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The 9th Judgment

Detective Lindsay Boxer chases a jewel thief, a murderous movie star, and a killer with a vendetta against women and children.

The most personal
A young mother and her infant child are ruthlessly gunned down while returning to their car in the garage of a shopping mall. There are no witnesses, and Detective Lindsay Boxer is left with only one shred of evidence: a cryptic message scrawled across the windshield in blood red lipstick.

The most dangerous
The same night, the wife of A-list actor Marcus Dowling walks in on a cat burglar who is about to steal millions of dollars worth of precious jewels. In just seconds there is an empty safe, a lifeless body, and another mystery that throws San Francisco into hysteria.

The most exciting Women's Murder Club novel ever
Lindsay spends every waking hour working with her partner Rich—and her desire for him threatens to tear apart both her relationship with her fiancé and the Women's Murder Club. Before Lindsay and her friends can piece together either case, one of the killers forces Lindsay to put her own life on the line—but is it enough to save the city? With unparalleled danger and explosive action, The 9th Judgment is James Patterson at his compelling, unstoppable best!

Prologue | A THIEF IN THE NIGHT

Three

CASEY'S EYES FLEW open in the dark.

Something had crashed. The table by the window! She felt a breeze on her face. The window was open. They never opened that window.

Someone was inside the house.

Casey sat up. "Who's there?" She clutched the blankets to her chin and screamed, "Marc! Someone is in the room."

Her husband groaned, "You're dreaming. Go back to sleep."

"Wake up! Someone is here," she hissed.

Casey fumbled with the table lamp, knocked her glasses onto the floor, found the switch, and turned on the light. There. The console table was turned over, everything broken, curtains blowing in the breeze.

"Do something, Marc. Do something."

Marcus Dowling worked out every day. He could still bench-press two hundred pounds, and he knew how to use a gun. He told his wife to be quiet, then opened his nightstand drawer and removed the .44 he kept fully loaded in a soft leather bag. He shucked the sack and gripped the gun.

Casey grabbed the bedside phone and pressed the numbers 9-1-1 with a shaking hand. She misdialed, then tried again as Marc, still half drunk, bellowed, "Who's there?" even when he was serious, he sounded scripted. "Show yourself."

Marcus looked in the bathroom and the hallway, then said, "There's no one here, Casey. Just what I said."

Casey dropped the phone back into its cradle, shoved at the bedcovers, and went to the closet for her robe—and screamed.

"What is it now?"

White-faced, naked, Casey turned to her husband and said, "Oh my God, Marc, my jewelry is gone. The safe is almost empty."

A look came over Marc's face that was hard for Casey to read. it was as if he'd had an idea, and the idea was catching fire. Did he know who robbed them?

"Marc? What is it? What are you thinking?"

"Ah, I was thinking, you can't take it with you."

"What kind of bullshit is that? What do you mean?"

Dowling extended his right arm and aimed the gun at a mole between his wife's breasts. He pulled the trigger. Boom.

"That's what I mean," he said.

Casey Dowling opened her mouth, sucked in air, and exhaled as she looked down at her chest, at the blood pumping and bubbling out of the wound. She clasped her hands to her chest. She looked at her husband and gasped, "Help me."

He shot her again.

Then her knees buckled and she went down.

Copyright © 2010 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 read The 8th Confession by James Patterson for Hachette Audio.

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