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Private Games

Private, the world's most renowned investigation firm, has been commissioned to provide security for the 2012 Olympic games in London. Its agents are the smartest, fastest, and most technologically advanced in the world, and 400 of them have been transferred to London to protect over 10,000 competitors who represent more than 200 countries.

The opening ceremony is still hours away when Private investigator and single father of twins, Nigel Steele, is called to the scene of a ruthless murder. A high-ranking member of the games' organizing committee and his mistress have been killed. It's clear that it wasn't a crime of passion, but one of precise calculation and execution.

Newspaper reporter Karen Pope receives a letter from a person who calls himself Cronus claiming responsibility for the murders. He also proclaims that he will restore the Olympics to their ancient glory and will destroy all who have corrupted the games with lies, cheating, and greed. Karen immediately hires Private to examine the letter, and she and Nigel uncover a criminal genius who won't stop until he's ended the games for good. "America's #1 storyteller" (Forbes) delivers an exhilarating, action-packed thriller that brings the splendor and emotion of the Olympics to a wildly powerful climax.

Book One | THE FURIES

Chapter 5

WHEN I RETURNED to consciousness several days after the stoning, I was in hospital with a fractured skull and the nauseating feeling that I had been rewired somehow, made more alien than ever before.

I remembered everything about the attack and everything about my attackers. But when the police came to ask me what had happened, I told them I had no idea. I said I had memories of entering the building, but nothing more; and their questions soon stopped.

I healed slowly. A crab-like scar formed on my scalp. My hair grew back, hiding it, and I began to nurture a dark fantasy that became my first obsession.

Two weeks later, I returned home to the little monsters and Minister Bob. Even they could tell I'd changed. I was no longer a wild child. I smiled and acted happy. I studied and developed

my body.

Minister Bob thought I'd found God.

But I admit to you that I did it all by embracing hatred. I stroked that crab-like scar on my head, and focused my hatred, my oldest emotional ally, on things that I wanted to have and to have happen. Armed with a dark heart, I went after them all, trying to show the entire world how different I really was. And though I acted the changed boy—the happy, achieving mate—in public, I never forgot the stoning or the storms it had spawned in my head.

When I was fourteen, I secretly began looking for the monsters that broke my skull. I found them eventually, selling dime bags of methamphetamine on a corner twelve blocks from where I lived with Minister Bob and the little monsters.

I kept tabs on the pair until I turned sixteen, and felt big and strong enough to act.

Minister Bob had been an ironworker before he found Jesus. On the sixth anniversary of my stoning, I took one of his heavy hammers and a pair of his old work coveralls, and I slipped out at night, when I was supposed to be studying.

Wearing the coveralls and carrying the hammer in a schoolbag harvested from a trash bin, I found the two monsters that stoned me. Six years of their drug use and six years of my evolution had wiped me from their memory banks.

I lured them to an empty lot with the promise of money, and then I beat their monstrous brains to bloody pulp.

Copyright © 2012 by James Patterson

Read by Paul Panting

Paul Panting has narrated numerous audio books and has been featured in many BBC Radio Drama plays and readings. His television credits include Silent Witness, The Jury II, and Inspector Lewis.

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