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Run For Your Life

Move over Alex Cross–Manhattan is Detective Michael Bennett's territory and only he can stop the Teacher's lethal lessons.

A spree killer passes brutal judgment.
A calculating murderer who calls himself the Teacher is taking on New York City, slaughtering the powerful and the arrogant. Everyone is his potential student–from the loudmouthed girl on her cell phone to the city's snooty upper crust. His message to them is clear: remember your manners or suffer the consequences! For some, it seems that the rich are finally getting what they deserve. For New York's elite, it is a call to terror.

No chance for redemption.
There is only one man in the NYPD who can tackle such a high-profile case: Detective Michael Bennett. For anyone else, the pressure would be overwhelming, but Mike is ready to step up–taking care of his ten children has prepared him for the job! As the media frenzy escalates, all of Mike's children fall victim to a virulent flu bug–almost as challenging an assignment for Bennett as tracking down the killer!

One man struggles to save a city.
A secret pattern emerges in the Teacher's lessons, leaving Detective Bennett just a few precious hours to save New York from the greatest disaster in its history. Run for Your Life is the most speed-charged, adrenaline-packed novel ever from "the man who can't miss" (Time magazine).

Prologue | FIGHT THE POWER
Three

I RAN TO THE BARRICADES in front of the brownstone, tensed for the hollow popping sound of gunshots from inside, then the sickening thud of a body being shoved out onto the steps. The crowds at both ends of the block hushed, as if they sensed that this was a critical moment.

The door at the top of the building’s stoop opened slowly. The first person I saw was a large elderly woman. It was D-Ray’s grandmother, Miss Carol, and she was walking on her own! Better yet, the two other adults—D-Ray’s grand-aunt and -uncle—were flanking her, and I could just make out the small shapes of the niece and nephew behind them. My ruse had worked—they were all alive, and he was releasing them!

My breath had been locked in my throat. I let it out with a whoosh and started sucking air into my starving lungs. But my joy warped into shock when I realized that they all had their arms linked to form a circle.

They were making themselves into a protective human shield, with D-Ray crouching in the center.

“Don’t you shoot my baby!” Miss Carol screeched, loud and clear in the sudden stillness.

Unreal—even more unreal than the crowd making a hero of D-Ray! His hostages were actually protecting him. First, insane role models, and now, double-insane Stockholm syndrome.

I gestured toward Commander Hunt to stand down the rooftop snipers as I shoved my radio earphone in place and hurried toward the bizarre human chain making its way along the brownstone steps.

“It’s me, D-Ray, I’m Mike Bennett,” I called to them. “You’re doing the right thing, D-Ray. You’re making everybody proud of you. Now we need your family to move aside.”

“Don’t you hurt him!” Miss Carol cried out again. I could see the glimmer of tears in her eyes.

“He’ll be safe with me, I promise.” I held my hands up high and open to show that they were empty, and as I lowered them, I repeated my stand-down gesture to the nervous cops. “D-Ray, if you have any guns, throw them out on the ground,” I said, putting a little more authority in my voice. “You’ll be fine, don’t worry.”

There was another pause that seemed endless before a flat gray pistol clattered out from inside the human circle and onto the sidewalk. It looked like a Glock, probably a .40 or .45 caliber, with a ten- to thirteen-round clip—a whole lot of death in a package smaller than a paperback.

“Good man, D-Ray,” I said. “Now I’m coming in there to you, and we’re going to walk together to a car.”

Miss Carol and the others unlinked their arms and parted, revealing a stocky young man wearing below-the-knee athletic shorts and a baseball cap turned to the side. I stepped over the barricade sawhorse and walked toward him.

Then came a terrible sound that almost made me jump out of my shoes: the boom of a gunshot from somewhere behind me.

D-Ray fell into the gutter like a chainsawed tree while his family watched, frozen with horror.

In the next instant, everything changed. Cops tackled asphalt with their weapons ready, and the crowds started milling and shoving in panic.

“Cease fire!” I yelled, and I piled into Miss Carol, knocking her back into the others so they all went down like dominoes. Then I scrambled on my knees to D-Ray.

But neither I nor anybody else would be able to help him. There was a bullet hole, trickling blood, neatly centered between his open eyes.

Not us, Mike! Stay down!” It was Lieutenant Steve Reno from the ESU tactical squad, calling into my radio earphone.

“Then who?!” I shouted back.

“We think it came from the crowd near Frederick Doug-lass. We’re sending a team in there now.”

A sniper in the crowd—not a cop? Christ! What was going on?

“Get EMS over here,” I told Reno over the radio squawk. Then I stood up. I knew he was right, that the sniper might be looking for more targets, but I couldn’t just lie there with the chaos erupting around me.

Instantly I felt like I was swimming in quicksand. The crowd had seen D-Ray fall, and they assumed that the police had shot him. They were turning ugly, jamming up against the barricades, their faces contorted in rage. Other cops were on their feet now, too, running to this area and forming a line to hold them back.

“They killed that boy! They murdered him!” some woman kept screaming.

A surge of human beings sent one of the sawhorses tumbling over, knocking down a female NYPD officer. Her partners leaped in to drag her to safety, while others charged along beside them, swinging nightsticks. The earsplitting chatter of sirens ripped through the air as two squad cars drove up onto the sidewalk to reinforce the barrier between us and the mushrooming riot closing in on us.

I was keeping tabs on that, while also scanning the rooftops, in dread of more gunfire. Then, what felt like a baseball bat with knuckles slammed into the back of my head. It sent me reeling and spun me clear around.

“You lyin’ pig, you killed my baby!” Miss Carol screamed. She came after me, moving very fast for a woman of her age and size, and rammed another punch into my chest, knocking the breath out of me.

“No, we didn’t do it,” I croaked out, but she was already winding up for a haymaker that would have knocked me silly. I managed to duck that one, only to have D-Ray’s emaciated uncle grab my lapels and try to head-butt me. As I pried off his hands, his equally fragile-looking wife walloped me across the shoulders with her cane. I’d taken some thumpings in my life, but this set a new record for bizarre.

As I backpedaled frantically, I realized that the news camera lights weren’t on the crowd anymore, but now were spotlighting my geriatric ass-whooping. That inflamed the crowd further, and people at both ends of the block started to converge, tearing down the barricades and leaping over the hoods of the patrol cars. A couple of uniforms came to my rescue, forcing my attackers aside, and Joe Hunt grabbed my arm and yanked me along with him in retreat to the TARU bus.

“Call for backup!” he was yelling. “Get the Two-five, the Two-six, and the Three-oh over here. I mean everybody, and I mean yesterday!”

In the distance, I could hear the wail of the reinforcement sirens already starting.

Read by Bobby Cannavale–He made his Broadway debut in Mauritius and was nominated for a Tony Award for his perfonrmance. On television, Bobby won an Emmy for his performance in Will & Grace. Bobby's film credits include The Station Agent, Fast Food Nation, Snakes on a Plane, Shall We Dance, Romance and Cigarettes, The Bone Collector, and Washington Heights. Bobby will next be seen in the feature comedy, Mall Cop and next year will star in his own series for ABC, in which he plays the title character Cupid.

Dallas Roberts–He stars in the upcoming films The Factory and Shrink. His films include 3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line, Joshua, Flicka, The Notorious Bettie Page, and A Home at the End of the World. Television appearances include The L Word, Law & Order: SVU, and Law & Order. Dallas is a graduate of the Juillard School and recently starred off-Broadway in the hit production of Edward Albee's Peter and Jerry.

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