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The 6th Target

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.

Prologue | DAY-TRIPPER

Chapter 1

A KILLER IN WAITING, Fred Brinkley slumps in the blueupholstered banquette on the top deck of the ferry. The November sun glares down like a big white eye as the catamaran plows the San Francisco Bay, and Fred Brinkley glares right back at the sun.

A shadow falls across him, a kid's voice asking, "Mister, could you take our picture?"

Fred shakes his head – no, no, no – anger winding him up like a watch spring, like a wire tightening around his head.

He wants to smash the kid like a bug.

Fred averts his eyes, sings inside his head, Ay, ay, ay, ay, Sau-sa-lito-lindo, trying to shut down the voices. He puts his hand on Bucky to comfort himself, feeling him through his blue nylon Windbreaker, but still the voices pound in his brain like a jackhammer.

Loser. Dog shit.

Gulls call out, screaming like children. Overhead, the sun burns through the overcast sky and turns him as transparent as glass. They know what he's done.

Passengers in shorts and visors line the rails, taking pictures of Angel Island, of Alcatraz, of the Golden Gate Bridge.

A sailboat flies by, mainsail double-reefed, foam flecking the rails, and Fred doubles over as the bad thing whips into his mind. He sees the boom swing. Hears the loud crack. Oh, God! The sailboat!

Someone has to pay for this!

Startling him, the ferry's engines grind into reverse and the deck vibrates as the ferry comes into dock.

Fred stands, works his way through the crowd, passing eight white tables, lines of scuffed blue chairs, his fellow ferry riders giving him the eye.

He enters the open compartment at the bow, sees a mother berating her son, a boy of nine or ten with light-brown hair. "You're driving me crazy!" the woman shouts.

Fred feels the wire snap. Someone has to pay.

His right hand slips into his jacket pocket – finds Bucky.

He slips his finger into the trigger loop.

The ferry lurches as it bumps the mooring. People grab on to one another, laughing. Lines snake out from the boat, bow and aft.

Fred's eyes shoot to the woman who is still belittling her son. She's small, wearing tan clam diggers, her breasts outlined in the soft skin of her white blouse, nipples pointing straight out.

"What's wrong with you, anyway?" she yells over the engines' roar. "You really piss me off, buster."

Bucky is in Fred's hand, the Smith & Wesson Model 10, pulsing with a life of its own.

The voice booms, Kill her. Kill her. She's out of control!

Bucky points between the woman's breasts.

BLAM.

Fred feels the jolt of the gun's recoil, sees the woman jump back with a little hurt yelp, a red stain blooming on her white blouse.

Good!

The little boy follows his mother's fall to the deck with his big round eyes, strawberry ice cream plopping out of his cone, pee spreading across the front of his pants.

The boy did a bad thing, too.

BLAM.

Copyright © 2007 by James Patterson

Read by Carolyn McCormick

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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