|I, Alex Cross|
|Publication date||November 16th, 2009|
|Published by||Little, Brown and Company|
| Preceded by|
Alex Cross's Trial
| Followed by|
Detective Alex Cross is enjoying a birthday party with his family when he receives a call from his bosses informing him that Caroline, the 24-year old only daughter of his late brother Blake, has been found murdered in Virginia. Cross and his girlfriend Briana Stone rush to Richmond, Virginia, and are shocked to discover that Caroline's body was found dismembered (most likely by a wood chipper) in the trunk of a car driven by someone with connections to organized crime. Cross takes the case and one of his first stops is Caroline's apartment. Cross is shocked to discover she only lived a few miles from him and yet never contacted him. He is further shocked to discover that based on the apartment's locale and the extensive lingerie wardrobe inside, Caroline was a high-end escort. Further investigation reveals that several other young people with connections to high-end prostitution have also either been murdered or disappeared under suspicious circumstances. Further investigation reveals that Caroline's escorting activities took her to a secretive club in Culpeper, Virginia, called Blacksmith Farms where she may have met an ultrasecretive character named Zeus who wears a mask at all times. During the course of his investigation, Cross is thwarted by various people in Washington, DC—including the Secret Service and the President of the United States -- who all want Cross to hand over his investigation to them. Cross refuses and is almost forced to give up his investigative efforts when his old FBI friend Ned Mahoney recommends Cross follow up on a lead provided by a country farmer. The lead turns out to be an escort who met Zeus and saw him without his mask on. All escorts—like Cross' niece Caroline—who saw Zeus without his mask were quickly killed and their bodies dismembered. This escort, however, managed to escape, but not before being shot in the back. The farmer just happened to come upon the escort and managed to nurse her back to health. The escort reveals that Zeus is actually Theodore Vance, husband to current US President Maggie Vance. Theodore Vance has a compulsion for young escorts and is able to indulge his compulsion with the help of various people (like his Secret Service detail) who want to keep it quiet to protect the current Presidential administration. Cross goes to a party at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC to question Theodore Vance about his connection to Zeus. Sensing that President Vance's administration is about to be brought down by Theodore Vance's arrest, Thedore Vance's personal Secret Service agent (Dan Cormorant), in a final act of loyalty to his country, shoots and kills Theodore Vance. Cormorant is immediately killed by other Secret Service agents. By killing Vance, Cormorant has allowed the Vance presidential administration to survive and spared the country the embarrassment of a sex scandal. Instead, Theodore Vance will be remembered as a Presidential spouse who was tragically and inexplicably killed by a rogue Secret Service agent.