Burn, page 1part #7 of Michael Bennett Series
About the Book
About the Authors
Also by James Patterson
Prologue: California Leaving
One: Los Angeles
Part One: Harlem Shuffle
Chapter 1: Harlem
Part Two: One of Our Own
Part Three: Back on the Beat
Part Four: Last Supper
ABOUT THE BOOK
Detective Michael Bennett is coming home to New York. And a world of unimaginable evil awaits.
Having brought an end to the vengeful mission of the ruthless crime lord who forced the Bennett family into hiding, Michael is finally back in New York City.
However, Bennett is thrust straight back into a horrifying case: a witness claims to have seen a group of well-dressed men holding a sickeningly depraved and murderous gathering in a condemned building.
The report reads like the product of an overactive imagination. But when a charred body is found in that very same building, the unbelievable claim becomes all too real…
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
JAMES PATTERSON is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time. He is the author of some of the most popular series of the past decade – the Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club and Detective Michael Bennett novels – and he has written many other number one bestsellers including romance novels and stand-alone thrillers. He lives in Florida with his wife and son.
James is passionate about encouraging children to read. Inspired by his own son who was a reluctant reader, he also writes a range of books specifically for young readers. James is a founding partner of Booktrust’s Children’s Reading Fund in the UK. James Patterson has been the most borrowed author in UK libraries for the past seven years in a row.
Find out more at www.jamespatterson.co.uk
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Michael Ledwidge is the author of thirteen novels, including eleven bestsellers co-authored with James Patterson. He lives with his wife and three children in Connecticut.
Also by James Patterson
DETECTIVE MICHAEL BENNETT SERIES
Step on a Crack (with Michael Ledwidge)
Run for Your Life (with Michael Ledwidge)
Worst Case (with Michael Ledwidge)
Tick Tock (with Michael Ledwidge)
I, Michael Bennett (with Michael Ledwidge)
Gone (with Michael Ledwidge)
ALEX CROSS NOVELS
Along Came a Spider • Kiss the Girls • Jack and Jill • Cat and Mouse • Pop Goes the Weasel • Roses are Red • Violets are Blue • Four Blind Mice • The Big Bad Wolf • London Bridges • Mary, Mary • Cross • Double Cross • Cross Country • Alex Cross’s Trial (with Richard DiLallo) • I, Alex Cross • Cross Fire • Kill Alex Cross • Merry Christmas, Alex Cross • Alex Cross, Run • Cross My Heart • Hope to Die (to be published November 2014)
THE WOMEN’S MURDER CLUB SERIES
1st to Die • 2nd Chance (with Andrew Gross) • 3rd Degree (with Andrew Gross) • 4th of July (with Maxine Paetro) • The 5th Horseman (with Maxine Paetro) • The 6th Target (with Maxine Paetro) • 7th Heaven (with Maxine Paetro) • 8th Confession (with Maxine Paetro) • 9th Judgement (with Maxine Paetro) • 10th Anniversary (with Maxine Paetro) • 11th Hour (with Maxine Paetro) • 12th of Never (with Maxine Paetro) • Unlucky 13 (with Maxine Paetro)
Private (with Maxine Paetro) • Private London (with Mark Pearson) • Private Games (with Mark Sullivan) • Private: No. 1 Suspect (with Maxine Paetro) • Private Berlin (with Mark Sullivan) • Private Down Under (with Michael White) • Private L.A. (with Mark Sullivan) • Private India (with Ashwin Sanghi) • Private Vegas (with Maxine Paetro, to be published January 2015)
NYPD RED SERIES
NYPD Red (with Marshall Karp) • NYPD Red 2 (with Marshall Karp)
Sail (with Howard Roughan) • Swimsuit (with Maxine Paetro) • Don’t Blink (with Howard Roughan) • Postcard Killers (with Liza Marklund) • Toys (with Neil McMahon) • Now You See Her (with Michael Ledwidge) • Kill Me If You Can (with Marshall Karp) • Guilty Wives (with David Ellis) • Zoo (with Michael Ledwidge) • Second Honeymoon (with Howard Roughan) • Mistress (with David Ellis) • Invisible (with David Ellis)
Torn Apart (with Hal and Cory Friedman) • The Murder of King Tut (with Martin Dugard)
Sundays at Tiffany’s (with Gabrielle Charbonnet) • The Christmas Wedding (with Richard DiLallo) • First Love (with Emily Raymond)
