Roses Are Red
is the sixth novel in award-winning and best-selling crime novelist James Patterson's Alex Cross
series. The book follows lead homicide detective Alex Cross on a whirlwind investigation of a series of carefully planned bank robberies and mass murders, which seem to be plotted by a third party that hires criminals to do his dirty work. Cross teams up with FBI investigators, including a new love interest, Betsey Cavalierre, to solve the case.Roses Are Red
is preceded by five Alex Cross novels: Along Came a Spider, Kiss the Girls, Jack and Jill, Cat and Mouse,
and Pop Goes the Weasel.
It is followed by Violets are Blue
and eighteen other novels featuring Alex Cross as the lead investigator. The series has been adapted for film three times – in 1997, 2001, and 2012. Patterson has also authored a number of other series for adults and children, including the Daniel X
, Maximum Ride
, and Women's Murder Club
series, and a number of stand-alone novels. He has also written a series of adventure novels for middle school readers, called the Treasure Hunters
series. His books have sold more than 300 million copies.
Investigator Alex Cross is reeling from a break-up, after his girlfriend, Christine Johnson, leaves him because she fears his dangerous line of work. Cross is now single, middle-aged, and the father of three children, the last of whom he raised with Christine.
Unfortunately, Cross doesn't have much time to recover from his romantic split – a series of high-profile bank robberies have erupted in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. The robberies are typically accompanied by mass murder and ransom notes; the people of D.C. are terrified to leave their homes for fear of being held a hostage. The banks and financial institutions, the targets of the robberies, are also scared – with each robbery they lose enormous amounts of money and often bank personnel – and wary about the security of the DC financial sector if the robberies continue.
Cross and his partner Sampson investigate the first robbery at a bank in Silver Springs, Maryland. The bank manager's family was brutally murdered in this robbery, though the patrons and staff of the bank were spared. The FBI is called in to assist Cross and Sampson with their investigation, due to the high profile nature of the hold-up. Michael Doud, James Walsh, and Betsey Cavalierre work most closely with Cross and Sampson during the investigation. Cross quickly develops feelings for Cavalierre.
The one robbery quickly turns into a string of thefts in the DC area. Another hold-up is staged at a bank in Falls Church, Virginia, where all the employees are killed but the bank manager's family is released unscathed. The third and most brutal robbery takes the team to Manhattan, where everyone except for the security guard is killed. At this robbery, the security guard is instructed to deliver a message to the team from the Mastermind behind the crimes. A final robbery occurs in Hartford, Connecticut, at the iconic Mayflower Hotel. This time, nobody is injured, but the hotel is robbed of more than $30 million in assets and jewels.
As the team investigates the robberies, it discovers a strange pattern. While the heists are obviously being organized by the same person, each robbery is conducted by a different team. It appears that after their work is complete, the top dog poisons the men who undertook the crimes in order to maintain complete secrecy. The mastermind's teams consist of small-time thieves and criminals and some crooked policemen, who are convinced they will be given some of the earnings but are killed before they can cash in on their prize.
A series of red herrings brings the team to a Veteran's Hospital, where they interrogate Frederic Szabo, a resident with a paranoid personality disorder who seems mentally, though not physically, capable of plotting these crimes. Szabo is seeking revenge on banks and insurance companies that he thinks capitalize on other people's pain and deserve to be punished for their crimes against humanity. Cross and the team soon discover that while Szabo concocts elaborate plans to get back at financial institutions, he doesn't have the means to carry them out – his medical assistant, Dr. Francis, however, does have the means. Cross and Cavalierre are certain that Dr. Francis is the mastermind behind the robberies when a sudden last-minute plot twist shifts the focus to Kyle Craig, Cross's quiet coworker who has been posing as a friend and confidante throughout the investigation.
The novel ends with clear plans for a sequel, as Cross and Cavalierre come to terms with the blind spot that allowed them to overlook Craig's guilt.