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)
Part One | THE HAZMAT KILLER
“TAKE HER DOWN,” Dryden ordered as soon as his team had clicked off a few hundred pictures of Evelyn Parker-Steele in situ. As macabre as it was, I imagined that the twinkling lights and brightly colored horses would make her crime scene photos more festive than most.
They lowered the body to a tarp near the base of the carousel, and I knelt next to her to get a closer look.
“Looks like you found your missing person,” said a familiar voice.
“You mean her or you?” I said, too pissed at Kylie to look up.
Kylie MacDonald is not big on apologies. That’s because in her worldview, she’s never wrong. “Hey, I got here as soon as I could,” she said, stretching out the word could so that it sounded more like back off than I’m sorry.
Now I definitely wasn’t going to look up. “Did you happen to get a message that said we have a murder to solve?” I said, staring intently at the corpse.
“Yeah, I think you left that one about twenty-seven times.”
“Then your phone works,” I said. “So the problem must be with your dialing finger.”
“Zach, there are about a hundred rubberneckers watching us from the other side of the yellow tape. Do you really think this is the best time for me to explain why I was late? How about you just fill me in on what I missed.”
“Small update on that ‘we have a murder to solve’ message. We now have four.”
She knelt beside me.
“This is the late Evelyn Parker-Steele,” I said. “Evelyn, this is my partner, the late Kylie MacDonald.”
I glanced over so I could catch her reaction. It’s almost impossible for Kylie to look anything but beautiful, but this morning she was one hot mess. The mischief in her eyes, the sexy wiseass grin—gone, replaced by puffy eyelids and a tight-lipped frown. All the usual magic that made heads turn was now cloaked in gloom. Whatever had made her late wasn’t pretty.
I felt rotten for coming down so hard on her. “Sorry I got pissy,” I said. And just like that, I was apologizing to her. “Are you okay?”
“Better than her,” she said, examining the victim’s mangled teeth and disarticulated jaw. “This is nasty. She was alive when they did this. Were you serious about four murders? Where are the other three?”
“Dead and buried,” I said. “The previous victims of the Hazmat Killer.”
She already had latex gloves on, and she touched the Tyvek suit. “Anyone can buy one of these Hazmat outfits. How do we know it’s not a copycat?”
“Chuck Dryden worked the others, and he says the forensics on this one have the earmarks of number four.”
“He’s probably right. The carousel fits the pattern too. When Hazmat Man dumps his victims, he likes to pick a spot that makes a statement. It’s like his little touch of poetic justice.”
“So what’s the metaphor here? Parker-Steele’s life was a merry-go-round?”
She shook her head. “Horses. Evelyn grew up on them. Show jumping, dressage, all that rich-girl equestrienne shit. She and her husband have a big horse farm up in Westchester County.”
“So maybe he’s just saying, ‘Screw you and the horse you rode in on.’ ”
“Let’s go find him and ask. There’s no question that this is our case. If anybody fits the Red profile, she does. You think Cates is going to ask us to work the other three?”
“Can you think of any other reason why she called and said the mayor wants to see us at Gracie Mansion?”
“The mayor sent for us?” Kylie said, smiling for the first time since she showed up. “When are we meeting him?”
I looked at my watch. “Twenty minutes ago. But, hey, he’ll understand. He keeps people waiting all the time.”
“Damn,” she said. “Why didn’t you just go without me?”
“Cates is there,” I said. “If we’re both late, we can tell her we got jammed up at the crime scene, and she’ll let it slide. But if I showed up on my own and told her my partner was MIA, she’d find a new team in a heartbeat.”
Kylie took a few seconds to process what I’d said, and I could see that familiar look of appreciation in her eyes.
“Thanks,” she mumbled.
Knowing Kylie, that was about as close to an apology as I was going to get.
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.