James Patterson: Kill Alex Cross

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James Patterson Kill Alex Cross
  • Название:
    Kill Alex Cross
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Century, Random House
  • Жанр:
    Триллер / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2011
  • Город:
    London
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    978-1-84605-764-9
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    3 / 5
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Kill Alex Cross: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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The President’s children have been kidnapped. The water supply for Washington DC has been poisoned. Alex Cross is on both cases. Detective Alex Cross is one of the first on the scene of the biggest case he’s ever been part of. The President’s son and daughter have been abducted from their school — an impossible crime, but somehow the kidnapper has done it. Alex does everything he can but is shunted to the fringes of the investigation. Someone powerful doesn’t want Cross too close. A deadly contagion in the DC water supply threatens to cripple the capital, and Alex sees the looming shape of the most devastating attack the United States has ever experienced. He is already working flat-out on the abduction, and this massive assault pushes Cross completely over the edge. With each hour that passes, the chance of finding the children alive diminishes. In an emotional private meeting, the First Lady asks Alex to please save her kids. But even the highest security clearance doesn’t get him any closer to the kidnapper — and Alex makes a desperate decision that goes against everything he believes in.

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James Patterson

Kill Alex Cross

For Steve Bowen, Leopoldo Gout, Stuart Manashil,

and Bill Block — the Four Musketeers

Book One

Unaccounted for

Chapter 1

It began with President Coyle’s Children, Ethan and Zoe, both high-profile personalities since they had arrived in Washington, and probably even before that.

Twelve-year-old Ethan Coyle thought he had gotten used to living under the microscope and in the public eye. So Ethan hardly noticed anymore the news cameramen perpetually camped outside the Branaff School gates, and he didn’t worry the way he used to if some kid he didn’t know tried to snap his picture in the hall, or the gymnasium, or even the boys’ bathroom.

Sometimes, Ethan even pretended he was invisible. It was kind of babyish, kind of b.s., but who cared. It helped. One of the more personable Secret Service guys had actually suggested it. He told Ethan that Chelsea Clinton used to do the same thing. Who knew if that was true?

But when Ethan saw Ryan Townsend headed his way that morning, he only wished he could disappear.

Ryan Townsend always had it in for him, and that wasn’t just Ethan’s paranoia talking. He had the purplish and yellowing bruises to prove it — the kind that a good hard punch or muscle squeeze can leave behind.

“Wuzzup, Coyle the Boil?” Townsend said, charging up on him in the hall with that look on his face. “The Boil havin’ a bad day already?”

Ethan knew better than to answer his tormenter and torturer. He cut a hard left toward the lockers instead — but that was his first mistake. Now there was nowhere to go, and he felt a sharp, nauseating jab to the side of his leg. He’d been kicked! Townsend barely even slowed down as he passed. He called these little incidents “drive-bys.”

The thing Ethan didn’t do was yell out, or stumble in pain. That was the deal he’d made with himself: don’t let anyone see what you’re feeling inside.

Instead, he dropped his books and knelt down to pick them back up again. It was a total wuss move, but at least he could take the weight off his leg for a second without letting the whole world know he was Ryan Townsend’s punching and kicking dummy.

Except this time, someone else did see — and it wasn’t the Secret Service.

Ethan was stuffing graph paper back into his math folder when he heard a familiar voice.

“Hey, Ryan? Wuzzup with you?

He looked up just in time to see his fourteen-year-old sister, Zoe, stepping right into Townsend’s path.

“I saw that,” she said. “You thought I wouldn’t?”

Townsend cocked his head of blond curls to the side. “I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Why don’t you just mind your own—”

Out of nowhere, a heavy yellow textbook came up fast in both of Zoe’s hands.

She swung hard, and clocked Townsend with it, right across the middle of his face. The bully’s nose spurted red and he stumbled backward. It was great!

That was as far as things progressed before Secret Service got to them. Agent Findlay held Zoe back, and Agent Musgrove wedged himself between Ethan and Townsend. A crowd of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders had already stopped to watch, like this was some new reality TV show — The President’s Kids.

“You total losers!” Townsend shouted at Ethan and Zoe, even as blood dripped down over his Branaff tie and white button-down shirt. “What a couple of chumps. You need your loyal SS bodyguards to protect you!”

“Oh yeah? Tell that to my algebra book,” Zoe yelled back. “And stay away from my brother! You’re bigger and older than him, you jerk. You shithead!”

For his part, Ethan was still hovering by the lockers, half of his stuff scattered on the floor. And for a second or two there, he found himself pretending he was part of the crowd — just some kid nobody had ever heard of, standing there, watching all of this craziness happen to someone else.

Yeah, Ethan thought. Maybe in my next lifetime.

Chapter 2

Agent Findlay quickly and efficiently hustled Ethan and Zoe away from the gawkers, and worse, the kids with their iPhones raised: Hello, YouTube! In a matter of seconds, he’d disappeared with them into the otherwise empty grand lecture hall off the main foyer.

The Branaff School had once been the Branaff Estate, until ownership had transferred to a Quaker educational trust. It was said among the kids that the grounds were haunted, not by good people who had died here, but by the disgruntled Branaff descendants who’d been evicted to make room for the private school.

Ethan didn’t buy into any of that crap, but he’d always found the main lecture hall to be supercreepy — with its old-time oil portraits looking down disapprovingly on everybody who happened to pass through.

“You know, the president’s going to have to hear about this, Zoe. The fight, your language back there,” Agent Findlay said. “Not to mention Headmaster Skillings—”

“No doubt, so just do your job,” Zoe answered with a shrug and a frown. She put a hand on top of her brother’s head. “You okay, Eth?”

“I’m fine,” he said, pushing her off. “Physically, anyway.” His dignity was another question, but that was too complicated for him to think about right now.

“In that case, let’s keep this parade moving,” Findlay told them. “You guys have assembly in five.”

“Got it,” said Zoe with a dismissive wave. “Like we were going to forget assembly, right?”

The morning’s guest speaker was Isabelle Morris, a senior fellow with the DC International Policy Institute and also an alum of the Branaff School. Unlike most of the kids he knew, Ethan was actually looking forward to Ms. Morris’s talk about her experiences in the Middle East. Someday he hoped to work at the UN himself. Why not? He had pretty good connections, right?

“Can you give us a teeny-tiny second?” Zoe asked. “I want to talk to my brother — alone.”

“I said I’m fine. It’s cool,” Ethan insisted, but his sister cut him off with a glare.

“He tells me things he won’t say to you,” Zoe went on, answering Findlay’s skeptical look. “And private conversations aren’t exactly easy to come by around here, if you know what I mean. No offense meant.”

“None taken.” Findlay looked down at his watch. “Okay,” he said. “Two minutes is all I can give you.”

“Two minutes, it is. We’ll be right out, I promise,” Zoe said, and closed the heavy wooden door behind him as he left.

Without a word to Ethan, she cut between the rows of old desk seats and headed to the back of the room. She hopped up on the heating register under the windows.

Then Zoe reached inside her blue and gray uniform jacket and took out a small black lacquered case. Ethan recognized it right away. His sister had bought it in Beijing this past summer, on a trip to China with their parents.

“I’m all about a ciggie right now,” Zoe whispered. Then she grinned wickedly. “Come with?”

Ethan looked back at the door. “I actually don’t want to miss this assembly,” he said, but Zoe just rolled her eyes.

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