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Tick Tock

NYC's #1 detective, Michael Bennett, has a huge problem—the Son of Sam, the Werewolf of Wisteria and the Mad Bomber are all back. The city has never been more terrified!

Tick—a killer's countdown begins, but...
A rash of horrifying crimes tears through the city, throwing it into complete chaos and terrorizing everyone living there. Immediately, it becomes clear that they are not the work of an amateur, but of a calculating, efficient, and deadly mastermind.

Tick—can Michael Bennett catch him before...
The city calls on Detective Michael Bennett, pulling him away from a seaside retreat with his ten adopted children, his grandfather, and their beloved nanny, Mary Catherine. Not only does it tear apart their first vacation since Michael's wife Maeve died—it leaves the entire family open to attack.

Tock—your time is up.
Bennett enlists the help of a former colleague, FBI Agent Emily Parker. As his affection for Emily grows into something stronger, his relationship with Mary Catherine takes an unexpected turn. All too soon, another appalling crime leads Bennett to a shocking discovery that exposes the killer's pattern and the earth-shattering enormity of his plan. From the creator of the #1 New York detective series comes the most volatile and most explosive Michael Bennett novel ever.

Prologue | SEXY BEAST

Two

PASSING UNDER THE GRAND BEAUX ARTS arched portico and through the revolving door of the library, Berger immediately noticed that the steely-eyed ex-cop who usually worked the front hall on Saturdays wasn't there. Instead, there was a young summer-hire slouch in an ill-fitting blazer. Even better. The bored-looking bridge-and-tunneler waved Berger through before he could even lift a finger to his bag's zipper.

The hushed Rose Reading Room on the third floor was about the size of a professional soccer eld. It was rimmed with ten-foot-high caramel-colored wooden shelves and lit by brass rococo chandeliers that hung down from its fifty-one-foot-high, mural-painted coffered ceiling. Berger stepped past table after long table of very serious-looking thirty-and forty-somethings, earbuds snug in their ears as they stared intently at laptop screens. Graduate students and ardent self-improvers. No Hamptons this summer weekend for this studious bunch.

He found a seat at the last table along the north wall, with his back to the door of the Rare Book Division of the Brooke Russell Astor Reading Room. He pretended to play Sudoku on his nifty new iPhone until the only other person at the study table, a pregnant Asian woman in a Juicy tracksuit, got up twenty minutes later.

As she waddled away, Mr. Berger took one last deep breath and slowly released it. Then he slipped on a pair of rubber surgical gloves under the table and slid the bomb out of the laptop bag.

It looked exactly like an Apple MacBook seventeen-inch laptop except that there was a hollowed-out space where the keyboard, mouse pad, and computer guts had once been. In their place now sat two kilograms of T4, the Italian version of the plastic explosive RDX. On top of the pale vanilla-colored plastic explosive sat another two-inch-thick layer of barbed stainless-steel roong nails, like a double helping of silver sprinkles on the devil's ice-cream cone.

There was a gel-like adhesive already attached to the device's bottom. He pressed the bomb firmly down in front of him, gluing it securely to the library desk.

The detonator cap had already been inserted into the explosive and now merely awaited the final connection to an electrical charge, which would occur when someone discovered the laptop and made the mistake of opening the cover. Tied just inside the cover with a snug lanyard knot made of shing line was a mercury switch, an ingenious little thermometer-like glass tube that was used in vending-machine alarms. When the lid was closed, you could play Frisbee with the IED. Once the lid rose two inches, however, the liquid mercury would spill to the switch's bottom, cover its electrical leads, and initiate instant detonation.

Mr. Berger imagined the bomb's massive shockwave ripping through the crowded Rose Reading Room, blowing apart everything and everyone within forty feet and sending a killing wall of shrapnel in every direction at four times the speed of sound.

He peeled off his gloves and stood with the now-empty laptop bag, careful not to touch anything. He crossed the room and stepped quickly out the exit without looking back.

It was begun, he thought with a feeling of magnificent relief as he found the marble stairs. From here on in, it would be all about timing. A race against the clock, so to speak.

On your mark.

Get set.

"Blow," Mr. Berger whispered happily to himself, and began to take the stairs down two at a time.

Copyright © 2011 by James Patterson

Read by Bobby Cannavale & Scott Sowers

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, Fast Food Nation, Snakes on a Plane, The Bone Collector, and Washington Heights. He also read Run for Your Life and Worst Case for Hachette Audio.

Scott Sowers' Broadway credits include Bus Stop, A Streetcar Named Desire, Inherit the Wind and A Few Good Men (LA Dramalogue Award for Performance). Scott is a lifetime member of The Ensemble Studio Theatre. His TV credits include HBO's Boardwalk Empire, Law & Order, Cracker and All My Children. Scott's film credits include True Grit, The Ten, The Village, Dead Man Walking, Erin Brockovich, Magnolia, and My Mother Dreams...(winner, 2000 Academy Award for Short Feature).

Audio Excerpts (MP3)
Clip #1
Prologue to Chapter 3
Clip #2
Chapters 4 to 8
Clip #3
Chapters 9 to 13
Clip #4
Chapters 14 to 18
Clip #5
Chapters 19 to 22
Clip #6
Chapters 23 to 26
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