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Roses Are Red

From James Patterson, the #1 bestselling author of Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider, comes a dazzlingly frightening new thriller: Roses Are Red.

In this heart-pounding but touchingly romantic new thriller, Detective Alex Cross pursues the most complex and brilliant killer he's ever confronted — mysterious criminal who calls himself the Mastermind.

In a series of crimes that has stunned Washington, D.C., bank robbers have been laying out precise demands when they enter the building — and then killing the bank employees and their families if those instructions are not followed to the letter.

Detective Alex Cross takes on the case, certain that this is no ordinary bank robber at work — the pathological need for control and perfection is too great. Cross is in the midst of a personal crisis at home, but the case becomes all-consuming as he learns that the Mastermind is plotting one huge, last, perfect crime.

With twists and reversals that only the mind of James Patterson could create, Roses Are Red is by far the most explosive, surprising, and fast-paced novel of James Patterson's extraordinary career.

Chapter 4

KYLE WAS CARRYING a colorfully wrapped and ribboned present for the baby. And he had balloons! The gifts didn't fool me. Kyle is a good friend, possibly a great cop, but he isn't social and avoids parties as if they were viral diseases.

"Not tonight, Alex," Christine said, and she suddenly looked concerned, maybe even angry. "Don't get involved in some scary, terrible case. Please, Alex, don't do it. Not on the night of the christening."

I knew what she meant, and I took her advice, or warning, to heart. My mood had already darkened.

Goddamn Kyle Craig.

"No, no, and no," I said as I walked up to Kyle. I used my index fingers to make a cross. "Go away."

"I'm real happy to see you, too," Kyle said, and beamed. Then he gave me a hug. "Multiple homicide," he whispered.

"Sorry, call back tomorrow or the next day. This is my night off."

"I know it is, but this is particularly bad, Alex. This one has really struck a nerve."

While he was still holding on to me, Kyle told me he was in Washington only for the night and he badly needed my help. He was feeling a lot of pressure. I told him no again, but he wasn't listening, and we both knew it was part of my job to assist the FBI on important cases here. Also, I owed Kyle a favor or two. A few years back he'd let me into a kidnapping-and-murder case in North Carolina when my niece disappeared from Duke University.

Kyle knew Sampson and a few of my other detective friends. They came over and chatted with him as if this were a social visit. People tend to like Kyle. I do, too - but not now, not tonight. He said he had to peek in on little Alex before we talked business.

Copyright © 2000 by James Patterson

Read by Jason Culp and Keith David (abridged) & Peter J. Fernandez (unabridged)
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