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 2

LONG STORY SHORT–boring personal story made palatable–the problems really kicked in four years ago when my husband, Stuart, suddenly died. It was a devastating shock. Even though Stuart had strayed on me, and more than once, I blamed my career and work schedule at least as much as I blamed him.

At any rate, Stuart's death was even worse for our three children. I just didn't realize it at first. Maybe I was too self-centered.

For some reason I thought our family would all rally around, that we'd pull through by pulling together.

I was fooling myself.

Stuart was the family's anchor; he was almost always there, while I was more often than not at the hospital, or at least on call. Without him around, the kids became their own little islands. They were angry, confused, and, worse, they wanted little to do with me. Not that I could blame them. In all candor, I've never been in danger of winning any Mother of the Year award. I'm living proof–like so many other women, I suppose–of how hard it is to have both a successful career and time for a great relationship with your kids. Not impossible, just very hard.

But that's all about to change. At least, I hope so. Desperately.

Starting this Friday, I'm taking a two-month leave of absence from Lexington Hospital. Dr. Katherine Dunne is officially checking out.

The kids and I are setting sail for the bulk of the summer on The Family Dunne, the boat that always used to bring us together when Stuart was alive. It was his pride and joy–and that's probably why I could never bring myself to sell it. I couldn't do that to the kids.

Of course, Carrie, Mark, and Ernie hate this whole idea, but I don't care. Even if I have to drag them kicking and screaming, they're getting on that boat!

"Oh, here's some good news," I tell Mona as we wrap up our session. "The kids have finally stopped referring to this as 'the dysfunctional Dunne family vacation.'"

"That is good news," says Mona with the tinkly laugh I love.

"Yeah," I say. "Now they're just calling it 'Mom's guilt trip from hell.' "

Mona laughs again and I join her this time. It's either that or start crying and maybe do a swan dive out her window.

What have I gotten myself into? And how can our family survive?

Two very good questions that I can't answer right now.

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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