Roses Are Red (Alex Cross Series #6)
  • Roses Are Red (Alex Cross Series #6)
  • Roses Are Red (Alex Cross Series #6)

Roses Are Red (Alex Cross Series #6)

4.2 382
by James Patterson

View All Available Formats & Editions

In this heart-pounding new thriller, Detective Alex Cross pursues the most brilliant killer he's ever confronted, a mysterious criminal who calls himself the Mastermind. In a series of crimes that has stunned Washington, D.C., bank robbers have been killing bank employees and their families if the robbers' instructions are not followed to the letter. Alex Cross

…  See more details below


In this heart-pounding new thriller, Detective Alex Cross pursues the most brilliant killer he's ever confronted, a mysterious criminal who calls himself the Mastermind. In a series of crimes that has stunned Washington, D.C., bank robbers have been killing bank employees and their families if the robbers' instructions are not followed to the letter. Alex Cross knows this is no ordinary criminal-the pathological need for control and perfection is too great. Cross is in the midst of a crisis at home-but the case becomes all-consuming as he learns that the Mastermind is plotting one huge, last, perfect crime...

Editorial Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
James Patterson, bestselling author of Pop Goes the Weasel, Cradle and All, and Kiss the Girls, returns with Roses Are Red, his latest gripping dark crime tale featuring brilliant profiler Alex Cross. As fans have come to expect from Patterson's work, this novel is fueled with high emotion and resonates with moral outrage. As always, Patterson gives his book a healthy measure of both poignant humanity and horrendous cruelty, once more demonstrating that he is at the top of his game, mining an area of psychological suspense that is all his own.

Cross's latest case is one of his most frustrating. It concerns an ingenious criminal called the Mastermind, who forms vicious teams to rob banks and yet changes the pattern of the crime each time. If his plans are not followed precisely, he threatens to kill whole families taken as hostage -- and does so without hesitation. In another instance all the members of a bank staff are murdered without reason, simply because the Mastermind wants the police to find a scene of carnage. And in an effort to sever all ties to himself, the Mastermind slays his own lackeys as well.

But the Mastermind isn't all that Cross has to worry about. His girlfriend, Christine, held captive for a year by the insane but brilliant Weasel, cannot overcome her fears and paranoia that she or her newborn child, Alex Jr., will once again fall prey to some madman. Cross's daughter, Jannie, suddenly becomes victim to grand mal seizures, and soon doctors discover that she has a brain tumor. The one shining light amid all his troubles is Cross's fledgling relationship with his new partner on this case, Agent Betsey Cavalierre, who offers him friendship and a stabilizing force for his disintegrating personal life.

The Mastermind grows more and more bold, raping a young woman because he wants a child and becoming ever more dangerous and erratic. And when Cross and his team become too great an annoyance, the Mastermind decides to make his next gambit a much more personal one and exacts a horrifying vengeance.

The novel is written in chapters that sporadically alternate between Cross's viewpoint and that of the Mastermind, giving a greater depth to both the hero and the maniacal antagonist. The major subplots focus on Cross's greatest personal fears: the illness of his child and the loss of his beloved. Cross's personal and professional lives are becoming even more difficult for him to separate, as the trials he faces at work come home to haunt him. The fact that Cross tries desperately to function on two planes -- facing madmen during the day and hoping to relax with his family at night -- tightens the novel to the breaking point as the story progresses through a series of brutal crimes that stalk closer to his loved ones.

Patterson uses incredibly short chapters that speed the narrative along and compress the story line. The plot elements become all the more complex and gripping as we're drawn further into the realm of a lunatic's thoughts. Once again, Patterson proves that he's capable of turning in an engaging, cunningly crafted tale that transcends the serial killer subgenre. He has another guaranteed bestseller on his hands with Roses Are Red, an intense, action-packed, and thought-provoking novel that will leave the reader awestruck and gasping for breath.

