The Women's Murder Club pursues two cases in an electrifying new thriller–chasing a deranged killer and searching for a murderer with a taste for fire.
Part One | BLUE MOON
MY PULSE SHOT UP at the mention of Michael Campion's name.
Michael Campion wasn't just a kid. He was to Californians what JFK Jr. had been to the nation. The only child of our former governor Connor Hume Campion and his wife, Valentina, Michael Campion had been born into incredible wealth. He'd also been born with an inoperable heart defect and had been living on borrowed time for the whole of his life.
Through photos and newscasts, Michael's life had been part of ours. He'd been a darling baby, a precocious and gifted child, and a handsome teenager, both funny and smart. His father had become a spokesman for the American Heart Association, and Michael was their adored poster boy. And while the public rarely saw Michael, they cared, always hoping that one day there would be a medical breakthrough and that California's "Boy with a Broken Heart" would be given what most people took for granted – a full and vigorous life.
Then, back in January of this year, Michael had said good night to his parents, and in the morning his bedroom was empty. There was no ransom note. No sign of foul play. But a back door was unlocked and Michael was gone.
His disappearance was treated as a kidnapping, and the FBI launched a nationwide search. The SFPD did its own investigation, interviewing family members and retainers, Michael's teachers and school friends, and his virtual online friends as well.
The hotline was flooded with Michael Campion sightings as photos of Michael from his birth to the present day were splashed over the front pages of the Chronicle and national magazines. TV networks and cable news ran documentary specials on Michael Campion's doom-shadowed life.
The tips had led nowhere, and months later, when there'd been no calls from a kidnapper, and no trace of Michael had surfaced, terror attacks, wildfires, politics, and new violent crimes pushed the Michael Campion story off the front page.
The case was still open, but everyone assumed the worst. That a kidnapping had gone terribly wrong. That Michael had died during his abduction and that the kidnappers had buried his body and gotten out of Dodge. The citizens of San Francisco mourned along with Michael's famous and beloved family, and while the public would never forget him, they put the book of his life aside.
Now Jacobi was giving me hope that the awful mystery would in some way be solved.
"Michael's body has been found?" I asked him.
"Naw, but we've got a credible lead. Finally."
I pressed the phone hard against my ear, ghost stories and the first annual getaway of the Women's Murder Club forgotten.
Jacobi was saying, "If you want in on this, Boxer, meet me at the Hall–"
"I can be there in an hour."
Copyright © 2008 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, 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, The 5th Horseman, and 6th Target by James Patterson for Hachette Audio.