Private, the world's most respected investigation firm, has branches around the world, each staffed with the smartest, fastest, and most advanced agents, who have cutting-edge forensic tools that not even the most powerful governments possess.
At Private Berlin, agent Chris Schneider has disappeared. Chris had taken a secretive personal leave and hadn't spoken to anyone from the office in days. The Private team retraces his footsteps to the cases he was investigating before his disappearance: a billionaire suspected of cheating on his wife, a world-famous soccer player accused of throwing games, and the owner of a seedy nightclub. They were the last people to see Chris—and they're all suspects. And someone is lying.
The Private team is led to an abandoned Nazi slaughterhouse where all hope vanishes. As Private digs further into Chris's past, a terrifying history is revealed, and they begin to suspect that someone very dangerous and very depraved is responsible for Chris's disappearance. And he's not finished in Berlin. PRIVATE BERLIN has more twists, action, and deception than any other James Patterson thriller ever.
Prologue | THE INVISIBLE MAN
THE COUNTESS VON Mühlen was off like a shot.
She dodged by a girl with shocking pink hair, and started accelerating.
Mattie cursed, released Montenegro, and took off after the countess.
But it was almost impossible to keep up with her. Despite the drugs and alcohol in her system, Sophia proved nimble as she twisted and spun her way through the crowd.
“Stop that girl!” Mattie shouted, holding up her badge.
Instead, one wasted guy in his early twenties tried to block Mattie’s way. But she slid her right foot behind his leg, popped him in the chest, and sent him sprawling on his back.
Other people started yelling after Mattie just as she spotted Sophia running past Axel, who stood at the doors to the
The countess disappeared outside.
Somebody grabbed Mattie’s jean jacket from behind.
She twisted. It was Montenegro. She let her arms go limp and let the jacket slip off her. Then she kicked the polo player in the shin.
He screamed and fell.
Mattie scrambled after the countess, snapping at Axel, who watched in amusement, “You could have grabbed her or something.”
“And miss this fun?”
“Stop the crazy lover for me at least!” Mattie shouted over her shoulder.
She ran out onto the street without listening for the bouncer’s reply.
The sidewalk was lined with people still waiting to get into the club.
Mattie flashed her badge at them. “A girl just came out a minute ago. Where’d she go?”
The guy closest to her was sucking on a joint. He shrugged.
The girl behind him said, “I didn’t see her.”
Oh, for Christ’s sake, I lost her, Mattie groaned to herself. Damn it! She could just hear Sophia’s imperious grandmother ripping her apart for the blunder.
But then Mattie heard a groan and violent retching coming from behind a large Dumpster parked across the street.
“There goes the hundred euros she promised us,” the joint smoker said, sighing.
Mattie flipped him the finger and crossed the street. She looked behind the Dumpster, finding the Countess von Mühlen hunched over, and vomiting everything she’d churned up making her escape.
“C’mon now, Sophia,” Mattie said, helping her to stand after she’d finished and was just panting. “Let’s get you somewhere I can wash you up.”
For a moment the countess seemed not to know where she was, or who Mattie was, but then she started crying, “Where’s Raul?”
“He’s going to be lying low for a while,” Mattie said, taking gentler hold of her arm and steering her away from the club toward her car.
“I’ll get away,” Sophia vowed. “I’ll find him. We’ll be married.”
“When you’re eighteen you can do what you want. Until then there is someone who wants to talk some sense into you.”
“My father?” the countess replied with open contempt. “All he cares about is himself and his career.”
“Actually, it’s your grandmother who hired us.”
Mattie saw fear surface in Sophia, who said, “But I want to see my father.”
“I bet you do, but Oma’s calling the shots now.”
Something seemed to go out of the countess right then, all the hostility and fight certainly. She trudged along in a submissive posture until they reached the car, a BMW 335i from the Private Berlin pool.
When Mattie went to open the passenger side door, Sophia fell into her arms, blubbering, “I just wanted someone for myself. What’s so wrong with that?”
Mattie’s heart melted. “Nothing, Sophia, but...”
Mattie’s cell phone rang. She couldn’t do a thing about it. She held on to the young countess and let her sob her heart out.
Copyright © 2013 by James Patterson
Ari Fliakos has performed with the award-winning theater ensemble The Wooster Group since 1996. His film credits include Company K and Pills. Ari has appeared on Law & Order, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, Third Watch, The Unusuals, and Unforgettable.
January LaVoy is a New York-based voice, stage, and television actress. She has performed on and Off-Broadway, and appeared extensively in regional theaters across the country. She is best known for her role as Noelle Ortiz on the long-running ABC daytime drama One Life to Live.