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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!

Part One | SNEAKY PETE

Chapter 3

PETE GORDON DROVE down the looping ramp of the garage. He passed the dead woman's car on the ground floor but didn't even brake, confident that there was no blood outside the car, nothing to show that he'd been there.

With the garage as packed as it was, it could be hours before the mom and her bawler were found in that tidy spot near the end of the row.

Pete took it nice and slow, easing the car out of the garage and accelerating onto Winston, heading toward 19th Avenue. He reviewed the shooting in his mind as he waited at the light, thinking about how easy it had been—no wasted rounds, nothing forgotten—and how crazed it was going to make the cops.

Nothing worse than a motiveless crime, huh, Kenny?

The cops were going to bust their stones on this one, all right, and by the time they figured it out, he'd be living in another country and this crime would be one of the cold cases some old Homicide dick would never solve.

Pete took the long way home, up Sloat Boulevard, up and over Portola Drive, where he waited for the Muni train to pass with commuters all in a row, and finally up Clipper Street toward his crappy apartment in the Mission.

It was almost dinnertime, and his own little bawlers would be puffing up their cheeks, getting ready to sound the alarm. He had his key out when he got to the apartment. He opened the lock and gave the door a kick.

He could smell the baby's diapers from the doorway, the little stinker standing in the kiddie cage in the middle of the floor, hanging on to the handrail, crying out as soon as he saw his dad.

"Daddy!" Sherry called. "He needs to be changed."

"Goody," Peter Gordon said. "Shut up, stink bomb," he told the boy. "I'll get to you in a minute." He took the remote control from his daughter's hand, switched from the cartoons, and checked the news.

The stock market was down. oil prices were up. He watched the latest Hollywood update. Nothing was said about two bodies found in the Stonestown Galleria parking lot.

"I'm hungry," Sherry said.

"Well, which is it first? Dinner or poop?"

"Poop first," she said.

"All right, then."

Pete Gordon picked up the baby, as dear to him as a sack of cement, not even sure the little shit was his, although even if he was, he still didn't care. He put the baby on its back on the changing table and went through the ritual, holding the kiddo by the ankles, wiping him down, dusting his butt with powder, wrapping him up in Pampers, then putting him back in the kiddie cage.

"Franks and beans?" he asked his daughter.

"My absolute favorite," Sherry said, putting a pigtail in her mouth.

"Put a shirt on the stink bomb," Pete Gordon said, "so your mother doesn't have a gas attack when she gets home."

Gordon microwaved some formula for the stink bomb and opened the canned franks and beans. He turned on the undercabinet TV and the stove, what wifey should be doing instead of him, the bitch, and dumped the contents of the can into a pot.

The beans were burning when the breaking news came on.

Huh. Look at that, Pete thought.

Some dork from ABC was holding a microphone, standing in front of Borders. College kids mugged behind him as he said, "We have learned that there has been a shooting at the Stonestown garage. Sources report a gruesome double homicide that you will not believe. We'll keep you posted as details are released. Back to you, Yolanda."

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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