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
DR. HALA AL DOSSARI WAS TWENTY-NINE YEARS OLD, SLENDER AND attractive, humorous when it was useful, very bright, with a photographic memory. Her husband, Tariq, was thirty-nine, pudgy everywhere, and hopelessly in love with his wife. They looked like they had everything to live for, but in reality, the Al Dossaris were prepared to die at any time. Probably sooner rather than later. That was their mission.
Hala snuck a sideways glance at her watch. They had been warned repeatedly about the dangers of Dulles Airport. The International Arrivals area was one of the most scrutinized in the world. Besides the armed security and usual customs agents, the terminal was staffed with a well-trained team of behavior detection officers—BDOs. The purpose of these police devils was to scan the incoming crowds for anything considered beyond the norm.
Too much sweat on the brow could get you pulled out of line here.
So could rapid eye movement.
Or a nervous gait.
Or a cranky BDO.
"Almost through,"Hala said, giving her husband's hand a reassuring squeeze. "Not much longer. Give me a smile. Americans love a nice smile."
"Inshallah," he answered.
"Tariq, please—a smile. Just show your teeth for the surveillance cameras."
Finally, he did as he was told. It was a stiff-jawed attempt—but a smile, anyway. So far, so good. Another minute or so and they would be perfectly safe.
Passport control had gone by without incident. Baggage claim, other than feeling like a cattle yard, had been fine. Now they were down to luggage screening, one final queue to wait in before they could truly say they'd arrived safely in Washington.
But everything had suddenly slowed to a crawl. This was a nightmare.
In fact, Hala realized, the line had completely stopped.
A couple of uniformed TSA agents were unhooking the stanchion belt up ahead, motioning for two people to step out of line. It was another couple—also Saudi, also in Western dress.
"Sir? Ma'am? Could you come with us, please?"
"What for?" the other man asked, immediately on the defensive. "We haven't done anything wrong. Why should we lose our rightful place in the queue?"
His accent was Najdi, Hala noticed. The same as theirs.
But who were these people? Could this just be a coincidence? One look at Tariq's worried face and she knew he was wrestling with the same questions. Was their American mission about to be compromised before it had even begun?
More American security personnel hurried over now. A husky black female officer took the Saudi woman firmly by the arm.
"Farouk!" the woman screamed for her husband. Then she yelled at the security police. "Leave us alone! Take your dirty hands off me!"
As Hala watched the husband, her heart skipped. He was reaching for something in his pocket. One of the guards tried to pull his arm away. But the man pushed back hard. The guard went down on his ass.
Two more officers rushed forward. There was a violent scuffle. The police threw the Saudi man to the floor. Jumped on his back. But he fought and got one hand free. The next moment, he'd stuffed something into his mouth.
And that's when Hala knew—this was no coincidence. She had a potassium cyanide capsule in her pocket as well. So did Tariq.
Whatever this couple had done to tip off the authorities, there was nothing the Al Dossaris could do for them now. Their only obligation at this point was to avoid detection. Above all, they mustn't be captured, too.
And they wouldn't be. Not if they kept their heads, Hala knew. Service to the cause was everything. Their mission could change the world. But first, they had to make it out of here alive. The Family was depending on them. Their mission here meant everything.
Tariq grasped her hand tighter. His own hand was wet with sweat. "I love you, Hala," he whispered. "I love you so much!"
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.