NYPD Red—the task force attacking the most extreme crimes in America's most extreme city—hunts a killer who is on an impossible mission.
A vigilante serial killer is on the loose in New York City, tracking down and murdering people whose crimes have not been punished. The number of victims grows, and many New Yorkers secretly applaud the idea of justice won at any price.
NYPD Red Detective Zach Jordan and his partner Kylie MacDonald are put on the case when a woman of vast wealth and even greater connections disappears. Zach and Kylie have to find what's really behind this murderer's rampage while political and personal secrets of the highest order hang in the balance. But Kylie has been acting strange recently—and Zach knows whatever she's hiding could threaten the biggest case of their careers.
NYPD Red 2 is the next spectacular novel in James Patterson's newest series, a book that proves "there's no stopping his imagination." (New York Times Book Review)
Prologue | GIDEON AND DAVE
October 31, 2001
“WERE YOU REALLY serious about the Hitler thing?” Dave said, dousing Meredith’s jeans and sweater with lighter fluid.
“Easy on the rocket fuel there, pyro,” Gideon said. “We’re just torching her clothes, not trying to burn the house down.”
“I tried to stop her,” Dave said, throwing her bra and panties on top of the pile. He tossed them on casually—a teenager disposing of his big sister’s underwear. To Dave they were just rags to be burned. But to Gideon the lacy black bra and wispy matching thong were fuel for his sixteen-year-old fantasies.
Meredith was twenty-one, a college girl—red hair, green eyes, creamy white skin. As far as she was concerned, Gideon was just another one of her kid brother’s geeky friends. She had no idea how much further his imagination had taken him.
Dave added a few more generous squirts of accelerant to the mound of clothes. “You saw,” he said to Gideon, looking for validation. “Didn’t I try to stop her?”
“You always try to stop your sister from doing stupid shit,” Gideon said. “But she’s five years older than you and fifty times more stubborn. Stand back.”
Dave stepped away from the crusty old Weber kettle grill.
“And yes,” Gideon said, striking a wooden match. “I’m dead serious about the Hitler thing.” He tossed the match onto Meredith’s tattered sweater, and as blue-orange flames shot into the air, he allowed himself to relive what had happened that evening....
It was the night of the Salvis’ Halloween beach party, and Dave did his best to convince Meredith not to go. “What’s the attraction?” he asked. “The clams, the cannoli, or just hanging out with a bunch of drunken greaseballs?”
“No, David,” she said, which is what she always called him when she was pulling rank. “I’m going because they’ve got a kick-ass band, fireworks like it’s Chinese New Year, and because my brain is fried from burying my head in a macroeconomics book for four hours. Why don’t you and Gideon go?”
“To a Mafia party?” Dave said. “No. You know how much Dad hated the Salvis.”
“Everybody hates them, but everybody still goes. So what if they’re Mafia? The beer is free, and you know for sure they’re not going to check your ID.” She opened the front door. “What time does Mom get off work?”
“The bar will be packed tonight. She won’t be home till after three.”
“Then I’ll be home by two fifty-nine.” She blew them both a kiss and left, laughing.
Two hours later she was back, her jeans and sweater torn, her face streaked with dried blood, her hair matted with wet sand.
“Enzo,” she said, struggling to hold back the tears. “Enzo Salvi.”
“He hit you?” Dave said.
She wrapped her arms around her kid brother and sobbed into his chest. “Worse.”
“Don’t shower,” Gideon said. “The police have rape kits.”
“No cops,” she said, breaking loose from Dave. She locked the bathroom door and spent the next thirty minutes in the shower, trying to wash away the dirt, the smell, and the shame.
She joined them in the kitchen, wearing baggy gray sweats and a Mets baseball cap that concealed half her face.
“We made you hot cocoa,” Dave said.
“You want marshmallows?” Gideon asked, holding a bag of Jet-Puffed minis.
“It’s not exactly a marshmallow kind of night,” she said, pouring half the cocoa into the sink. She pulled a bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey from the kitchen cabinet and topped off her cup.
“I’m serious. No cops,” she said. “And definitely you can’t tell Mom.”
Dave shook his head slowly. “I don’t know, Mer, don’t you think Mom should—”
“No!” Meredith screamed. “No, no, no!” The tears started to flow again, and she wiped her face in her sleeve. “He said if I tell her...” She fortified herself with the cocoa. “He said if I tell her...she’s next.”
Two more shots of Jameson later, Meredith was ready for bed. “Thank you,” she said. “I don’t know what I’d have done without you guys.” She hugged them both and gave each one a soft kiss on the cheek. A kid brother kiss. Not nearly the one Gideon had been dreaming of for years.
“One more favor,” she said, tossing her clothes on the floor. “Burn these.”
The stretch jeans burned slowly. “I wish Enzo Salvi’s balls were in there,” Dave said, finishing off his third beer as the flames crept up the denim crotch.
For more than a year, the Hitler thing had been Gideon’s favorite argument. “Do you think Hitler was a nice guy when he was in high school?” he would ask Dave. “No—he was an evil, crazy fuck,” he’d say, not waiting for an answer, “and he got worse and worse. Don’t you think the world would be a better place if someone whacked Hitler when he was still young? Because Howard Beach sure as hell would be a better place if someone killed Enzo Salvi.”
Dave’s standard response was always, “You’re crazy.” But tonight, as he watched his sister’s clothes turn into ashes, it no longer sounded so crazy.
“It’s my fault,” Dave slurred. “I’m three payments behind.”
“Bullshit,” Gideon said. “Nobody rapes a guy’s sister over sixty bucks. Enzo Salvi is a psycho.”
Dave popped the top on another Bud Light and finally asked the question Gideon had been waiting to hear.
“How would we do it?”
Copyright © 2014 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.