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.
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
“SO: HAVE YOU FINALLY got this arrest plan sussed out, Fearless Team Leader?” McDonough said, fingering through the papers covering the desk.
“Just finishing up,” I said. “I was working on an ass-covering rider at the end in case the Sun King doesn’t stick to the script. How does this sound? ‘If necessary, we will immediately alter from the original plan and effect as safely as possible the arrest as referred to herein.’”
“That’s good,” McDonough said, squinting up at the ceiling tiles. “But also add something like, ‘We will neutralize the adversary in the quickest, most effective, most efficient, and safest manner that presents itself at that point in time.’”
I shook my head as I typed it into my Toshiba.
“I like it, Church Boy,” I said. “If that’s not some prime slinging, I don’t know what is. You’re actually not completely witless, which is saying something for a guy who went to Fordham.”
Having gone to Manhattan College, I couldn’t let a chance to get a dig in on any graduate of Manhattan’s rival, Ford-ham—the Bronx’s other Catholic college—slip by.
McDonough shrugged his broad shoulders.
“I wanted to go to Manhattan College like you, Mike, but it was so small I couldn’t find it. And silly me, I looked for it in Manhattan, when all along it was inexplicably hidden in the Bronx,” he said. “But my impeccable Jesuit training has got nothing to do with slinging it. I’m a DEA agent, baby. I have a BA in BS.”
“A bachelor’s degree in bullshit? You must have gotten a four-point-oh,” I said as I continued typing.
“This is true,” McDonough said, closing his eyes and leaning his broad-shouldered bulk back in the office chair until he was almost horizontal. “And yet somehow I find myself unable to hold a candle to your law enforcement prowess. Seriously, bro, I’ve tagged along on some of these rides, and this is as major-league as it comes. This is one world-class bag of shit we’re about to grab, and to think it’s all because of little old you.”
I took a bow as I typed.
“Stick around, kid,” I said. “Maybe you might learn something.”
This crazy case actually was mine. It had started out as a real estate corruption probe, of all things. My Major Case Unit had been brought in when the board president of a new billion-dollar luxury high-rise on Central Park West suspected that the building’s real estate manager was getting kickbacks from the contractors he was hiring.
When we got up on the manager’s phones, we learned that the kickbacks weren’t the only thing he was into. He was a sick pervert who frequented prostitutes on a daily basis, despite the fact that he was supposed to be a pious Hasidic Jew with a large family up in Rockland County. What he liked best were Hispanic girls—the more underage the better—from a Spanish Harlem brothel.
When we swooped down on the building manager and the brothel, we also arrested the pimp running the place. It was the pimp, a Dominican named Ronald Quarantiello, who turned out to be a gift that kept on giving. The jittery, fast-talking criminal was extremely well connected in New York’s Hispanic criminal underworld. And staring at a thirty-year sentence for sex trafficking, he’d cut a juicy deal. He agreed to flip against his business partner, Angel Candelerio, the head of DF, Dominicans Forever, the city’s largest Dominican drug gang.
And boy, did he flip. Like a gymnast during an Olympic floor exercise. Ronald helped us bug Candelerio’s house, his Washington Heights restaurant, where he did all his business, and his encrypted phone.
I thought the pimp was high when he told us that Candelerio was a childhood friend of the globally notorious drug kingpin Perrine. But a wiretap on Candelerio’s phones and bugs confirmed it.
Once the transcripts of his conversations with Perrine were obtained, my boss told her boss, and the DEA and FBI were brought in to form a task force with yours truly as the team leader.
The icing on the cake came a month ago, when Perrine and Candelerio started talking about a visit Perrine was going to
make to New York.
A meet that was going down at noon today.
As McDonough stood up to take a cell call, I went over the arrest papers for a final time. I double-checked the mission statements and interior layouts and maps. Lastly, I went over the grisly crime-scene photos of the Border Patrol agents and their families whom Perrine had murdered.
The most gruesome shot, the one I couldn’t forget, showed a Dodge Caravan sitting in the one-car garage of a suburban house. Where its windshield had been, there was just a bloody, jagged hole. The front end was riddled to Swiss cheese with hundreds upon hundreds of bullet holes.
I studied the picture and took in the violence it displayed and wondered if being put in charge of this arrest was a blessing or a curse.
I glanced up at the yellow face of the wall clock above the window, which framed a slowly lightening sky.
I guess I’d soon see.
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.