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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.

Book One | DOWN BY THE SEA

Chapter 2

THE SERVICE WAS QUICK but quite nice. Especially the part where we prayed for Maeve. I'm not in line to become pope anytime soon, but I like mass. It's calming, restorative. A moment to review where you've gone wrong over the past week and maybe think about getting things back on track.

Call it Irish psychotherapy.

Therapy for this Irish psycho, anyway.

All in all, I came back out into the sun feeling pretty calm and upbeat. Which lasted about as long as it took the holy water I blessed myself with to dry.

"Get him! Hit him harder! Yeah, boyyyyzzz!" some kid was yelling.

There was some commotion alongside the church. Through the departing crowd and cars, I saw about half a dozen kids squaring off in the parking lot.

"Look out, Eddie!" someone yelled.

Eddie? I thought. Wait a second.

That was one of my kids!

I rushed into the brawl, with my oldest son, Brian, at my heels. There was a pile of kids swinging and kicking on the sun-bleached asphalt. I started grabbing shirt collars, yanking kids away, putting my NYPD riot police training to good use.

I found my son Eddie at the bottom of the scrum, red-faced and near tears.

"You want some more, bitch? Come and get it!" one of the kids who'd been kicking my son yelled as he lurched forward. Eddie, our resident bookworm, was ten. The tall, pudgy kid with the Mets cap askew looked at least fourteen.

"Back it up!" I yelled at the earringed punk with a lot of cop in my voice. More in my eyes. Eddie, tears gone, just angry now, thumbed some blood from a nostril.

"What happened?" I said.

"That jerk called Trent something bad, Dad."

"What?"

"An Irish jig."

I turned and glared at the big kid with the even bigger mouth. Trent was even younger than Eddie, an innocent seven-year-old kid who happened to be black. I really felt like knocking the fat kid's hat back straight with a slap. Instead, I quickly thought of another idea.

"In that case," I said, staring at the delinquent, "kick his ass."

"My pleasure," Eddie said, trying to lunge from my grip.

"No, not you, Eddie. Brian's not doing anything."

Brian, six foot one and on the Fordham Prep JV football team, smiled as he stepped forward.

At the very last second, I placed a palm on his chest. Violence never solved anything. At least when there were witnesses around. Twenty or thirty loyal St. Edmund's parishioners had stopped to watch the proceedings.

"What's your name?" I said as I walked over and personally got in the kid's face.

"Flaherty," the kid said with a stupid little smile.

"That's Gaelic for dumb-ass," Juliana said by my shoulder.

"What's your problem, Flaherty?" I said.

"Who has a problem?" Flaherty said. "Maybe it's you guys. Maybe the Point isn't your cup of tea. Maybe you should bring your rainbow-coalition family out to the Hamptons. You know, Puff Daddy? That crowd?"

I took a deep breath and released it even more slowly. This kid was getting on my nerves. Even though he was just a teen, my somewhat cleansed soul was wrestling valiantly not to commit the sin of wrath.

"I'm going to tell you this one time, Flaherty. Stay away from my kids or I'm going to give you a free ride in my police car."

"Wow, you're a cop. I'm scared," Flaherty said. "This is the Point. I know more cops than you do, old man."

I stepped in closer to him, close enough to head butt, anyway.

"Do any of them work at Spofford?" I said in his ear.

Spofford was New York's infamous juvy hall. By his swallow, I thought I'd finally gotten through.

"Whatever," Flaherty said, walking away.

Why me? I thought, turning away from the stunned crowd of churchgoers. You never saw this kind of crap on TLC. And what the hell did he mean by old man?

"Eddie?" I said as I started leading my gang back along the hot, sandy road toward the promised land of our saltbox.

"Yes, Dad?"

"Stay away from that kid."

"Brian?" I said a few seconds later.

"Yeah, Pop?"

"Keep an eye on that kid."

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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