--Tom Piccirilli

Read More

Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
Alex Cross Series, #6
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 6.87(h) x 1.12(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

BRIANNE PARKER didn't look like a bank robber or a murderer – her pleasantly plump baby face fooled everyone. But she knew that she was ready to kill if she had to this morning. She would find out for sure at ten minutes past eight.

The twenty-four-year-old woman wore khakis, a powder blue University of Maryland windbreaker, and scuffed white Nike sneakers. None of the early-morning commuters noticed her as she walked from her dented white Acura to a thick stand of evergreen trees, where she hid.

She was outside the Citibank in Silver Spring, Maryland, just before eight. The branch was scheduled to open in ninety seconds. She knew from her talks with the Mastermind that it was a freestanding bank with two drive-through lanes. It was surrounded by what he called big-box stores: Target, PETsMART, Home Depot, Circuit City.

At eight o'clock on the dot, Brianne approached the bank from her hiding place in the evergreens under a colorful billboard obnoxiously offering McDonald's breakfast to the public. From that angle she couldn't be seen by the female teller who was just opening the glass front door and had momentarily stepped outside.

A few strides from the teller, she slipped on a rubbery President Clinton mask, one of the most popular masks in America and probably the one hardest to trace. She knew the bank teller's name, and she spoke it clearly as she pulled out her gun and pressed it against the small of the woman's back.

"Inside, Ms. Jeanne Galetta. Then turn around and lock the front door again. We're going to see your boss, Mrs. Buccieri."

Her short speech at the entrance to the bank was scripted, word for word, even the pauses. The Mastermind said it was crucial that a bank robbery proceed in a specific order, almost by rote.

"I don't want to kill you, Jeanne. But I will if you don't do everything I say, when I say it. It's your turn to talk now, darling. Do you understand what I've just told you so far?"

Jeanne Galetta nodded her head of short brown hair so vigorously that her wire-rimmed glasses nearly fell off. "Yes, I do. Please don't hurt me," she gasped. She was in her late twenties, attractive in a suburban sort of way, but her blue polyester pantsuit and sensible stack-heeled shoes made her look older.

"The manager's office. Now, Ms. Jeanne. If I'm not out of here in eight minutes, you will die. I'm serious. If I'm not out of here in eight minutes, you and Mrs. Buccieri die. Don't think I won't do it because I'm a woman. I will shoot you both like dogs.

Chapter Two

SHE LIKED THIS AURA OF POWER and she really liked the new respect she was suddenly getting at the bank. As she followed the trembling teller past the two Diebold ATMs and then through the meeter-greeter area of the lobby, Brianne thought about the precious seconds she had already taken. The Mastermind had been explicit about the tight schedule for the robbery. He had repeated over and over that everything depended on perfect execution.

Minutes matter, Brianne.

Seconds matter, Brianne.

It even matters that it's Citibank we've chosen to hit today, Brianne.

The robbery had to be exact, precise, perfect. She got it, she got it. The Mastermind had planned it on what he called "a numerical scale of 9.9999 out of 10."

With the heel of her left hand, Brianne shoved the teller into the manager's office. She heard the low hum of a computer coming from inside. Then she saw Betsy Buccieri sitting behind her big executive-style desk.

"You open up your safe every morning at five past eight, so open it for me," she screamed at the manager, who was wide-eyed with surprise and fear. "Open it. Now!"

"I can't open the vault," Mrs. Buccieri protested. "The vault is automatically opened by a computer signal from the main office in Manhattan. It never happens at the same time."

The bank robber pointed to her own left ear. She signaled with her finger for Mrs. Betsy Buccieri to listen. To listen to what, though? "Five, four, three, two -" Brianne said. Then she reached for the phone on the manager's desk. It rang. Perfect timing.

"It's for you," Brianne said, her voice slightly muffled by the rubbery President Clinton mask. "You listen carefully." She handed the phone to Mrs. Buccieri, but she knew the exact words the bank manager would hear, and who the speaker was.

The scariest voice of all for the bank manager to hear was not that of the Mastermind making very real but idle-sounding threats, but someone even better. Scarier.

