Little, Brown and Company
It's Christmas Eve and Detective Alex Cross has been called out to catch someone who's robbing his church's poor box. That mission behind him, Alex returns home to celebrate with Bree, Nana, and his children. The tree decorating is barely underway before his phone rings again—a horrific hostage situation is quickly spiraling out of control. Away from his own family on the most precious of days, Alex calls upon every ounce of his training, creativity, and daring to save another family. Alex risks everything—and he may not make it back alive on this most sacred of family days. Alex Cross is a hero for our time, and never more so than in this story of family, action, and the deepest moral choices. MERRY CHRISTMAS, ALEX CROSS will be a holiday classic for years to come.
Little, Brown and Company
Book One | MERRY CHRISTMAS, ALEX
WE GOT IN HIS CAR, AND MCGOEY TURNED THE HEATER ON HIGH AND FLESHED out the story for me. I soon realized that it clearly was a god-awful situation, one with the potential to turn into a full-scale tragedy.
The beautiful town house used to belong to Henry Fowler, a top-flight attorney who’d fallen on hard times. Fowler’s ex-wife, Diana, now owned the home and lived there with her new husband, Dr. Barry Nicholson, and her three children: eleven-year-old twins, Jeremy and Chloe, and six-year-old son, Trey.
“Henry Fowler’s got them all in there,” McGoey said. “He’s armed to the teeth and said he is fully prepared to die tonight.”
“It’s a wonderful life,” I said.
“And it only gets better,” the detective said. “Melissa Brandywine’s in there too.” He gestured down the street to another, similar townhome. “She’s the neighbor, wife of Congressman Michael Brandywine of Colorado.”
“The chief told me,” I grumbled; then I closed my eyes and rubbed at my temple. “Where’s he? Brandywine?”
“At Vail with his two kids, waiting for her to come join them for their ski vacation. She was supposed to fly out this afternoon but made the mistake of bringing Diana a box of homemade cookies before she left.”
Funny what a nice small-town gesture can get you in DC.
“He giving you a reason? Fowler?”
“He’s only spoken to us once, and that wasn’t part of the conversation,” McGoey said. “We wouldn’t have known anything if Mrs. Brandywine hadn’t used the toilet and texted her husband about what was going on inside.”
“The congressman was the first to report it?”
“Yeah, really lit a torch under everyone’s ass.”
Mentally I began to compartmentalize, to push aside all my frustration at having to leave my family on Christmas Eve and focus on the task at hand. “Tell me about Fowler. His divorce. Whatever I should know.”
“Headquarters isn’t exactly loaded up with personnel tonight, so we’re still waiting on most of the background check. But we know the Fowlers divorced two years ago. She filed, found the new hubby within two months, or maybe before, and moved on. Fowler not so much, evidently.”
“Any idea what Fowler’s got for weapons?”
“Oh yeah,” McGoey said, going to his notebook. “He gave us the breakdown the one time he picked up the phone.”
Fowler claimed to have two Glock 19s. The Glock 19 is the standard-issue service weapon of the MPD, which means I carry a 19. The good thing about a 19 is that it holds nineteen rounds. The bad thing about a 19 is that it holds nineteen rounds. Fowler said he also had two twelve-gauge pump shotguns, two AR-15 rifles, and multiple magazines and boxes of ammunition for each weapon.
Two of everything. What was that all about?
I wrote it all in my notebook, jotted down Long lead time, and drew an arrow to the list.
“That everything?” I asked.
“Far as we know. Well, except for the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.”
I frowned and said, “Didn’t know PB and Js were deadly weapons.”
“Only to someone like Fowler’s youngest kid,” McGoey said. “Peanut allergy. One bite and he’ll have about ten minutes to live.”
Copyright © 2012 by James Patterson
Audiobook (Unabridged CD)
Read by Michael Boatman, Stephen Kunken & Cristin Milioti
Michael Boatman is an Image Award-nominated American actor and writer. He is best known for his roles as U.S. Army Specialist Samuel Beckett in the drama series China Beach, as New York City mayoral aide Carter Heywood in the sitcom Spin City, and as sports agent Stanley Babson in the comedy series Arli$$.
Stephen Kunken is an American actor, best known for his work in theatre. His Broadway credits include Frost/Nixon, Rock 'n' Roll, and Enron, for which he received a Tony Award nomination for Featured Actor in a Play.
Cristin Milioti is currently starring in her Tony nominated role as 'Girl' in the Broadway smash hit musical Once. The critically acclaimed show has won numerous accolades along with eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Milioti's next project is the upcoming Martin Scorsese film The Wolf of Wall Street where she plays opposite Leonardo DiCaprio. Recent roles include a hilarious turn on 30 Rock as the sexy, baby-voiced writer, "Abby Flynn," and the straight laced sister of Mike Birbiglia's character in the recent indie hit Sleepwalk with Me.
Little, Brown and Company