold and snow. “Whose property is this?” I asked, indicating the Georgian brick mansion his car was parked in front of.

“Ambassador from Nigeria. No idea how to pronounce the name.”

“Nice place the ambassador from Nigeria’s got.”

“Yeah, half his country is starving to death, and this dude’s living in six bedrooms in Georgetown. Guess he’s gone for the holidays too.”

“Probably to Lagos. I’ve been there. A real hellhole. Then again, from the look of things, maybe I’d rather be in Lagos tonight myself.”

Copyright © 2012 by James Patterson

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross
Fiction/General
Audiobook (Unabridged CD)
ISBN: 1611130298
$34.98/U.S.
Hachette Audio

Read by Michael Boatman, Stephen Kunken & Cristin Milioti

Michael Boatman is an Image Award-nominated American actor and writer. He is best known for his roles as U.S. Army Specialist Samuel Beckett in the drama series China Beach, as New York City mayoral aide Carter Heywood in the sitcom Spin City, and as sports agent Stanley Babson in the comedy series Arli$$.

Stephen Kunken is an American actor, best known for his work in theatre. His Broadway credits include Frost/Nixon, Rock 'n' Roll, and Enron, for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Featured Actor in a Play.

Cristin Milioti is currently starring in her Tony nominated role as 'Girl' in the Broadway smash hit musical Once. The critically acclaimed show has won numerous accolades along with eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Milioti's next project is the upcoming Martin Scorsese film The Wolf of Wall Street where she plays opposite Leonardo DiCaprio. Recent roles include a hilarious turn on 30 Rock as the sexy, baby-voiced writer, "Abby Flynn," and the straight laced sister of Mike Birbiglia's character in the recent indie hit Sleepwalk with Me.

Audio Excerpts (MP3)
Merry Christmas, Alex Cross
Fiction/General
Hardcover
ISBN: 0316210684
$28.99/U.S.
400 pages
Little, Brown and Company
Apple
Barnes & Noble
Books-A-Million
Buy.com
Google eBooks
IndieBound
Kobo eBooks
Powells
Target
Walmart
iPad, iPhone, and iPod users: please search "[title]" within your iBooks App.