A TERRIFYING ATTACKER
A burst of gunfire leaves several people dead–and one woman fighting for her life. That victim is a member of the Women's Murder Club, four friends who join forces on their toughest cases. Detective Lindsay Boxer pursues one lead after another to capture the man who tried to kill her friend.but the clues don't seem to make sense.
CHILDREN ARE VANISHING
While Assistant District Attorney Yuki Castellano prepares to prosecute a high-profile trial, the city suffers from a chilling crime spree. Children of wealthy families are being abducted–along with their nannies. Yet the kidnappers are silent and do not demand a ransom. Parents everywhere fear the worst. Now with the entire city gripped in fear, Lindsay must frantically work with her new partner to connect these horrific crimes.
WHO WILL THE NEXT TARGET BE?
From James Patterson, "the man who can't miss" (TIME), comes the most shocking and frightening case ever faced by Lindsay Boxer and the Women's Murder Club.
Part One | DO YOU KNOW THIS MAN?
I WAS OFF DUTY that Saturday morning in early November, called to the scene of a homicide because my business card had been found in the victim’s pocket.
I stood inside the darkened living room of a two-family house on Seventeenth Street, looking down at a wretched little scuzzball named Jose Alonzo. He was shirtless, paunchy, slumped on a sagging couch of indeterminate color, his wrists cuffed behind him. His head hung to his chest, and tears ran down his chin.
I had no pity for him.
“Was he Mirandized?” I asked Inspector Warren Jacobi, my former partner who now reported to me. Jacobi had just turned fifty-one and had seen more homicide victims in his twenty-five years on the job than any ten cops should see in a lifetime.
“Yeah, I did it, Lieutenant. Before he confessed.” Jacobi’s fists twitched at his sides. Disgust crossed his timeworn face.
“Do you understand your rights?” I asked Alonzo.
He nodded and began sobbing again. “I shouldn’ta done it, but she made me so mad.”
A toddler with a dirty white bow in her hair, wet diapers sagging to her dimpled knees, clung to her father’s leg. Her wailing just about broke my heart.
“What did Rosa do to make you mad?” I asked Alonzo. “I really want to know.”
Rosa Alonzo was on the floor, her pretty face turned toward the flaking caramel-colored wall, her head split open by the iron her husband had used to knock her down, then take her life.
The ironing board had collapsed around her like a dead horse, and the smell of burned spray starch was in the air.
The last time I’d seen Rosa, she’d told me how she couldn’t leave her husband because he’d said he’d hunt her down and kill her.
I wished with all my heart she’d taken the baby and run.
Inspector Richard Conklin, Jacobi’s partner, the newest and youngest member of my squad, walked into the kitchen. Rich poured cat food into a bowl for an old orange tabby cat that was mewing on the red Formica table. Interesting.
“He could be alone here for a long time,” Conklin said over his shoulder.
“Call animal control.”
“Said they were busy, Lieutenant.” Conklin turned on the taps, filled a water bowl.
Alonzo spoke up.
“You know what she said, Officer? She said, ‘Get a job.’ I just snapped, you understand?”
I stared at him until he turned away from me, cried out to his dead wife, “I didn’t mean to do it, Rosa. Please. Give me another chance.”
Jacobi reached for the man’s arm, brought him to his feet, saying, “Yeah, she forgives you, pal. Let’s take a ride.”
The baby launched a new round of howls as Patty Whelk from Child Welfare came through the open door.
“Hey, Lindsay,” she said, stepping around the victim, “who’s Little Miss Precious?”
I picked up the child, took the dirty ribbon out of her curls, and handed her over to Patty.
“Anita Alonzo,” I said sadly, “meet the system.”
Patty and I exchanged helpless looks as she jostled the little girl into a comfortable position on her hip.
I left Patty rummaging in the bedroom for a clean diaper. While Conklin stayed behind to wait for the ME, I followed Jacobi and Alonzo out to the street.
I said, “See ya,” to Jacobi and climbed into my three-year-old Explorer parked next to six yards of garbage out by the street. I’d just turned the key when my Nextel bleeped on my belt. It’s Saturday. Leave me the hell alone.
I caught the call on the second ring.
It was my boss, Chief Anthony Tracchio. An unusual tightness strained his voice as he raised it over the keening sound of sirens.
“Boxer,” he said, “there’s been a shooting on one of the ferries. The Del Norte. Three people are dead. A couple more wounded. I need you here. Pronto.”
Copyright © 2007 by James Patterson
Carolyn McCormick has appeared in the films A Simple Twist of Fate and Enemy Mine. She has appeared on television as Dr. Olivit on Law & Order for the past twelve years, and as a guest on The Practice and Star Trek. Her Broadway credits include roles in The Dinner Party and Private Lives. She read 4th of July and The 5th Horseman by James Patterson for Hachette Audio.
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