Alex Cross rejoins the DC police force to confront two of the most diabolical killers he's ever encountered.
Prologue | IN YOUR HONOR
FOUR YEARS TO THE DAY LATER, Kyle Craig was still being held, or perhaps smothered was the more apt description, in the maximum-security prison in Florence, Colorado, about a hundred miles from Denver. He hadn’t seen the sun in all that time. He was cut off from most human contact. His anger was growing, blossoming, and that was a terrifying thing to consider.
His fellow inmates included the Unabomber — Ted Kaczynski; Oklahoma City conspirator Terry Nichols; and Al Qaeda terrorists Richard Reid and Zacarias Moussaoui. None of them had required much sunblock lately either. The prisoners were kept locked away in soundproof, seven-by-twelve concrete cells for twenty-three hours every day, completely isolated from anyone other than their lawyers and high-security guards. The solitary experience at ADX Florence had been compared to “dying every single day.”
Even Kyle admitted that escaping from Florence was a daunting challenge, maybe impossible. In fact, none of the prisoners inside had ever succeeded, or even come close. Still, one could only hope, one could dream, one could plot and exercise the old imagination. One could most definitely plan a little revenge.
His case was currently on appeal, and his lawyer from Denver, Mason Wainwright, visited once a week. This day, he arrived as he always did, promptly at four p.m.
Mason Wainwright sported a long silver-gray ponytail, scuffed black cowboy boots, and a cowboy hat worn jauntily back on his head. He had on a buckskin jacket, a snakeskin belt, and large horn-rimmed glasses that gave him the appearance of a rather studious country-and-western singer, or a country-and-western-loving college professor, take your pick. He seemed a curious choice as an attorney, but Kyle Craig had a reputation for brilliance, so the selection of Wainwright wasn’t seriously questioned.
Craig and the lawyer hugged when Wainwright arrived. As he usually did, Kyle whispered near the lawyer’s ear, “There’s no videotaping permitted in this room? That rule is still in force? You’re sure of it, Mr. Wainwright?”
“There’s no videotape,” answered Wainwright. “You have attorney-client privilege, even in this pathetic hellhole. I’m sorry that I can’t do more for you. I sincerely apologize for that. You know how I feel about you.”
“I don’t question your loyalty, Mason.”
Following the hug, Craig and the lawyer sat on opposite sides of a gray metal conference table, which was bolted securely to the concrete floor. So were the chairs.
Kyle now asked the lawyer eight specific questions, always the same questions, in session after session. He asked them rapidly, leaving no time for any answers by his attorney, who just sat there in respectful silence.
“That great consoler of mass-murdering prisoners, Truman Capote, once said that he was afraid of two things, and two things only. So which of these is worse, betrayal or abandonment?” Kyle Craig began, then went right to the next question.
“What was the very first thing you forced yourself not to cry over, and how old were you when it occurred?”
And then, “Tell me this, Counselor: what is the average length of time it takes a drowning person to lose consciousness?
“Here’s something I’m curious about — do most murders take place indoors or out?
“Why is laughing at a funeral considered unacceptable, while crying at a wedding is not?
“Can you hear the sound of one hand clapping if all the flesh is removed from the hand?
“How many ways are there to skin a cat, if you wish it to remain alive through the entire process?
“And, oh yes, how are my Boston Red Sox doing?”
Then there was silence between Kyle and the lawyer. Occasionally, the convicted murderer would ask a few more specifics — perhaps additional detail about the Red Sox or about the Yankees, whom he despised, or about some interesting killer working on the outside whom the lawyer had informed him about.
Then came another hug as Mason Wainwright was about to leave the room.
The lawyer whispered against Kyle’s cheek. “They’re ready to go. The preparations are complete. There will be important doings in Washington, DC, soon. There will be payback. We expect a large audience. All in your honor.”
Kyle Craig didn’t say anything to this news, but he put his index fingers together and pressed them hard against the lawyer’s skull. Very hard indeed, and he made an unmistakable impression that traveled instantly to Mason Wainwright’s brain.
The fingers were in the shape of a cross.
Copyright © 2007 by James Patterson
Peter Jay Fernandez is a New York-based actor and narrator. He has appeared on Broadway in Jelly's Last Jam and The Merchant of Venice. His extensive television credits include Funny Valentines, The Prosecutors, Law & Order, and Cosby. He currently lives in Harlem with his wife Denise and read London Bridges and Cross, also by James Patterson, for Hachette Audio.
Michael Stuhlbarg attended Juilliard and received a Tony Award nomination for his work in Pillowman and an Obie Award for his off-Broadway performance in The Voysey Inheritance.