NYPD Red—the task force attacking the most extreme crimes in America's most extreme city—hunts a killer who is on an impossible mission.
A vigilante serial killer is on the loose in New York City, tracking down and murdering people whose crimes have not been punished. The number of victims grows, and many New Yorkers secretly applaud the idea of justice won at any price.
NYPD Red Detective Zach Jordan and his partner Kylie MacDonald are put on the case when a woman of vast wealth and even greater connections disappears. Zach and Kylie have to find what's really behind this murderer's rampage while political and personal secrets of the highest order hang in the balance. But Kylie has been acting strange recently—and Zach knows whatever she's hiding could threaten the biggest case of their careers.
NYPD Red 2 is the next spectacular novel in James Patterson's newest series, a book that proves "there's no stopping his imagination." (New York Times Book Review)
Prologue | GIDEON AND DAVE
THE NEXT AFTERNOON, Gideon went to the comic-book store and sold his Spawn collection at a painfully cheap price. “Thanks,” Dave said, knowing he had no other way to get the money to pay off Enzo.
“Killing this prick is expensive,” Gideon said. “But it’s worth it.”
For the next three weeks, the two boys thought, rethought, and overthought the murder, watching episodes of CSI and renting as many movies as they could find starring Jet Li, Jackie Chan, and Jean-Claude Van Damme. They jogged on the beach, lifted weights, and tried to bulk up on Joe Weider’s Mega Mass 4000.
“Enzo’s been on steroids since freshman year,” Dave said as the two of them downed one of their three daily protein shakes.
“That means his balls are shrinking,” Gideon said.
“No, it means we could drink this chocolate shit forever, and he’d still have twice as much muscle as the two of us put together.”
Gideon raised his glass in a toast. “Who gives a shit?” he said. “We’ll still have bigger balls.”
It didn’t feel really real until they decided on a weapon. They put together a list of possibilities with the pros and cons next to each one. A gun had the most pros. It was almost guaranteed to do the job. But it also had the most cons. Guns were hard to come by and easy to trace. In the end, they decided on the oldest weapon in the world and the easiest to get their hands on. A club.
“It worked for the cavemen,” Dave said.
They took the subway to Royale Sporting Goods in Brooklyn and paid sixty-two dollars for a thirty-four-inch Brett Bros. Stealth bat in black. Next they headed over to AutoZone for a box of Diamond Grip latex gloves.
Then they waited.
It had to be a Friday night. Most of the kids at John Adams High paid Enzo off in cash, but Gideon worked in the stockroom at Tonello’s Liquor Store and had to steal a bottle of vodka every week. Every Friday after work, he would trudge out to the dunes across from the Salvi house on 165th Avenue and hand over the booze to Enzo.
They zeroed in on the day after Thanksgiving. There was no school that day, and if they were lucky, Enzo would be drunk by the time he showed up.
As always at this time of year, the dunes were damp and cold, but Gideon was dressed for it—Carhartt waterproof gear, ski cap, Timberlands. Enzo, as usual, didn’t show up on time. Five minutes. Ten. At fifteen, the mind games started. He knows. He’s not coming. He’s going to let me freeze out here, and then when I finally give up, he’s going to kill—
“Where’s that faggot with my vodka?” Enzo yelled, tromping through the tall grass. There was a half moon, and Gideon could make out a shadowy figure in the mist with the massive neck, arms, and chest of a steroid abuser.
“Yo,” Gideon said.
“What the hell are you doing so deep into the dunes?” Enzo said. “I’m not here for a blow job. Just a bottle of booze.”
Gideon held up the liter of Absolut. “Here it is.”
That was the signal, and what was supposed to happen next had been modeled after a scene from Fist of the White Lotus. Dave, who had been hunkered down in the wet grass, jumped up behind Enzo and brought the maple/ ash-wood bat down hard.
But real life doesn’t play out like kung fu movies, especially when the victim has the street smarts of a Mob boss’s son, and the attacker—who had taken countless practice swings—chokes at the moment of truth.
