Jack and Jill (Alex Cross Series #3)

( 341 )

Overview

In the middle of the night, a controversial U.S. senator is found murdered in bed in his Georgetown pied-a-terre. The police turn up only one clue: a mysterious rhyme signed "Jack and Jill" promising that this is just the beginning. Jack and Jill are out to get the rich and famous, and they will stop at nothing until their fiendish plan is carried out.

Meanwhile, Washington, D. C., homicide detective Alex Cross is called to a murder scene only blocks from his house, far from the...

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Jack and Jill (Alex Cross Series #3)

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Overview

In the middle of the night, a controversial U.S. senator is found murdered in bed in his Georgetown pied-a-terre. The police turn up only one clue: a mysterious rhyme signed "Jack and Jill" promising that this is just the beginning. Jack and Jill are out to get the rich and famous, and they will stop at nothing until their fiendish plan is carried out.

Meanwhile, Washington, D. C., homicide detective Alex Cross is called to a murder scene only blocks from his house, far from the corridors of power where he spends his days. The victim: a beautiful little girl, savagely beaten—and desposited in front of the elementary school Cross's son, Damon, attends.

Could there be a connection between the two murders? As Cross tries to put the pieces together, the killer- or killers - strike again. And again. No one in Washington is safe - not children, not politicians, not even the President of the United States. Only Alex Cross has the skills and the courage to crack the case-but will he discover the truth in time?

A relentless roller coaster of heart-pounding suspense and jolting plot twists, Jack and Jill proves that no one can write a more compelling thriller than James Patterson-the master of the nonstop nightmare.

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Editorial Reviews

Mary Frances Wilkens
Patterson once again keeps the reader's stomach queasy in his latest graphic "nursery rhyme." Returning as protagonist is African American psychologist-turned-detective Alex Cross, who adores his two young kids and his wise, wisecracking grandmother--his source of stability since his wife died. Alex is troubled when a young child is murdered near the school his son attends and frightened when the murderer strikes again. On the other side of town, away from the scary inner-city D.C. streets, a pair of killers who call themselves Jack and Jill are terrorizing the movers and shakers by murdering a series of high-profile people. At each killing, Jack and Jill leave sick rhymes implying that a certain resident of Pennsylvania Avenue is the ultimate target. (It is no coincidence that the murdering duo's moniker is the Secret Service's code name for the president and the First Lady.) When Alex is summoned to help protect the president, who has made powerful enemies by rebuffing business-as-usual politics, Alex is torn between his duty to protect his deteriorating neighborhood and his duty to his country. He belongs with his family, he believes, but the "powers that be" know that he is a master at negotiating with serial killers. A fast-paced, electric story that is utterly believable.
Dallas Morning News
Cross, a brilliant homicide cop, is one of the great creations of thriller fiction.
San Franciso Chronicle
The pages turn rapidly, and Patterson juggles twist after twist with genuine glee.
Kirkus Reviews
Can D.C. deputy chief Alex Cross (Hide & Seek, 1995, etc.) stop a demented duo thinning the ranks of the Washington elite en route to assassinating the President? You just might be surprised at the answer.

A serial killer (who seems to have sat through the film Network one time too many) is at work. The killer, a self-anointed patriot code-named "Jack" has, together with his partner "Jill," organized a bloody vendetta that gives the phrase "bleeding-heart liberals" a more visceral meaning. The Secret Service, worried that the doggerel notes signed "Jack and Jill" left at each killing might refer to their own code names for President Thomas Byrnes and his First Lady, bring nonpareil cop Cross into the case to help protect the First Family. And you don't need Cross's experience to see that Jack and Jill are working their way up the liberal ladder to the Byrneses when a caller to the President identifies herself as Jill, that Jill, and asks if he's ready to die. But it may not be such a great idea to pull Cross off his present case, a series of child murders, since the killer, convinced that the cops don't care anything about a few dead black kids, begins to see himself in competition with Jack and Jill, and steps up his own campaign accordingly. Meanwhile, it's Cross, whose idea of sharp investigative work consists of flushing suspects into futile, cinematic chases, versus Jack and Jill, whose improbable identities will be swiftly, abundantly clear to most readers as they continue to run rings around the hapless FBI, the CIA, and the Secret Service, even from beyond the grave. Makes you wonder.

