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Worst Case : Michael Bennett Series : Book 3 - James Patterson

Worst Case

Michael Bennett Series : Book 3

Hardcover Published: 1st February 2010
ISBN: 9780316036221
Number Of Pages: 356

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Alex Cross has Washington, DC. The Women's Murder Club has San Francisco. Detective Michael Bennett has all of New York City—chaos capital of the world.

Best case: Survival

The son of one of New York's wealthiest families is snatched off the street and held hostage. His parents can't save him, because this kidnapper isn't demanding money. Instead, he quizzes his prisoner on the price others pay for his life of luxury. In this exam, wrong answers are fatal.

Worst case: Death

Detective Michael Bennett leads the investigation. With ten kids of his own, he can't begin to understand what could lead someone to target anyone's children. As another student disappears, another powerful family uses their leverage and connections to turn up the heat on the mayor, the press—anyone who will listen—to stop this killer. Their reach extends all the way to the FBI, which sends its top Abduction Specialist, Agent Emily Parker. Bennett's life—and love life—suddenly get even more complicated.

This case: Detective Michael Bennett is on it

Before Bennett has a chance to protest the FBI's intrusion on his case, the mastermind changes his routine. His plan leads up to the most devastating demonstration yet—one that could bring cataclysmic ruin to every inch of New York City. From the shocking first page to the last exhilarating scene, Worst Case is a nonstop thriller from 'America's #1 storyteller' (Forbes).

About The Author

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 has formed a partnership with the National Literacy Trust, an independent, UK-based charity that changes lives through literacy.

Prologue | GIVE PEACE A CHANCE...OR ELSE

One

THE STOCKY MAN with the salt-and-pepper hair felt light-headed as he crossed beneath the marble arch into Washington Square Park. He dropped his backpack, took off his circular glasses, and blotted the sudden tears in his eyes with the sleeve of his ancient jeans jacket.

He hadn't planned on breaking down, but My God, he thought, wiping at his rugged, lined face. Now he knew how Vietnam veterans felt when they visited their Wall down in Washington, DC. If veterans of the antiwar movement had a monument—a Wall of Tears—it was here, where it all began, Washington Square Park.

Staring out over the windy park, he remembered all the incredible things that had occurred here. The antiwar demonstrations. Bob Dylan in the 4th Street basement clubs, singing about which way the wind was blowing. The candlelit faces of his old friends as they passed bottles and smoke. The whispered promises they had made to one another to change things, to make things better.

He looked out over the Friday-afternoon crowd by the center fountain, the people hovering over the chess tables, as if he might find a familiar face. But that was impossible, wasn't it? he thought with a shrug. They'd all moved on, like he had. Grown up. Sold out. Or were underground. Figuratively. Literally.

That time, his time, was almost completely faded now, just about dead and gone.

Just about, he thought as he knelt and removed the box of flyers from his knapsack.

But not quite.

On each of the five hundred sheets was a three-paragraph message entitled LOVE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD.

Who says you can't go home? he thought. A quote from Keith Richards popped into his head as he stacked the sheets.

'I got news for you. We're still a bunch of tough bastards. String us up and we still won't die.' You said it, Keith, he thought, giggling to himself. Right on, brother. You and me both.

More and more over the last year, his thoughts kept coming back to his youth. It was the only time in his entire life when he'd felt like he meant something, when he'd felt he was making a positive difference.

Was coming back now after all this time a midlife crisis? Maybe. He didn't care. He'd decided he wanted that feeling again. Especially in light of recent events. The world now was in even more dire straits than the one he and his friends had fought to affect. It was time to do it again. Wake people up before it was too late.

That's why he was here. It had worked once. They had, after all, stopped a war. Maybe it could happen again. Even if he was a lot older, he wasn't dead yet. Not by any means.

He licked his thumb and took the first sheet from the stack. He smiled, remembering the countless flyers he'd handed out in Berkeley and Seattle, and in Chicago in '68. After all this time, here he was. Unbelievable. What a crazy life. Back in the saddle again.



Two

'HI THERE,' he said, offering the flyer to a young black woman pushing a toddler in a stroller.

He smiled at her, making eye contact. He was good with people, always had been. 'I have a message here that I think you should take a look at, if it's not too much trouble. It concerns, well, everything.'

'Leave me the hell alone with that nonsense,' she said with surprising vehemence, almost smacking it out of his hand.

Had to expect a little of that, he thought with a nod. Some people were a hard sell. Came with the territory. Unfazed, he immediately walked over toward a group of teenagers skateboarding by the statue of Garibaldi.

'Afternoon, guys. I have a message here that I'd like you to read. Only take a second out of your day. If you're concerned about the state of affairs and about our future, I think it's something you should really consider.'

They stared at him, dumbfounded. Up close, he was surprised to see the crow's-feet around their eyes. They weren't teenagers. They were in their late twenties and early thirties. Hard-looking. Kind of mean, actually.

'Holy shit! It's John Lennon!' one of them said. 'I thought somebody shot you. Where's Yoko? When you getting back with Paul?'

The rest of them burst into sharp laughter.

Jerks, he thought, heading immediately over toward the center fountain, where a street comedian was giving a performance. Yeah, the fate of the world was a real rip, wasn't it? He wouldn't let those assholes get to him. He just needed to hit on the right person and things would start rolling. Persistence was the name of the game.

People averted their eyes as he approached them. Not one person would take a flyer. What the hell was this? he wondered.

It was fifteen fruitless minutes later when a petite woman walking past took the flyer from his hand. Finally, the man thought. His smile collapsed as the woman crumpled it and dropped it to the paved path. He ran forward and scooped it up before he caught up to her.

'The least you could do was wait until you were out of sight before you threw it out in a garbage can,' he said as he whirled in front of her. 'You have to litter, too?'

'I'm...sorry?' the woman said, pulling the white iPod buds from her ears. She hadn't heard a word he'd said. Were all young people today retarded or something? Didn't they see where everything was heading? Didn't they care?

'You certainly are,' he mumbled as she walked off. 'You are sorry. A sorry excuse for a human being.'

He stopped dead when he got back to the park's entrance. Someone had kicked over the stack, and most of the flyers were wafting away under the arch, over the sidewalk, whipping north up Fifth Avenue.

He ran out of the park and chased them for a while. He finally stopped. He felt completely drained and idiotic as he sat on the curb between a couple of parked cars.

He held his head in his hands as he wept. For twenty minutes he cried, listening to the wind, watching the relentless roll of traffic in the street.

Flyers? he thought, sniffling. He thought he could change things with a sheet of paper and a concerned expression? He looked down at the antique jeans jacket he'd taken from the back of his closet. So proud that it still fit. He really was a complete fool.

There was only one thing that could get people to sit up straight, only one thing that would open their eyes.

Only one thing then.

And only one thing now.

He nodded, finally resolving himself. He wasn't going to be getting any help. He had to do it himself. Fine. Enough of this nonsense. The clock was ticking. He didn't have any more time to fool the fuck around.

He discovered he was still holding on to a crumpled flyer. He smoothed it out on the cold pavement beside him, took out a pen, and made a vital correction. It snapped like an unfurled flag as he let the wind take it from his fingers.

The broad man with the graying hair wiped his eyes as the sheet he'd written on caught high on the corner lamppost behind him.

The word LOVE in the title had been X'ed out. Against an ash-gray sky above him it now said,

Blood CAN CHANGE THE WORLD!

ISBN: 9780316036221
ISBN-10: 0316036226
Series: Michael Bennett
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 356
Published: 1st February 2010
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 15.88  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.55

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