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12th of Never

It's finally time! Detective Lindsay Boxer is in labor—while two killers are on the loose.

Lindsay Boxer's beautiful baby is born! But after only a week at home with her new daughter, Lindsay is forced to return to work to face two of the biggest cases of her career.

A rising star football player for the San Francisco 49ers is the prime suspect in a grisly murder. At the same time, Lindsay is confronted with the strangest story she's ever heard: An eccentric English professor has been having vivid nightmares about a violent murder and he's convinced is real. Lindsay doesn't believe him, but then a shooting is called in—and it fits the professor's description to the last detail.

Lindsay doesn't have much time to stop a terrifying future from unfolding. But all the crimes in the world seem like nothing when Lindsay is suddenly faced with the possibility of the most devastating loss of her life.

Book One | THREE WEEKS LATER

Chapter 3

YUKI HALF LISTENED as Judge Nussbaum instructed the handpicked jury of six men, six women, and four alternates, who were as diverse a group as could be imagined: black, white, brown, white-collar, and blue-collar.

Nussbaum had been a clever trial lawyer, but the judge was new at his job and Yuki was sure he would play this one by the book.

When he asked her if she was ready to begin, she said she was. Gaines whispered, “Go get ’em,” and Yuki stood, greeted the jury, and walked confidently to the lectern in the well of the courtroom. Then, without warning, she blanked. She couldn’t remember the first sentence in her opener, the key that would unlock her carefully wrought statement.

Yuki looked over at Gaines. He smiled, nodded, and her mind unfroze.

She said, “The defendant, Keith Herman, is a killer, and the evidence in this case will show you that the people who depended on Mr. Herman, the ones who looked to him for protection and love, are the people who should have feared him the most.”

Yuki paused to let her words sink in, looked at every member of the jury, and began to lay out her case.

“On March first, a day like any other, Keith Herman tucked his daughter’s lifeless body into the backseat of his Lexus, and she was never seen again. Jennifer Herman, Keith Herman’s wife, never reported her daughter missing, because as her husband was driving off with their daughter, Jennifer Herman was already dead by her husband’s hand.

“You will hear testimony that before she disappeared, Jennifer Herman told a friend on several occasions that she was afraid of her husband and that if anything ever happened to her, the friend should go to the police. Which this friend did. Had Lesley Rohan not called the police, they wouldn’t have looked for Jennifer Herman and her body would have been buried under several tons of garbage in a landfill.

“You will hear testimony from another witness, an undercover police officer, who will tell you that he was offered one hundred thousand dollars by the defendant to kill Jennifer Herman.”

Yuki’s mind unclenched. She knew that she had gotten into the rhythm and the beat of her perfectly choreographed and well-rehearsed presentation. She was in a great groove.

She told the jury about the witnesses she would introduce—the sanitation worker who found the body of Jennifer Herman in eight separate garbage bags and the forensic pathologist who would talk about Jennifer Herman’s cause of death.

She walked to the counsel table and picked up an 8 x 10-inch color photo of a young child with dark wavy hair and a captivating smile. Carrying the picture in both hands, Yuki showed it to the jury as she walked along the length of the railing.

“This beautiful child is the defendant’s daughter, Lily, who has been missing for over a year. You will hear from a neighbor’s housekeeper, Maria Ortega, that a month before Lily disappeared, she became moody and withdrawn and that there were bruises on her arms and legs. Ms. Ortega will testify that she reported her suspicions to the police.

“The state,” Yuki said, keeping eye contact with the jury, “does not have to prove motive, but if I were sitting in the jury box, I’d be asking, ‘Why would the defendant, a man with wealth and means, decide to put his entire life in the toilet? Why would he kill the beautiful woman who was his wife, and the wonderful little girl who was his daughter?’

“Did Mr. Herman abuse his little girl, and did his wife catch him at it and try to protect their daughter?”

Kinsela shot to his feet. “Your Honor, this is argument.”

“Overruled.”

Yuki didn’t hesitate.

She stepped on the gas.

She said to the jury, “Did Mr. Herman physically abuse his little girl? Did Mr. Herman kill his wife when she tried to protect their daughter? What was his motive for murdering his loved ones?

“That question is going to haunt me for the rest of my life.”

Copyright © 2013 by James Patterson

Read by January LaVoy

January LaVoy is a New York-based voice, stage, and television actress. She has performed on and Off-Broadway, and appeared extensively in regional theatres across the country. She is best known for her role as Noelle Ortiz on the long-running ABC daytime drama One Life to Live.

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