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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 7

I TRIED TO CALL CHRISTINE early the next morning, but she was screening her calls and wouldn't pick up. She'd never done that to me, and it stung. I couldn't get it out of my head as I showered and dressed. Finally, I went to work. I was hurt, but I was also a little angry.

Sampson and I were out on the streets before nine. The more I read and thought about the Citibank robbery in Silver Spring, the more troubled and confused I was about the exact sequence of events. It didn't make sense. Three innocent people had been murdered - for what reason? The bank robbers already had their money. What kind of cruel and twisted sickos were they? Why kill father and child and the family's nanny?

It turned out to be a long and consistently frustrating day. Sampson and I were still on the job at nine that night. I tried calling Christine at home again. She still wasn't picking up, or maybe she wasn't there.

I have a couple of tattered black notebooks filled with names of street contacts. Sampson and I had already talked to more than two dozen of the prime ones. That still left plenty for tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. I was pretty well hooked into the case already. Why kill three people at the bank manager's house? Why destroy an innocent family?

"We're dancing around something," Sampson said as we drove through Southeast in my old car. We had just finished talking to a small-time hustler named Nomar Martinez. He knew about the bank robbery in Maryland, but not who did it. The late, great Marvin Gaye was singing on the car radio. I thought of Christine. She didn't want me out here on these streets anymore. She was serious about it. I wasn't sure if I could quit being a detective. I liked my job.

"I had that same feeling with Nomar. Maybe we should have brought his ass in. He was edgy, afraid of something," I said.

"Who's not afraid of something in Southeast?" Sampson asked. "The question remains. Who's gonna talk to us?"

"How about that ugly mutt there?" I said, and pointed toward the street corner we were approaching. "He knows everything happening around here."

"He spotted us," Sampson said. "Shit, there he goes!"

Copyright © 2000 by James Patterson

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