Women's Murder Club: 3rd Degree

Women's Murder Club: 3rd Degree

BY James Patterson & Andrew Gross

The #1 bestselling new mystery series of the past decade comes roaring back with 3rd Degree, a shockingly suspenseful thriller featuring the Women's Murder Club.

One of James Patterson's best loved heroines is about to die. Detective Lindsay Boxer is jogging along a beautiful San Francisco street when a fiery explosion rips through the neighborhood. A town house owned by an Internet millionaire is immediately engulfed in flames, and when Lindsay plunges inside to search for survivors, she finds three people dead. An infant who lived in the house cannot be found - and a mysterious message at the scene leaves Lindsay and the San Francisco Police Department completely baffled.

Then a prominent businessman is found murdered under bizarre circumstances, with another mysterious message left behind by the killer. Lindsay asks her friends Claire Washburn of the medical examiner's office, Assistant D.A. Jill Bernhardt, and Chronicle reporter Cindy Thomas to help her figure out who is committing these murders-and why they are intent on killing someone every three days.

Even more terrifying, the killer has targeted one of the four friends who call themselves the Women's Murder Club.

Which one will it be?

While the investigation rages furiously, Lindsay works very closely with a federal officer assigned to the case. At the same time, she learns that one member of the Women's Murder Club is hiding a secret so dangerous and unbelievable that it could destroy them all.

Chapter 4

"I'M ALL RIGHT," I said, forcing myself out of the EMT's grasp. I made my way over to the boy, who was already strapped onto a gurney. He was being wheeled into a van. The only motion in his face was a slight flickering in his eyes. But he was alive. My God, I had saved his life.

Out on the street, onlookers were being ringed back by the police. I saw the redheaded kid who'd been riding his Razor. Other horrified faces crowded around.

All of a sudden I became aware of barking. Jesus, it was Martha, still tied to the post. I ran over to her and hugged her tightly as she licked my face.

A fireman made his way to me, a division captain's crest on his helmet. "I'm Captain Ed Noroski. You okay?" "I think so," I said, not sure.

"You guys in the Hall can't be heroes enough on your own shift, Lieutenant?" Captain Noroski said.

"I was jogging by. I saw it blow. Looked like a gas explosion. I just did what I thought was right."

"Well, you did good, Lieutenant." The fire captain looked at the wreckage. "But this was no gas explosion." "I saw two bodies inside."

"Yeah," Noroski said, nodding. "Man and a woman. Another adult in a back room on the first floor. That kid's lucky you got him out."

"Yeah," I said. My chest was filling with dread. If this was no gas explosion . . .

Then I spotted Warren Jacobi, my number one inspector, coming out of the crowd, badging his way over to me. Warren had the "front nine," what we call the Sunday morning shift when the weather gets warm.

Jacobi had a paunchy ham hock of a face that never seemed to smile even when he told a joke, and deep, hooded eyes impossible to light up with surprise. But when he fixed on the hole where 210 Alhambra used to be and saw me, sooty, smeared, sitting down, trying to catch my breath - Jacobi did a double take.

"Lieutenant? You okay?" "I think so." I tried to pull myself up.

He looked at the house, then at me again. "Seems a bit run-down, even for your normal fixer-upper, Lieutenant. I'm sure you'll do wonders with it." He held in his grin. "We have a Palestinian delegation in town I know nothing about?"

I told him what I had seen. No smoke or fire, the second floor suddenly blowing out.

"My twenty-seven years on the job gives me the premonition we're not talking busted boiler here," said Jacobi.

"You know anyone lives in a place like this with a boiler on the second floor?"

"No one I know lives in a place like this. You sure you don't want to go to the hospital?" Jacobi bent down over me. Ever since I'd taken a shot in the Coombs case, Jacobi'd become like a protective uncle with me. He had even cut down on his stupid sexist jokes.

"No, Warren, I'm all right." I don't even know what made me notice it. It was just sitting there on the sidewalk, leaning up against a parked car, and I thought, Shit, Lindsay, that shouldn't be there. Not with everything that had just gone on. A red school knapsack. A million students carry them. Just sitting there.

I started to panic again. I'd heard of secondary explosions in the Middle East. If it was a bomb that had gone off in the house, who the hell knew? My eyes went wide. My gaze was fixed on the red bag. I grabbed Jacobi. "Warren, I want everyone moved back away from here, now. Move everybody back, now!"

Copyright © 2004 by James Patterson

Read by Carolyn McCormick

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Women's Murder Club: 3rd Degree

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