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Four Blind Mice (Alex Cross Series #8)

Four Blind Mice (Alex Cross Series #8)

4.2 270
by James Patterson

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Detective Alex Cross is on his way to resign from the Washington, D.C., Police Force when his partner shows up at his door with a case he can't refuse. One of John Sampson's oldest friends, from their days together in Vietnam, has been arrested for murder. Worse yet, he is subject to the iron hand of the United States Army. The evidence against him is strong


Detective Alex Cross is on his way to resign from the Washington, D.C., Police Force when his partner shows up at his door with a case he can't refuse. One of John Sampson's oldest friends, from their days together in Vietnam, has been arrested for murder. Worse yet, he is subject to the iron hand of the United States Army. The evidence against him is strong enough to send him to the gas chamber.

Sampson is certain his friend has been framed, and Alex's investigation turns up evidence overlooked-or concealed-by the military authorities. Drawing on their years of street training and an almost telepathic mutual trust, Cross and Sampson go deep behind military lines to confront the most terrifying-and deadly-killers they have ever encountered. Behind these three highly skilled killing machines there appears to be an even more threatening controller. Discovering the identity of this lethal genius will prove to be Cross's most terrifying challenge ever.

On his visits home, Alex must confront another, more harrowing mystery: what's the matter with Nana Mama? As he explores the possibility of a new relationship with a woman who offers him new hope, Alex must also confront the fact that his beloved grandmother is only human.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
New York Times bestselling author James Patterson has long been hailed as a superb storytelling craftsman, and his latest hardcover is no exception. A gripping, action-packed thriller, it also packs an emotional wallop to match the speed and complexity of its plot twists. Detective Alex Cross is planning to resign from the Washington, D.C., police force, and he's got a lot on his mind: he's eager to be a more involved parent, worried that he's asking too much of his ailing grandmother, hoping to see where his relationship with San Francisco homicide cop Jamilla Hughes is headed, and considering a job offer from the FBI. The last thing he needs in his life is another complication. But when his close friend and partner John Sampson asks for help, Alex can't refuse -- even though that means taking on the whole U.S. Army. A friend of Sampson's from his days in Vietnam has been arrested for a brutal multiple murder on a military base, and the evidence against him is overwhelming. Sampson believes his friend was framed -- but if he and Cross can't prove it soon, despite military obstructions, the wrong man will be sent to the gas chamber. Unfortunately, while Cross and Sampson quickly become certain that the frame they're investigating is only the tip of an iceberg of deceit and death, the hard evidence they need proves maddeningly elusive. The danger grows as they begin to draw closer to the real killers (a frighteningly skilled team of military assassins known only as the Three Blind Mice) and the shadowy, deadly mastermind who's been calling the shots. Sue Stone
The Los Angeles Times
James Patterson's Four Blind Mice is about the pain, the panic and, in due course, the carnage inflicted in a series of bizarre attacks that spill a lot of blood and hand out dire punishment for no apparent reason. To avenge a friend framed in one of these crazy setups, two Washington, D.C., police detectives go hunting for the hellhounds who mount the string of inexplicable crimes. It turns out that the fantastical deceivers have military experience; the torments they inflict and the blood they shed are payoffs for atrocities that have been covered up since Vietnam War days. — Eugen Weber
Library Journal
In the latest Alex Cross thriller, his partner, John Sampson, takes center stage. A friend of John's, U.S. Army Sergeant Cooper, has been convicted of murdering three women. The military higher-ups are convinced that it's an open-and-shut case, but John knows that his friend is innocent. Their investigation is hampered at every turn, as if the army doesn't care to have the truth revealed, even when Cross and Sampson uncover other military men who were possibly framed for murder. Meanwhile, the real killers, who are methodical in covering their tracks and leaving incriminating evidence pointing to their targets, discover the investigation and decide to mark Cross and Sampson for extermination. This time around, Patterson's story is more personal than plot-driven, and there are a lot fewer plot twists than one usually finds in a Patterson novel. Still, Four Blind Mice is a vast improvement over the previous two Alex Cross thrillers (Roses Are Red, Violets Are Blue), which were both poorly written and unnecessarily gruesome, with a number of unrealistic passages. Libraries won't be able to keep this new book on the shelves. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/02.]-Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Schematic and pedestrian, Patterson's latest (after The Beach House,] pits Alex Cross against a trio of serial killers. If only Alex Cross (last seen in Violets Are Blue, 200l) could retire from the Washington Police Force, as he wants to when he first appears here, having breakfast with his family. Alas, Cross's friend John Sampson entreats the detective to take one more case, and a desultory pursuit ensues. Sampson believes the conviction of his friend, 'Nam vet Ellis Cooper, for the brutal murder of three women resulted from a frame-up. Patterson's quick (what else?) crosscut to the killers bears Sampson out. Calling themselves "the three blind mice," the men are hired killers unaware of the identity and motives of their employer, who, presumably, is the fourth mouse of the title. With "the clock for Ellis Cooper . . . ticking so loud," Cross and Sampson search in vain for evidence to clear him before he is executed. The Army's indifference to evidence that clears Cooper and points to other suspects bluntly suggests a cover-up. Then, crimes similar to the ones Copper allegedly committed follow: the three killers slaughter their victims, paint them red, and leave a straw doll at the scene of the carnage. E-mails from someone called "Foot Soldier" lead Cross to the solution, which, as Patterson makes obvious, stems from atrocities the military committed in Vietnam. Some feel-good domestic scenes (Cross's grandma survives heart surgery) and a few hackneyed romantic interludes for Cross and Sampson break up the chase. At the closeout, the killers dispatched, Cross is planning to go to work for the FBI, suggesting a new tack for the series. Short chapters, paragraphs, and sentences;stilted dialogue; facile plotting; a few feeble passes at description: a Patterson blue-plate special.
From the Publisher
"Everything clicks in this novel...the best Cross yet."—Publishers Weekly

Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
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Alex Cross Series
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Read an Excerpt

Four Blind Mice

By James Patterson

Warner Vision

Copyright © 2002 James Patterson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-61326-6

Chapter One

THE DISTRICT ATTORNEY for Cumberland County, North Carolina, Marc Sherman, pushed the old wooden captain's chair away from the prosecution table, and it made a harsh, scraping eeek in the nearly silent courtroom. Then Sherman rose and slowly approached the jury box, where nine women and three men - six white, six African American - waited with anticipation to hear what he had to say. They liked Sherman. He knew that, even expected it. He also knew that he had already won this dramatic murder case, even without the stirring summation he was about to give.

But he was going to give this closing anyway. He felt the need to see Sergeant Ellis Cooper held accountable for his crimes. The soldier had committed the most heinous and cowardly murders in the history of Cumberland County, North Carolina. The so-called Bluelady Murders. The people in this county expected Sherman to punish Ellis Cooper, who happened to be a black man, and he wouldn't disappoint them.

The district attorney began: "I have been doing this for a while - seventeen years, to be exact. In all that time, I have never encountered murders such as those committed in December last, by the defendant, Sergeant Ellis Cooper. What began as a jealous rage aimed at one victim, Tanya Jackson, spilled over into the shameless massacre of three women. All were wives, all were mothers. Together these women had eleven children and, of course, three grieving husbands and countless other family members, neighbors, and dear friends.

"The fateful night was a Friday, 'ladies' night" for Tanya Jackson, Barbara Green, and Maureen Bruno. While their husbands enjoyed their usual card night at Fort Bragg, the wives got together for some personal talk, some laughter, and the treasured companionship of one another. Tanya, Barbara, and Maureen were great friends, you understand. This Friday night get-together took place at the home of the Jacksons, where Tanya and Abraham were raising their four children.

"Around ten o'clock, after consuming at least half a dozen shots of alcohol at the base, Sergeant Cooper went to the Jackson house. As you have heard in sworn testimony, he was seen outside the front door by two neighbors. He was yelling for Mrs. Jackson to come out.

"Then Sergeant Cooper barged into the house. Using an RTAK survival knife, a lightweight weapon favored by United States Army Special Forces, he attacked the woman who had spurned his advances. He killed Tanya Jackson instantly with a single knife thrust.

"Sergeant Ellis Cooper then turned the knife on thirtyone- year-old Barbara Green. And finally, on Maureen Bruno, who nearly made it out of the slaughterhouse but was caught by Cooper at the front door. All three women were killed with thrusts delivered by a powerful male, who has taught hand-to-hand fighting techniques at the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center, headquarters for the Army Special Forces.

"The survival knife has been identified as Sergeant Cooper's personal property, a deadly weapon he had kept since the early 1970s, when he left Vietnam. Sergeant Cooper's fingerprints were all over the knife.

"His prints were also found on the clothing of Mrs. Jackson and Mrs. Green. DNA from particles of skin found under the nails of Mrs. Jackson were matched to Sergeant Cooper. Strands of his hair were found at the murder scene. The murder weapon itself was discovered hidden in the attic of Cooper's house. So were pathetic 'love letters' he had written to Tanya Jackson - returned unopened.

"You have seen unspeakable photographs of what Sergeant Cooper did to the three women. Once they were dead, he painted the women's faces with ghoulish-looking blue paint. He painted their chests and stomachs. It is gruesome and twisted. As I said, the worst murders I have ever encountered. You know that there can be only one verdict. That verdict is guilty! Put this monster down!"

