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Kill Me If You Can
Kill Me If You Can
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 0316097543
$27.99/U.S.
416 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 0446571873
$14.99/U.S.
400 pages
Grand Central Publishing

Matthew Bannon, a poor art student living in New York City, finds a duffel bag filled with diamonds during a chaotic attack at Grand Central Station. Plans for a worry-free life with his gorgeous girlfriend Katherine fill his thoughts—until he realizes that he is being hunted, and that whoever is after him won't stop until they have reclaimed the diamonds and exacted their revenge.

The perfect lie

Trailing him is the Ghost, the world's greatest assassin, who has just pulled off his most high-profile hit: killing Walter Zelvas, a top member of the international Diamond Syndicate. There's only one small problem: the diamonds he was supposed to retrieve from Zelvas are missing. Now, the Ghost is on Bannon's trail—but so is a rival assassin who would like nothing more than to make the Ghost disappear forever. From "America's #1 storyteller" (Forbes) comes a high-speed, high-stakes, winner-take-all thrill ride of adrenaline-fueled suspense.

Kill Me If You Can
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 0316097543
$27.99/U.S.
416 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 0446571873
$14.99/U.S.
400 pages
Grand Central Publishing

Book One | THE ART STUDENT

Chapter 3

I SPENT HALF that night trying to figure out which of my paintings I should show her. Was this one too predictable? Was that one too boring? Or worse, completely pedestrian? I was seeing my work in a whole new light. Not just was it any good, but was it good enough for Katherine?

The next day I was in Professor Sanborne's office with fourteen photos of what I hoped was the best work I had done thus far. I doubt I'd ever felt more vulnerable and exposed in my life.

"No wonder you knew so much about the Realists," she said after she looked at them. "Your work reminds me of Edward Hopper. In his early days."

"I suppose you mean back when he was finger-painting in kindergarten?"

She laughed, and I decided it was gentle humor, kind humor, rather than the savage variety some professors strive to perfect.

"Not that early," she said. "As you know, I'm sure, Hopper is legendary for his ability to capture reality. But his early works are so impersonal. That's where you are now. In my opinion, anyway. Over time, Hopper's paintings began to take on emotions—loneliness, despair, gloom. Nighthawks is probably his best work—my favorite—and he didn't paint that till he was sixty."

"I hope it doesn't take me that long," I said, "to do something half as good."

"It won't," she said. "Not if you study at the right school."

"Like where?" I asked. "Any suggestion you have would be so helpful. Honest."

"Like here," she said.

I shook my head a couple of times. "I don't think I have the talent to be accepted at Parsons."

"I'll bet you do," she said. "Loser buys the winner...I don't know—dinner at Peter Luger. I love Luger's."

Six months later, Professor Katherine Sanborne and I were having the porterhouse medium rare at Peter Luger in Brooklyn.

I paid for dinner.

We started seeing each other regularly after our celebratory dinner, and six months after that, I was in her Group Critique class at Parsons. We did a pretty good job of keeping our relationship a secret from the other students, I thought.

The best part of Group Critique was being able to be near her three times a week. The worst part was enduring the critiques by my so-called peers.

The morning before I found the diamonds, my latest painting was being thoroughly trashed by Leonard Karns. Karns was short, round, pretentious, and bitterly, unnecessarily nasty. He waddled over to my canvas and explained to the rest of the group why it sucked and, by proxy, why I sucked.

"So it's a bunch of nobodies in line at an unemployment office," he said. "But do we really care about any of them? I could take the same picture with my cell phone camera. It's like the German playwright Bertolt Brecht said, Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.'"

"And you don't think Mr. Bannon has shaped this piece?" Katherine said.

"No," Karns said. "But I think he should take a hammer to it."

If he was hoping for a laugh from the rest of the class, he didn't get it. Most of my fellow students sat in silence and winced. It was the last day of the semester, and by now Karns had managed to systematically piss off every one of them with his condescending elitist bullshit.

He would have pontificated longer, but Katherine cut him off. When class ended, she gave us back our term papers. The assignment had been to write a five-thousandword critique of public art in New York City. It counted as a third of our grade, so I'd spent a lot of time on it. I'd hoped for an A.

But I didn't get it. There was a yellow sticky on the front page. It said, C+. Matthew, see me after class.

I sat in a depressed funk while everyone else filed out of the room. Katherine Sanborne finally came around her desk and walked toward me.

"C-plus?" I said. "I thought the paper was a little better than that."

"If you're willing to put in the time, I can give you a chance to improve your grade," she said.

"What do I have to do? I'm not afraid of hard work."

And then Katherine's mischievous gray eyes lit up, and she clicked the lock on the classroom door.

"Take off your pants," she said.

I'd been had.

She stepped out of her skirt. Very graceful. Nice to watch. "If those pants don't come off in five seconds, Mr. Bannon, I'm going to have to give you an incomplete," she said. "By the way, that paper of yours was damn good, but I've come to expect even more from you."

The classroom had a chaise longue that was used for the figure-painting courses, and within seconds Katherine pulled me to it and began caressing, kissing, exploring. Then I was inside her. This was some kind of teacher-student counseling session.

Finally, Katherine put her lips to my ear, taunting me with kisses and little flicks of her tongue.

"Matthew," she whispered.

"What?"

"A-plus-plus."

Copyright © 2011 by James Patterson

Kill Me If You Can
Fiction/General
Audiobook (Unabridged CD)
ISBN: 1607884674
$34.98/U.S.
Hachette Audio
Read by Jeff Woodman & Jason Culp

Jeff Woodman has narrated numerous audiobooks in many different genres including Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and The Life of Pi. He has also done numerous ESL programs and cartoon voices for Japanese animation. Jeff has appeared in several episodes of Law & Order and various off-Broadway plays.

Jason Culp has been an actor since he was 10 years old. He was featured on television in Days of Our Lives and General Hospital, and in the cult film, Skinheads. He has narrated a number of audiobooks and is completing a memoir.

Kill Me If You Can
Fiction/General

Hardcover
ISBN: 0316097543
$27.99/U.S.
416 pages
Little, Brown and Company

Paperback
ISBN: 0446571873
$14.99/U.S.
400 pages
Grand Central Publishing

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