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10th Anniversary

For every secret

Detective Lindsay Boxer's long-awaited wedding celebration becomes a distant memory when she is called to investigate a horrendous crime: a badly injured teenage girl is left for dead, and her newborn baby is nowhere to be found. Lindsay discovers that not only is there no trace of the criminals—but that the victim may be keeping secrets as well.

For every lie

At the same time, Assistant District Attorney Yuki Castellano is prosecuting the biggest case of her life—a woman who has been accused of murdering her husband in front of her two young children. Yuki's career rests on a guilty verdict, so when Lindsay finds evidence that could save the defendant, she is forced to choose. Should she trust her best friend or follow her instinct?

There's a different way to die

Lindsay's every move is watched by her new boss, Lieutenant Jackson Brady, and when the pressure to find the baby begins interfering with her new marriage to Joe, she wonders if she'll ever be able to start a family. With James Patterson's white-hot speed and unquenchable action, 10th Anniversary is the most deliciously chilling Women's Murder Club book ever.

Book One | LITTLE BOY LOST

Chapter 5

I PUT MY KEY in the lock of the front door to our apartment, and at that precise moment, I remembered that I hadn't called Joe to say I wouldn't be home for dinner. Actually, I hadn't spoken to him in about twelve hours.

Way to go, Lindsay. Brilliant.

My border collie, Martha, heard me at the front door, barked, and, with toenails clattering across the wooden floor, hurled herself at my chest.

I cooed to her, ruffled her ears, and then found Joe in the living room. He was sitting in an armchair, reading light on, with eight different newspapers lying on the floor around the chair in sections.

He looked at me with reproach in his eyes.

"Your mailbox is full."

"My mailbox?"

"Your phone."

"Is it? I'm sorry, Joe. I had to turn my phone off. I was in the hospital ICU all day. A new case I'm working."

"We were supposed to take my folks out for dinner tonight."

"Oh my God. I'm sorry," I said as my stomach dropped toward my toes. Joe had told me that we were going to take them out for some quality time and first-class steak at Harris'. I'd filed that information in a folder at the back of my mind and never looked back.

"They're on the flight back to New York."

"Honey, I'll call them tomorrow and apologize. I feel like crap. They're so great to me."

"They're treating us to a honeymoon. A little luxury shack in Hawaii. When we've got time."

"Ah, shit. Is that what they said? That makes me feel even more rotten. There's a baby missing..."

"Have you eaten?" he asked.

"Just vending machine stuff. A long time ago."

Joe got out of the chair and strolled to the kitchen. I followed him like a puppy that had had an accident on the rug. Taking a chicken breast out of a bowl of marinade, he put a pan on the stove and fired it up.

"I can do that," I said.

"Tell me about your case."

I poured myself a giant glass of merlot and left the bottle on the counter. Then I dragged up a stool and watched Joe cook. It was one of my favorite things to do.

I told him that a teenage girl had been found in the street like roadkill, bleeding out from a recent pregnancy and delivery. That she'd almost died from loss of blood. That she was still barely lucid, so I had spent the past twelve hours running through missing persons files in every state in the union, waiting for her to talk.

"All we know is that her name is Avis Richardson," I said to Joe. "Conklin and I have called about two hundred Richardsons in the Bay Area. So far no luck. Wouldn't you think her parents—or someone—would have reported her missing?"

"You think she was abducted? Maybe she's not local."

"Good point," I said. "But still, no hits in VICAP." I worked on my butter-sautéed chicken. Slurped some wine. I was kind of hoping that between the sustenance and Joe's FBI-trained mind, some insight would come to me.

There was a newborn out there somewhere. He might be dying or dead, or in transit to another country. Dr. Rifkin said the gap in Avis Richardson's memory had to do with whatever medication she had taken and that she didn't know what kind it was or how long ago she had taken it. There was a chance Avis might never remember more than what she'd already told us. Particularly if she'd been knocked out during the trauma.

I was hoping that her body had a memory of giving birth and that she was emotionally aware of her terrible loss. That maybe that physical memory would trigger an actual one and she'd remember something critical if we gave her enough time.

"Joe, despite all that has happened to her recently, why can't she tell us how to reach her parents? Is she unable? Or unwilling?"

Joe said, "Maybe she was living on the street."

"She was found just about naked. Wearing a two-dollar rain poncho. You could be right."

Joe took away my empty plate, loaded the dishwasher according to a system of his own devising, and gave me a bowl of praline ice cream and a spoon. I got up from my stool and wrapped my arms around his neck.

"I don't deserve you," I said. "But I sure do love you to death."

He kissed me and said, "Did you try Facebook?"

"Facebook?"

"See if Avis has a page. And then here's an idea. Come to bed."

Copyright © 2011 by James Patterson

Read by Carolyn McCormick

Carolyn McCormick has appeared in the films A Simple Twist of Fate and Enemy Mine. She has starred as Dr. Olivet on television's Law & Order for the past twelve years, and as a guest on The Practice and Star Trek. Her Broadway credits include roles in The Dinner Party and Private Lives. She also read The 9th Judgment by James Patterson for Hachette Audio.

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