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Mary, Mary (Alex Cross Series #11)

Mary, Mary (Alex Cross Series #11)

4.1 287
by James Patterson

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Somebody is murdering Hollywood's A-list.

FBI agent Alex Cross is on vacation when he gets a call from the Director. An actress has been shot outside her home in Beverly Hills. Afterward, an editor for the Los Angeles Times receives an e-mail recounting the murder in shocking detail, signed Mary Smith. Her calling card:

"You've got mail.


Somebody is murdering Hollywood's A-list.

FBI agent Alex Cross is on vacation when he gets a call from the Director. An actress has been shot outside her home in Beverly Hills. Afterward, an editor for the Los Angeles Times receives an e-mail recounting the murder in shocking detail, signed Mary Smith. Her calling card:

"You've got mail."

The authorities fear this is only the beginning. Mary Smith is targeting Hollywood stars and power brokers, and she is getting better every time. This case is like nothing Alex has ever confronted before. Could this be the plan of an obsessed fan or a spurned actor, or is it part of something much more terrifying? And how could a woman be capable of these vicious crimes?

To track a merciless killer, Alex navigates a world where the stars sip San Pellegrino at the Ivy as hopefuls hover around studio gates armed with 8 X 10 glossies. Members of the A-list fear they're next on Mary's list, and Cross and the LAPD scramble to find a pattern before Mary can send one more chilling update.

Filled with the ruthless twists that make his fans hunger for more, Mary, Mary is James Patterson's most sophisticated thriller yet.

Editorial Reviews

For the best sleuths, vacations are impossible. This time, FBI agent Alex Cross is relaxing with his family at Disneyland when he gets a call from the director. An A-list actress has been murdered outside her Beverly Hills home. At first, the killing appears to be an isolated incident, but Cross quickly deduces that a star-obsessed serial killer known as Mary Smith is on the loose. Before long, every Hollywood celebrity is running scared, hoping not to become next week's deadly attraction.
Library Journal
In Patterson's 11th Alex Cross thriller (after London Bridges), the FBI agent is asked to investigate a serial killer who targets women with two things in common: they're all connected to Hollywood studios, and they're all the mothers of young children. In each crime, the killer leaves behind three stickers with the letters A, A, and B; shortly thereafter, a Los Angeles Times entertainment columnist receives an email addressed to the victim with an explanation of how she was stalked and murdered. A self-styled "Storyteller," the killer signs these gripping messages with the name "Mary Smith." But is the killer a man or a woman? And has the "story" spun out of control? Complicating the investigation are Alex's own family problems: he's about to lose a custody battle over his youngest son, his other children are being neglected, and his relationship with a female police inspector is at risk. Though lacking the richness and complexity of other psychological thrillers, e.g., Dennis Lehane's Shutter Island, Patterson's story, told in 121 brief chapters, flows effortlessly and with mounting suspense to its final, shocking twist; a fascinating psycho will captivate the author's many fans. Recommended for popular fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/05.]-Ronnie H. Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Superstar psychologist Alex Cross's quality time with his kids is interrupted by...another serial killer!The clever, remorseless miscreant who calls himself the Storyteller has already practiced his lethal skills on three hapless New Yorkers before he begins his career in earnest with a series of killings in L.A. Choosing as his victims women who've neglected their children for successful careers in the entertainment industry, he describes the murders in overheated e-mails he addresses to his victims but sends to hapless entertainment columnist Arnold Griner, signing them "Mary Smith." All right, then, is Mary a woman or a man? The LAPD is baffled, the FBI too, so they yank Alex out of Disneyland, where he's gone to recuperate from his last megadose of murder (The Big Bad Wolf, 2003) and bond with his family while doing his best to duck the attention of a true-crime writer who behaves more like a stalker. Learning that Alex is back on the job despite all his promises, his distraught ex, Christine Johnson, grabs their baby, Little Alex, and stashes him in Seattle, insisting that Big Alex's devotion to his dangerous job is constantly putting an intolerable strain on his loved ones, a charge that has the merit of being demonstrably true. The irony of it all is that Alex's reluctant consultation doesn't slow the Storyteller down a bit. He (or she), undeterred by the superdad angst that substitutes for detection here, just keeps up the torrid homicide rate until fulfilling her (or his) murderous plan. Luckily, the resulting break from falling bodies lasts just long enough for the cops to commit one last, fatal blunder before Alex gets one of the unmotivated brainwaves that makes him "America'sSherlock Holmes."Certainly not the worst of Patterson's clueless mysteries, but still another likely candidate to be filmed as "a big, dopey thriller based on a dopey bestseller."

Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
Alex Cross Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.10(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.50(d)

Read an Excerpt

Mary, Mary

By James Patterson

Little, Brown

Copyright © 2005 James Patterson
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-316-15976-X

Chapter One

ACT ONE, SCENE ONE, the Storyteller thought to himself, and couldn't hold back a dizzying rush of anticipation. The truth was that ordinary people committed perfect crimes and perfect murders all the time. But you didn't hear about it for the simple reason that the killers never got caught.

And neither would he, of course. That was a given in the story he was about to tell.

Which didn't mean that today wasn't nerve-racking. Actually, this was the most intense moment in the past couple of insane years for him. He was ready to kill somebody, a complete stranger, and he had figured out that New York City was the right place for his first.

It almost happened just outside a basement restroom in Bloomingdale's, but he didn't feel right about the location.

Too crowded, even at half past ten in the morning.

Too noisy, and yet not noisy enough to provide the proper distraction.

Plus, he didn't like the idea of trying to escape out onto the unfamiliar territory of Lexington Avenue, or especially down into the claustrophobic IRT subway tunnels. When it felt right, he'd know it, and act accordingly.

So the Storyteller moved on and decided to catch a flick at the Sutton Theater on East 57th Street, a funky, run-down place that had obviously seen better days.

Maybe this was a good place for a murder. He liked the irony, even if he was the only one who got it. Yes, maybe this was going to work out great, he thought as he sat in one of the two small auditoriums inside.

He began to watch Kill Bill Volume 2 with seven other Tarantino aficionados.

Which one of these unsuspecting people would be his victim? You? You? You there? The Storyteller spun the tale inside his head.

There were two loudmouths in identical New York Yankees baseball caps, worn backward, of course. The irritating morons didn't shut up once through the interminable ads and trailers. They both deserved to die.

So did an atrociously dressed elderly couple, who didn't talk to each other at all, not once in fifteen minutes before the houselights went down. Killing them would be a good deed, almost a public service.

A fragile-looking woman, early forties, seemed to be having the shakes two rows in front of the moldy oldies. Bothering no one-except him.

And then a big black dude with his sneakered feet up on the seat in front of him. Rude, inconsiderate bastard in his old-school Converses that must have been at least size fourteens.

Next, a black-bearded movie nerd who probably had seen the movie a dozen times already and worshipped Quentin Tarantino, of course.

Turned out, it was the bearded wonder who got up about halfway through the movie, just after Uma Thurman was buried alive. Jesus, who could walk out on that classic scene?

Duty-bound, he followed, a couple of seconds behind. Out into the dingy hall, then into the men's room, which was located near theater two.

He was actually shaking now. Was this it? His moment? His first murder? The beginning of everything he'd dreamed about for months? Make that years.

He was pretty much on autopilot, trying not to think about anything except doing this right, then getting in and out of the movie theater without anybody noticing his face or too much else about him.

The bearded guy was standing at the urinal, which was kind of good news, actually. The shot was nicely framed and art-directed.

Wrinkled, grungy black T-shirt that said NYU FILM SCHOOL with a clapsticks logo on the back. Reminded him of a character out of a Daniel Clowes comic book, and that graphic shit was hot right now.

"And ... action!" he said.

Then he shot the poor bearded loser in the back of the head, watched him drop like a heavy sack to the bathroom floor. Lie there-nothing moving. The blast roared through his head in the tiled room, louder than he'd dreamed it would be.

