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The 8th Confession

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.

Prologue | BUS STOP

Two

MY PARTNER, RICH CONKLIN, was at the wheel of our unmarked car and I was sugaring my coffee when I felt the concussion.

The dashboard shook. Hot coffee slopped over my hand. I shouted, "What the hell?" A few moments later the radio sputtered, the dispatcher calling out, "Reports of an explosion at Market and Fourth. Nearby units identify and respond."

I dumped my coffee out the window, grabbed the mic, and told Dispatch we were two blocks away as Conklin accelerated up the hill, then braked so that our car slewed across Fourth Street, blocking traffic.

We bolted from the car, Conklin yelling, "Lindsay, watch out. There could be secondary explosions!"

The air was opaque with roiling smoke, rank with burning rubber, plastic, and human flesh. I stopped running, wiped my sleeve across my stinging eyes, and fought against

my gag reflex. I took in the hellish scene—and my hair literally lifted away from the back of my neck.

Market Street is a major artery. It should have been pulsing with commuter traffic, but instead it looked like Baghdad after a suicide bomb. People were screaming, running in circles, blinded by panic and a screen of smoky haze.

I called Chief Tracchio, reported that I was the first officer on the scene.

"What's happening, Sergeant?"

I told him what I saw: five dead on the street, two more at the bus stop. "Unknown number of victims alive or dead, still in their cars," I coughed into the phone.

"You okay, Boxer?"

"Yes, sir."

I signed off as cruisers, fire rigs, and EMS units, their sirens whooping, streamed onto Market and formed a perimeter at Third and at Fifth, blocking off oncoming traffic. Moments later, the command vehicle rolled up, and the bomb squad, covered top to toe in gray protective suits, poured onto the debris field.

A bloodied woman of indeterminate age and race staggered toward me. I caught her as her knees buckled, and Conklin and I helped her to a gurney.

"I saw it," the victim whispered. She pointed to a blackened hulk at the intersection. "That school bus was a bomb."

"A school bus? Please, God, not kids!"

I looked everywhere but saw no children.

Had they all been burned alive?

Copyright © 2009 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 read 7th Heaven by James Patterson for Hachette Audio.

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