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The 6th Target

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.

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.

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.

Chapter 7

THE HEAD OF THE Crime Scene Unit, Charlie Clapper, crossed the gangway with his team and came on board moments after the witnesses were released. Charlie stopped in front of us, greeted the chief, said, “Hey, Lindsay,” and took a look around.

Then he dug into the pockets of his herringbone tweed jacket, pulled out latex gloves, and snapped them on.

“This is a fine kettle of fish,” he said.

“Let’s try to stay positive,” I said, unable to conceal the edge in my voice.

“Cockeyed optimist,” he said. “That’s me.”

I stood with Tracchio as the CSU team fanned out, putting out markers, photographing the bodies and the blood that was spattered everywhere.

They dug out a projectile from the hull, and they bagged an item that might lead us to a killer: the half-empty packet of Turkish cigarettes that had been found under a table in the stern.

“I’m going to take off now, Lieutenant,” Tracchio told me, looking down at his Rolex. “I have a meeting with the mayor.”

“I want to work this case — personally,” I said.

He gave me a hard, unblinking stare. I’d just pushed a hot button on his console, but it couldn’t be helped.

Tracchio was a decent guy, and mostly I liked him. But the chief had come up through the ranks by way of administration. He’d never worked a case in his life, and that made him see things one way.

He wanted me to do my job from my desk.

And I did my best work on the street.

The last time I’d told Tracchio that I wanted to work cases “hands-on,” he’d told me that I was ungrateful, that I had a lot to learn about leading a command, that I should do my goddamned job and feel lucky about my promotion to lieutenant.

He reminded me now, sharply, that one of my partners had been killed on the street and that only months ago, Jacobi and I had both been shot in a desolate alley in the Tenderloin. It was true. We’d both nearly died.

Today, I knew he couldn’t turn me down. My best friend had a slug through her chest, and the shooter was free.

“I’ll work with Jacobi and Conklin. A three-man team. I’ll have McNeil and Chi back us up. Pull in the rest of the squad as needed.”

Tracchio nodded reluctantly, but it was a green light. I thanked him and called Jacobi on my cell. Then I phoned the hospital, got a kindhearted nurse on the line who told me that Claire was still in surgery.

I left the scene with Jack Rooney’s camera in hand, planning to look at the video back at the Hall, see the shooting for myself.

I walked down the gangway and muttered, “Nuts,” before I reached the pavement. Reporters from three local TV stations and the Chronicle were waiting for me. I knew them all.

Cameras clicked and zoomed. Microphones were pushed up to my face.

“Was this a terrorist attack, Lieutenant?”

“Who did the shooting?”

“How many people were killed?”

“Give me a break, guys. The crime just happened this morning,” I said, wishing these reporters had grabbed Tracchio or any one of the other four dozen cops milling around the perimeter who’d love to see themselves on the six o’clock news.

“We’ll release the names of the victims after we’ve contacted their families.

“And we will find whoever did this terrible thing,” I said with both hope and conviction. “He will not get away.”

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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