James Patterson brings the fifth and final book in the bestselling Witch & Wizard saga to a head by exposing the nature of power—and what it means for the heroes that have it.
Whit and Wisty Allgood have fought and defeated their world's most pernicious threats: the evil dictator, The One Who Is The One, as well as his wicked father and son. But just as the heroic witch and wizard start to settle into their new roles in governance, a deadly crime wave grips their city, with all signs pointing to a magical mastermind every bit as powerful and heartless as The One. Now the siblings find themselves persecuted as the city turns against all those who possess magic. They're questioning everything, including each other and their abilities. Can they confront the citizens' growing hostility and their own doubts in time to face the new enemy barreling toward their gates?
Book One | DEMON, BEGONE
OUT ON THE WESTERN EDGE of town, the Academy Theater is wrapped in brightly colored police ribbon, like a present you don’t want to open. The big front windows are smashed to pieces, and broken glass litters the sidewalk.
A pigeon flaps away as I step through the door that hangs crookedly from one hinge. Inside, it looks like someone picked up the lobby lamps and used them as baseball bats, knocking over trash cans, bashing up the popcorn machine, and clobbering the frames of the velvet couches.
“Hello?” I call. But it’s dark and dead silent under the soaring ceiling. And even though I’m still hot from my flames, I shiver. “Hello?” I try again.
Then a figure in a black leather police jacket rounds the corner, playing a flashlight around the walls. His back is to me, his shoulders hunched in concentration.
“Glad you could make it, Wisty,” a male voice says.
He doesn’t turn around, but I’d recognize that voice anywhere. It’s Byron Swain, one of my biggest nemeses and also one of my best friends, depending on the day. And, okay, maybe I’ve kissed him once or twice. But in this dark, godforsaken place, that feels like a million years ago.
I’m both reassured and annoyed that it’s him. “Give me a break, Swain,” I grumble. “I practically flew over the entire market to get here. Pissed off a guard, too.”
“Typical,” he says.
His voice is lower than it used to be, and I swear he’s even grown an inch or two. Either his new job as a police investigator has matured him, or else he’s finally hit full-on puberty.
He turns around to look at me then, shining the flashlight slowly up my body. I can’t help but remember how he used to gaze at me for minutes on end, like he was memorizing every inch of my figure. Now he probably does that with his new girlfriend, Whatshername McWhatshername. She’s a redhead, too. I guess he has a thing for those.
“Wisteria Allgood,” he says smoothly. “Show-off extraordinaire.”
I’m not in the mood for Byron’s cocky new attitude. I take a step closer to him, my fingers flexing. “You want to check out the crime scene from the viewpoint of a weasel, Byron? Or a cockroach? Because I can make that happen. Just. Like. This.” My index finger points threateningly at his chest.
Unsurprisingly, Byron backs down. He always was kind of a chicken. “Very funny, Wisty,” he says. He sighs. “I’m just saying you should be careful. Try not to put your powers on display. People don’t like it.”
“I don’t care what people like,” I retort. I give his sternum a poke.
Again, he sighs. “Come on. We’re wasting time here.”
I drop my hand. “Fine. Truce. Although I would have enjoyed turning you into something small and squishable.” I squint around the dim room. “What do we know about the robbery?”
“The cash box is gone,” Byron says. “And the movies.”
“Can’t imagine why they’d want to steal Agent Zero IV,” I quip. “That movie sucked.”
Byron ignores me. “I’ve pulled some fingerprints from the counter, and it seems like one of the perps left his hat.” He points to a filthy brown knit cap. “I haven’t checked the storeroom or the crawl space or the—”
“I get it,” I say. “We’ve got a lot of ground to cover.”
Part of the problem is that we need more good cops in the City. Byron is a natural, but there are too many officers who pledged allegiance to the New Order or General Bloom (or both), and it’s tough to trust them. But the Council is training new forces every day. They know we need to stop the current crime wave. If we don’t, say the newspapers, we risk the City falling into irreversible chaos.
“Do you think it’s the Family?” I ask.
Byron shakes his head. “I don’t know.”
He hands me a spare flashlight and we search the main theater and the bathrooms. There’s nothing but old ticket stubs and more spilled popcorn.
Then we walk back toward the storeroom—and we see the foot.
I stop short, my breath catching in my throat. I desperately want to believe that we’ll turn the corner and find some lazy kid asleep on the job.
But I’d have to be pretty stupid to think that, and I am not stupid.
Byron strides forward and rounds the corner, and reluctantly I follow him. On the floor is a girl, probably fifteen or sixteen. Her arms are covered in lacerations, and her neck is bent at a strange angle. She’s lying halfway through the door of the storeroom. The stack of napkins she’d gone back to get is scattered around her. Many are red with her blood.
I feel like I’m going to be sick. I grab Byron’s arm to steady myself.
“DOA,” he says softly, almost to himself.
“They could have just shut the door,” I cry. “Locked her in so she couldn’t call for help. They didn’t need to kill her.”
Byron says nothing. He points to the graffiti on the wall. The letters are a dark, violent purple, and almost as big as he is. “No, they didn’t need to kill her,” he finally says. “But they wanted to.”
Take what you want, the spray-painted letters read. It belongs to you—the Family.
A chill shivers up my spine. “It’s one thing to take money—but the life of an innocent girl? Why?” I whisper.
Byron’s tone is matter-of-fact. “To provoke terror,” he says.
Two gruesome deaths in one day, and a heinous message scrawled for everyone to see. My heart is pounding hard in my chest, and adrenaline sparks in my limbs.
“Well, it’s working.”
Copyright © 2014 by James Patterson
Read by Spencer Locke and John Glouchevitch