Someone is killing the richest people in the city—and it's the Women's Murder Club's scariest investigation ever.
APPEARANCES CAN BE DECEIVING
At the party of the year, San Francisco's most glamorous millionaires mingle...while someone is watching—waiting for a chance to take vengeance on Isa and Ethan Bailey, the city's most celebrated couple. Finally, the killer pinpoints the ideal moment, and it's the perfect murder.
BUT THE TRUTH CAN BE DEADLY
While Detective Lindsay Boxer investigates the high-profile killings, someone else is found brutally executed—a preacher with a message of hope for the homeless. His death nearly falls through the cracks, but reporter Cindy Thomas hears about it and soon discovers the victim may not have been quite as saintly as everyone thought.
LET THE CONFESSIONS BEGIN
As the hunt for two criminals tests the limits of the Women's Murder Club, Lindsay sees sparks fly between Cindy and Lindsay's partner, Detective Rich Conklin. The Women's Murder Club now faces its toughest challenge: Will love destroy all that four friends have built? James Patterson serves up a double dose of speed-charged twists and shocking revelations. And remember, this is the only Murder Club episode of the year.
Part One | BAGMAN JESUS
CINDY STOOD AT the dead man's side and filled her notebook, getting down the names, the descriptions, the exact quotes from Bagman Jesus's friends and mourners.
"He wore a really big cross," said a Mexican dishwasher who worked at a Thai restaurant. He sported an Adidas T-shirt and jeans under a dirty white apron. Had koi tattooed on his arms. "The cross was made of two, whatchamacallit, nails—"
"It was a crucifix, Tommy," said a bent white-haired woman leaning against her shopping cart at the edge of the crowd, sores on her legs, her filthy red coat dragging in the street.
"'Scuuuuse me, boss. What I meant was, a crucifix."
"And they weren't nails, they were bolts, about three inches long, tied together with copper wire. And don't forget that toy baby on that cross. A little pink baby." The old woman held a thumb and forefinger an inch apart to show Cindy how small that toy baby was.
"Why would someone take his crucifix?" the heavyset woman asked. "But his b-b-bag. That was a real leather bag! Lady, write this down! He was murdered for his s-s-stuff."
"We didden even know his real name," said Babe, a big girl from the Chinese massage parlor. "He give me ten dollah when I had no food. He didden want nothing for it."
"Bagman took care of me when I had pneumonia," said a gray-haired man, his chalk-striped suit pants cinched at the waist with twine. "My name is Bunker. Charles Bunker," he told Cindy.
He stuck out his hand, and Cindy shook it.
"I heard shots last night," Bunker said. "It was after midnight."
"Did you see who shot him?"
"I wish I had."
"Did he have any enemies?"
"Will you let me through?" said a black man with dreads, a gold nose stud, and a white turtleneck under an old tuxedo jacket who was threading his way through the crowd toward Cindy.
He slowly spelled out his name—Harry Bainbridge—so Cindy would get it right. Then Bainbridge held a long, bony finger above Bagman's body, traced the letters stitched to the back of Bagman's bloody coat.
"You can read that?" he asked her.
"Tells you everything you want to know."
Cindy wrote it down in her book.
Copyright © 2009 by James Patterson
Carolyn McCormick has appeared in the films A Simple Twist of Fate and Enemy Mine. She has starred as Dr. Olivet on television's 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 7th Heaven by James Patterson for Hachette Audio.
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