Aiming for the back of Enzo’s head, Dave managed to hit only his right shoulder.
Enzo exploded. In a lightning move, he wheeled around and kicked Dave’s arm, sending the bat sailing. A split second later, Enzo pulled a Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops knife from his pocket, flipped open the business end, rushed Dave, and shoved him to the ground.
“You dickless Mick bastard. I’m gonna cut your fucking heart out and shove it up your bitch sister’s skanky Irish ass.” He straddled Dave, drew his arm back, and was about to plunge the serrated steel blade into Dave’s chest when Gideon brought the bottle of vodka down on Enzo’s head.
The knife fell from his hand, and then the rest of Enzo Salvi toppled face first into the sand.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” Dave said, crying for the first time since his father’s funeral when he was twelve. “I blew it. Thank you, Gid, thank you. He was gonna kill me. Is he dead? Is he dead?”
The answer was clear as Enzo flailed at the grass, cursing incoherently, his mouth spitting sand and saliva, his brain and his coordination misfiring.
This wasn’t the plan.
“What’ll we do, what’ll we do?” Dave asked.
“Grab his other side,” Gideon yelled, yanking hard on Enzo’s already damaged right arm.
“What are we doing?” Dave said. “Where are we taking him?”
“Just shut up and do what I say.”
Dave locked on to the left arm, and Enzo howled in pain as the two boys dragged him through the dunes to the water’s edge.
After wading into the bay up to his thighs, Gideon shoved Enzo’s head under the water. Enzo’s feet thrashed wildly.
“Grab his legs! Don’t let him kick loose!” Gideon yelled.
Dave fought to grab Enzo’s feet.
“Hold them as high up as you can,” Gideon said. “It’ll force his head down more.”
Dave followed orders, and thirty seconds later Enzo’s body went limp.
“We can’t take a chance,” Gideon said. “Come around here.”
Dave dropped the legs, and they both held Enzo’s face down underwater.
“This is for my sister, you Guinea fuck!” Dave screamed, punching through the water and connecting with Enzo’s pulpy skull. “And this is for all the money you took from me, and this is for all the years you beat me up, and this is for that time you threw my books and all my shit in the bay, and this is for...”
He continued to rant and drive his fist into the water.
“Enough,” Gideon finally said.
“Is he dead?” Dave asked, pummeling the bloody, submerged figure one last time.
“He’s been dead about two minutes.”
“We...killed...Hitler,” Dave said, panting, crying, and laughing at the same time. “We killed...Hitler....”
They dragged the waterlogged body to the shore and then went back to the original plan. Gideon ripped the gold chains from Enzo’s neck, took his watch and the money from his wallet.
Dave spat on Enzo’s face. “Let’s get out of here,” he said, ready to bolt.
“Not so fast,” Gideon said. “The collection book—our names are in it.”
Enzo Salvi kept detailed records of his burgeoning criminal career in a most unlikely place—a dark red Moroccan leather journal, bordered in gold filigree, with a magnetic flap closure to protect the inside pages.
Gideon fished the four-by-six diary out of Enzo’s jacket pocket. It took another ten minutes to find the bat, the knife, and the Absolut bottle, which remarkably was still intact.
“Rot in hell,” Dave said, spitting on Enzo’s remains one last time.
Nobody was in sight as they stepped out of the dunes onto 165th Avenue. They walked silently through the cold November night, past the honeycomb of middle-class homes, swigging vodka from the murder weapon as they went.
Copyright © 2014 by James Patterson
Edoardo Ballerini is an actor and an award-winning audiobook narrator. On screen, he's best known for his working the television series The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, and 24. Edoardo was nominated for a 2012 Audie Award for his recording of The Land of Laughs. AudioFile Magazine named him one of the "Best Voices of 2011."
Jay Snyder has performed on Broadway and Off-Broadway, regional theatre, television, film, and works regularly in the voice-over industry.