The President's son and daughter are abducted, and Detective Alex Cross is one of the first on the scene. But someone very high-up is using the FBI, Secret Service, and CIA to keep him off the case and in the dark.
A deadly contagion in the water supply cripples half of the capital, and Alex discovers that someone may be about to unleash the most devastating attack the United States has ever experienced.
As his window for solving both crimes narrows, Alex makes a desperate decision that goes against everything he believes—one that may alter the fate of the entire country. KILL ALEX CROSS is faster, more exciting, and more tightly wound than any Alex Cross thriller James Patterson has ever written!
Book One | UNACCOUNTED FOR
AS SOON AS THE DOOR TO THE LECTURE HALL SLAMMED SHUT BEHIND Agent Clay Findlay, he checked the knob—still unlocked. Then he checked the sweep hand on his stainless-steel Breitling. "I'm giving them another forty-five seconds," he said into the mike at his cuff. "After that, we've got T. Rex going to assembly and Twilight headed to the principal's office."
Word from the president and First Lady had been to allow Ethan and Zoe as normal a school experience as possible, including their own conflicts—within reason. That was easier said than done, of course. Zoe Coyle didn't always operate within reason. In fact, she usually didn't. Zoe wasn't a bad kid. But she was a kid. Willful. And smart, and devoted to her younger brother.
"l'm probably going to get reamed for this," Findlay radioed quietly. "Tell you what, though. That Ryan Townsend kid's a little prick. Not that you heard it here."
"Like father, like son," Musgrove radioed back. "Kid got what he was asking for, and more. Zoe really clocked the little shithead."
There was some low laughter on the line. Ryan Townsend's daddy was the House minority whip and a rabid opponent of virtually every move President Coyle ever made or even thought about. Sometimes the Branaff School could feel like Little Washington. Which it kind of was.
Findlay checked his watch again. Two minutes exactly. End of recess for the Coyle kids. Now back to work for everybody.
"All right, ladies and gentlemen, we're on the move," he said into his mike. Then he knocked twice on the lecture hall door and pushed it open.
"Time's up, guys. You ready to...goddamnit."
The room was empty.
No. No. No. Not this. Goddamn those kids. Goddamn Zoe!
Findlay's pulse spiked to a new high, at least for today. His eyes leapt to the multipaned windows along the back wall.
Even as he moved toward them, he was opening all channels on his transmitter to address the Joint Ops Center as well as his on-site team.
"Command, this is Apex One. Twilight and T. Rex are unaccounted for." His voice was urgent but flat. There would be no panicking. "I repeat, both protectees are unaccounted for."
When he reached the windows, they were all pulled down to the sill, but one of them had been left unlatched. A quick scan of the grounds outside showed nothing but plush green playing fields all the way to the south fence.
"Findlay? What's going on?"
Musgrove was there now, standing in the doorway from the hall.
"They must have snuck outside," Findlay said. "I'm going to kill her. I really am. Long overdue." This thing had Zoe written all over it. It was probably her idea of a big game, or a joke on her keepers.
"Command, Apex One," he radioed again. "Twilight and T. Rex are still unaccounted for. I need an immediate lock-down on all exits, inside and out—"
All at once, a commotion broke out on the line. Findlay heard shouting, and the grating sound of metal on metal. Then two gunshots.
"Command, this is Apex Five!" Another voice blared over the radio now. "We've got a gray panel van. Just evaded us at the east gate. It's proceeding south on Wisconsin at high speed. Sixty, seventy miles an hour! Request immediate backup!"
Copyright © 2011 by James Patterson
Read by Andre Braugher & Zach Grenier
Andre Braughner is an Emmy-award and Obie-award winning actor. His most recent film and television credits include Salt, Passengers, and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, and Men of a Certain Age. Born and raised in Chicago, he earned A BA from Stanford University and an MFA from Juilliard.
Zach Grenier’s film credits include Fight Club, Zodiac, Ride With the Devil, and Twister. He has appeared on such television series as The Good Wife, Deadwood, and 24. Most notable among his stage credits is the Broadway production of 33 Variations.