Alert:(Michael Bennett 8)
Author:James Patterson

    ABOUT THE BOOK


    Every New Yorker’s worst nightmare is about to become a reality.



    New York has seen more than its fair share of horrific attacks, but the city is about to be shaken in a way it never has before. After two devastating catastrophes in quick succession, everyone is on edge. Detective Michael Bennett is assigned to the case and given the near impossible task of hunting down the shadowy terror group responsible.



    With troubles at home to contend with, Bennett has never been more at risk, or more alone, fighting the chaos all around him.



    Then a shocking assassination makes it clear that these inexplicable events are just the prelude to the biggest threat of all. Now Bennett is racing against the clock to save his beloved city – before the most destructive force he has ever faced tears it apart.




    PROLOGUE





    THE OLD SOD





    ONE




    “MIKE, MARY CATHERINE here said you’re NYPD. So you’ve gunned down a lot of people, then, have ya?”

    I raised an eyebrow over the rim of my glossy waiting-room magazine at Billy, the slim, scruffy law-office receptionist typing at his computer.

    Like many of the Irish folk I’d come into contact with in southern Ireland over the last week, Billy had a distinctive, mischievous twinkle in his Irish eyes. Akin to hurling and Gaelic football, pulling the legs of dumb Yanks like me seemed to be an Emerald Isle national pastime.

    “The land of saints, scholars, and sarcasm,” I whispered to Mary Catherine, who was sitting on the leather couch next to me.

    “Well, that depends, Billy,” I said as I went back to reading about what Camilla was up to in my OK! London celeb mag.

    “Oh? On what, pray tell, Detective?” the receptionist said, finally turning from his screen.

    I casually put down the magazine and lifted the floral-patterned china cup of Gevalia coffee he’d fetched us when we came in.

    “On what you consider ‘a lot,’” I said.

    The law office was in the city of Limerick, around ninety minutes west of Mary Catherine’s family’s tiny farmhouse outside Clonmel, in Tipperary. It was in a new modern brick-and-glass building on a bustling street called Howley’s Quay that ran along the rippled slate ribbon of the River Shannon. Outside the floor-to-ceiling window behind the wise-guy receptionist was a high-rise apartment building and a ten-story silver glass office tower.

    Not exactly midtown Manhattan, but definitely not the traditional thatch-roof rural Ireland I remembered from the last time I had been here with my family to visit relatives when I was fourteen.

    The office belonged to a real estate lawyer, and we were there to close on the sale of the small hotel and golf course Mary Catherine’s mother had run before she’d passed away. Since it was a quick sale, money was being left on the table, but Mary Catherine hadn’t minded because they’d found a buyer who would keep the place running. Twenty-three people worked there, old family friends and cousins, and Mary Catherine needed to be sure that they would be taken care of before we went back to New York.

    “Mary Catherine, sorry to keep you waiting,” said the real estate agent and lawyer, Miranda O’Toole, as she poked her head out of her office a few minutes later.

    I took my coffee with me as she waved us into her bright office. Miranda was a tall, milky-complexioned woman in her forties with dark-red hair. She unbuttoned her elegant tailored navy blazer, slipping it on the back of her chair before turning down the Haydn playing softly from the Bose speaker on her desk. She smiled as she rolled up the sleeves of her cream-colored blouse.

    “I hope your writing hand is limber, Mary Catherine,” she said, pointing at a high stack of papers on a small conference table by the window. “We have a lot of documents to sign.”





    TWO




    “BUT WAIT,” MARY Catherine said as we sat. “Where’s the buyer? I thought Mr. Hart would be here with us. There was a lot I wanted to go over with him. You know—details about the place, the employee roles, and all the different shifts and such.”

    “Oh, yes. Mr. Hart,” Miranda said, smiling pleasantly as she sat down beside us. “Unfortunately, he had a business thing today up in Dublin, so he came in and signed yesterday evening. I hope that’s not a problem.”

    Mary Catherine looked at her, still a little confused.

    “I…suppose not,” she finally said.

    “Perhaps you could call him this afternoon,” Miranda said, uncapping a red-and-gold Montblanc pen and offering it to Mary Catherine. “Go over everything then.”

    “Perhaps,” Mary Catherine said, finally taking the pen as Miranda deftly turned over the first sheaf of documents and opened it to the signature page.

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