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Private: #1 Suspect

Unsolvable cases

Since former Marine Jack Morgan started Private, it has become the world's most effective investigation firm—sought out by the famous and the powerful to discreetly handle their most intimate problems. Private's investigators are the smartest, the fastest, and the most technologically advanced in the world—and they always uncover the truth.

Impossible murders

When his former lover is found murdered in Jack Morgan's bed, he is instantly the number one suspect. While Jack is under police investigation, the mob strong-arms him into recovering $30 million in stolen pharmaceuticals for them. And the beautiful manager of a luxury hotel chain persuades him to quietly investigate a string of murders at her properties.

The #1 suspect is Jack Morgan

While Jack is fighting for his life, one of his most trusted colleagues threatens to leave Private, and Jack realizes he is confronting the cleverest and most powerful enemies ever. With more action, more intrigue, and more twists than ever before, PRIVATE: #1 SUSPECT is James Patterson at his unstoppable best.

Prologue | SHOTS IN THE DARK

Three

THE VAN'S REAR cargo door blew open, and Rudy Giordino jumped down from the back. His right leg buckled, but he had played ball in high school and had good balance. He came out of the stumble into a dead run.

His head was clanging from the tossing he'd taken in the back, but his instincts were intact. He ran under a black sky, across the flats and parallel to the road.

His blood whooshed across his eardrums and he still felt the aftershocks of gunfire.

Christ. Guns had gone off in the cab.

They'd been jacked.

Rudy Gee ran, flashing on his gun, lost under the cascade of boxes in the back of the truck. He thought about Marisa and Sparky and how he wasn't supposed to die yet, not gunned down out fucking here. He had so many plans. He was still a kid.

It felt good to run. He was making distance, could almost hear the cheering in the stands.

Behind him, a guy name of Victor Spano took careful aim with his .45, bracing against the side of the van. The dude was making it too easy, running in a straight line.

Victor squeezed the trigger, felt the kickback as the round found its mark. The guy making a break for it stopped running like someone had called his name. Then he dropped to his knees and did a face-plant in the dirt.

Victor walked up to the dead guy and put a shot into the back of his head just to be safe. If you fired a gun and no one heard it, had you still fired the gun?

Yes. Definitely.

"Is he dead?" Mark called.

"He says he wants to go have pizza with us," Victor yelled.

"Get back here, okay? We need help with these two."

Victor helped stash the first two dead guys in the Chevy. Mark backed up the car, and Victor and Sammy stuffed the third stiff in with the other two.

Then, as planned, Victor got behind the wheel of the transport van, and all three vehicles motored off the dirt road and back out to the highway.

Ahead of him, the Chevy peeled out, taking off toward Highway 56 and Panaca, Nevada. Victor Spano, a guy with a future, headed for LA, and Mark, in the Acura, for Cedar City. From there, Mark would be doubling back to Chicago.

It had been a good night. The jacking had taken a total of nine minutes including the cleanup.

He'd kept his mind on the business until this minute. Now, as the van made good time toward LA, Victor Spano started to think about his paycheck.

He was a millionaire and a made man.

This had been the most incredible day of his life.

Copyright © 2012 by James Patterson

Read by Scott Sowers

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 many 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).

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