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10th Anniversary

For every secret

Detective Lindsay Boxer's long-awaited wedding celebration becomes a distant memory when she is called to investigate a horrendous crime: a badly injured teenage girl is left for dead, and her newborn baby is nowhere to be found. Lindsay discovers that not only is there no trace of the criminals—but that the victim may be keeping secrets as well.

For every lie

At the same time, Assistant District Attorney Yuki Castellano is prosecuting the biggest case of her life—a woman who has been accused of murdering her husband in front of her two young children. Yuki's career rests on a guilty verdict, so when Lindsay finds evidence that could save the defendant, she is forced to choose. Should she trust her best friend or follow her instinct?

There's a different way to die

Lindsay's every move is watched by her new boss, Lieutenant Jackson Brady, and when the pressure to find the baby begins interfering with her new marriage to Joe, she wonders if she'll ever be able to start a family. With James Patterson's white-hot speed and unquenchable action, 10th Anniversary is the most deliciously chilling Women's Murder Club book ever.


Chapter 1

A TEENAGE GIRL wearing a neon green plastic poncho, naked underneath, stumbled along a dark road. She was scared out of her mind and in pain, the cramps coming like repeated blows to her gut and getting worse. Blood had started coming out of her a while ago, and now it was running fast and hot down her legs.

What had she done?

People always told her she was a smart kid, but—and this was a fact—she'd made a horrible mistake, and if she didn't get help soon, she was going to die.

But where was she?

She had the sense that she was walking in circles but getting nowhere. During the day, the area around Lake Merced was full of traffic—joggers, cyclists, a steady stream of cars on the road around the lake. But at night it was completely deserted. The darkness was bad enough, but now fog filled the basin. She couldn't see farther than a few yards in front of her.

And she was really scared.

People had gone missing around here. There had been murders. Plenty of them.

Her feet dragged. She really couldn't lift them, and then she felt herself fading out, just leaving her body. She reached out to brace her fall, and her hand found the trunk of a tree. She gripped it with both hands and held on hard to the rough bark until she felt rooted in the black, moonless night.

Oh my God. Where am I now?

Two cars had already passed her without stopping, and now she thought of abandoning her plan to flag down a car and return to the house. They were gone. She could sleep. Maybe the blood would stop flowing if she could lie down—but she was so lost. She didn't know which way to turn.

The girl stumbled forward, looking for light, any light.

Blood was running faster out of her body, dripping down her legs, and she felt so faint that her legs hardly held her up.

As she pushed herself forward, she stubbed her toe on something hard and unforgiving, a root or a stone, and she pitched forward. She put out her hands, bracing for the fall.

Her chin and knees and palms took the brunt of it, but she was all right. Panting from the pain, the girl got to her feet.

She could make out the trees along the roadside, the eucalyptus and the pines looming overhead. Grasses scratched at her arms and legs as she staggered through them.

She imagined a car stopping, or a house coming into view. She imagined how she would tell the story. Would she have a chance to do that? Please. She couldn't die now. She was only fifteen years old.

A dog barked in the distance and the girl changed course and headed toward that sound. A dog meant a house, a phone, a car, a hospital.

She was thinking of her room, of being safe there. She saw her bed and her desk and the pictures on the wall and her phone—oh, man, if only she still had her phone—and that's when her foot turned over, her ankle twisting, and she went down again, falling really hard, skinning half of her body.

This was too much. Too much.

She stayed down this time. Everything hurt so much. She made a pillow of her arms and just rested her head. Maybe if she took a little nap. Yeah, maybe some sleep was what she needed and then, in the morning...when the sun came up...

It took a long moment to understand that the dull light growing brighter in the fog was a pair of headlights coming toward her.

She put up her hand and there was a squeal of brakes.

A woman's voice said, "Oh my God. Are you hurt?"

"Help me," she said. "I need help."

"Stay with me," said the woman's voice. "Don't go to sleep, young lady. I'm calling nine one one. Look at me. Keep your eyes open."

"I've lost my baby," the girl said.

And then she didn't feel any more pain.

Copyright © 2011 by James Patterson

Read by Carolyn McCormick

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 also read The 9th Judgment by James Patterson for Hachette Audio.

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