FAMILY OF PAGE-TURN
MIDDLE SCHOOL BOOKS
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (with Chris Tebbetts) • Middle School: Get Me Out of Here! (with Chris Tebbetts) • Middle School: My Brother Is a Big, Fat Liar (with Lisa Papademetriou) • Middle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill (with Chris Tebbetts) • Middle School: Ultimate Showdown (with Julia Bergen) • Middle School: Save Rafe! (with Chris Tebbetts, to be published October 2014)
I FUNNY SERIES
I Funny (with Chris Grabenstein) • I Even Funnier (with Chris Grabenstein) • I Totally Funniest (with Chris Grabenstein, to be published January 2015)
TREASURE HUNTERS SERIES
Treasure Hunters (with Chris Grabenstein) • Treasure Hunters: Danger Down the Nile (with Chris Grabenstein, to be published September 2014)
HOUSE OF ROBOTS
House of Robots (with Chris Grabenstein, to be published November 2014)
Homeroom Diaries (with Lisa Papademetriou)
MAXIMUM RIDE SERIES
The Angel Experiment • School’s Out Forever • Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports • The Final Warning • Max • Fang • Angel • Nevermore
Confessions of a Murder Suspect (with Maxine Paetro) • Confessions: The Private School Murders (with Maxine Paetro) • Confessions: The Paris Mysteries (with Maxine Paetro, to be published October 2014)
WITCH & WIZARD SERIES
Witch & Wizard (with Gabrielle Charbonnet) • The Gift (with Ned Rust) • The Fire (with Jill Dembowski) • The Kiss (with Jill Dembowski) • The Lost (with Emily Raymond, to be published November 2014)
DANIEL X SERIES
The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (with Michael Ledwidge) • Watch the Skies (with Ned Rust) • Demons and Druids (with Adam Sadler) • Game Over (with Ned Rust) • Armageddon (with Chris Grabenstein)
Daniel X: Alien Hunter (with Leopoldo Gout) • Maximum Ride: Manga Vols. 1–8 (with NaRae Lee)
For more information about James Patterson’s novels, visit www.jamespatterson.co.uk
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For Kevin and Blaithin Durkin and family
THE WORK VAN WAS a new Mercedes, white and high roofed, with the bloodred words TURNKEY LOCKSMITH hand-painted on its side.
At a little before 7 a.m., it was winding through the Hollywood Hills northwest of LA, the steady drone of its diesel engine briefly rising in pitch as it turned onto the long climb of Kirkwood Drive in Laurel Canyon. Two hundred feet below the intersection of Kirkwood and Oak, the van coasted to a crackling stop on the gravel shoulder of the secluded road and shut off its engine. A minute passed, then two. No one got out.
As the bald Hispanic driver flipped down the visor to get the sun out of his eyes, he spotted a mule deer nosing out through the steep hillside’s thick underbrush across the street.
Go for a lung shot, he thought as he imagined getting a bead on it with the new compound hunting bow his girlfriend had gotten him for his birthday. Track the blood trail down between the infinity pools and twenty-person funkadelic hot tubs before lashing it to the van’s front grille. See how that would go down with George Clooney and k. d. lang and the rest of the Laurel Canyon faithful.
He was feigning a bow draw when the elegant deer suddenly noticed him and bolted. The driver sighed, leaned slightly to his right, and depressed the intercom button under the drink holder.
“How’s this? Line of sight OK?” he said.
“Yes. Maintain here until the hand-off, then head for position two,” intercommed back the sharp-featured, copper-haired woman sitting directly behind the driver in the sealed-off back of the high-tech surveillance van.
There was a dull mechanical hum as the woman flicked the joystick for the high-definition video camera concealed in the van’s roof. On the console’s flat screen in front of her, an off-white stucco bungalow a hundred and fifty feet up the canyon slowly came into view.
She panned the camera over the bungalow’s short, steep driveway of bishop’s hat paver stones, the broken terracotta roof tiles above its front door, the live oaks and lemon trees in its side yard. She’d been here several times before and knew the target house as well as her own at this point.