The real surprise here, though, is the cavalier lack of closure to this paranoid fantasy, as if an Oliver Stone film ended without fingering the conspirators. Even Patterson's most ardent admirers should beware of this dog.

From the Publisher
Dual narrators and the clever use of sound effects such as gunshots and crowd noises contribute to this thriller featuring psychologist Alex Cross. Narrators John Rubenstein and Blair Underwood offer their own styles as the story unfolds through different points of view. Underwood perfects Alex Cross's deliberate nature with a steady performance and succeeds in building tension appropriately. Rubenstein's rendering of the killers is equally impressive, showing the aloofness of the almost inhuman sociopaths. Although the abridgment may cause listeners to feel they've missed some of the plot along the way, there is enough to tie everything together in the end.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780446692656
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/28/2003
  • Series: Alex Cross Series , #3
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 279,906
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

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 240 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. Mr. Patterson also writes the bestselling Women's Murder Club novels, set in San Francisco, and the top-selling New York detective series of all time, featuring Detective Michael Bennett. He writes full-time and lives in Florida with his family.

Biography

James Patterson had been working as a very successful advertising copywriter when he decided to put his Masters degree in English to a somewhat different use. Inspired by bestselling hair-raising thrillers like The Day of the Jackal and The Exorcist, Patterson went to work on his first novel. Published in 1976, The Thomas Berryman Number established him as a writer of tightly constructed mysteries that move forward with the velocity of a bullet. For his startling debut, Patterson was awarded the prestigious Edgar Award for Best First Mystery Novel—an auspicious beginning to one of the most successful careers in publishing.

A string of gripping standalone mysteries followed, but it was the 1992 release of Along Came a Spider that elevated Patterson to superstar status. Introducing Alex Cross, a brilliant black police detective/forensic psychologist, the novel was the first installment in a series of bestselling thrillers that has proved to be a cash cow for the author and his publisher.

Examining Patterson's track record, it's obvious that he believes one good series deserves another…maybe even a third! In 2001, he debuted the Women's Murder Club with 1st to Die, a fast-paced thriller featuring four female crime fighters living in San Francisco—a homicide detective, a medical examiner, an assistant D.A., and a cub reporter. The successful series has continued with other numerically titled installments. Then, spinning off a set of characters from a previous novel (1998's When the Wind Blows), in 2005 he published Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment. Featuring a "flock" of genetically engineered flying children, the novel was a huge hit, especially with teen readers, and spawned a series of vastly popular fantasy adventures.

In addition to continuing his bestselling literary franchises, Patterson has also found time to co-author thrillers with other writers—including Peter de Jonge, Andrew Gross, Maxine Paetro, and Howard Roughan—and has even ventured into romance (Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas, Sam's Letters to Jennifer) and children's literature (santaKid). Writing at an astonishing pace, this prolific author has turned himself into a one-man publishing juggernaut, fulfilling his clearly stated ambition to become "the king of the page-turners."

Good To Know

Patterson's Suzanne's Diary For Nicholas was inspired by a diary his wife kept that tracked the development of their toddler son.

Two of Patterson's Alex Cross mysteries (Along Came a Spider and Kiss the Girls) have been turned into films starring Morgan Freeman; in 2007, a weekly television series premiered, based on the bestselling Women's Murder Club novels.

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

Read an Excerpt



Prologue


The Games Begin


SAM HARRISON swung his agile body out of the silver blue Ford Aerostar, which he had parked on Q Street in the Georgetown section of Washington. Horror stories and games are popular for a good reason, he was thinking as he locked the vehicle and set its alarm. Not the comfortable sit-around-the-campfire horror tales and games we used to cherish as kids, but the real-life horror stories that are around us everywhere these days.

Now I'm living one myself. I'm about to become part of the horror. How easy it is. How terribly, terribly easy to move past the edge and into the darkness.

He had stalked and shadowed Daniel Fitzpatrick for two long weeks. He'd done his job in New York City, London, Boston, and finally, here in Washington, D.C. Tonight he was going to murder the United States senator. In cold blood, execution-style. No one would be able to figure out why. No one would have a clue that might matter later on.

That was the first and most important rule of the game called Jack and Jill.

In many ways this was a textbook celebrity-stalker pattern. He knew it to be true as he took up his post across from 211 Q Street.

And yet, if anyone bothered to look more closely, it was like no other stalking pattern before. What he was going to do now was more provocative than secretly observing Senator Fitzpatrick down obscene numbers of Glenlivet cocktails at The Monocle, his favorite bar in Washington. This was the truest form of madness, Sam Harrison knew. It was pure madness. He didn't believe he was mad. He believed only in the validity of the game of chance.

And then,less than thirty yards across the shiny-wet street there was Daniel Fitzpatrick himself. Right on schedule. At least, close enough.

He watched the senator stiffly climb out of a gleaming, navy blue Jaguar coupe, a 1996 model. He wore a gray topcoat with a paisley silk scarf. A sleek, slender woman in a black dress was with him. A Burberrys raincoat was casually thrown over her arm. She was laughing at something Fitzpatrick had said. She threw her head back like a beautiful, spirited horse. A wisp of her warm breath met the cool of the night.

The woman was at least twenty years the senator's junior. She wasn't his wife, Sam knew. Dannyboy Fitzpatrick rarely if ever slept with his wife. The blond woman walked with a slight limp, which made the two of them even more intriguing. Memorable, actually.

Sam Harrison concentrated fiercely. Measure twice, measure five times, if necessary. He took stock of all the details one final time. He had arrived in Georgetown at eleven- fifteen. He looked as if he belonged in the chic, attractive, fashionable neighborhood around Q Street. He looked exactly right for the part he was going to play.

A very big part in a very big story, one of the biggest in America's history. Or some would say American theater.

A leading-man role, to be sure.

He wore professorial, tortoiseshell glasses for the part. He never wore glasses. Didn't need them.

His hair was light blond. His hair wasn't really blond.

He called himself Sam Harrison. His name wasn't really Sam. Or Harrison.

For that night's special occasion, he'd carefully selected a soft black cashmere turtleneck, charcoal gray trousers, which were pleated and cuffed, and light-brown walking boots. He wasn't really such a dapper, self-absorbed dresser. His thick hair was cut short, vaguely reminiscent of the actor Kevin Costner in The Bodyguard, one of his least-favorite movies. He carried a small black duffel bag, swinging it like a baton as he now walked briskly toward 211. A camcorder was tucked inside the bag.

He planned to capture as much of this as possible on film. This was history in the making. It really was history: America at the end of its century, America at the end of an era, America at the end.

At quarter to twelve, he entered 211 through a darkened service entryway that smelled strongly of ammonia and of dust and decay. He walked up to the fourth floor, where the senator had his flat, his study, his love nest in the capital.

He reached Daniel Fitzpatrick's door, 4J, at ten minutes to twelve. He was still pretty much on time. So far, so good. Everything was going exactly as planned.

The highly polished mahogany door opened right in his face.

He stared at an ash-blond woman who was slender and trim and well kept. She was actually somewhat plainer looking than she had appeared from a distance. It was the same woman who had gotten out of the blue Jag with Fitzpatrick. The woman with the limp.

Except for a gold barrette in her hair, a lioness from a trip to the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and a gold choker, she was gloriously naked.

"Jack," she whispered.

"Jill," he said, and smiled.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 341 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(165)

4 Star

(94)

3 Star

(58)

2 Star

(15)

1 Star

(9)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 342 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Another Outstanding Cross Novel

    Reading the series in order and have yet to be disappointed. If I were to rank them in order, Kiss the Girls would come first, followed closely by Jack and Jill and then Along Came a Spider. If you're new to the series, read them in order - the characters develop as you go and references are made to previous novels. Patterson has a great writing style and he has given us characters who are real and who we can enjoy. So glad I've finally started reading the Cross series.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    My favorite Alex Cross novel so far!

    I've read most of the Alex Cross Series by James Patterson. Jack and Jill was my favorite. This novel was excellent. As usual, there is excellent depth of character (Alex and Nana, for example) which can actually make you care for the characters. The plot is original, somewhat off beat, thrilling and carefully thought out with a few twists here and there. I also love his writing style. His writing style and short chapters make his novels an easy read. Patterson has never disappointed me with this Women's Murder Club Series either. I highly recommend 1st to Die. The Quickie and Swimsuit were also excellent novels.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2012

    An oldy but a goody.

