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Alex Cross's Trial : Alex Cross : Book 15 - James Patterson

Alex Cross's Trial

Alex Cross : Book 15

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Alex Cross tells the incredible story—passed down through the generations—of an ancestor's courageous fight for freedom.


From his grandmother, Alex Cross heard the story of his great-uncle Abraham and his struggles for survival in the era of the Ku Klux Klan. Now, Alex passes the family tale along to his own children in a book he's written—a novel called Trial.


A lawyer in early-1900s Washington, D.C., Ben Corbett fights against oppression and racism—and risks his family and his life in the process. When President Theodore Roosevelt asks Ben to return to his hometown to investigate rumors of the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan there, he cannot refuse.


In Eudora, Mississippi, Ben meets the wise Abraham Cross and his beautiful daughter, Moody. With their help, Ben discovers that lynchings have become commonplace. Ben vows to break the reign of terror—but the truth of who is really behind it may break his heart. Written in the fearless voice of Detective Alex Cross, ALEX CROSS'S TRIAL is a gripping story of murder, love, and unparalleled bravery.

A Preface to Trial

By Alex Cross

A few months after I hunted a vicious killer named the Tiger halfway around the world, I began to think seriously about a book I had been wanting to write for years. I even had the title for it: Trial. The previous book I'd written was about the role of forensic psychology in the capture of the serial killer gary Soneji. Trial would be very different, and in some ways even more terrifying.

Oral history is very much alive in the Cross family, and this is because of my grandmother, regina Cross, who is known in our household and our neighborhood as Nana Mama. Nana's famous stories cover the five decades when she was a teacher in Washington—the difficulties she faced during those years of civil rights turmoil, but also countless tales passed on from times before she was alive.

One of these stories—and it is the one that stayed with me the most—involved an uncle of hers who was born and lived most of his life in the small town of eudora, Mississippi. This man, Abraham Cross, was one of the finest baseball players of that era and once played for the Philadelphia Pythians. Abraham was grandfather to my cousin Moody, who was one of the most unforgettable and best-loved characters in our family history.

What I now feel compelled to write about took place in Mississippi during the time that Theodore roosevelt was president, the early part of the twentieth century. I believe it is a story that helps illuminate why so many black people are angry, hurt, and lost in this country, even today. I also think it is important to keep this story alive for my family, and hopefully for yours.

The main character is a man my grandmother knew here in Washington, a smart and courageous lawyer named Ben Corbett. it is our good fortune that Corbett kept first-person journals of his incredible experiences, including a trial that took place in eudora. A few years before he died, Mr. Corbett gave those journals to Moody. eventually they wound up in my grandmother's hands. My suspicion is that what happened in Mississippi was too personal and painful for Corbett to turn into a book. But I have come to believe that there has never been a better time for this story to be told.

Chapter 1

'LET HER HANG until she's dead!'

'Take her out and hang her now! I 'll do it myself!'

Bam! Bam! Bam!

Judge Otis L. Warren wielded his gavel with such fury I thought he might smash a hole in the top of his bench.

'Quiet in the court!' the judge shouted. 'Settle down, or by god I will hold every last one of you sons of bitches in contempt.'

Bam! Bam! Bam!

It was no use. Warren's courtroom was overflowing with disgruntled white citizens who wanted nothing more than to see my client hang. Two of them on the left side began a chant that was soon taken up by others:

We don't care where. We don't care how.

We just wanna hang Gracie Johnson now!

The shouts from some among the white majority sent such a shiver of fear through the colored balcony that one woman fainted and had to be carried out.

Another bang of the gavel. Judge Warren stood and shouted, 'Mr. loomis, escort all those in the colored section out of my courtroom and out of the building.'

I couldn't hold my tongue another second.

'Your Honor, I object! I don't see any of the colored folks being rowdy or disrespectful. The ones making the fuss are the white men in front.'

Judge Warren glared over his glasses at me. His expression intimidated the room into silence.

'Mr. Corbett, it is my job to decide how to keep order in my court. it is your job to counsel your client—and let me tell you, from where I sit, she needs all the help she can get.'

I couldn't disagree.

What I once thought would be an easy victory in the case of District of Columbia v. Johnson was swiftly turning into a disaster for Gracie and her increasingly helpless attorney, Benjamine. Corbett: that being myself.

Gracie Johnson was on trial for the murder of Lydia Davenport, a wealthy white woman who was active in Washington society at a level high enough to cause a nosebleed. Worse, Gracie was a black woman accused of killing her wealthy white employer.

The year was 1906. Before it was all over, I was afraid they were going to hang Gracie.

I had to be careful they didn't hang me while they were at it.
James Patterson

James Patterson is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time. Since winning the Edgar Award for Best First Novel with The Thomas Berryman Number, his books have sold in excess of 300 million copies worldwide and he has been the most borrowed author in UK libraries for the past eight years in a row. He is the author of some of the most popular series of the past two decades â?? Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club, Detective Michael Bennett and Private novels â?? and he has written many other number one bestsellers including romance novels and stand-alone thrillers. He lives in Florida with his wife and son.

James is passionate about encouraging children to read. Inspired by his own son who was a reluctant reader, he also writes a range of books specifically for young readers. James is a founding partner of Booktrust's Children's Reading Fund in the UK.

Visit James Patterson's Booktopia Author Page

ISBN: 9780099543039
ISBN-10: 0099543036
Series: Alex Cross
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 512
Published: 30th September 2010
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 17.6 x 11.6  x 3.5
Weight (kg): 0.27