NYPD Red is a special task force charged with protecting the interests of Manhattan's wealthiest and most powerful citizens. When a world-famous movie producer is poisoned on the first day of a Manhattan film festival called Hollywood on the Hudson, they are the first ones called. Then an actor is killed on the set of a film. And a Molotov cocktail explodes at a movie premiere.
Detective First Grade Zach Jordan and his new partner—and ex-girlfriend—Detective Kylie MacDonald are assigned to the case. The killer has every murder, every escape, planned down to the last detail—and he's scripted an explosive finale that will bring New York and Hollywood to its knees. With larger-than-life action, relentless speed, and white-knuckle twists, NYPD RED is a mega-blockbuster from "The Man Who Can't Miss." (TIME)
BOOK ONE | THERE’S NO PEOPLE LIKE SHOW PEOPLE
THE DOWDY REDBRICK building with bluestone coping and terra-cotta trimming on East 67th Street between Third and Lexington has been home to the 19th Precinct since the 1880s. It’s a sprawling old beast, five stories high, with room inside for the more than two hundred uniforms and dozens of detectives who cover Manhattan’s Upper East Side.
It’s also the perfect location for NYPD Red, which has citywide jurisdiction. We’re tucked away along the north wall of the third floor, out of the mainstream, but with lights and sirens, not far from a big chunk of the city’s five boroughs—and an occasional glimpse of the Chrysler Building, to my eyes the most beautiful and grand of all New York’s landmarks.
I was at my desk when I heard it.
I’d know that voice in my sleep. I turned around and there she was—flowing blond hair, sparkling green eyes, and an infuriating gold band on the fourth finger of her left hand. Kylie MacDonald.
“K-Mac,” I said.
“What’s the matter, Six? Did you forget my number?” she said, wrapping both arms around me and giving me a hug.
“How long are we going to keep playing that stupid number game?” I said, inhaling the familiar scent of rosemary-mint shampoo.
“According to the terms of the bet, for as long as we both shall live. Or if we happen to meet in hell, longer than that. How you doing, Six?”
Kylie and I are both natural-born competitors, and a few days after we met and she beat me out of five bucks, we made the granddaddy of all bets. We were each so hell-bent on outperforming the other at the academy that we agreed that after graduation the winner could call the loser by his or her class ranking. Out of 275 recruits, I finished sixth.
“I’m fine,” I said. “How you doing, One?”
“Ah, so you do remember my number,” she said.
“I don’t think you’ll ever let me forget it.”
“And now that we’re partners, I get to remind you every day. I’m so psyched. I can’t believe I got tapped for NYPD Red.”
“I totally believe it,” I said. “You had a major page-one arrest.”
“That bust sold a lot of newspapers, but it pissed off the brass.” She smiled a killer smile. “And don’t tell me you don’t know the details, Zach.”
“I might have heard a few things, but if you promise to keep using my name instead of my number, I won’t ask you if they’re true.”
“Cough it up. What did you hear?”
“You went undercover and nailed a guy who had raped half a dozen nurses.”
“That was in the papers,” she said. “Quit dodging.”
“You weren’t assigned to the case. You did it on your own. Rogue cop. Maverick. Loose cannon.”
“The third woman he raped was my friend Judy. She’s a nurse at Coney Island Hospital. She finished her shift at two in the morning. She’s walking to the subway when this guy jumps her, punches her in the face, and rapes her. She doesn’t even call 911. She calls me, hysterical. I reported it, then spent the night with her in the hospital. Next day I asked to be assigned to the case.”
“And they said no, because you’ve got a personal bias,” I said.
“Show me a female cop who doesn’t have a personal bias against a serial rapist,” she said. “The guy in charge of the investigation was old, lazy, and stupid. He never would have nailed the perp.”
“So Number One decides to go after him on her own.”
“It wasn’t rocket science,” she said. “The guy’s MO never changed. He kept the attacks localized to Brooklyn, and even though he’d switch hospitals, he’d always pick one where there was a long dark walk to the subway.”
“So you dressed up as a nurse and started walking from the hospital to the subway station. How many nights did you go out there?”
“I had seventeen strikeouts. I got him on the eighteenth night.”
“Did you have backup?” I said.
“Zach, I didn’t have any authority, so no, I didn’t have any backup. All I had was my badge and my gun, and it worked.”
“Lucky for you.”
“Lucky for a lot of nurses. Loose cannon or not, I got the job done. If I bent a few rules, tough shit. I have no regrets.”
“Maybe that’s why they sent you here,” I said. “We bend rules all the time.”
“We, Detective Straight Arrow? I know you, Zach, and you are definitely not a rule breaker. You’re a Capricorn to the core. Organized, loves structure, not driven by impulse, a master of restraint.”
“Hey, we can’t all be cowboys.”
“Which is probably why they partnered us up,” she said. “Yin-yang, point-counterpoint—”
“Sane cop, crazy cop,” I said.
“Tell me about your partner, Detective Shanks,” she said.
“Omar? He’s not as pretty as you. Or as crazy.”
“You know what I’m getting at. How’s his leg, his knee, whatever? I’m only here on probation. When he comes back, they’re going to cut me loose. I want to know how much time I have to impress the hell out of Captain Cates so she keeps me on.”
“You have a few months,” I said. “But I have to warn you, Cates doesn’t impress easily.”
“On the other hand, if you piss her off you’ll be gone before lunch.”
We looked up. It was our boss, Captain Delia Cates.
Kylie stuck her hand out. “Detective Kylie MacDonald, Captain.”
Cates’s cell phone went off. She checked the caller ID. “It’s not even eight o’clock, and the Deputy Mayor in Charge of Annoying the Crap Out of Me has called four times.” She took the call. “Bill, give me five seconds. I’m just wrapping something up.”
She fist-bumped Kylie’s outstretched hand. “Welcome to Red, Detective MacDonald. Morning briefing is in ten. Jordan, I need you in my office before that.”
She pressed the phone to her ear and took off down the hall.
Kylie just stood there. I knew what was going through her head.
“Don’t try to analyze,” I said. “Cates is all business, no foreplay. If you expected a cup of tea and some girl talk, it’s never going to happen. You said ‘hello,’ she said ‘hello.’ Now get to work. And don’t think about trying to impress her. She vetted your file. You wouldn’t be here if she didn’t think you could do the job.”
“That helps,” Kylie said. “Thanks.”
“Hey, that’s what partners are for.”
Copyright © 2012 by James Patterson
Edoardo Ballerini is an actor and an award-winning audiobook narrator. On screen, he's best known for his working the television series The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, and 24. Edoardo was nominated for a 2012 Audie Award for his recording of The Land of Laughs. AudioFile Magazine named him one of the "Best Voices of 2011."
Jay Snyder has performed on Broadway and Off-Broadway, regional theatre, television, film, and works regularly in the voice-over industry.