    Classic Patterson. Reading Alex Cross series in order & Jack & Jill is #3, I enjoyed it. So many twists and turns and never a true resolution, it held my attention.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2008

    A let down for Cross

    A few years ago a friend of mine loaned me the first 2 Alex Cross novels. I liked Patterson's writing style, so I thought I'd read this next book in the Alex Cross series. I found this book lacking in direction with the storyline. It had two different plots running throughout the book. The Jack and Jill plot is resolved with some satisfaction, but I felt the other killer's tale to be lacking in resolution. Over all this is not the best Alex Cross novel out there.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 9, 2003

    DISAPPOINTING!!!

    This book had many twists, all of which were unpredictable and riciting. However, there was no James Patterson flavoring. Moreover, the entire course of the book consisted of two seperate stories. So, it is natural to assume that at the end there is a connection of these stories (it even said there was on the back cover summary). However, THERE WAS NONE!!! The book eneded leading into the next Patterson book--a desperate marketing ploy. I was extremely disappointed in this ending as well as the storyline. However, it is worth reading (it was a good read).

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2012

    Loved it!

    I am reading all the Alex Cross books. They are interesting and I can't put them down.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    And the Murderers Did It Because...

    CD/Abridged/Mystery/Spoilers: This is an older Alex Cross novel. I just finished Postcard Killers (a newer novel) about a month ago, and there are a lot of similarities with the J&J killers. The biggest mystery of the book was trying to figure out why the killers did it, which is never answered completely. At the beginning J&J are playing with a game board of some kind, but that is completely forgotten after a few chapters & has nothing to do with the motive. There are too many red herrings to the point of sloppiness. When it comes to the end, you're scratching you head b/c there were not any clues to the identity of the killers. Alex Cross has another case with children being murdered in a schoolyard. Again, too many red herrings and the killer's motive never is clearly seen. The killer is only after black children and you never know if it was just opportunity or racism. A point of note is that the future Mrs. Cross, Christine, is introduced. The reason I bought the audio was because John Rubinstein did part of the audio. He does the John Kellerman audios and in this plays all the killer's voices. Blair Underwood is the voice of Cross and he is awful. I may be biased, but I wanted Morgan Freeman because Underwood read too fast & it's hard to keep up the change in scene. Rubinstein was wonderful and did not jell will Underwood. Even with Rubinstein, I do not recommend this novel. The police work is sloppy and Cross never catches or IDs the killers. They make mistakes or turn on each other. You are never told a motive or if the Real Jack is playing the board game with the Real Jill or the Fake Jill. This book is a waste.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2007

    An Exciting Page-turner

    A well-written suspense story with several interesting twists. I would fault the novel for one simple reason, and that is its reliance on conspiracy theories. In the sciences, we follow the principal of Occam's Razor, that the simplest argument is usually the best. In modern parlance, it is known as K.I.S.S., or keep it simple stupid. Patterson is a devotee of the conspiracy theory...MLK, RFK, and JFK. This belief permeates Patterson's stories, and I feel detracts from them somewhat.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2004

    Horrible!!

    I am typing this for my wife who after finishing this book last night launched the book into the bathroom. She then proceedd to yell at the book. All she did was whine about the horrible ending.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2014

    Lily

    She wrapped her tail around her paws. "Thank you."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2014

    Zixzan

    "No need too." "Now lets head back"

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  • Posted January 31, 2014

    Great read

    Great book, can't go wrong with James Patterson books

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    A great read- Alex Cross series

    Like all Alex Cross books, this one offers suspense and a page-turning experience.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 21, 2013

    Alex cross best series ever

    Must read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Terrific Read.. Action filled.

    James Patterson has grabbed me and caught my imagination with Alex Cross.. Great read...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2013

    Excellent

    Great book, had you thinking the whole way. Right when you think you have it a wild change in facts throws you back to square one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2013

    I have no clue.

    Are these books apropiate for 12 and under?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013

    jack and jill

    Enjoy his books. Going to read the next one recommanded.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2013

    Heartily recommend for all mystery/dectective readers.

    This is a tough book to put down. The background that Patterson puts to work in his efforts with the Alex Cross Series (Jack & Jill being one of the best) realistically depicts the good, bad, and ugly of today's law enforcement departments along with the mentally brilliant and crazy murderers they face in todays' well equipped world.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2013

    Great book

    Highly recomend

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