"Hey-what the? What happened? Hey!" he heard, and the Storyteller whirled around as if there was an audience watching him in the men's room.

Two guys from the Sutton Theater crew had entered behind him. They must have been curious about the noise. And how much had they seen?

"Heart attack," he said, blurted it out, tried to sound convincing. "Man just fell over at the urinal. Help me get him up. Poor guy. He's bleeding!"

No panic, no affect, no second thoughts whatsoever. Everything was pure instinct now, right, wrong, or indifferent.

He raised his gun and shot both theater workers as they stood walleyed and dorky at the door. He shot them again when they were down on the floor. Just to be careful. Professional.

And now he was really shaking, legs like J-E-L-L-O, but trying to walk very calmly out of the men's room.

Then out of the Sutton Theater onto 57th, heading east on foot. Everything outside feeling completely unreal and otherworldly, everything so bright and brassy.

He'd done it. He'd killed three people instead of just one. His first three murders. It was just practice, but he'd done it, and you know what? He could do it again.

"Practice makes perfect," the Storyteller whispered under his breath as he hurried toward his car-his getaway car, right? God, this was the best feeling of his life. Of course, that didn't say much for his life up to now, did it?

But watch out from here on, just watch out.

For Mary, Mary, quite contrary.

Of course, he was the only one who got that. So far, anyway.


Excerpted from Mary, Mary by James Patterson Copyright © 2005 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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Mary, Mary (Alex Cross Series #11) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 287 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great plot to following, with surprises all the way.
linnzinn More than 1 year ago
This book is another great story of the ALex Cross saga. James Patterson has the ability to draw you in from the first sentence into this dark world that the Dragon Slayer lives in. I am eager to continue reading the series to see what finally happens to Alex and his wonderful family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Finally one that moves around, but isnt cookie cutter like the last few in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this was a great addition to the series! loved it!
BolivarJ More than 1 year ago
Patterson's Mary, Mary will not captivate audiences, but it will entertain readers at the least. Patterson is good in setting the plot, and giving a great portrait of the serial killer's point of view. The book is a page turner for half of it. Patterson's portrayal of the murders of Mary Smith is good, and keeps you guessing what will come next. Unfortunately, he fails when it comes time to wrap the story. Sadly the unfolding of the story doesn't do justice to what it could have been a great thriller. The story begins in Hollywood, California where celebrities are being murdered, the LAPD thinks is the work of a serial killer and Alex Cross is called upon to help. As the author starts to record all the murders of Mary Smith, and the story looks promising, he switches into the subplots, of Alex's personal affairs, however; these subplots are not necessary and add nothing to the main story. What's more Patterson doesn't have a strong closure of the events, and wraps things too fast. I would not call it a shocking ending. Unlike the storyteller, Patterson's Mary, Mary seems to end on Act One, Scene One.
allazone More than 1 year ago
I haven't read a lot of Patterson books yet (although I've seen the movies), so this was interesting for me. It was well written, the characters developed, and easy to follow. Yet it also kept you guessing, and truly not knowing the mystery until the end. Some mysteries tell you, but not the character. I liked not knowing, and having that suspense factor. I also like that the Alex Cross books can be read out of order, and are a complete story on their own, and you don't feel left out because you didn't read the others. I would definitely recommend this book, and I'm anxious to start reading more Patterson books and series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was another good book by Mr. Patterson. Fast reading with surprises along the way kept me wanting more. I recommend this to anyone who likes fast paced mysteries. --K--
JACKR More than 1 year ago
sexybajan More than 1 year ago
He did me in with this 1 i did not see this coming. I felt like I was right there as the story unfolded
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just like all the others in the Alex Cross series, this one was great. I bought all of them and read them in order from Along Came a Spider. Just fantastic. James Patterson holds you in the plot and takes you back to previous books for another villian who has reared his ugly head in the current book. Just need Alex to find true love. Love the whole series and the Womens Murder Club series also.
Rose348 More than 1 year ago
Patterson is quite adapt at keeping the reader interested in the storyline while setting to stage to a shocking ending. Fascinating read.
Show-Me More than 1 year ago
One of the best of the Alex Cross series. Many times, characters and plots are carried through several of Patterson's Cross series books. In Mary, Mary, the new characters are introduced without a lot of sidebar with the old standbys. The plot is ingenious with a sudden climax and much more unpredictable than some of Patterson's other Cross readers. Patterson has you empathizing with the "pathetic killer" toward the end of the book before he pulls the rug from beneath you. Very well developed, pleasureable read that's hard to put down. I read it in about 6 hours, then opened and finished the next in the series, Cross, by late that night. Couldn't get enough. Can't recommend this book and series enough. Patterson's style keeps you invigorated and his research is impeccable. Buy it, you won't regret it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read all Alex Cross novels up thru Mary, Mary (will read them all), and found yet another thriller. Maybe not as original as some of the earlier Cross series, but still pretty intense. I always enjoy the way Patterson connects everything together.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Although I didn't find MARY, MARY as riveting as the first Alex Cross novels KISS THE GIRLS or ALONG CAME A SPIDER, I was still glad to see Mr. Cross back in action--in his private and professional life.

