Black Friday

Black Friday

BY James Patterson

I love to lose myself in a thriller — especially the rare one that moves along like an out-of-control freight train. The thriller that actually got me started writing was The Day of the Jackal.

With BLACK FRIDAY, I wanted to concoct a shamelessly manipulative story that the reader couldn't wait to finish, but didn't want to end. Now get on this freight train!
-- James Patterson

The breathtaking suspense of Kiss the Girls and the authenticity of N.Y.P.D. Blue: Welcome to James Patterson's classic superthriller, BLACK FRIDAY. A courageous federal agent, a powerful and resourceful woman lawyer- only they can possibly stop the unspeakable from happening. New York City is under siege by a secret militia group- and that's just the beginning of the relentless terror of BLACK FRIDAY.

Another version of this book was previously published as BLACK MARKET.

Chapter 1

Colonel David Hudson leaned his tall, athletic body against the squat, battered trunk of one of New York's Checker-style taxis.

Raising one hand to his eye, Hudson loosely curled his fingers to fashion a "telescope." He began to watch morning's earliest light fall on the Wall Street scene.

He carefully studied 40 Wall Street where Manufacturers Hanover Trust had offices. Then, No. 23 Wall, which housed executive suites for Morgan Guaranty. The New York Stock Exchange Building. Trinity Church. Chase Manhattan Plaza.

Once he had it all vividly in sight, Colonel Hudson squeezed his fingers tightly together. "Boom," he whispered quietly.

The financial capital of the world completely disappeared behind his clenched right fist.


Seconds before 5:30 on that same morning, Sergeant Harry Stemkowsky, the man designated as Vets 24, sped down the steep, icicle-slick Metropolitan Avenue Hill in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.

He was riding in a nine-year-old Everest and Jennings wheelchair, from the Queens VA. Right now, he was pretending the chair was a Datsun 280-Z, silver metallic, with a shining T-roof.

"Aahh-eee-ahh!" He let out a banshee screech that pierced the deserted, solemnly quiet morning streets.

His long thin face was buried in the oily collar of a khaki Army fatigue parka replete with peeling sergeant's stripes, and his frizzy blond ponytail blew behind him like ribboning bike streamers. Periodically, he closed his eyes which were tearing badly in the burning cold wind. His tightly pinched face was getting as red as the gleaming Berry Street stoplight he was racing through with absolute abandon.

His forehead was burning, but he loved the sensation of unexpected freedom.

He thought he could actually feel streams of blood surge through both his wasted legs again.

Harry Stemkowsky's rattling wheelchair finally came to a halt in front of the all-night Walgreen's Drugstore.

Under the fatigue jacket and the two bulky sweaters he wore, his heart was hammering wildly. He was so goddamn excited—his whole life was beginning all over again.

Today, Harry Stemkowsky felt he could do just about anything.

The drugstore's glass door, which he nudged open, was covered with a montage of cigarette posters. Almost immediately, he was blessed with a draft of welcoming warm air, filled with the smells of greasy bacon and fresh-perked coffee.

He smiled and rubbed his hands together in a gesture that was almost gleeful. For the first time in years he was no longer a cripple.

And for the first time in more than a dozen hard years Harry Stemkowsky had a purpose.

He had to smile. When he wrapped his mind around the whole deal, the full, unbelievable implications of Green Band, he just had to smile.

Right at this moment, Sergeant Harry Stemkowsky, the official messenger for Green Band, was safely at his firebase inside New York City. Now everything could begin.

Copyright © 1986 by James Patterson

Read by Peter J. Fernandez (unabridged) & Stephen Lang (abridged)

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Black Friday
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ISBN: 0446609323
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