Pop Goes the Weasel (novel)

Pop Goes the Weasel (novel)

"Pop Goes the Weasel" is the fifth book in the Alex Cross series written by James Patterson.

Plot introduction

The book begins by introducing the villain, Geoffrey Shafer. He is well dressed and wealthy as he gets out of his big house in Kalorama, Washington, D.C. into his luxurious Jaguar XJ12. As he drives down the street, he speeds and rushes to oncoming traffic causing a commotion. He is pulled over by a police officer. When the police approach him Shafer takes out his ID. He is a British Diplomat and has diplomatic immunity.

Plot summary

Geoffrey feels like he's losing control. He plays a fantasy game named the Four Horseman in which he is Death. The game was everything to him. He drove to the red light district and took his laptop and e mailed the other horsemen. The game was about to start again. He picks up a prostitute and after driving to a secluded area he takes a large knife and has her get out. Outside he introduces himself as Death and stabs her. He tells her he's the best player of all.

It's been a week since the events from the last book, Cat and Mouse. It's July. Alex and Sampson are driving foster children to see their father's in prison.

That night, Sampson and Cross are investigating the murder of the prostitute. She was 14 years old and was naked.

Geoffrey is eating dinner with his wife and kids. He does not love them. He was once a Colonel in the British army. He told his family he had to go to London for the weekend. He actually was staying put in Washington DC to play his game. He leaves that night and goes toward the airport but turns toward an apartment complex where he has a room he rents and a garage where he has a taxi cab that he's been using for months. He goes inside the apartment and transforms himself into a Blackman. He gets in the cab and is heading to town. The game has begun again.

The game of the four horsemen depended on the roll of a dice. The idea was to have an elaborate fantasy. All four were competing with each other. Shafer is driving through town looking for a “fare”. He spots a young couple but decides they’re not right, eventually picking up a beautiful woman.

Alex is at St. Anthony's soup kitchen when Christine arrives. And take a little time to cuddle. Soon Sampson arrives to inform Cross there's been another murder, but they know the victim is Nina Childs, who worked at St. Anthony's. Sampson and Cross take off. Her body was just like the prostitute's, naked and beaten. Nina's body had been dumped in a bad and impoverished neighborhood. Cross and Sampson went to tell Nina's family the news. On the way back its revealed Nina and Sampson used to date and Sampson had loved her.

The only constant with the murders were that all the bodies found had no ID; the bodies were dumped in or by buildings where they could not be found quickly and there were never any witnesses.

Cross and Sampson get together with the detectives that helped during the child killings in Jack & Jill to work on the murders. They’re going to do their own investigation. Alex makes some educated guesses, he's suicidal, doesn’t like his job or family, former military, world traveler, careful. Cross thinks he’ll explode. Sampson says “Pop goes the weasel” and the name stuck, The Weasel.

A few days later Chief Pitman tells Cross he doesn’t want him working on other cases than those assigned to him. He told Cross to get involved in the case of a German that was robbed and gunned down.

As soon as Cross leaves Pitman's office, another detective named Patsy Hampton slips in through the side door. Pitman had here there to listen to the conversation. Pitman wants Hampton to help him take Cross down.

At the British Embassy, Shafer cruelly and unjustly fires an employee for his own pleasure. We also learn he is with MI6.

That night Alex and Christine have a romantic date and she accepts to be his wife.

10 days have passed since Shafer killed the 14 year old prostitute and is going on the prowl again. On the airport Shafer picks up a business man. He rolls the dice and has to kill him immediately. He drives and shoots the man with his gun. Shafer drives to a neighborhood, strips the man and dumps the body.

At 2:30 Alex is called by Sampson. The murdered man has been found. Alex rushes over to the scene. Alex wonders why this body was dumped in a place where it was easily found.

Detective Hampton is also at the scene and she watches Cross. She is impressed by him. It's revealed that Hampton once broke into a suspect's car without a warrant, which is why she is working for Pitman.

