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The 9th Judgment

Detective Lindsay Boxer chases a jewel thief, a murderous movie star, and a killer with a vendetta against women and children.

The most personal
A young mother and her infant child are ruthlessly gunned down while returning to their car in the garage of a shopping mall. There are no witnesses, and Detective Lindsay Boxer is left with only one shred of evidence: a cryptic message scrawled across the windshield in blood red lipstick.

The most dangerous
The same night, the wife of A-list actor Marcus Dowling walks in on a cat burglar who is about to steal millions of dollars worth of precious jewels. In just seconds there is an empty safe, a lifeless body, and another mystery that throws San Francisco into hysteria.

The most exciting Women's Murder Club novel ever
Lindsay spends every waking hour working with her partner Rich—and her desire for him threatens to tear apart both her relationship with her fiancé and the Women's Murder Club. Before Lindsay and her friends can piece together either case, one of the killers forces Lindsay to put her own life on the line—but is it enough to save the city? With unparalleled danger and explosive action, The 9th Judgment is James Patterson at his compelling, unstoppable best!

Part One | SNEAKY PETE

Chapter 5

JUDGE STEVEN RABINOWITZ took a last look at the pictures of his new condo in Aspen, then turned off his iPhone, cracked his knuckles, and said, "Are the People ready, Ms. Castellano?"

"We are, your Honor," said Yuki.

She stood, her glossy black hair with the new silver streak in front falling forward as she straightened the hem of her suit jacket. Then she stepped quickly to the lectern in the center of the well.

She turned her eyes toward the jury box and gave the jurors a smile. A couple of them smiled back, but for the most part they were expressionless. She couldn't read them at all.

But that was okay.

She just had to give the greatest closing of her life, as if the dead scumbag victim were the best and brightest of men, and as if this were the last case she would ever try.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," she said, "Dr. Lincoln Harris is dead because this man, Adam J. Johnson, knew Dr. Harris was in mortal danger and let him die with willful disregard for his life. in California, that's manslaughter in the first degree.

"We know what happened on the night of March fourteenth because, after waiving his right to remain silent, after waiving his right to counsel, Mr. Johnson told the police how and why he let Dr. Harris expire when he could have easily saved his life."

Yuki let her words resonate in the chamber, shuffling her cards on the lectern before continuing her closing argument.

"On the evening in question, the defendant, who had been employed by Dr. Harris as a handyman, went out to get cocaine for the doctor and himself.

"He returned within the hour, and the defendant and the plaintiff ingested this cocaine. Shortly after that, Dr. Harris OD'd. How do we know that?

"The defendant told the police—and it was borne out by medical experts—that it was clear Dr. Harris was in extremis. He was foaming at the mouth and eventually lost consciousness. But, rather than call an ambulance, the defendant used this opportunity to remove a thousand dollars and an ATM card from Dr. Harris's wallet.

"Mr. Johnson then used Dr. Harris's ATM card, took another thousand dollars, and bought himself a new leather jacket and a pair of boots at rochester Big & Tall.

"After that," Yuki told them, "the defendant bought more cocaine and hired a prostitute, Elizabeth Wu, whom he brought back to Dr. Harris's home.

"Over the next several hours, Ms. Wu and Mr. Johnson snorted coke, had sex a few times, and at one point, according to Mr. Johnson's statement, discussed how to dispose of Dr. Harris's body once he died. That, Ladies and Gentlemen, shows 'consciousness of guilt.'

"Adam Johnson absolutely knew that the doctor was dying. But he didn't call for help for fifteen hours," Yuki said, slapping the lectern. "Fifteen hours. Finally, at the behest of Ms. Wu, Mr. Johnson finally called nine one one, but it was too little, too late. Dr. Harris died in the ambulance en route to the hospital.

"Now, we all know that the defense has no defense.

"When facts are against them, defense lawyers resort to theatrics and to blaming the victim.

"Mr. Asher has told you that Dr. Harris lost his license to practice medicine because he used drugs. And that he cheated on his wife. That's true, and so what? The victim wasn't a saint, but even imperfect people have a right to humane treatment. And they have a right to justice.

"The defense has portrayed Adam Johnson as a hapless gofer who didn't know an oD from a CD.

"That's fiction. Adam Johnson knew what he was doing. He's admitted to all of it: the willful disregard as well as the fun he had that night, stealing and shopping and snorting coke and having sex while Dr. Harris lay dying.

"That's why there can be only one verdict. The People ask you to find Adam Johnson guilty on three counts: of grand larceny, of intent to deal narcotics, and of reckless disregard for the life of a human being—that is, manslaughter in the first degree."

Copyright © 2010 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 The 8th Confession by James Patterson for Hachette Audio.

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