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Don't Blink
Don't Blink
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 0316036234
$27.99/U.S.
384 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 0446568848
$14.99/U.S.
416 pages
Grand Central Publishing

The good

New York's Lombardo's Steak House is famous for three reasons—the menu, the clientele, and now, the gruesome murder of an infamous mob lawyer. Effortlessly, the assassin slips through the police's fingers, and his absence sparks a blaze of accusations about who ordered the hit.

The bad

Seated at a nearby table, reporter Nick Daniels is conducting a once-in-a-lifetime interview with a legendary baseball bad boy. In the chaos, he accidentally captures a key piece of evidence that lands him in the middle of an all-out war between Italian and Russian mafia forces. NYPD captains, district attorneys, mayoral candidates, media kingpins, and one shockingly beautiful magazine editor are all pushing their own agendas—on both sides of the law.

And the dead

Back off—or die—is the clear message Nick receives as he investigates for a story of his own. Heedless, and perhaps in love with his beautiful editor, Nick endures humiliation, threats, violence, and worse in a thriller that overturns every expectation and finishes with the kind of flourish only James Patterson knows.

Don't Blink
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 0316036234
$27.99/U.S.
384 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 0446568848
$14.99/U.S.
416 pages
Grand Central Publishing

Part One | A JOB TO DIE FOR

Chapter 5

LET ME TIP my hand here—I know it’s semiridiculous, but I am a huge baseball fan, have been since I was a little kid back in the Hudson Valley, throwing apples at tree trunks for practice.

To continue with the narrative, though. I cupped the phone tight against my ear trying to hear every word as best I could. The airport was absolutely swarming, with most of the noise coming from the next gate over, where there were a hundred men gathered, all with neatly trimmed black beards and crisp white flowing robes, otherwise known as dishdashas.

Then there was me.

A shock of sandy-brown hair on top of my six-foot-one frame dressed in a faded pair of jeans and an even more faded polo shirt. I couldn’t stand out more if I were Gene Simmons wearing full Kiss makeup and reading the Koran out loud.

Courtney drew a deep breath. “You remember Dwayne Robinson?” she asked. Of course I did and she knew it.

“You mean, the same Dwayne Robinson who cost the Yankees—my Yankees—the World Series? That crazy bastard? That total enigma?”

“Ten years ago and you still hold a nasty grudge? You are nuts about baseball, aren’t you?”

“Absolutely. It could be a hundred years and I’d still never forget… or forgive.” I bristled.

What can I say? I’ve been a die-hard fan of the Bronx Bombers ever since my father drove us down from Newburgh and took me to my first game when I was five. We sat in the upper deck, about three miles from the field, but I didn’t care. Ever since then I’ve just about bled Yankee pinstripes. And yes, I know it’s nuts.

“On second thought, maybe this is a bad idea,” said Courtney. “Go to Paris, Nick.”

“What do you mean by that? What are you getting at? Why are you pushing me off to Paris now?”

She milked it for a few seconds. “He wants to do an interview with you.”

I had this bizarre feeling that that’s what she was going to say, but I was still surprised to hear it. Very surprised. Dwayne Robinson had been the J. D. Salinger of the baseball world ever since he got banned from the game in spectacular fashion. His last statement to the working press was “I’ll never talk to any of you again.” For the past decade, he’d been true to his word.

Lucky for me, things change. This was huge. This would be the story of my career so far. It was also a dream come true.

“Courtney, you miracle worker, how’d you get him to agree to an interview?” I asked.

“I wish I could take some of the credit,” she said. “Instead I just answered the phone. I got a call from Robinson’s agent yesterday.”

“The guy still has an agent? That’s amazing in itself.”

“I know, go figure. Maybe they’re hoping he’ll be reinstated. Maybe that’s it, what he wants to talk to you about.”

“I wouldn’t hold my breath,” I said. “He’s well into his thirties by now. Hasn’t pitched in years.”

“Still, that would explain his wanting to do the interview, right? He comes clean, sets the story straight… It would be his first step toward a comeback,” she said. “Maybe not on the mound, but at least in the public eye, his legacy.”

“Yeah, so far it’s worked wonders for Pete Rose,” I joked. “Still, if that’s the case, wouldn’t he do a television interview?”

The words were barely out of my mouth when I had the answer. Dwayne Robinson, the “Great Black Hope from Harlem” and onetime ace southpaw of the Yankees pitching staff, suffered from, among many things, acute social anxiety disorder. Although he could take the mound and pitch brilliantly before fifty-five thousand screaming fans, he could barely carry on a conversation one-on-one. Especially in front of a camera.

“I forgot one thing,” I said. “The guy was like a walking advertisement for Paxil.”

“Bingo,” said Courtney. “In fact, Robinson’s agent told me that he’s afraid his client might change his mind. That’s why he’s already set up a lunch for you two, Nick. You and Dwayne, Dwayne and you. Cozy, huh?”

“When?” I asked, beginning to get more than a little excited about this.

“Tomorrow,” she said. “Lombardo’s, twelve thirty.”

“Courtney, I’m in Dubai.”

“Hopefully not for long, Nick. You have an important lunch tomorrow. In New York.”

As if on cue the gate attendant approached me. He looked just like Niles Crane from the show Frasier. Weird. “Excuse me, sir, will you be joining us to Paris?” he asked with a slight smirk. “The gate is closing right now.”

I looked around. Everyone was on the plane already. Everyone but me, that is.

“Nick, are you there?” asked Courtney. “I need to know if you can do this. Tell me you’re in.”

Now it was my turn to milk it for a few seconds.

“Nick? Nick? Are you there? Nick? Damn you—stop playing silly games.”

“Oh, I’m in,” I said finally. “I’m in.”

Way over my head, as I’d find out.

“I never had a doubt,” said Courtney. “You bleed Yankee pinstripes, isn’t that right, Nick?”

Copyright © 2010 by James Patterson

Don't Blink
Fiction/General
Audiobook (unabridged CD)
ISBN: 1607882345
$34.98/U.S.
Hachette Audio
Read by David Patrick Kelly

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Don't Blink
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 0316036234
$27.99/U.S.
384 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 0446568848
$14.99/U.S.
416 pages
Grand Central Publishing

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