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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 3

“HEY, FIRST ONE IN. I like that in a team leader. You deserve a gold star and a smiley-face sticker,” someone said five minutes later, as a massive cup of coffee thudded down beside my elbow.

“No, wait. I take that back,” said the bearded, long-haired undercover cop who sat down across from me. “I forgot that Your Highness doesn’t have to drive in from the ass end of the Bronx, but actually lives nearby, here in the glorified borough of Manhattan. Forgive me for forgetting what a yuppie fop you’ve become.”

I smiled back at the grinning, wiseacre cop. His name was Hughie McDonough, and his egregious chop-busting stemmed from our days at Saint Barnabas Elementary School in the Woodlawn section of the Bronx, where we grew up. In addition to being school chums, Hughie and I had been in the same Police Academy class and had worked together in a street crime unit here in the three-four for a couple of years.

We’d lost touch when I went on to the five-two in the Bronx and he transferred out of the NYPD and into the DEA. Over the course of the last fifteen years, McDonough had built a rock-star reputation as a fearless undercover agent. He was also one of the foremost experts on Colombian, and now Mexican, cartels. Which was what had us working together after all these years on a joint NYPD-federal task force, hoping to nail Perrine.

“Late again, huh, McDonough?” I said shaking my head. “Let me guess. You were blow-drying that Barbie hair of yours? No, wait. You ran out of Just For Men for your Jesus beard.”

“Tell me. What does it look like below Ninety-Sixth Street?” Hughie said, ignoring my dig and continuing the trash talk. “And what about those cocktail parties, Mike? I mean, you are one of NYC’s top cops, according to the latest New York magazine article. You must be on the cocktail party circuit.”

I glanced across the table thoughtfully.

“Cocktail parties are pretty much like keg parties, Hughie, except they’re indoors and the cups are different. Crystal instead of the plastic ones you’re used to.”

“Indoors?” Hughie said, scratching his head. “How does that work? Where do you put the Slip’N Slide? And don’t you get holes in the walls when it’s time for the strippers to shoot the beer bottles?”

“McDonough, McDonough, McDonough,” I said as I Frisbeed my coffee-cup lid at him. “Such sinful talk. And to think once you were such a nice little church boy.”

McDonough actually cracked up at that one. Church Boy was what the black and Hispanic public school toughs called us on the subway when they spotted our Catholic school dress shoes and ties. In Hughie’s case, that was about all it took for him to start swinging. He wasn’t a big kid, but his crazy fireman father made him and his four older brothers compete in the citywide Golden Gloves boxing tournament every year, so he had no problem at all mixing it up. One time, as high school legend had it, he knocked a huge mouthy kid from Pel-ham down the back stairs of a city bus and out the door onto East 233rd Street with one shot.

“To church boys,” McDonough said, leaning over the desk and touching his coffee cup to mine in a toast. “May we never run out of ugly plaid ties and white socks to wear with our black shoes.”

I toasted him back and smiled at the old-school crazy cop over the rim of my cup.

Considering the danger inherent in what we were about to do, it was good to have my pugnacious old friend here now. He was as cocky and brass-balled as ever. There wasn’t anyone else I’d like to be partnered with for this major arrest—or to have watching my back, for that matter. Even with his seriously warped personality.

I smiled as I glanced back at the window. Then down at the photograph of Manuel Perrine. Seems like maybe my backup had arrived after all.

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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