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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 6

THE ALEXANDER HOTEL just off Madison on 44th was understaffed, overpriced, and excessively seedy. All the grim, peeling walls, off-white towels, and pot smoke and piss stench $175 a night could buy.

Sitting cross-legged on the desk that he'd moved in front of his top-floor room's window, Berger slowly panned his camera across the columns and entablatures of the landmark marble library seventeen stories below.

The $11,000 Nikkor super-zoom lens attached to his 35-millimeter digital camera could make faces distinguishable at up to a mile. At a block and a half, with the incredibly vivid magnification, Berger could see the sweat droplets on the first responders' nervous faces.

Beside him on the desk was a laptop, a digital stopwatch, and a legal tablet filled with the neat shorthand notes he'd been taking for the past several hours. Evacuation procedures. Response times. He'd left the window open so that he could hear the sirens, immerse himself in the confusion on the street.

He was meticulously photographing the equipment inside the open back door of the Bomb Squad van when someone knocked on the door. Freaking, Berger swung immediately off the desk. He lifted something off the bed as he passed. It was a futuristic-looking Austrian Steyr AUG submachine gun, all thirty 5.56 NATO rounds already cocked, locked, and ready to rock.

"Yes?" Berger said as he lifted the assault rifle to his shoulder.

"Room service. The coffee you ordered, sir," said a voice behind the door.

No way anyone could be onto him this quickly! Had someone in another window seen him? What the hell was this? He leveled the machine gun's long suppressed barrel center mass on the door.

"I didn't order anything," Berger said.

"No?" the voice said. There was a pause. A long one. In his mind, Berger saw a SWAT cop in a ski mask applying a breaching charge on the door. Berger eyed down the barrel, muscles bunching on his wiry forearms, finger hovering over the trigger, heart stopped, waiting.

"Oh, shit—er, I mean, sugar," the hotel worker said finally. "My mistake. It's an eleven, not a seventeen. So sorry, sir. I can't read my own handwriting. Sorry to have bothered you."

More than you'll ever know, Berger thought, rubbing the tension out of the bridge of his nose. He waited until he heard the double roll of the elevator door down the outside hall before he lowered the gunstock off his shoulder.

A man was standing talking to the Bomb Squad chief down on the library's pavilion when Berger arrived back to the zoom lens. After clicking a close-up shot with the camera, he smiled as he examined the looming face on the screen.

It was him. Finally. Detective Michael Bennett. New York's quote unquote finest had arrived at last.

The feeling of satisfaction that hummed through Berger was almost the same as the psychic glee he got when he'd perfectly anticipated a countermove in a game of chess.

Berger grinned as he squinted through the view finder, watching Bennett. He knew all about him, his high-profile NYPD career, his Oprah-ready family. Berger shot a glance over at the rifle on the bed. From this distance, he could easily put a tight grouping into the cop with the suppressed rifle. Blow him to pieces, splatter them all over the marble columns and steps.

Wouldn't that stir the pot? Berger thought, taking his eyes off the gun. All in due time. Stick to the plan. Stay with the mission.

"Stay tuned, my friends," Berger said, allowing himself a brief smile as he clicked another shot of the clueless cops. "There's much more where this came from. In Lawrence's honor."

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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