George Bayer is famine in the game of the 4 horsemen. He is on his way from Asia to Washington DC to confront Shafer. Bayer and Shafer were both from MI6. Bayer thinks Shafer is control. Bayer is concerned Shafer is no longer playing a game, but is acting out his fantasies. Bayer thinks it's the drug use causing all this.

Bayer goes to the apartment complex Shafer rents out. He sees the taxi Shafer uses. Bayer goes to Shafer's room, then back to the taxi and takes it for a spin. He picks up 2 women.

Shafer had hacked into Bayer's computer and knew Bayer was in town. Shafer followed Bayer the whole time. Shafer wondered why Bayer was in town. It was against the rules unless agreed beforehand. Shafer waits for Bayer to leave and then goes and kills the 2 girls.

Cross finds out that the man that was picked up at the airport was sodomized after death.

Cross and Sampson find the two women, their lips stapled to each other.

At work Alex gets a lead about the murdered girls from a young man on a burglary charge. He claims to have seen the killer.

Cross and the men go visit a man named Booker who tells them he saw the cab that dropped the girls off and describes the cab.

Shafer is heading to his apartment hideout when he sees all the police officers doing searches. He's curious so he approaches carefully on foot. He overhears the names of Sampson and Cross. Shafer returns to the embassy and looks them up on his computer. Shafer's intrigued, especially by Cross.

Cross meets with a Pulitzer Prize winning Washington Post reporter, Zachary Taylor, and informs Taylor about Pitman and all the 114 unsolved murders in the southeast parts of DC.

Christine and Alex go on a date and Alex spends the night at her house.

The next morning the story Cross told the reporter is on the front page of the Post. When Cross arrives at the police station Pitman meets with him and the other detectives working with Alex. He suspends the 3, but not Cross. Pitman tells Cross that he’ll be reporting to Pitman directly.

Shafer emails the other horsemen to tell them he wants to involve Cross and Sampson into his game.

Christine went on an extended vacation with all of the Crosses (Alex, Nana, Damon and Janelle) to Bermuda. The trip was fun and relaxing but on the third night Christine disappeared.

Cross contacts the police and informs Interpol as well. Later that night there is a phone call in his room and a muffled person tells Cross he has an email. Cross takes out his laptop and reads an email that says: She's safe for now. We have her.

Sampson goes to Bermuda to help cross find Christine. The local police found a witness to the kidnapping. Christine was riding a Moped when she was hit by a van. The man takes her and the moped inside the van. The man was black.

Late night in bed, Patsy Hampton receives a call from an FBI contact about a chat room he visits and a game called the 4 horsemen. Hampton logs in for a few minutes and wonders if there is a connection.

When the Cross family gets back to DC, the other members of the family are there waiting, including Naomi, his niece that was kidnapped in "Kiss the Girls". They’re all there to support Alex.

Shafer goes to a ranch house in Maryland to kill a mother and daughter. When he gets there the dice roll a 5 which meant he had to leave. He decided to ignore the dice, he runs into the house and shoots them both.

Cross is back at work. He is still working the murders with Sampson, against Pitman's orders. They’re approached by a young man that tells them that night there was someone following the cab and drove a nice car. He tells Cross the man was white and the man driving the cab was also white.

Hampton and her FBI friend trace the IP address of one of the boys from the chatroom. When the visit they discover he's a teenager. They ask how he knows about the horsemen. He tells them that a person went to the chatroom and told them about it and he managed to traced the IP address also and tells them it's Geoffrey Shafer, he works for the British Embassy.

A few days have passed, and Alex has no leads on the kidnapping. Alex is giving boxing lessons to his kids. A phone call for Alex, it's the kidnapper, who tells Alex to go to a pay phone a few blocks away. Alex runs to the pay phone and commandeers it from a young woman. He waits almost 45 minutes before the kidnapper calls again with a warning to back off before something happens to his family.

Sampson and Cross are working the cab angle. They meet with a woman who was the landlady of an apartment complex were a man owned a purple cab. The man's identity was false. On examining the cab, they go inside the apartment. Taped to a mirror in the bathroom are pictures in Bermuda of Christine and the entire Cross family.

