A crime lord has declared war on America. Only Detective Michael Bennett knows why.
Manuel Perrine doesn't fear anyone or anything. A charismatic and ruthless leader, Perrine slaughters rivals as effortlessly as he wears his trademark white linen suit. Detective Michael Bennett once managed to put Perrine behind bars, the only official in the US ever to accomplish that. But now Perrine is out, and he has sworn to find and kill Bennett and everyone dear to him.
Detective Bennett, along with his ten adopted children, their nanny, and his grandfather, are hidden safely on a rural California farm, with guards courtesy of the FBI's witness protection program. Perrine begins to embark on an escalating series of assassinations across the country, killings whose brazenness and audacity bring into question the possibility of safety and law in the US. The FBI has no choice but to ask Detective Bennett to risk it all in Perrine's war on America.
With explosive action and fierce villainy that rivals James Bond movies at their best, GONE is the next astounding novel by James Patterson.
Part One | DON’T FENCE ME IN
I QUICKLY TUCKED MY smartphone away as I heard the screen door creak open behind me.
Mary Catherine, dressed in worn jeans, Columbia University hoodie, and her own pair of trusty wellies, came out with the coffeepot. Her blond hair was in a ponytail, and she looked great, which was pretty much par for the course for my kids’ nanny, even this early in the morning.
I hated this farm about as much as Mary Catherine loved it. I’d thought she was going to be devastated when she was forced into hiding along with the rest of us. It turned out the opposite was true. Even a cartel contract couldn’t keep my young Irish nanny down.
“Howdy, partner,” she said in her Irish accent as she gave me a refill.
“Hey, cowgirl,” I said.
“You’re up early,” she said.
“I thought I saw some rustlers out yonder,” I said with a gravelly voice.
I squinted to enhance my Clint Eastwood spaghetti Western impression.
“Turned out it was a couple of outlaw chickens. They started making trouble, so I had to wing one of them. Which actually worked out. I put a little hot sauce on it, and it was delicious.”
Mary Catherine laughed.
“Well, just don’t tell Chrissy. You know how much she loves our fine feathered friends.”
“How could I forget?” I said, laughing myself.
Chrissy, the baby of our massive brood, had taken a liking to one of our landlord’s chickens, whom she immediately named Homer, for some inexplicable reason. She’d even sworn off chicken nuggets after one of her ever-helpful older brothers informed her she was probably dipping a member of Homer’s family into the sweet-andsour sauce.
“So, what’s on the agenda today?” she said.
“Well,” I said, “I say we grab the paper and some bagels down at Murray’s, then hop a Two train down to MoMA for the latest installation. Afterward, we could go to John’s on Bleecker for lunch. I’m thinking a large, with everything on it, and some gelato for dessert. No, wait —we could go to Carnegie for a Bible-thick pastrami sandwich. It’s like butta.”
Mary Catherine shook her head at me.
“MoMA?” she said. “Really?”
“Sure, why not? You’re not the only one interested in culture around here.”
“You never went to MoMA in your life. You told me yourself you hate modern art. And the Two train! Of course. I love taking the kids on the subway. It’s so much fun. Look, Mike, I love —and miss —the Big Apple as well, but don’t you think you’re laying it on a tad thick? Why do you continue to torture yourself?”
I gestured out at the endless space and sky all around us.
“Isn’t it obvious?” I said. “There’s nothing else to do.”
“That’s it,” my nanny said. “Less moping, more roping, as Mr. Cody likes to say. You’re coming with us this morning. No more excuses.”
“No, that’s OK,” I said when I realized where she wanted me to go. “I have plenty to do. I have to go over today’s lesson plan.”
Due to the truly insane circumstances, we had decided to homeschool the kids. I was handling the English and history, Mary Catherine the math and science, while my grandfather-priest, Seamus —big surprise —tackled religion. I had never taught before, and I was actually getting into it. I wasn’t smarter than a fifth-grader yet, but I was getting there.
“Nonsense, Mike. You don’t think I know you have your lessons planned at least two weeks ahead? You need to give in to it, Mike. I know you don’t like being here on a farm, but face facts. You are. Besides, you haven’t even given it a chance. When in Rome, you have to do as the Romans do.”
“I would if we were in Rome, Mary Catherine,” I said. “The Romans have pizza.”
“No excuses. Now, you can warm up the cars or wake the kids. Your choice.”
“The cars, I guess,” I mumbled as she turned to head back inside. “If I have to.”
“You have to,” my iron-willed nanny said, pointing toward the shed at the side of the house as she creaked open the screen door.
Copyright © 2013 by James Patterson
Read by Danny Mastrogiorgio & Henry Leyva