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The best—and scariest!—Alex Cross novel since Along
Came a Spider!
You can't run
Detective Alex Cross is pulled out of a family celebration and given
the awful news that a beloved relative has been found brutally
murdered. Alex vows to hunt down the killer, and soon learns that she
was mixed up in one of Washington's wildest scenes. And she was not
this killer's only victim.
You can't hide
The hunt for the murderer leads Alex and his girlfriend, Detective
Brianna Stone, to a place where every fantasy is possible, if
you have the credentials to get in. Alex and Bree are soon facing down
some very important, very protected, very dangerous people in levels of
society where only one thing is certain—they will do anything
to keep their secrets safe.
Alex Cross is your only hope to stay alive
As Alex closes in on the killer, he discovers evidence that points to
the unimaginable—a revelation that could rock the entire world. With
the unstoppable action, unforeseeable twists, and edge-of-your-seat
suspense that only a James Patterson thriller delivers, I, Alex
Cross is the master of suspense at his sharpest and best.
About The Author
JAMES PATTERSON is one of the best-known and biggest-selling
writers of all time. He is the author of some of the most popular
series of the past decade - the Alex Cross, Women's Murder Club and
Detective Michael Bennett novels - 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 has formed a partnership with the National Literacy Trust, an
independent, UK-based charity that changes lives through literacy.
"Cross is such a lovable hero, a family oriented African-American whose compassion warmly balances the icy cruelty of Patterson's villains."--Publishers Weekly "CROSS IS ONE OF THE BEST AND MOST LIKABLE CHARACTERS IN THE MODERN THRILLER GENRE."
--San Francisco Examiner "If there really were human superheroes, Alex Cross would be at the head of the class."
--New York Times
Prologue | FIRE AND WATER
HANNAH WILLIS WAS a second-year law student at Virginia, and
everything that lay ahead of her seemed bright and promising—except, of
course, that she was about to die in these dark, gloomy, dismal woods.
Go, Hannah, she told herself. Just go. Stop thinking. Whining and
crying won't help you now. Running just might.
Hannah stumbled and staggered forward until her hands found another
tree trunk to hold on to. She leaned her aching body into it, waiting
for the strength to take another breath. And then to move another burst
of steps forward.
Keep going, or you'll die right here in these woods. It's that
The bullet lodged somewhere in her lower back made every movement,
every breath an agony, more pain than Hannah had ever known was
possible. It was only the threat of a second bullet, or maybe worse,
that kept her on her feet and going at all.
God, the woods were almost pitch-black back in here. A quarter moon
drooping over the thick forest canopy did little to light the ground
below. Trees were shadows. Thorns and brambles were invisible in the
underbrush; they pierced and raked her legs bloody as she pushed
through. What little she'd been wearing to begin with—just an expensive
black lace teddy—now hung in shreds off her shoulders.
None of that mattered, though, or even registered with Hannah
anymore. The only clear thought that cut through the pain, and the
panic, was go, girl. The rest was a wordless, directionless nightmare.
Finally, and very suddenly—had it been an hour? more?—the low canopy
of trees opened up around her. 'What the...' Dirt turned to gravel
underfoot, and Hannah stumbled to her knees with nothing to hang on to.
In the hazy moonlight, she could make out the ghost of a double
line, showing the curve of a country road. It was like a miracle to
her. Half of one, anyway; she knew she wasn't out of this mess yet.
When a motor sounded in the distance, Hannah leaned on her hands and
pushed up off the gravel. Summoning strength she didn't know she still
had, she stood again, then staggered into the middle of the road. Her
world blurred through sweat and fresh tears.
Please, dear god, don't let this be them. This can't be those two
You can't be so cruel, can you?
A red truck careened around the bend then, coming at her fast. Too
fast! Suddenly, she was just as blind as she'd been before, in the
woods, but from the truck's headlights.
'Stop! Please stop! Pleee-ase!' she screamed. 'Stop, you
At the last possible second, the tires squealed on the pavement. The
red pickup skidded into full view and stopped just short of flattening
her right there into roadkill. She could feel heat coming off the
engine through the grille.
