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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.

Book One | DOWN BY THE SEA

Chapter 4

A DAY OR TWO AFTER 9/11, a dramatic photograph of a retruck crossing the Brooklyn Bridge on its way to the burning Twin Towers was splashed across the front page of the Daily News. It's an incredible shot, even before you learn that every fireman on the truck, Ladder 118, ended up dying in the subsequent collapse.

As I rolled my beat-up Suburban along the same route under the famous bridge's arches back into the city toward my date with a bomb on 42nd Street, for some strange reason, I couldn't stop thinking of that picture.

I skipped the backed-up FDR Drive and took the side streets, St. James to the Bowery to Park Avenue South. Half a block west of Grand Central Terminal, wooden NYPD sawhorses had been set up, cordoning off 42nd Street in both directions. Behind the yellow tape, a crowd of summering Asian and European tourists stood front-row-center, cameras aloft, taking in some action.

After I badged my way through the outer perimeter, I parked behind a Seventeenth Precinct radio car half a block south of 42nd Street. As I was getting out, I spotted a shiny new blue Crown Vic and a couple of tall and neat-looking guys in JTTF polo shirts sitting on its hood, talking on their cell phones.

I doubted they were here to play polo. Calling in the Joint Terrorism Task Force Feds at the slightest hint of the T word was standard operating procedure in our jittery post-9/11 metropolis. The Feds didn't seem too impressed with me or my gold shield as I walked past them. I knew I should have put a jacket on over my Hawaiian shirt.

When I arrived at the corner diagonal to the library, I could see more barricades far down 42nd Street at Sixth Avenue and three blocks in both directions up and down Fifth Avenue. The silence and lack of traffic on what was usually one of the busiest intersections on earth was zombie-movie eerie.

"¿Sarge, qué pasa?" I said, showing my bling to the Hispanic female uniform at the inner perimeter's aluminum gate.

"Seems like some skell forgot his overdue books so he returned a booby-trapped bomb to the library instead," she said as I signed into her crime scene logbook. "We got the place evacked, including Bryant Park. The Bomb Nuts are inside. Midtown North Squad took a bus of witnesses and staff back to the precinct, but I heard it ain't looking too good."

Among the library's columns and fountains, I passed nervous-looking Midtown North Task Force and Seventeenth Precinct uniforms. Some of the cops were holding what appeared to be radar guns but were really radiation detectors. An unmarked van geared with god knew what kind of testing equipment was parked at the curb.

At the front entrance of the library, a redheaded guy in a white marshmallow-man Tyvek suit was walking out with a yellow Lab on a leash. The Labrador wasn't a seeing-eye dog, I knew, but an EDC, an explosive-detecting canine. I loved dogs, just not at crime scenes. A dog at a crime scene means bombs or dead bodies, and I wasn't particularly jazzed about seeing either one.

Ain't looking too good seemed like the midsummer evening's theme, I thought as I climbed the stairs between the two giant stone lions.

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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