Crocodile Tears is the eighth novel in the Alex Rider series by British author Anthony Horowitz. It was released in the UK on 12 November 2009, published by Walker Books, and in the U.S. on 17 November 2009. On 17 December 2008, the title was revealed (in code) to be Crocodile Tears. The book was succeeded by Scorpia Rising, released in March 2011.
A nuclear technician in India plants a bomb on a pump in a nuclear power station in Jowada but is killed by the blast as his paymasters didn't want to leave any witnesses. (which would later be revealed who). A cloud of nuclear steam slowly travels towards Jowada, and a charity called First Aid quickly reacts to the disaster.
Meanwhile Alex Rider is spending New Year's with Sabina Pleasure and her family in Scotland. He attends a New Year's Eve party hosted by the rich black businessman Desmond McCain, founder of the fictitious charity First Aid. As Alex, Sabina, and her father drive home, a sniper shoots the tire of their car, causing them to lose control and crash into a loch. Alex, Sabina, and her father barely escape from the vehicle. Their escape is helped by an Indian man who is unidentified and unknown to them at the time.
Alex is later approached by a journalist named Harry Bulman who wants to publicise Alex's MI6 activities. Alex is forced to cooperate with MI6 on one last mission in exchange for their help in getting Bulman off of his back. He is tasked with finding more information about a genetically modified foods research facility named Greenfields. He enters the facility while on a school trip and plugs in a USB drive to copy the contents of director Leonard Straik's computer. Straik (who is accompanied by McCain) discovers that the computer has been compromised and orders a massive manhunt to find the person responsible. Alex barely escapes the facility alive. McCain recognizes Alex, however, and contacts Bulman to learn more about him. After Bulman discloses all that he knows, McCain murders him to keep him silent.
McCain kidnaps Alex and flies him into Kenya. McCain reveals that he created his charity, First Aid, to steal money from the general public, responding to disasters that he creates himself. Preparing his charity for these engineered disasters, First Aid arrives on the scene first and collects a large sum of money. McCain also explains that he asked Greenfields to engineer a poison called ricin for crops that would kill half the population of Africa. McCain says he will make hundreds of millions of pounds during the first few months of the plague and intends to steal the money before running away and assuming a new identity in South America (Switzerland in the American version). The Wheat would start producing the poison when given the biological trigger of a mold Alex found at Greenfields.
McCain takes Alex to a nearby river and makes him hang from a pole above a river infested with hungry crocodiles, as they try to eat him. He is saved by the same Indian from the loch, and escapes into the forest. The Indian reveals his name as Rahim and states that he works for the Indian Secret Service which sent him to kill McCain. While Rahim tries to find a ride out of Africa, Alex makes a journey to the dam that is holding the water from the valley, all the while being pursued by McCain's men. Alex blows up the dam with a bomb, killing everybody except himself. He is rescued by Rahim in a plane. All the crops that were carrying the poison were destroyed in the flood.
They touch down at a nearby airport to refuel, but McCain arrives and shoots Rahim, killing him. Alex jumps out of the plane, but injures his ankle in the process. Just when Alex is about to be killed, he rolls a barrel of fuel over to McCain and blows it up with an explosive gel pen Smithers gave him. Alex watches as McCain burns to death in a pillar of flame.
A few weeks later Alex is back in London healing from his wounds. Jack comes in and sits with him, reminding him that his fifteenth birthday is coming soon. She also assures him that this was his last mission and that MI6 will leave him alone. Alex briefly smiles and rests for the day.