"Betsy, it's Steve. There's a man here in our house. He has a gun pointed at me. He says that unless the woman in your office leaves the bank with the money by eight-ten exactly, Tommy, Anna, and I will be killed.

"It's eight-oh-four." The phone line suddenly went dead. Her husband's voice was gone.

"Steve? Steve!" Tears flowed into Betsy Buccieri's eyes and rolled down her cheeks. She stared at the masked woman and couldn't believe this was happening. "Don't hurt them. Please. I'll open the vault for you. I'll do it now. Don't hurt anyone."

Brianne repeated the message the bank manager had already heard. "Eight-ten exactly. Not one second later. And no stupid bank tricks. No silent alarms. No dye packs."

"Follow me. No alarms," Betsy Buccieri promised. She almost couldn't think. Steve, Tommy, Anna. The names rang loudly in her head.

They arrived at the door of the bank's Mosler vault. It was 8:05.

"Open the door, Betsy. We are on the clock. We're losing time. Your family is losing time. Steve, Anna, little Tommy, they could all die."

It took a little less than two minutes for Betsy Buccieri to get into the vault, which was a polished steel thing of beauty with pistons like a locomotive. Stacks of money were plainly visible on nearly all the shelves - more money than Brianne had ever seen in her life. She snapped open two canvas duffel bags and began filling them with the cash. Mrs. Buccieri and Jeanne Galetta watched her take the money in silence. She liked seeing the fear and respect for her on their faces.

As she'd been instructed to, Brianne counted off the minutes as she filled the duffel bags. "Eight-oh-seven . . . eight-oh-eight... " Finally, she was finished with her part in the vault.

"I'm locking you both inside the vault. Don't say one word or I'll shoot you, then lock your dead bodies up."

She hoisted the black duffel bags. "Don't hurt my husband or my baby," Betsy Buccieri begged. "We did what you -"

Brianne slammed the heavy metal door on Betsy Buccieri's desperate plea. She yanked her President Clinton mask from her sweaty face.

She was running late. She walked across the lobby, unlocked the front door with plastic-gloved hands, and went outside. She felt like running as fast as she could to her car, but she walked calmly, as if she didn't have a care in the world on this fine spring morning. She was tempted to pull out her six-shooter and put a hole into the big Egg McShit staring down on her. Yeah, she had an attitude, all right.

When she got to the Acura, she checked her watch: 52 seconds past 8:10. And counting. She was late - but that was the way it was supposed to be. She smiled.

She didn't call Errol at the Buccieri house where Steve, Tommy, and the nanny, Anna, were being held. She didn't tell him she had the money and she was safely in the Acura. She had been told not to by the Mastermind. The hostages were supposed to die.

Chapter Three

THERE'S AN OLD SAYING that I've learned to believe in my time as a detective: Don't think there are no crocodiles because the water is calm.

The water was certainly lovely and calm that day. My young and irrepressible daughter, Jannie, had Rosie the Cat up on her hind legs and she was holding Rosie's front paws in her hands. She and "la chatte rouge" were dancing, as they often did.

"Roses are red, violets are blue," Jannie sang in a sweet, lilting voice. It was a moment and an image I wouldn't forget. Friends, relatives, and neighbors had begun to arrive for the christening party at our house on Fifth Street. I was in a hugely celebratory mood.

Nana Mama had prepared an amazing meal for the special occasion. There was cilantro-marinated shrimp, roasted mussels, fresh ham, Vidalia onions, and summer squash. The aroma of chicken with garlic, pork ribs, and four kinds of homemade bread filled the air. I'd even made my specialty that night, my contribution, a creamy cheesecake with fresh raspberries on top.

One of Nana's refrigerator notes was posted on the door of the GE. It read: "'There is an incredible amount of magic and feistiness in black men that nobody has been able to wipe out. But everybody has tried.' - Toni Morrison." I smiled at the magic and feistiness of my eightysomething-year-old grandmother.

This was so good. Jannie, Damon, little Alex, and I were greeting everybody on the front porch as they arrived. Alex was in my arms, and he was a very social little baby. He had happy smiles for everyone, even for my partner, John Sampson, who can scare little kids at first because he's mammoth - and scary.