Patsy Hampton is watching Shafer when he leaves the embassy. Shafer notices her following and heads strait home. At home he is bored and wants to kill his family. He rolls his dice but they came negative and his family is spared.

When Shafer leaves that night, he heads to his mistress’ house and later returns home. Hampton follows. After a half hour watching Shafer at his house she leaves. She decides to call Alex Cross. They set up to meet that night at a diner. They go over some information. Cross asks her to let him help. Hampton says she’ll think about it,

On the 3rd night since the talk, Patsy invites Alex on a stakeout at Shafer's house but nothing happened. Shafer ended up going to a sports bar and watched a baseball game.

The next night, Cross returns home from Damon's choir practice. He gets a call from the kidnapper. The kidnapper tells Cross to go to the National Zoo and go to the monkey house; there would be a payphone there. Cross calls Hampton who tells him Shafer is at home at his son's birthday party. Cross rushes there. He waits 15 minutes and the phone rings. The kidnapper tells Cross that Christine is at the apartment Patsy and Alex had gone to.

Cross races there and finds police officers there. Cross goes in to find the dead Patsy Hampton. Cross finds Shafer's car. He has the police officers look around. He realizes he's at Shafer's mistress’ apartment complex. Cross burst into the apartment and has the officers arrest Shafer. Shafer yelled that he had diplomatic immunity. Cross didn’t care.

The next morning the news was all over the papers. Shafer had lawyer and was suing the department for false arrest and defamation of character for $50 million dollars.

The next day Cross is with the DC law department to discuss the case. Shafer's attorney calls. He tells everyone Shafer will waive diplomatic immunity provided that there is no civil trial afterwards.

In London, Conqueror was taking a young prostitute with him. He is an overweight balding old man in a wheelchair so the hooker did not feel endangered. The 3 horsemen are trying to compete with Shafer.

We are now moved ahead five months since the murder of Patsy Hampton. Christine is still missing; Shafer is on a short leash.. The trial was about to start. Shafer's attorney claims any evidence found by the police falls under illegal search and not valid in trail.

Cross receives an e mail from Sandy Greenberg, the Interpol agent that helped in the Mr. Smith case. They have a lead on Conqueror, another former MI6 agent. The lead was thanks to Cross’ notes.

Cross e mails Conqueror, a man by the name of Oliver Highsmith, from England, a retired MI6 agent. Cross asks for help on Shafer. Cross receives a reply that Conqueror's relationship with Shafer is merely as an acquaintance and that the game is really just a game.

Cross is made to looks as a vindictive vigilante in the trial and Chief Pitman didn’t help him with his own testimony.

A few days later Shafer plans a “suicide”. This becomes a news sensation. Cross knew Shafer would get off.

During a break from the trial, due to Shafer's suicide attempt, Sandy Greenberg contacts Cross that Andrew Jones from Security Service wants to meet with Alex in regards to Shafer. They meet at a bar. Jones reveals that all 4 horsemen are killers and former MI6. Jones is willing to help because Alex has information now that could cause a scandal through Security Service.

Jones reveals that the game started in 1991 where 3 of the 4 were stationed in Bangkok. The 4th, Highsmith was Bayer's mentor. There was a murder of 2 girls in Bangkok that was never solved. Jones thinks Bayer committed them but has no proof. Jones offer to help Alex and Alex offers to help Jones and the two agree to meet again.

As the trial resumes, the defense tries to make Shafer look like a victim, and Cross the bully. Shafer's wife made him look like a loving caring husband, and his mistress, a psychiatrist, like a troubled, insecure man. The defense claims Cross put Hampton's blood on Shafer when cross checked on Hampton and then went upstairs.

Cross and Shafer confronted each other outside the courtroom, in the parking lot but no fight ensued.

Despite the prosecution's best effort, Shafer was declared Not Guilty. At the end Shafer yells at Cross “You killed her”. Shafer was referring to Christine.

Despite being let go, shafer was held on a short Leash. Jones goes to his office to tell Shafer in 30 days he’ll be returning to London, that Jones knows Shafer is a killer and that they will catch him eventually.

Cross Sampson and Jones meet to discus Shafer. Shafer was bi-polar as a kid and its gotten worse with all the drugs he's been taking.

Shafer is alone at home. His wife left him and took the children. They returned to London. Though Shafer won the trial but his life is unraveling. We learn that it was with MI6 that he became an assassin and learned he liked to kill others. He was stationed in Bangkok with the other 3 men that would become the horsemen. Shafer goes out for a drive and is pulled over for speeding. The cop gives him a ticket and tells him they’re watching him. In the distance he recognizes Cross black Porsche.

Inside the Porsche, Andrew Jones sits with Alex. They are committed to stopping Shafer before he kills again.

A few days later Shafer goes to a mall. He tries on clothes and mingles through the crowd. He goes to another side of the mall. To another parking lot and gets into a different car. He goes to a computer store and types an e mail to the horsemen. The game is about to end and he wants to meet with all of them.

Cross and Jones, using the resources of Security Service know that all 3 are going to Jamaica since that's where 1 of them owned a large beach house. Everyone heads down to Jamaica and get rooms in the same hotel as the horsemen. Shafer had yet to arrive. Soon all 3 are there but still no Shafer.

Shafer arrives that night by sailboat. It's been a little over a week and he's kicked off the drug habit. George Bayer is on the shore waiting to kill Shafer.

When Shafer gets to the beach he thinks Bayer is there to kill him. Bayer tells Shafer they are all going to play the game one more time at the hotel. They will let the dice decide. Shafer rushes Bayer and strangles him to death. Shafer grabs Bayer's dice and mumbles that he no longer uses the dice and throws them out to sea. He blames the horsemen for making him into a killer.

Cross and Sampson learn that the Security Service has lost the horsemen. Cross and Sampson rush to help look for them.

Shafer is heading toward the hotel to kill the other 2 horsemen. He discovers 2 agents posing as a couple and shoots them. He heads into Conqueror's room, once inside after a brief argument; Shafer shoots him in the head.

Jones, Cross and Sampson go to Highsmith's suite. They know Bayer is probably dead so Shafer is going to the final player. They go toward Whitehead's beach house. Shafer is already there and him and war get into a shoot out. Shafer shoots him in the back. He decides to let him live but will paralyze him when he shoots him again at the base of the spine.

Cross and Sampson arrive. Shafer shoots at them in a distance. He's making his way to sea. Cross figures he has a boat nearby. Cross takes off after him. In the ocean the 2 struggle, and Shafer fakes bad cramp and starts to sink. A few seconds later he grabs Cross from beneath. Cross lands a powerful kick to Shafer's head, who sinks again. Cross tries to rescue him but is unable to.

2 nights later Cross and Sampson meet with Jones and try to make sense of the whole ordeal.

At the airport, Cross and Sampson are heading home when Jones shows up and tells them Christine may have been in Jamaica all along.

A thief had been caught and traded information to the police. An American black woman was being held by a gang. We learn it's been a year since Christine was kidnapped. They get to the area she's being held and they’re allowed in. Christine was there and she had a baby. She begins to cry. She tells Cross she named the baby Alex. They gently kissed and she tells Cross that he was always with her.

Epilogue: Shafer had actually survived Jamaica and was in London. He was following Lucy, his ex-wife. He approaches her and quickly slashes her throat. The new game begins.

The End


* Shafer called the taxi she used to pick up his victims the Nightmare Machine.
* Shafer became known as the weasel in casual conversation between Cross and his fellow detectives.
* Shafer played the horsemen every Thursday night and loved it. The game had been played for 7 years. He played when sick and would cancel functions if it interfered with the game.
* Shafer was Colonel in the British Army and a spy for MI6.

The Four Horsemen

* Geoffrey Shafer (The Weasel) – Death. The main bad guy in the book.
* Oliver Highsmith – Conqueror. The game was originally his idea. He was in charge of the other 3 when they were stationed in Bangkok
* George Bayer – Famine
* James Whitehead – War. War Recruited Shafer into MI6. Whitehead reported to Highsmith.

All four of them killed people in their area, but Shafer was more out of control. During their time in Bangkok they all murdered prostitutes.

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