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I, Michael Bennett

Police officers shot

Detective Michael Bennett arrests an infamous Mexican crime lord in a deadly chase that leaves Bennett's lifelong friend Hughie McDonough dead. From jail, the prisoner vows to rain epic violence down upon New York City—and to get revenge on Michael Bennett.

Judges murdered

To escape the chaos, Bennett takes his ten kids and their beautiful nanny, Mary Catherine, on a much-needed vacation to his family's cabin near Newburgh, New York. But instead of the calm and happy town he remembers from growing up, they step into a nightmare worse than they could have ever imagined. Newburgh is an inferno of warring gangs, and there's little the police—or Bennett—can do to keep the children safe.

Target: Michael Bennett

As violence overwhelms the state, Bennett is torn between protecting his hometown and saving New York City. A partner in his investigations, federal prosecutor Tara McLellan, brings him new weapons for the battle—and an attraction that endangers his relationship with Mary Catherine. A no-holds-barred, pedal-to-the-floor, action-packed novel, I, Michael Bennett is James Patterson at his most personal and most thrilling best.

Book One | TO CATCH A KING

Chapter 2

I SIFTED THROUGH SOME photographs until I found the reason why I was up here so early. I propped the color shot over the screen of my open laptop and did what I’d been doing a lot of in the last few weeks—memorizing one of the faces in it.

The photograph showed three men standing in a rundown Mexican street beside a brand-new fire-engine-red Ford Super Duty pickup truck. Two of the men were wearing bandannas and baseball caps to cover their faces and gripped AR-15 assault rifles with extended magazines. Between them stood a bareheaded, broad-shouldered, light-skinned black man. A gold Cartier tank watch was just visible above the cuff of his dark, tailored suit as he smoothed an Hermès tie.

I stared at the man in the middle—his pale blue eyes, his cropped salt-and-pepper hair, his expensive attire. Smiling as he glanced in the direction of the camera, the handsome dusky-skinned black man had the casual grace of a model or a sports star.

He was a star, all right.

A death star.

The man’s name was Manuel “the Sun King” Perrine, and he was the notorious drug kingpin who ran the Tepito drug cartel, the most violent in Mexico. Two years earlier, Perrine had had two U.S. Border Patrol agents and their families murdered in Arizona and burned their houses to the ground. Though the ruthless killer and Forbes magazine–listed billionaire had been in a Mexican prison at the time of the ordered hits, he’d promptly escaped and gone on the run when the proceedings for his extradition to the U.S. had begun last year. It was as though he had disappeared into thin air.

It turned out he hadn’t. Manuel Perrine was coming to New York City today. We knew where, and we knew when.

The ten-page arrest package I’d been working on spelled it all out in exhaustive detail. It had surveillance photos of the meeting place, building descriptions, Google maps. It even had the location and directions from the planned arrest site to the trauma unit of the New York–Presbyterian Hospital emergency room, which I was praying we wouldn’t need.

If all went well today, by five o’clock, I’d be at a bar, surrounded by cops and DEA and FBI agents, buying rounds as we toasted our success in taking down one of the most dangerous men on the face of the earth.

That was the plan, anyway, and it was a good one, I thought, staring at the pages. But even with all its detail and foresight, I was still wary—nervous as hell, to be perfectly frank.

Because I knew about plans. Especially the best-laid ones. If the Heights had taught me anything, it was that.

It’s like the wise sage Mike Tyson once said: “Everybody got plans...until they get hit.

Copyright © 2012 by James Patterson

Read by Bobby Cannavale & Jay Snyder

Bobby Cannavale was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance in Mauritius. On television, Bobby won an Emmy for his performance in Will & Grace. Bobby's film credits include The Station Agent, Snakes on a Plane, The Bone Collector, and Washington Heights.

Jay Snyder has performed on Broadway and Off-Broadway, regional theater, television, film, and has been working in the voice-over industry.

Audio Excerpts (MP3)
Clip #1
Prologue to Chapter 4
Clip #2
Chapters 5 to 10
Clip #3
Chapters 11 to 16
Clip #4
Chapters 17 to 22
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