"The boy obviously likes to party," Sampson observed, and grinned broadly.

Alex grinned right back at Two-John, who is six-nine and about two hundred fifty pounds.

Sampson reached out and took the baby from me. Alex nearly disappeared in his hands, which are the size of catcher's mitts. Then Sampson laughed and began to talk to the baby in total gibberish.

Christine appeared from the kitchen. She joined the three of us. So far, she and Alex Jr. were living apart from us. We hoped they would come join Nana, Damon, Jannie, and me in this house. Just one big family. I wanted Christine as my wife, not just as a girlfriend. I wanted to wake little Alex in the mornings, then put him to sleep at night.

"I'm going to walk around the party with little Alex. Shamelessly use him to pick up pretty women," Sampson said. He walked off with Alex cradled in his arms.

"You think he'll ever get married?" Christine asked.

"Little Alex? The Boy? Sure he will."

"No, your partner in crime, John Sampson. Will he ever get married, settle down?" It didn't sound like it bothered her that we weren't.

"I think he will - someday. John had a bad family model. His father walked out when John was a year old - eventually died of an overdose. John's mother was a drug addict. She lived in Southeast until a couple of years ago. Sampson was practically raised by my Aunt Tia, with help from Nana."

We watched Sampson cruise the party with little Alex in his arms. He hit on a pretty lady named De Shawn Hawkins, who worked with Christine. "He really is using the baby to hit on women," Christine said in amazement. "De Shawn, be careful," she called to her friend.

I laughed. "Says what he's going to do, does what he says."

The party had started around two in the afternoon. It was still going strong at nine-thirty. I had just sung a duet with Sampson, Joe Tex's "Skinny Legs and All." It was a howling success. We got a lot of laughs and playful jeers. Sampson was starting to sing "You're the First, the Last, My Everything."

That was when Kyle Craig from the FBI arrived. I should have told everybody to go home - the party was all but over.

Read More

What People are saying about this

Larry King
James Patterson does it again. His latest, Roses are Red is on top of his game. It's another terrific thriller based around his Washington, D.C., detectives. This one has twists and turns and an ending that will floor you. Patterson never, and I mean never disappoints...

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Roses Are Red (Alex Cross Series #6) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 377 reviews.
Cmchampion More than 1 year ago
James Patterson threw a curve ball. I was not expecting how it ended. A must read.
missouriRB More than 1 year ago
I'm looking forward to reading violets are blue, and the rest of the alex Cross series. Love James Patterson! The best mystery writer I've come across in a long time.
miss_dobie More than 1 year ago
Another home run for JP. This one will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last sentence!
detective3 More than 1 year ago
The Alex Cross stories are always interesting and enjoyable reading. BUT, Mr. P. should find a new approach to the basic framework of his literary creations. I'm tired of finding the same Alew shadow in each plot.That is, Alex gets big case, Alex gets new girlfriend, girlfriend gets bumped off, alex solves case and goes back to Nana and the kids. Let Alex grow out of the slump he seems to in....
dkloman More than 1 year ago
I love the Cross series. These books are awesome. Will recommend to all my friends. I have one question though, are the Nook Books just as long as the paper books? They seem so much shorter page wise. Thanks for any answers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fast read, good plot; keep one engaged to the end. ktMN
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nvr a dull momment
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome. James patterson is a phenominal writer..
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lovedddd ittttt!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a must read in the Alex Cross series of books! I'm a big James Patterson Fan and truly enjoyed this one. Couldn't put this one down. If you like suspense and murder mysteries from beginning to end, this is the one to read and trust me, you may have to choose another title in order to find out if they catch up with the killer from this book!!!
GTCA More than 1 year ago
I have read six of the Alex Cross series and have loved them all. I only wish I stayed in order. If you like Alex Cross you'll like this book. I'm looking forward to starting the next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a much better story with better twists than the last couple. Still a little predictable, but good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am now hooked on Alex Cross
arawling More than 1 year ago
Roses are Red by James Patterson was an amazing mystery/thriller series. James has done an amazing job creating this book, with great details that don't leave you confused. He is also a great writer of nonfiction and romance novels. The character "Alex Cross" is what he is most known for in his stories and Roses are Red was by far the best book he is involved in. In the book Alex is a detective that is trying to find a mysterious master mind who committed three murders and bank robberies. I was shocked to figure out who the master mind was because I never saw it coming. I thought this book was very interesting and kept me guessing the whole through.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am almost done reading this fabulous book... I love it!
Madi Parker More than 1 year ago
it was teerrribly awsome!!! you know when at some parts it was really good and other parts it was terrible!!! and what up with the last review?!
StoriWI More than 1 year ago
I started the Cross series in December and am reading them in order. Just finished Roses. I agree with most that it was a page-turner! I felt for the last few books that the person who is the Mastermind was going to be revealed as the bad guy (especially at the beach in Kiss the Girls) but since we already had a Mastermind I was really surprised. He has lots of money to get away and continue his villanous ways. Did he leave DNA when he raped Justine? Did he just snap? Can't wait to find out. The good thing about reading the series late is that I don't have to wait for Violets. To Taylor92: I think Betsey's race is not African American because at the Four Seasons Alex made the comment that they got some stares but not too many because it was a sophisticated crowd.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Alex Cross Series are a hit and the suspense and twists and turns will keep you loving his work.
SlapShot62 More than 1 year ago
I've been reading the Alex Cross series in order and am FLYING through them. Can not believe it took me this long to start reading Patterson's books - this is just a great series. Roses are Red is the best of the bunch so far and the ending is WOW. Leads me right to Violets are Blue. I enjoyed this one so much I can't even think about taking a break to read another author for a book or two. Patterson has so many side plots going on in this book in Alex's life, but the main story is about as strong as a writer can get. The bad guy this time? There are actually a few - and they rank among the worst ever. Thankfully, we have not seen the last of the Mastermind!
Taylor92 More than 1 year ago
This book was great! I was a little upset with the ending of Pop Goes The Weasle, there was too much suspence so the short ending was a let down. But this book is nothing like the last. Very interesting and exciting throughout. The only question I had was the race of Agent Betsy Cavalierre, her description did not include this. Anyone know?
LadyBoiler More than 1 year ago
I've read most of the Alex Cross Series by James Patterson. Although 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. You will also want to read the sequel, Violets are Blue. 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.
maymeMM More than 1 year ago
This novel really puts Alex Cross through a variety of emotional traumas, endearing his character to the reader even more than in previous books. The treachery and deception of people Alex trusts, puts his faith in mankind to the test. The reader cannot help but feel involved with Alex as so many of us have felt these same emotions while trying to keep our lives together. This is definitely a must read.
marieOJ More than 1 year ago
I really don't like to read, but James Patterson's books are really good. The mastermind loves to kill and he would kill for anything he wants. I think he has an obsession with death. How could you kill the people you hire to kill by poisoning them and then watch them choke to death? I could never imagine myself killing anyone.I wonder how I would live with myself. I pray everyday that I never come across a psychopath like him. I just wonder what goes through his sick little mind when he's killing innocent people.
Sharonica More than 1 year ago
I love James Patterson's book. It is the craziest book I've ever read. Can you believe that there's a mastermind out there that's actually killing families and even little babies? There's a detective named Kyle and he seems a little strange to me.I start to question myself is he the mastermind behind all of this? Whoever this mastermind is he doesn't seem to care about nobody but himself. He robs banks, kills people, poisons people, and even has raped a woman. This book is just insane. This is a fast-paced read.If you need a book that keeps flowing definitely read this one!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
For me, this James Patterson novel stands out--maybe because it was my first. I've since read four more of them, but as you know, they just keep coming. His writing is tight and suspenseful and full of twists and turns. Can't go wrong with any of his plots and his Alex Cross character is one of the best ever created.