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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.

Part One | FIRESTORM

Chapter 4

THE DRIVE BACK to Washington was like a bad dream that might never end. When Bree and I finally got home, the house was starkly quiet and still. I thought about waking Nana, but the fact that she didn't get up on her own told me she was out cold and needed the rest. All of this bad news could wait until later in the morning.

My birthday cake sat untouched in the refrigerator, and someone had left the American Airlines folio on the counter. I glanced at it long enough to see two tickets for Saint John, an island in the Caribbean I'd always wanted to visit. It didn't matter; all of that was on hold now. everything was. I felt as though I was moving in slow motion; certain details had an eerie clarity.

"You have got to go to bed." Bree took me by the hand and led me out of the kitchen. "If for no other reason than so you can think clearly about this tomorrow."

"You mean today," I said.

"I mean tomorrow. After you rest."

I noticed she hadn't said sleep. We dragged ourselves upstairs, took off our clothes, and fell into bed. Bree held my hand and wouldn't let go.

An hour or so later, I was still staring at the ceiling, hung up on the question that had been dogging me ever since we left richmond: Why?

Why had this happened? Why to Caroline?

Why a goddamn wood chipper? Why remains instead of a body?

As a detective, I should have been thinking about the physical evidence and where it could lead me, but I didn't exactly feel like a detective, lying there in the dark. I felt like an uncle, and a brother.

In a way, we'd lost Caroline once before. After Blake died, her mother didn't want anything more to do with the family. She'd moved away without so much as a parting word. Phone numbers were changed. Birthday presents were returned. At the time, it seemed like the saddest possible thing, but since then, I'd learned—over and over—what a staggering capacity the world has for misery and self-inflicted wounds.

Somewhere around four thirty, I swung my legs over the edge of the bed and sat up. My heart and mind were not to be eased.

Bree's voice stopped me. "Where are you going? It's still night."

"I don't know, Bree," I said. "Maybe the office. Try and get something done. You should go back to sleep."

"I haven't been asleep." She sat up behind me and put her arms around my shoulders. "You're not alone on this. Whatever's happening to you is happening to me."

I let my head hang and just listened to her soothing voice. She was right—we were in this together. It had been like that ever since we'd met, and that was a good thing.

"I'm going to do anything it takes for you and for this whole family to get through this," she said. "And tomorrow, you and I are going to go out there and we're going to start to find out who did this terrible thing. You hear me?"

For the first time since Davies's phone call, I felt a warm spot in my chest—nothing like happiness or even relief, but gratitude, anyway. Something to be glad for. I'd lived most of my life without Bree, and now I couldn't imagine how.

"How did I find you?" I asked her. "How did I get so lucky?"

"It's not luck." She held on to me even tighter. "It's love, Alex."

Copyright © 2009 by James Patterson

Read by Tim Cain & Michael Cerveris

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