Alex Cross’s Trial (Alex Cross, #15) by James Patterson Read Online (FREE)
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A PREFACE TO TRIAL
BY ALEX CROSS
A few months after I hunted a vicious killer named the Tiger halfway around the world, I began to think seriously about a book I had been wanting to write for years. I even had the title for it: Trial. The previous book I’d written was about the role of forensic psychology in the capture of the serial killer Gary Soneji. Trial would be very different, and in some ways even more terrifying.
Oral history is very much alive in the Cross family, and this is because of my grandmother, Regina Cross, who is known in our household and our neighborhood as Nana Mama. Nana’s famous stories cover the five decades when she was a teacher in Washington—the difficulties she faced during those years of civil rights turmoil, but also countless tales passed on from times before she was alive.
One of these stories—and it is the one that stayed with me the most—involved an uncle of hers who was born and lived most of his life in the small town of Eudora, Mississippi. This man, Abraham Cross, was one of the finest baseball players of that era and once played for the Philadelphia Pythians. Abraham was grandfather to my cousin Moody, who was one of the most unforgettable and best-loved characters in our family history.
What I now feel compelled to write about took place in Mississippi during the time that Theodore Roosevelt was president, the early part of the twentieth century. I believe it is a story that helps illuminate why so many black people are angry, hurt, and lost in this country, even today. I also think it is important to keep this story alive for my family, and hopefully for yours.
The main character is a man my grandmother knew here in Washington, a smart and courageous lawyer named Ben Corbett. It is our good fortune that Corbett kept first-person journals of his incredible experiences, including a trial that took place in Eudora. A few years before he died, Mr. Corbett gave those journals to Moody. Eventually they wound up in my grandmother’s hands. My suspicion is that what happened in Mississippi was too personal and painful for Corbett to turn into a book. But I have come to believe that there has never been a better time for this story to be told.
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!