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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).

Chapter 1

IT WAS COMING on three a.m. when I finally managed to get myself smuggled out of Harlem by a uniform who owed me a favor.

As we negotiated the gridlock maze of news satellite vans, barricades, and mounted crowd-control cops, there still wasn’t the slightest hint about who had killed D-Ray.

Any standoff that led to a death would have been bad enough, but this bizarre shooting was the department’s worst nightmare come true. No matter how much evidence suggested that the NYPD wasn’t responsible, it looked like we were. The rabble-rousers, conspiracy theorists, and their many friends in the New York City media were going to have a field day.

And if that wasn’t enough to make me rip into a blister pack of Prilosec, there was the mountain of reports and other red tape I’d be facing come morning. I’d have gladly accepted another caning from D-Ray’s grandaunt instead.

When the cop dropped me off in front of my West End Avenue apartment building, I was so burnt out from fatigue, unresolved tension, and worry about what lay ahead that I almost stumbled to the door. I craved a few hours of peaceful sleep as a man who’d been crawling for days through the desert craves an oasis.

But the oasis turned out to be a mirage. Right off the bat, my crazy Dominican doorman, Ralph, seemed pissed off that I had to wake him up. I liked Ralph, but I was in no mood for petty surliness, and I gave him a look that told him so.

“Any time you want to trade jobs, Ralph, just let me know,” I said.

He lowered his eyes apologetically. “Rough night, Mr. Bennett?”

“You’ll read about it tomorrow in the Times.

When I finally made it into my darkened apartment, the Crayola products and Polly Pocket debris that crunched underfoot were actually welcoming. I mustered up enough energy to lock up my service weapon and ammo in the pistol safe in my front hall closet. Then, totally wiped, I collapsed onto one of the high stools at the kitchen island.

If my wife, Maeve, were still here, she’d be standing at the stove right now, handing me an icy Bud while something wonderful fried—chicken wings or a cheeseburger, heavy on the bacon. With divinely sent, cop-wife wisdom, she knew that the only panaceas for the grim reality of the streets were grease, cold beer, a shower, and bed, with her warm beside me.

A strange moment of clarity pierced my weariness, and I realized that she hadn’t just been my love—she’d been my life support. On nights like this, the really bad ones, she’d listen for hours if I needed to talk, and understand completely when I couldn’t.

Right then, more than anything in the world, I longed to feel her fingers caress the back of my neck as she told me that I’d tried my best. That sometimes there’s nothing we can do. I would circle her waist with my hands, and her magic would make all my doubts and guilt and stress disappear.

Maeve had been dead for almost a year now, and in all that time, I hadn’t found any new ways to cope with it—only new ways to miss her.

I’d been at the funeral of a homicide victim one time and heard his mother quote a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay. It kept ringing in my ears lately, like a song you can’t get out of your head.

Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender the kind . . .

I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

I don’t know how much longer I can live without you, Maeve, I thought. My head sagged, and I leaned my forearms on the counter for support.

But I jerked back upright when I noticed that my left hand was resting in a pool of something sticky. I examined the stuff, sniffed it, then tasted it: grape jelly, Welch’s finest, covering not just my hand, but my whole suit jacket sleeve.

Living without you isn’t the only thing that’s impossible, I told Maeve while I stood up on tired legs to search for a paper towel.

How can I take care of all our kids the way only you could?

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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