From his grandmother, Alex Cross has heard the story of his great uncle Abraham and his struggles for survival in the era of the Ku Klux Klan. Now, Alex passes the family tale along to his own children in a novel he's written-a novel called Trial.
As a lawyer in turn-of-the-century Washington D.C., Ben Corbett represents the toughest cases. Fighting against oppression and racism, he risks his family and his life in the process. When President Roosevelt asks Ben to return to his home town to investigate rumors of the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan there, he cannot refuse.
When he arrives in Eudora, Mississippi, Ben meets the wise Abraham Cross and his beautiful granddaughter, Moody. Ben enlists their help, and the two Crosses introduce him to the hidden side of the idyllic Southern town. Lynchings have become commonplace and residents of the town's black quarter live in constant fear. Ben aims to break the reign of terror-but the truth of who is really behind it could break his heart. Written in the fearless voice of Detective Alex Cross, Alex Cross's Trial is a gripping story of courage in the face of prejudice and terror.
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About the Author
Hometown:Palm Beach, Florida
Date of Birth:March 22, 1947
Place of Birth:Newburgh, New York
Education:B.A., Manhattan College, 1969; M.A., Vanderbilt University, 1971
Read an Excerpt
Alex Cross's TRIAL
By Patterson, James
Grand Central PublishingCopyright © 2010 Patterson, James
All right reserved.
A GOOD MAN IS HARD TO FIND
“LET HER HANG until she’s dead!”
“Take her out and hang her now! I’ll do it myself!”
Bam! Bam! Bam!
Judge Otis L. Warren wielded his gavel with such fury I thought he might smash a hole in the top of his bench.
“Quiet in the court!” the judge shouted. “Settle down, or by God I will hold every last one of you sons of bitches in contempt.”
Bam! Bam! Bam!
It was no use. Warren’s courtroom was overflowing with disgruntled white citizens who wanted nothing more than to see my client hang. Two of them on the left side began a chant that was soon taken up by others:
We don’t care where. We don’t care how.
We just wanna hang Gracie Johnson now!
The shouts from some among the white majority sent such a shiver of fear through the colored balcony that one woman fainted and had to be carried out.
Another bang of the gavel. Judge Warren stood and shouted, “Mr. Loomis, escort all those in the colored section out of my courtroom and out of the building.”
I couldn’t hold my tongue another second.
“Your Honor, I object! I don’t see any of the colored folks being rowdy or disrespectful. The ones making the fuss are the white men in front.”
Judge Warren glared over his glasses at me. His expression intimidated the room into silence.
“Mr. Corbett, it is my job to decide how to keep order in my court. It is your job to counsel your client—and let me tell you, from where I sit, she needs all the help she can get.”
I couldn’t disagree.
What I once thought would be an easy victory in the case of District of Columbia v. Johnson was swiftly turning into a disaster for Gracie and her increasingly helpless attorney, Benjamin E. Corbett: that being myself.
Gracie Johnson was on trial for the murder of Lydia Davenport, a wealthy white woman who was active in Washington society at a level high enough to cause a nosebleed. Worse, Gracie was a black woman accused of killing her wealthy white employer.
The year was 1906. Before it was all over, I was afraid they were going to hang Gracie.
I had to be careful they didn’t hang me while they were at it.
Excerpted from Alex Cross's TRIAL by Patterson, James Copyright © 2010 by Patterson, James. Excerpted by permission.
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