BY James Patterson & Howard Roughan

A perfect family vacation turns into a life-or-death nightmare.

Only an hour out of port, the Dunne family's summer getaway to paradise is already turning into the trip from hell. Carrie, the eldest, has thrown herself off the side of the boat in a bid for attention. Sixteen-year-old Mark is getting high belowdecks. And Ernie, their ten-year-old brother, is nearly catatonic. It's shaping up to be the worst vacation ever.

Katherine Dunne had hoped this trip would bring back the togetherness they'd lost when her husband died four years earlier. Maybe if her new husband, a high-powered Manhattan attorney, had been able to postpone his trial and join them it would all have been okay....

Suddenly, a disaster hits–and it's perfect. Faced with real danger, the Dunnes rediscover the meaning of family and pull together in a way they haven't in a long time. But this catastrophe is just a tiny taste of the danger that lurks ahead: someone wants to make sure that the Dunne family never makes it out of paradise alive.

With whiplash plot twists, speedboat pacing, and an eye for the evil that can lie behind even the most gorgeous setting, James Patterson delivers Sail–the wettest, most explosive ocean adventure since Jaws.


Chapter 1

"I'M CRAZY, right? I mean, I have to be absolutely, certifiably mad to take this trip! This sailboat extravaganza with my family! And Jake!"

I've had this same thought for weeks, but today is the first time I'm saying it out loud. Screaming it, actually, at the top of my lungs. Thankfully, Mona's Upper West Side office used to be a recording studio for a talk-show host. The walls are soundproof, or so Mona tells me.

The way I'm acting, they should also be padded.

"No, you're not crazy," says Mona, being her usual calm self. "On the other hand, are you biting off more than you can chew? Perhaps?"

"But don't I always?"

"Yes," she says, "for as long as I've known you, anyway. Don't say the number."

Twenty-seven years, to be exact–ever since Mona and I met during our freshman orientation at Yale and discovered we were both closet General Hospital fans and harbored ridiculous crushes on Blackie, the character played by a very young–and incredibly cute–John Stamos.

Wow, did I just date myself, or what?

Anyway, for the past two months Mona has been more than my best friend and the sister I never had. She's also been Dr. Mona Elien, my psychiatrist.

Yes. I know. On paper, that arrangement might not be a good idea. But who lives on paper?

Not me.

I live on caffeine, adrenaline, and relentless sixteen-hour shifts at Lexington Hospital, where I'm a heart surgeon. I just didn't have the time or patience for the get-to-knowyou phase of therapy. Besides, there's no one's opinion I trust more than Mona's. There's no one I trust more, period.

"It's not that I'm weighing in against the sailboat trip, Katherine. In fact, I think it's a great idea," she says. "My only concern is how much hope you're pinning on it, the pressure you seem to be putting on yourself and the kids. What if it doesn't work?"

"That's easy," I say. "I'll just kill them and myself and put us all out of our collective misery."

"Well," says Mona, straight-faced as always, "it's good to know you have a Plan B."

The two of us crack up. How many other shrinks could I do that with?

Mona's right, though. I am pinning a lot of hope on this sailing trip, maybe too much.

Only I can't help it.

That's what can happen when your family is falling to pieces before your eyes and you believe that it's all your fault.

Copyright © 2008 by James Patterson

Read by Dylan Baker & Jennifer Van Dyck

Dylan Baker is an actor and director who has been nominated for a Tony Award, a Drama Desk Award, and an Obie. Some of his feature film credits include Happiness, Kinsey, Road to Perdition, Along Came a Spider, and Random Hearts. On television he has appeared in From the Earth to the Moon, Murder One, and The Laramie Project, among many others. Baker resides in New York.

Jennifer Van Dyck has appeared on Broadway in Hedda Gabler and Dancing at Lughnasa. Her film and television credits include Michael Clayton, Across the Universe, Bullets Over Broadway, Law & Order, Ed, and Spin City.

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