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Alex Cross, Run

Detective Alex Cross arrests renowned plastic surgeon Elijah Creem for sleeping with teenage girls. Now, his life ruined, Creem is out of jail, and he's made sure that no one will recognize him—by giving himself a new face.

A young woman is found hanging from a sixth-floor window, and Alex is called to the scene. The victim recently gave birth, but the baby is nowhere to be found. Before Alex can begin searching for the missing newborn and killer, he's called to investigate a second crime. All of Washington, D.C., is in a panic, and when a third body is discovered, rumours of three serial killers send the city into an all-out frenzy.

Alex's investigations are going nowhere, and he's too focused on the cases to notice that someone has been watching him—and will stop at nothing until he's dead. With white-hot speed, relentless drama, and hairpin turns, ALEX CROSS, RUN is James Patterson's ultimate thrill ride.

Part One | WIN, LOSE, OR DRAW

Chapter 2

GOT THE FIRST CALL AT HEADQUARTERS AROUND TWO O’CLOCK THAT afternoon.

A woman had been found dead in the trunk of her car, in a Georgetown parking garage. Pretty unusual for Georgetown, so my hackles were up more than usual. I took the elevator straight down to the Daly Building garage and headed out with an extra-large coffee in hand. It was going to be a long-ass day.

That said, I really do like my job. I like giving a voice to the people who can’t speak for themselves anymore—the ones whose voices have been stolen from them. And in my line of work, that usually means through some kind of violence.

The responding officer’s report was that a garage attendant at American Allied Parking on M Street had found what looked like a pool of dried blood underneath a BMW belonging to one Darcy Vickers. When the cops arrived, they’d forced open the trunk and confirmed what they already suspected. Ms. Vickers had no pulse, and had been dead for some time. Now they were waiting for someone from Homicide to arrive and take it from there.

That’s where I came in. Or at least, so I thought.

It was a beautiful spring day. The best time of year in DC. The National Cherry Blossom Festival was on, and we hadn’t yet gotten hit with the first wave of summer humidity—or summer tourists. I had my windows down and Quincy Jones’s Soul Bossa Nostra up loud enough that I almost didn’t hear my phone when the second call came in.

Caller ID told me it was Marti Huizenga, my sergeant at the Major Case Squad. I juggled the volume down on the stereo and caught the call just before it went to voice mail.

“Dr. C.,” she said. “Where are you?”

“Pennsylvania and Twenty-First,” I told her. “Why?”

“Good. Take a right on New Hampshire. Another body just popped up, and it sounds god-awful, to tell you the truth.”

“So you thought of me.”

“Natch. I need someone over there right away. It’s a bad scene, Alex—a dead girl, hanging out of a sixth-floor window. Possible suicide, but I don’t know.”

“You want me on this instead of Georgetown?”

“I want you on both,” Huizenga said. “At least for now. I need one set of eyes on both scenes, as fresh as possible.

And then I want you to tell me this is all just a coincidence, okay? I’m asking politely here.”

Huizenga’s sense of humor was as dark as mine could be sometimes. I liked working with her. And we both knew that the difference between two unrelated dead bodies and two related ones was the difference between not getting much sleep for the next forty-eight hours, and getting none at all.

“I’ll do my best,” I said.

“Vernon Street, between Eighteenth and Nineteenth,” she said. “I’ll tell Second District to get started without you at the garage in Georgetown, but try to be there as soon as you can.”

That’s kind of like telling the clouds when to rain. I had no idea how long I’d be at this new scene. You never do until you’re there.

And this one turned out to be a nightmare.

Copyright © 2013 by James Patterson

Read by Michael Boatman & Steven Boyer

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