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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 7

KNIGHT REACTED ON instinct. He leaped into the street and knocked Lancer from the cab's path.

In the next instant, Knight sensed the black taxi's bumper less than three feet away, and tried to jump in the air to avoid being hit. His feet left the ground, but could not propel him from the cab's trajectory. The fender and grille struck the side of his left knee and lower leg and drove on through.

The action wheeled Knight into the air. His shoulders, chest, and hip smashed on the hood and his face was pressed against the windshield, enabling him to catch a split-second image of the driver. Scarf. Sunglasses. A woman?

Knight was hurled up and over the roof as if he were no more than a stuffed doll. He hit the pavement hard on his left side, knocking the wind out of him, and for a moment he was aware only of the sight of the black taxi speeding away, the smell of car exhaust, and the blood pounding in his temples.

Then he thought: A goddamn miracle, but nothing feels broken.

The red taxi screeched toward Knight and he panicked, thinking he'd be run over after all.

But it skidded into a U-turn before stopping. The driver, an old Rasta wearing a green-and-gold knit cap over his dreads, threw open his door and jumped out.

"Don't move, Knight," Lancer yelled, running at him. "You're hurt!"

"I'm okay," Knight croaked. "Follow that cab, Mike."

Lancer hesitated, but Knight said, "She's getting away!"

Lancer grabbed Knight under the arms and hoisted him into the back of the red cab. "Follow it!" Lancer roared at the driver.

Knight held his ribs, still struggling for air as the Rasta taxi driver took off after the black cab, which was several blocks ahead by now, turning hard onto Pont Street, going west.

"I catch her, mon!" the driver promised. "Dat crazy one tried to kill you!"

Lancer was looking back and forth between the road ahead and Knight. "You sure you're okay?"

"Banged up and bruised," Knight grunted. "And she wasn't trying to run me down, Mike. She was trying to run you down."

The driver power-drifted onto Pont Street, heading west. The black taxi was two blocks ahead now, its brake lights flashing red before it lurched in a hard right turn onto Sloane Street.

The Rasta mashed the gas hard, turning the leafy road into a blur. They reached the intersection with Sloane so fast, Knight felt sure they'd actually catch up to the woman who'd just tried to kill him.

But then two more black taxis flashed by them, both heading north on Sloane, and the Rasta was forced to slam on the brakes and wrench the wheel to avoid hitting them. Knight's cab went into a screeching skid, and almost hit another car: a Metropolitan Police vehicle.

The siren went on. So did the flashing lights.

"No!" Lancer yelled.

"Every time, mon!" the driver shouted in frustration, and slowed the taxi to a stop.

Knight nodded in an angry daze, looking through the windshield as the taxi that had almost killed him melted into the traffic heading toward Hyde Park.

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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