She was halfway through the tea-filled Tervis tumbler from her kit bag when a truck slowed in front of the target house. It was a new Ford Expedition SUV, glossy black with heavily tinted windows. After it reversed up the driveway almost butt-up against the garage, the passenger-side door opened and out stepped a lanky middle-aged white man in a gray business suit. He adjusted his Oakley sport sunglasses for a moment before he reached into the open door and retrieved what appeared to be a military-issue M-16.
Then, up on the porch above him, the bungalow’s front door opened and Detective Michael Bennett came out of the house.
The woman almost spilled the tea in her lap as she quickly panned the camera left and zoomed in on Bennett and the crowd of people coming out behind him. His kids were in cartoon-character pj’s, their tan and striking blond nanny, Mary Catherine, in a bathrobe, drying her hands with a dish towel. One of the Bennett boys—was Trent his name? Yes, Trent—immediately started climbing out over the stair’s cast-iron rail, until Mary Catherine pulled him back by his collar.
The cacophony of the family’s calls and laughter rang in her earphone as she turned up the volume on the van’s shotgun mike.
“Arrivederci,” Bennett said playfully to his rambunctious family as he went down the stairs. “Sayonara, auf Wiedersehen. And, oh, yeah. Later, guys.”
The woman in the van watched silently as Bennett smiled and crossed his eyes and stuck his tongue out at his family. He was pushing forty, but still tall and trim and handsome in his dark-blue suit. Biting at her lower lip, she didn’t stop focusing until his dimples and brown eyes slid out of the bottom of the frame into the SUV.
As the Ford rocketed out into the street, the copper-haired woman had already put down the joystick and was wheeling the captain’s chair around toward the three men in bulky tactical gear sitting and sweating on the steel bench behind her.
If it hadn’t been for the glistening snub-barreled Heckler & Koch machine guns in their laps, the large men could have been professional football players. Wide receivers in the huddle waiting for the quarterback to call the next play.
“To repeat one last time,” she said calmly as the work van’s engine suddenly roared to life and they lurched into the street. “Front door, side door, back door. When the doors pop, you will stay low until you are in position.”
The poised woman quickly lifted her own submachine gun from the foam-lined hard case at her feet. Easily and expertly, she worked the H&K MP7’s action, slamming the first HK 4.6×30mm cartridge into the gun’s chamber with a loud snap.
“This isn’t a drill, gentlemen,” she said, looking up at the Bennett safe house growing rapidly now on the flat screen.
“Welcome to life and death.”
“SO-OO,” I SUDDENLY CALLED out into the SUV’s dead silence after five minutes of zigzagging up and down and hither and yon over the roller-coaster roads of the Hollywood Hills. “Anybody read any good books lately?”
I smiled encouragingly at each of the four large gentlemen sitting around me. But try as I might, I couldn’t get the conversational ball rolling. Not one of the armed-to-the-teeth business-attired behemoths I was riding with smiled back or even said a word. I thought briefly about trying to start up a hearty round of “Ninety-Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall” to break the ice, but then I finally dropped my grin and shrugged.
“Yeah, me neither,” I mumbled as I turned back to the bulletproof window. “Exactly. Who reads?”
I guess I couldn’t really blame the fellas for ignoring me. My US Marshal buddies were busy at work, busy keeping th
I was being accompanied by the marshals so early this Monday morning because of a trial. The DEA had tried and convicted five of the recently deceased Manuel “the Sun God” Perrine’s Tepito cartel pals in a huge coke bust and were about to sentence the drug soldiers today.
I was involved because, in addition to the drug charges, the cartel death squad had already been convicted in absentia of the murder of a federal ADA in New York, a woman named Tara McLellan who had been a very close friend of mine.
I’d spoken to her still-devastated family and, death threats or no death threats, I was going to the courtroom today to speak for her at the victim impact statement.
On a happier note, after the trial, it was going to be checkout time for me and the Bennett clan from the Hotel California. The Golden State had been a nice place to visit, but we were finally going back home to the Big Apple where we belonged.
Myself, and especially my stomach, really couldn’t have been happier. The four corners of my carb-jonesing Irish heart—real pizza, real bagels, real rolls, and especially real Italian bread—were a mere day away.
As was our freedom from all this aggravating hiding and security, I thought, glancing at the marshals, who had been nothing but expert in their care of my family during our time in the witness protection program.
by James Patterson / Literature & Fiction / Mystery Thriller / Young Adult have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes