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Private Games

Private, the world's most renowned investigation firm, has been commissioned to provide security for the 2012 Olympic games in London. Its agents are the smartest, fastest, and most technologically advanced in the world, and 400 of them have been transferred to London to protect over 10,000 competitors who represent more than 200 countries.

The opening ceremony is still hours away when Private investigator and single father of twins, Nigel Steele, is called to the scene of a ruthless murder. A high-ranking member of the games' organizing committee and his mistress have been killed. It's clear that it wasn't a crime of passion, but one of precise calculation and execution.

Newspaper reporter Karen Pope receives a letter from a person who calls himself Cronus claiming responsibility for the murders. He also proclaims that he will restore the Olympics to their ancient glory and will destroy all who have corrupted the games with lies, cheating, and greed. Karen immediately hires Private to examine the letter, and she and Nigel uncover a criminal genius who won't stop until he's ended the games for good. "America's #1 storyteller" (Forbes) delivers an exhilarating, action-packed thriller that brings the splendor and emotion of the Olympics to a wildly powerful climax.


Chapter 6

SHORTLY AFTER CHIEF Inspector Pottersfield ordered Sir Denton's remains bagged, Knight left the garden and the mansion consumed by far worse dread than he'd felt when he'd entered.

He ducked the police tape, avoided the reporters, and headed out of Lyall Mews, trying to decide how in God's name he was going to tell his mother about Denton. But Knight knew he had to, and quickly, before Amanda heard it from someone else. He absolutely did not want her to be alone when she learned that the best thing that had ever happened to her was...

"Knight?" a man's voice called to him. "Is that you?"

Knight looked up to see a tall, athletic man in his midforties, wearing a fine Italian suit, rushing toward him. Below his thick salt-and-pepper hair, anguish twisted his ruddy, blockish face.

Knight had met Michael "Mike" Lancer at Private's London offices twice in the eighteen months since the company was hired to act as a special security force during the Olympic Games. But he knew the man largely by reputation.

A two-time world decathlon champion in the 1980s and '90s, Lancer had served with the Coldstream Regiment and in the Queen's Guard, which had allowed him to train full-time. At the Barcelona Olympics in 1992, he led the decathlon after the first day of competition, but then cramped in the heat and humidity during the second day, finishing out of the top ten.

Lancer had since become a motivational speaker and security consultant who often worked with Private International on big projects. He was also a member of LOCOG, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, charged with helping to arrange security for the mega-event.

"Is it true?" Lancer asked in a keenly distraught voice. "Denton's dead?"

"Afraid so, Mike," Knight said.

Lancer's eyes welled with tears. "Who would do this? Why?"

"Looks like someone who hates the Olympics," Knight said, and then described the manner of Sir Denton's death, and the bloody X.

Rattled, Lancer said, "When do they think this happened?"

"Shortly before midnight," Knight replied.

Lancer shook his head. "That means I saw him only two hours before his death. He was leaving the party at the Tate with..." He stopped and looked at Knight in sad appraisal.

"Probably my mother," Knight said. "There were engaged."

"Yes, I knew that you and she were related," Lancer said. "I'm so, so sorry, Peter. Does Amanda know?"

"I'm on my way to tell her right now."

"You poor bastard," Lancer said, and then looked off toward the police barrier. "Are those reporters there?"

"A whole pack of them, and getting bigger," Knight said.

Lancer shook his head bitterly. "With all due loving respect to Denton, this is all we need with the opening ceremonies tomorrow night. They'll blast the lurid details all over the bloody world."

"Nothing you can do to stop that," Knight said. "But I might think about upping security on all members of the organizing committee."

Lancer made a puffing noise, and then nodded. "You're right. I'd best catch a cab back to the office. Marcus is going to want to hear this in person."

Marcus Morris, a politician who had stood down at the last election, was now chairman of the London Organising Committee.

"My mother as well," Knight said, and together they headed on toward Chesham Street, where they thought taxi traffic would be heavier.

Indeed, they'd just reached Chesham when a black taxi appeared from the south, across from the Diplomat Hotel. At the same time, farther away and from the north, a red taxi came down the near lane. Knight hailed it.

Lancer signaled the black taxi in the northbound lane, saying, "Give my condolences to your mother, and tell Jack I'll be in touch sometime later today."

Jack Morgan was the American owner of Private International. He'd been in town since the plane carrying four members of the London office had gone down in the North Sea with no survivors.

Lancer stepped off the curb and set off in a confident stride, heading diagonally across the street as the red taxi came closer.

But then, to Knight's horror, he heard the growl of an engine and tires squealing.

The black taxi was accelerating, heading right at the LOCOG member.

Copyright © 2012 by James Patterson

Read by Paul Panting

Paul Panting has narrated numerous audio books and has been featured in many BBC Radio Drama plays and readings. His television credits include Silent Witness, The Jury II, and Inspector Lewis.

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