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Private: #1 Suspect

Unsolvable cases

Since former Marine Jack Morgan started Private, it has become the world's most effective investigation firm—sought out by the famous and the powerful to discreetly handle their most intimate problems. Private's investigators are the smartest, the fastest, and the most technologically advanced in the world—and they always uncover the truth.

Impossible murders

When his former lover is found murdered in Jack Morgan's bed, he is instantly the number one suspect. While Jack is under police investigation, the mob strong-arms him into recovering $30 million in stolen pharmaceuticals for them. And the beautiful manager of a luxury hotel chain persuades him to quietly investigate a string of murders at her properties.

The #1 suspect is Jack Morgan

While Jack is fighting for his life, one of his most trusted colleagues threatens to leave Private, and Jack realizes he is confronting the cleverest and most powerful enemies ever. With more action, more intrigue, and more twists than ever before, PRIVATE: #1 SUSPECT is James Patterson at his unstoppable best.

Part One | I DIDN'T DO IT

Chapter 5

IF YOU'RE NOT the cops on official business, processing an active crime scene is a felony. It's not just contaminating evidence and destroying the prosecution's ability to bring the accused to trial, it's accessory to the crime.

If we were caught working the scene, I would lose my license, and all four of us could go to jail.

That said, if there was ever a time to break the law, this was it.

Mo said, "Jack, please get out of the frame."

I stepped into the hallway and Mo's Nikon flashed.

She took shots from every angle, wide, close-up, extreme close-ups of the wounds in Colleen's chest.

Sci took Colleen's and my fingerprints with an electronic reader while Mo-bot ran a latent-print reader over hard surfaces in the room. No fingerprint powder required.

Justine asked, "When did you last see Colleen alive?"

I told her that I'd had lunch with her last Wednesday, before I left for the airport.

"Just lunch?"

"Yes. We just had lunch."

A shadow crossed Justine's eyes, like clouds rolling in before a thunderstorm. She didn't believe me. And I didn't have the energy to persuade her. I was overtired, scared, heartsick, and nauseated. I wanted to wake up. Find myself still on the plane.

Sci was talking to Mo. He took scrapings from under Colleen's nails, and Mo sealed the bags. When Sci lifted Colleen's skirt, swab in hand, I turned away.

I talked to Justine, told her where Colleen and I had eaten lunch on Wednesday, that Colleen had been in good spirits.

"She said she had a boyfriend in Dublin. She said she was falling in love."

I had a new thought. I spun around and shouted, "Anyone see her purse?"

"No purse, Jack."

"She was brought here," I said to Justine. "Someone had her gate key."

Justine said, "Good thought. Any reason or anyone you can think of who could have done this?"

"Someone hated her. Or hated me. Or hated us both."

Justine nodded. "Sci? Mo? We have to get out of here. Will you be all right, Jack?"

"I'm not sure," I said.

"You're in shock. We all are. Just tell the cops what you know," she said as Sci and Mo packed up their kits.

"Say you took a very long shower," Sci said, putting his hand on my shoulder. "Make that a long bath and then a shower. That should soak up some of the timeline."

"Okay."

"The only prints I found were yours," said Mo-bot.

"It's my house."

"I know that, Jack. There were no prints other than yours. Check the entry card reader," she said. "I would do it, but we should leave."

"Okay. Thanks, Mo."

Justine squeezed my hand, said she'd call me later, and then, as if I had dreamed them up, they were gone and I was alone with Colleen.

Copyright © 2012 by James Patterson

Read by Scott Sowers

Scott Sowers' Broadway credits include Bus Stop, A Streetcar Named Desire, Inherit the Wind and A Few Good Men (LA Dramalogue Award for Performance). Scott is a lifetime member of The Ensemble Studio Theatre. His many TV credits include HBO's Boardwalk Empire, Law & Order, Cracker and All My Children. Scott's film credits include True Grit, The Ten, The Village, Dead Man Walking, Erin Brockovich, Magnolia, and My Mother Dreams...(winner, 2000 Academy Award for Short Feature).

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