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)
Part One | THE HAZMAT KILLER
I FINALLY GOT a text from Kylie: Running late. Be there ASAP.
Not ASAP enough, because she was still among the missing when Chuck Dryden, our crime scene investigator, let me know he was ready to give me his initial observations.
They call him Cut And Dryden because he’s not big on small talk, but he’s the most meticulous, painstaking, anal-retentive CSI guy I know, so I was happy to have him on the case.
“COD appears to be asphyxiation. TOD between one and three a.m.,” he said, rattling off his findings without any foreplay. “There is evidence that the victim’s mouth had been duct-taped, and the marks on her wrists indicate she was handcuffed or otherwise restrained.”
“Talk to me about the jumpsuit,” I said.
Dryden peered at me over rimless glasses, a small reprimand to let me know that I had jumped the gun and he wasn’t ready for Q&A. He cleared his throat and went on. “The inside of the victim’s mouth is lacerated, her tongue and the roof of her mouth are bruised, some of her teeth have recently been chipped or broken, she has fresh cuts on her lips, and her jaw has been dislocated. It would appear she was tortured for several days premortem. Indications are that death occurred elsewhere, and she was transported here.” He paused. “Now, did you have a question, Detective?”
“Yeah. Love that little white frock she’s wearing. Who’s her designer?”
“Tyvek coveralls,” he said, not even cracking a smile. “Manufactured by DuPont.”
“So we’re looking at the Hazmat Killer,” I said.
Dryden rolled his eyes. A different shade of reprimand. “What a God-awful name to call a killer of this caliber,” he said.
“Don’t blame me,” I said. “That’s what the tabloids are calling him.”
“Totally unimaginative journalism,” he said, shaking his head. “This is the fourth victim. All kidnapped, all dressed alike, and all bearing this oddly curious pattern of facial injuries. A few hours after the body is found, a video goes viral on the Internet where the victim confesses to a heinous crime of his or her own—and the best the New York press can come up with is the Hazmat Killer?”
I shrugged. “It’s pretty descriptive.”
“And highly inaccurate,” he said. “Technically, it’s not even a Hazmat suit. It’s a pair of hundred-dollar Tyvek coveralls. What’s more intriguing is that in the three previous cases the bodies were all scrubbed down with ammonia, which makes it almost impossible to process any of the killer’s DNA, and that the Tyvek further prevents other traceable evidence from getting on the victim. At the crime lab, we call him the Sanitizer.”
A satisfied smile crossed his face, and I was pretty sure that he was the one who came up with the catchy handle.
“So you worked the first three cases?” I asked.
Dryden nodded. “The lead detectives are Donovan and Boyle from the Five.”
“The Five?” I repeated. “Chinatown?”
“The first victim was an Asian gangbanger,” he said. “The second body turned up in the One Four, and the third—a drug dealer—was dumped in Harlem, but Donovan and Boyle caught número uno, so they’ve stayed with the case. However, I imagine that Mrs. Parker-Steele, with her blue-blooded heritage, will go directly to the top of the homicide food chain, and she’ll be turned over to the Red unit.”
“Her blood may be blue,” I said, “but her brother is famous, her husband is a billionaire, and her father is a zillionaire, so the operative color here is green. Mrs. Parker-Steele will definitely get the same five-star service in death that she was used to in life.”
“So then, I’ll be working with you and your partner...” He paused, trying to remember her name.
He was full of shit. Chuck Dryden’s brain operated like a state-of-the-art microchip. When he examined a body, he processed every detail. And when the body was accompanied by Kylie’s sparkling green eyes, flowing blond hair, and heart-melting smile, it was forever stored in his highly developed memory bank. He knew her name, and like most guys who meet Kylie, he’d probably given her a starring role in his fantasies. It happened to me eleven years ago, only in my case, Kylie and I took it beyond the fantasy stage.
But now she’s Mrs. Spence Harrington, wife of a successful TV producer with a hit cop show shot right here in New York. Spence is a good guy, and we get along fine, but it gnaws at me that I get to spend fourteen hours a day chasing down bad guys with Kylie while he gets to pull the night shift.
“Her name is Kylie MacDonald,” I said, playing into Dryden’s little charade.
“Right,” he said. “So this will probably wind up in her lap. I mean yours and hers.”
Her lap? What are you thinking, Chuck?
“Yeah,” I said. “I’m pretty sure Detective MacDonald and I will be tapped to track down this maniac.”
Assuming Detective MacDonald ever shows up for work.
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.