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Cross Fire

Wedding bells ring
Detective Alex Cross and Bree's wedding plans are put on hold when Alex is called to the scene of the perfectly executed assassination of two of Washington D.C.'s most corrupt: a dirty congressmen and an underhanded lobbyist. Next, the elusive gunman begins picking off other crooked politicians, sparking a blaze of theories—is the marksman a hero or a vigilante?

A murderer returns
The case explodes, and the FBI assigns agent Max Siegel to the investigation. As Alex and Siegel battle over jurisdiction, the murders continue. It becomes clear that they are the work of a professional who has detailed knowledge of his victims' movements—information that only a Washington insider could possess.

Caught in a lethal cross fire
As Alex contends with the sniper, Siegel, and the wedding, he receives a call from his deadliest adversary, Kyle Craig. The Mastermind is in D.C. and will not relent until he has eliminated Cross and his family for good. With a supercharged blend of action, deception, and suspense, Cross Fire is James Patterson's most visceral and exciting Alex Cross novel ever.

Part One | SHOOTER READY

Chapter 6

AT AROUND 7:35, a black Lincoln Navigator pulled up in front of Taberna del Alabardero, a hotsy DC eatery for the stars.

Two men got out of the back on either side and another emerged from the front, while the driver stayed in the car. All three wore dark suits, with barely distinguishable ties.

Banker’s tie, thought Denny. Wouldn’t wear one to my own funeral.

“The two from the backseat. You got it covered?”

“I got it, Denny.”

Everything was dialed in. The scope’s bullet drop compensator would account for the two biggest drags on any bullet — wind, if there was any, and gravity. From this angle, the barrel might be pointing high, but the crosshairs would put Mitch’s eye right where it needed to be.

Denny watched the targets through his own scope. This was the best seat in the house. Second best anyway. “Shooter ready?”

“Ready.”

“Send it.”

Mitch slowly exhaled, then pulled off two shots in the same number of seconds.

Vapor trails showed in the air. Both men went down — one on the sidewalk and the other flat up against the front door of the restaurant. It was kind of visually spectacular, actually — two perfect head shots to the bases of two skulls.

People were already freaking out in the street. The third man literally dove back into the car, while everyone else ran or ducked and covered their heads.

They didn’t need to worry. The mission was over. Mitch had already begun to break down — the man was as fast as a speedway mechanic.

Denny unslung the M21, pulled off the magazine, and started packing. Forty seconds later, they were both on the stairs, double-timing it down to street level.

“Hey, Mitch, you weren’t planning on running for elected office, were you?”

Mitch laughed. “Maybe president someday.”

“You did perfect up there. You should be proud.”

“I am proud, Denny. That’s two dead crumbums nobody’s got to worry about no more.”

“Two dead piggies in the street!”

Mitch squealed, a pretty good imitation of swine, actually, and Denny joined in until their voices echoed up the empty stairwell. Both of them were drunk on how well it had gone. What a rush!

“And you know who the hero of the story is, right, Mitchie?” he asked.

“Nobody but us, man.”

“Damn straight. We did it ourselves. A couple of real live American heroes!”

Copyright © 2010 by James Patterson

Read by Andre Braugher & Jay O. Sanders

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