While on a long-awaited, and definitely well-earned, vacation at Disneyland in California with his family--Nana Mama, daughter Jannie, teenaged son Damon, and three-year-old Alex Jr.--Alex wants nothing more than spend some quality time with those he loves. Yes, the fact that James Truscott, an investigative journalist who has been hounding Alex for months, shows up on their vacation is an annoyance, but nothing that can't be handled. He even gets to meet his current love interest, Jamilla Hughes, an officer with the San Francisco PD, for a little one-on-one R & R. But then his vacation is brought short, yet again, by a phone call from his boss, summoning him to a crime scene at the home of a famous actress right there in L.A.

Detective Cross is inevitably drawn deeper and deeper into a case that he was only supposed to have to give his initial impressions on. Someone is killing famous and wealthy mothers in the entertainment business--someone who claims to call herself Mary Smith, and who sends an email after each death detailing the crime to L.A. Times entertainment writer Arnold Griner.

As Alex gives chase to "Mary Smith", interviewing the victim's families and trying to find any clue as to the killer's identity, his personal life takes a downward spiral--his ex, Christine, little Alex's mother, is suing for full-custody, and Jamilla informs him that she's found someone new. As Alex tries to put his family first once again, he realizes that the job always seems to get in the way--and this case is no different.

In typical fast-paced James Patterson style, MARY, MARY is an engrossing thriller that will have you turning pages quickly to find out what happens next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was my first Patterson novel and I was really intrigued by the concept. I thought it started off great and kept building but then started to unravel towards the end. I can't elaborate too much without giving it away. I did however love the personal story behind the main charectar Alex Cross. I like how you really got to see his personal and really get a feeling for the charectar for him and his interactiosn with others. I would recommend this book for a lazy day read as i finished it in two nights after work, had I day to spend the book would have sailed by and delivers entertainment for the few hours of reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The themes and sub-themes in this book are all classic Alex Cross themes (good v. evil. family v. work, etc.) and predictably they are well handled by James Patterson. The action occurs both physically and psychologically, making for a good read. The major issue I had with the book occured approximately 3/4 of the way through. The highly intelligent, super-experienced law-man Alex Cross goes in to an Interrogation Room, with a highly dangerous serial killer, ,,,with a gun holstered to his side!!!!! It was such an unbelievable scene, I thought perhaps Patterson had allowed a student or contest winner to write one of his chapters.Or maybe he was prepping the story for the big screen. What a letdown. It made the rest of the story that much less credible.
Anonymous 8 months ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If u r into serial killer Books it is the one of the best ones out there. I would suggest it to everyone who is interested in this genre
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LC112648LC More than 1 year ago
LC112648LC More than 1 year ago
Mary, Mary ... Normally like his books - couldn't get into this one at all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago