Cross (novel)

Cross (novel)

Cross is James Patterson's twelfth book featuring his most famous character, Alex Cross.


Plot summary

Part 1

Alex Cross narrates the opening section of the book in flashback from 1993, Washington, D.C.

Pregnant Maria Simpson Cross and Alex live happily together, but mob hitman Michael Sullivan, aka "The Butcher", and his partner Jimmy "Hats" Galati are out to make life miserable for him. While on an errand for boss Dominic Maggione in the Baltimore/Washington area, Sullivan rapes a college teen and participates in the execution of Chinese Jiang An-lo, but is witnessed by Cross and partner John Sampson. After Sullivan pays a frightening visit to Cross at night, Alex loses his wife to gunshots the next night.

Part 2

The action takes in place in D.C. in 2005. Cross prepares to return to private practice, leaving the FBI over the objections of director Ron Burns.

At the same time the Butcher has to do a job in Venice for the new boss, Maggione's son, who does not like Sullivan. He realizes that something is strange with his targets. It’s a trap and the couple were sent by Maggione Jr. to kill him. Because of luck and his excellent skills he survives and seeks bloody revenge. He wants to kill Maggione.

Part 3

Both Alex and the Butcher go to work, the former trying to solve a series of rape and murder cases in southeastern D.C., the latter trying to protect his family from the vendetta-wielding John Maggione. But he is not aware that Alex thinks he committed the rapes he's investigating-and killed his wife so many years ago.

Part 4

The Butcher is in Washington, still trying to fend off attacks from Maggione, but Alex is on to him. The Butcher manages to kill John Maggione in a complicated plot, but find Alex and Sampson waiting for him. A shoot-out begins in which Alex is injured and Sullivan killed. Sampson ends the story by confessing a long-kept secret.


Alex was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. His mother died when he was 9 years old and his father was an alcoholic, so he lived with his grandmother. Alex Cross joined the Washington DC Police Department as a psychologist. There he worked in the Homicide and Major Crimes department and somehow also worked between the FBI and the DC police. After this he worked for the FBI as a Senior Agent and when he left the FBI he opened his own psychology practice. He still lives in Washington DC with Nana Mama and his three children Damon, Jannie and Alex Jr. Despite the fact that he’s well educated and makes a decent living, he chooses to continue living in the slums of DC and is very much involved in the community. In his free time he likes playing the piano, listening to classical music and reading. Patterson portrays him as a lonely person but also as a model father who tries to spend as much time as possible with his family.

  • Nana Mama

Her real name is Regina Hope Cross and she’s Alex’s grandmother who looked after him when he grew up. She’s 81 years old and still lives with Alex and his three children in Washington DC. Nana used to work as an English teacher and as an assistant principal at Garfield North Junior High School in Washington. She’s quite severe and manners are very important for her.

  • Maria Simpson Cross (flashback)

Alex's deceased wife, whom we briefly meet in the opening chapters of the story.

  • John Sampson

He and Alex have grown up together and know each other since they were 10 years old. He was Alex’s partner when he worked for the DC Police. After Alex leaves the FBI Sampson needs his help in a case that probably is in connection with the murder of Alex’s wife Maria, so they become partners again.

  • Michael "The Butcher of Sligo" Sullivan

Michael Sullivan grew up in Brooklyn, New York. He had no good childhood and often had problems with his father,who molested him. So when he was 18 he killed him, cut him in little pieces using a scalpel and fed him to the fish in the bay. Some time later he got connections to Mafia, especially the Maggione family for which he worked as a killer from then on. After one of his jobs he got the nickname “the Butcher” because he was so cruel and killed the people in a very brutal way. After killing his victims he would cut up their faces with the scalpel to make a point and would then take pictures to use a threatening devise so his next victims would keep quiet. He lives with his wife and three sons in Maryland.

Film Adaption

James Patterson announced that a film adaption of I, Alex Cross was in the works. James and Kerry Williams wrote the screen play based on the 12th novel of Alex Cross Cross. They did not change the title to the film to match the book. Producer, Steven Bowen, stated "We chose I, Alex Cross title for the movie because it is a clear dramatic statement that signals to the millions of Alex Cross fans that this movie is about their hero." The film will star Tyler Perry as Alex Cross and Matthew Fox as Michael "The Butcher" Sullivan.

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