The scariest and most satisfying James Patterson novel since Kiss the Girls
A breathtakingly beautiful supermodel disappears from a swimsuit photo shoot at the most glamorous hotel in Hawaii. Only hours after she goes missing, Kim McDaniels's parents receive a terrifying phone call. Fearing the worst, they board the first flight to Maui and begin the hunt for their daughter.
...WILL NEVER BE...
Ex-cop Ben Hawkins, now a reporter for the L.A. Times, gets the McDaniels assignment. The ineptitude of the local police force defies belief—Ben has to start his own investigation for Kim McDaniels to have a prayer. And for Ben to have the story of his life.
...THE SAME FOR YOU AGAIN.
All the while, the killer sets the stage for his next production. His audience expects the best—and they won't be disappointed. Swimsuit is a heart-pounding story of fear and desire, transporting you to a place where beauty and murder collide and unspeakable horrors are hidden within paradise.
Prologue | JUST THE FACTS
I KNOW THINGS I don't want to know.
A true psychopathic killer is nothing like your everyday garden-variety murderer. Not like a holdup guy who panics and unloads his gun into a hapless liquor store clerk, or a man who bursts into his stockbroker's ofﬁce and blows his head off, and he's not like a husband who strangles his wife over a real or imagined affair.
Psychopaths aren't motivated by love or fear or rage or hatred. They don't feel those emotions.
They don't feel anything at all. Trust me on that one.
Gacy, Bundy, Dahmer, BTK, and the other all-stars in the twisted-killer league were detached, driven by sexual pleasure and the thrill of the kill. If you thought you saw remorse in Ted Bundy's eyes after he'd confessed to killing thirty young women, it was in your own mind, because what distinguishes psychopaths from all other killers is that they don't care at all. Not about their victims' lives. Not about their deaths.
But psychopaths can pretend to care. They mimic human emotion to pass among us and to lure their prey. Closer and closer. And after they've killed, it's on to the next new and better thrill, with no boundaries, no taboos, no holds barred.
I've been told that it's "distracting" to be so consumed by appetite, and so psychopaths screw up.
Sometimes they make a mistake.
You may remember back to the spring of 2008 when the swimsuit model Kim McDaniels was abducted from a sandy beach in Hawaii. No ransom demand was ever made. The local cops were slow, arrogant, and clueless, and there were no witnesses or informants who had any idea who had kidnapped that beautiful and talented young woman.
At that time, I was an ex- cop turned mystery writer, but since my last book had gone almost straight from the shipping carton to the remainder racks, I was a third-strike novelist doing the next best thing to writing pulp fiction.
I was reporting crime for the L.A. Times, which, on the upside, was how the highly successful novelist Michael Connelly got his start.
I was at my desk twenty-four hours after Kim went missing. I was ﬁling yet another routinely tragic story of a drive-by fatality when my editor, Daniel Aronstein, leaned into my cube, said "Catch," and tossed me a ticket to Maui.
I was almost forty then, going numb from crime scene fatigue, still telling myself that I was perfectly positioned to hook a book idea that would turn my life around one more time. It was a lie I believed because it anchored my fraying hope for a better future.
The weird thing is, when the big idea called me out—I never saw it coming.
Aronstein's ticket to Hawaii gave me a much- needed hit. I sensed a five-star boondoggle, featuring oceanfront bars and half-naked girls. And I saw myself jousting with the competition—all that, and the L.A. Times was picking up the tab.
I grabbed that airline ticket and flew off to the biggest story of my career.
Kim McDaniels's abduction was a flash ﬁre, a white-hot tale with an unknown shelf life. Every news outlet on the planet was already on the story when I joined the gaggle of reporters at the police cordon outside the Wailea Princess.
At ﬁrst, I thought what all the journos thought, that Kim had probably been drinking, got picked up by some bad boys, that they'd raped her, silenced her, dumped her. That the "Missing Beauty" would be top o' the news for a week, or a month, until some celebrity bigot or the Department of Homeland Security grabbed back the front page.
But, still, I had my self-delusion to support and an expense account to justify, so I bulled my way into the black heart of a vile and compelling crime spree.
In so doing, and not by my own devising, I became part of the story, selected by a profoundly psychotic killer with a cherished self-delusion of his own.
The book you hold in your hands is the true story of a skillful, elusive, and, most would say, first-rate monster who called himself Henri Benoit. As Henri told me himself, "Jack the Ripper never dreamed of killing like this."
For months now, I've been living in a remote location getting "Henri's" story down. There are frequent electrical brownouts in this place, so I've gotten handy with a manual typewriter.
Turns out I didn't need Google because what isn't in my tapes and notes and clippings is permanently imprinted on my brain.
Swimsuit is about an unprecedented pattern killer who upped the ante to new heights, an assassin like no other before or since. I've taken some literary license in telling his story because I can't know what Henri or his victims were thinking in a given moment.
Don't worry about that, not even for a second, because what Henri told me in his own words was proven by the facts.
And the facts tell the truth.
And the truth will blow your mind, as it did mine.
—Benjamin L. Hawkins May 2009
Copyright © 2009 by James Patterson
Christian Rummelhas appeared in several episodes of Law & Order and has done a great deal of acting on stage, including his recent work with Theatre for a New Audience. Christian is also an accomplished audiobook narrator who has recorded a number of titles for Hachette Audio.
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