Suddenly, Sergeant Ellis Cooper rose from his seat at the defendant's table. The courtroom audience gasped. He was six feet four and powerfully built. At age fifty-five, his waist was still thirty-two inches, just as it had been when he enlisted in the army at eighteen. He was wearing his dress greens, and the medals on his chest included a Purple Heart, a Distinguished Service Cross, and a Silver Star. He looked impressive, even under the circumstances of the murder trial, and then he spoke in a clear, booming voice.

"I didn't kill Tanya Jackson, or any of those poor women. I never went inside the house that night. I didn't paint any bodies blue. I've never killed anyone, except for my country. I didn't kill those women. I'm innocent! I'm a war hero, for God's sake!"

Sergeant Cooper hurdled the wooden gate at the front of the courtroom. He was on Marc Sherman in seconds, knocking him to the floor, punching him in the face and chest.

"You liar, liar!" Cooper shouted. "Why are you trying to kill me?"

When the courtroom marshals finally pulled Cooper away, the prosecutor's shirt and jacket were torn, his face bloodied.

Marc Sherman struggled to his feet and then he turned back to the jury. "Need I say more? The verdict is guilty. Put this monster down."


Excerpted from Four Blind Mice by James Patterson Copyright © 2002 by James Patterson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

James Patterson has had more New York Times bestsellers than any other writer, ever, according to Guinness World Records. Since his first novel won the Edgar Award in 1977 James Patterson's books have sold more than 300 million copies. He is the author of the Alex Cross novels, the most popular detective series of the past twenty-five years, including Kiss the Girls and Along Came a Spider. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.

Brief Biography

Palm Beach, Florida
Date of Birth:
March 22, 1947
Place of Birth:
Newburgh, New York
B.A., Manhattan College, 1969; M.A., Vanderbilt University, 1971

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Four Blind Mice (Alex Cross Series #8) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 270 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. In fact, I have liked the entire series. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys mysteries. I like the short chapters, and the fact that the characters are believable - not all good or all bad, just human. I am just so sick of reading reviews that are more like high school book reports than reviews, especially the ones that give away important plot points or even the ending. When I read a review, I just want to know what the reviewer thought of the book and why - not a synopsis of the story. But anyway, Four Blind Mice is a good story and certainly up to James Patterson's usual high standards.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I to have been reading these in order and so far loved them all. I really enjoyed this one till the last minute. Everything wraps up nice at the end. Cant wait to read them all. They are all different but def keeps u hooked. People who say it was no good its bcause u have to read them in order otherwise certain things wont make sense so i recommend u start from the first one and i can assure youll be hooked. On to big bad wolf..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of Patterson's most thrilling books. It will keep you in suspense until the end. Enjoyed reading it from cover to cover!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm a big fan of the Alex Cross series, but was disappointed by the inaccuracies in Four Blind Mice (and surprised that Patterson would make them). While various police departments might have 'service revolvers,' I don't believe that the military has had them for several decades. When I was in the military in the sixties, the sidearm was the Colt .45 semiautomatic (the famous Government Model). For the last decade or so it has been the Beretta Model 92 (also semiautomatic). Additionally, Patterson has one of the bad guys shooting someone with a silenced revolver, and anyone who has been around firearms for more than ten minutes knows you don't accomplish much by trying to 'silence' a revolver. Most readers might think it's no big deal, but the character doing the shooting is supposed to be a military professional who we would expect to know that. And for every author in America: revolvers do not have 'safeties.'
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read everything James Patterson has written and he is such an interesting author. However being a police officer and reading no less than 5 times "I clicked off the safety on my Glock" knowing that a Glock does not have a safety it just gets a little old. I know most authors research before they write.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has a great story and I didn't think half of what happened was gonna happen. Most of the time I can see what's coming or at least have my mind in the right direction but this one threw me for a loop!! Worth the time to read!
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Anjin More than 1 year ago
I have just begun to read the Alex Cross Series. I just finished #8, Four Blind Mice. I started with #1 on Feb 5, 2015. I can't seem to put them down. They keep you hanging until the last chapter, last page. Patterson is a superb writer and I am enjoying reading his books. I am ordering #9 now.
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HelenBH More than 1 year ago
Enjoying all the James Patterson Alex Cross books.  I can't get enough of them!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Half way through and its great.Looking forward to another
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Must read
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MelindafromNJ More than 1 year ago
I have been continuously reading the Alex Cross series and have finished Four Blind Mice...and WOW.....what a thrilling ride! Filled with much twists and turns and of course crime!!! Cant wait to read #9 Big Bad Wolf.....I just love getting into this series!
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