'Hey, sweetheart, nice outfit! All you had to do was stick out your
The voice was unfamiliar—which was good, really good. Loud country
music was blasting from the cab too—Charlie Daniels Band, her mind
vaguely registered, just before Hannah collapsed onto the pavement.
The driver was down there on the road a second later as she regained
consciousness. 'oh, my god, I didn't... What happened to you? Are
you—what happened to you?'
'Please.' She barely mustered the word. 'If they find me here,
they'll kill us both.'
The man's strong hands wrapped around her, grazing the dime-sized
hole in her back as he picked her up. She only exhaled, too weak to
scream now. A cluster of gray and indistinct moments later, they were
inside the truck and moving really fast down the two-lane highway.
'Hang in there, darlin'.' the driver's voice was shaky now. 'tell me
who did this to you.'
Hannah could feel her consciousness slipping away again. 'the
'the men? What men, sweetheart? Who are you talking about?'
An answer floated vaguely through Hannah's mind, and she wasn't sure
if she said it out loud or maybe just thought it before everything went
The men from the White House.
Prologue | FIRE AND WATER
HIS NAME WAS Johnny tucci, but the boys back in his South
Philadelphia neighborhood all called him Johnny twitchy, on account of
the way his eyes jumped around when he was nervous, which was most of
Of course, after tonight, the boys in Philly could go screw
themselves. This was the night Johnny got into the game for real. This
was man time. He had 'the package,' didn't he?
It was a simple job but a real goody, because he was alone and had
to take full responsibility. He'd already picked up the package. Scared
him, but he'd done just fine.
No one ever said so, but once you started making deliveries like
this, it meant you had something on the family, and they had something
on you. In other words, there was a relationship. After tonight,
there'd be no more running numbers for Johnny, no more scrapping for
crumbs in southside neighborhoods. It was like the bumper sticker that
said, today is the first day of the rest of your life.
So naturally, he was pumped—and just a little bit nervous.
His uncle eddie's warning kept playing like a tape in his mind.
Don't blow this opportunity, twitchy, eddie had said. I'm way out on a
limb here for you. Like he was doing him some kind of big favor with
this job, which Johnny supposed maybe he was, but still. His own uncle
didn't have to rub his face in it, did he?
He reached over and turned up the radio. Even the country music they
played down here was better than listening to eddie's nagging in his
head all night long. Turned out, it was an old Charlie Daniels Band
tune, 'the Devil Went Down to georgia.' He even knew some of the words.
But the familiar lyrics couldn't keep eddie's voice out of Johnny's
Don't blow this opportunity, twitchy.
I'm way out on a limb for you.
Blue flashers danced off his rearview mirror—coming out of nowhere.
Two, three seconds ago, he could have sworn he had I-95 all to himself.
Johnny felt the corner of his right eye start to twitch.
He goosed the gas; maybe he could make a run for it. Then he
remembered the piece-of-shit Dodge he was driving, lifted out of a
Motel 6 parking lot back in essington. Goddamnit! Should have gone to
the Marriott. Got a Jap car.
Still, it was possible the stolen Dodge hadn't been flagged yet.
Whoever owned it was probably sleeping back at that motel. With any
luck, Johnny could just eat the ticket and no one would ever have to
But that was the kind of luck other people had, not him.
It took the cops forever and a day to get out of their cruiser,
which was a bad sign—the worst. They were checking the make and the
plates. By the time they came up on either side of the Dodge, Johnny's
eyes were going like a couple of Mexican jumping beans.
He tried to be cool. 'evening, officers. What seems to be '
The one on his side, a tall dude with a redneck accent, opened the
driver's door. 'Just keep your mouth shut tight. Step out of the
It didn't take them any time at all to find the package. After they
checked the front and back seats, they popped the trunk, pulled the
spare-tire cover, and that was that.
'Holy Mother of god!' one of the troopers shone his light down on
it. The other one gagged at the sight. 'What the hell did you do?'
Johnny didn't stick around to answer the question. He was already
running for his life.
ISBN: 9780446561969 ISBN-10: 0446561967 Series: Alex Cross Audience:
Number Of Pages: 384 Published: 1st September 2010 Country of Publication: US Dimensions (cm): 19.68 x 11.43
Weight (kg): 0.2