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I, Alex Cross

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.

Prologue | FIRE AND WATER

Two

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 the time.

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 head.

Don't blow this opportunity, twitchy.

I'm way out on a limb for you.

Oh, fuck!

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.

Apparently not.

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 know.

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 vehicle."

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.

Copyright © 2009 by James Patterson

Read by Tim Cain & Michael Cerveris

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