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Tick Tock

NYC's #1 detective, Michael Bennett, has a huge problem—the Son of Sam, the Werewolf of Wisteria and the Mad Bomber are all back. The city has never been more terrified!

Tick—a killer's countdown begins, but...
A rash of horrifying crimes tears through the city, throwing it into complete chaos and terrorizing everyone living there. Immediately, it becomes clear that they are not the work of an amateur, but of a calculating, efficient, and deadly mastermind.

Tick—can Michael Bennett catch him before...
The city calls on Detective Michael Bennett, pulling him away from a seaside retreat with his ten adopted children, his grandfather, and their beloved nanny, Mary Catherine. Not only does it tear apart their first vacation since Michael's wife Maeve died—it leaves the entire family open to attack.

Tock—your time is up.
Bennett enlists the help of a former colleague, FBI Agent Emily Parker. As his affection for Emily grows into something stronger, his relationship with Mary Catherine takes an unexpected turn. All too soon, another appalling crime leads Bennett to a shocking discovery that exposes the killer's pattern and the earth-shattering enormity of his plan. From the creator of the #1 New York detective series comes the most volatile and most explosive Michael Bennett novel ever.

Prologue | SEXY BEAST

One

LIKE THE LUXURY CO-OPS and five-star French eateries located in Manhattan's Silk Stocking District, Benchley East Side Parking was outrageously exclusive. Tucked side by side and bumper to bumper within its four temperature-controlled underground levels beneath East 77th Street were several vintage Porsches, a handful of Ferraris, even a pair of his-and-hers Lamborghinis.

The out-of-the-box midnight blue SL550 Mercedes convertible that squealed out of its car elevator at three minutes past noon that Saturday seemed tailor-fit to the high-rent neighborhood.

So did the lean forty-something waiting by the garage's office when the sleek Merc stopped on a dime out front.

With his salt-and-pepper Beckham buzz cut, pressed khakis, silk navy golf shirt, and deep golden tan that suggested even deeper pockets, it was hard to tell if the car or its driver was being described by the purring Merc's vanity plate:

SXY BST

"With this heat, I figured you'd want the top down, as usual, Mr. Berger," the smiling half-Hispanic, half-Asian garage attendant said as he bounced out and held open the wood-inlaid door. "Have a good one, now."

"Thanks, Tommy," Berger said, deftly slipping the man a five as he slid behind the luxury sports car's iconic three-pronged steering wheel. "I'll give it a shot."

The fine leather seat slammed luxuriously into Berger's back as he launched the convertible with a high-torque snarl down East 77th Street and out onto Fifth Avenue. The crisp, almost sweet smell of Central Park's pin oaks and dogwoods fused harmoniously with the scent of the hand-stitched leather. At 59th Street, the park's treetops gave way to the ornate fairy-tale facade of the Plaza Hotel. Moments later, along both sides of the upscale boulevard, glittering signs began to flick past like a Vanity Fair magazine come to life: Tiffany's, Chanel, Zegna, Pucci, Fendi, Louis Vuitton. Outside the stores, swarms of summer Saturday tourists took pictures and stood gaping as if they were having trouble believing they were standing in the very center of the capital of the world.

But the world's most expensive avenue might as well have been a dirt road through a shit kicker's cornfield as far as Berger was concerned. Behind the mirrored lenses of his Persol aviators, he kept his gray eyes locked level and forward, his mind blank.

It was his one true talent. In his life, every victory had come down to singleness of purpose, his ability to focus, to leave out everything but the matter at hand.

Even so, he felt his pulse skitter when he finally arrived at his destination, the New York Public Library's main branch on the west side of Fifth Avenue between 41st and 42nd Streets. In fact, as he slowed, he felt his adrenaline surge, and his heart begin to beat almost painfully in time with the car's indicator.

Even Olivier had stage fright, he reminded himself as he carefully turned onto East 43rd Street. Jack Dempsey. Elvis Presley. All men felt fear. The distinction of great and worthy men like him was the ability to manage it, to act despite the fact that it was breathing down their necks.

By the time he tucked the Merc into a parking spot in front of a Carvel ice-cream truck half a block farther east, he felt somewhat better. To ground himself completely, he patiently watched the hardtop hum into place over his head, precise, symmetrical, a glorious harmony of moving parts. By the time it locked itself down, his fear was still there but he knew he could man it.

Move it, Mr. Berger, he thought. Now or never. He lifted the heavy laptop bag from the passenger-seat foot well and opened the door. Now it was.

Copyright © 2011 by James Patterson

Read by Bobby Cannavale & Scott Sowers

Bobby Cannavale was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in Mauritius. On television, Bobby won an Emmy for his performance in Will & Grace, Bobby's film credits include The Station Agent, Fast Food Nation, Snakes on a Plane, The Bone Collector, and Washington Heights. He also read Run for Your Life and Worst Case for Hachette Audio.

Scott Sowers' Broadway credits include Bus Stop, A Streetcar Named Desire, Inherit the Wind and A Few Good Men (LA Dramalogue Award for Performance). Scott is a lifetime member of The Ensemble Studio Theatre. His TV credits include HBO's Boardwalk Empire, Law & Order, Cracker and All My Children. Scott's film credits include True Grit, The Ten, The Village, Dead Man Walking, Erin Brockovich, Magnolia, and My Mother Dreams...(winner, 2000 Academy Award for Short Feature).

Audio Excerpts (MP3)
Clip #1
Prologue to Chapter 3
Clip #2
Chapters 4 to 8
Clip #3
Chapters 9 to 13
Clip #4
Chapters 14 to 18
Clip #5
Chapters 19 to 22
Clip #6
Chapters 23 to 26
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