The Verdict: BookShots (A Jon Roscoe Thriller), страница 1
About the Book
About the Author
Also by James Patterson
ABOUT THE BOOK
A woman violently attacked in her bed.
A billionaire businessman on trial at The Old Bailey.
As the world’s press gather outside London’s luxurious Tribeca hotel, can Jon Roscoe protect his own family from the terrifying consequences of the verdict?
STORIES AT THE SPEED OF LIFE
What you are holding in your hands right now is no ordinary book, it’s a BookShot.
BookShots are page-turning stories by James Patterson and other writers that can be read in one sitting.
Each and every one is fast-paced, 100% story-driven; a shot of pure entertainment guaranteed to satisfy.
Available as new, compact paperbacks, ebooks and audio, everywhere books are sold.
BookShots – the ultimate form of storytelling. From the ultimate storyteller.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JAMES PATTERSON is one of the best-known and biggest-selling writers of all time. His books have sold in excess of 325 million copies worldwide and he has been the most borrowed author in UK libraries for the past nine years in a row. He is the author of some of the most popular series of the past two decades – the Alex Cross, Women’s Murder Club, Detective Michael Bennett and Private novels – and he has written many other number one bestsellers including romance novels and stand-alone thrillers.
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 for young readers including the Middle School, I Funny, Treasure Hunters, House of Robots, Confessions and Maximum Ride series. James is the proud sponsor of the World Book Day Award and has donated millions in grants to independent bookshops. He lives in Florida with his wife and son.
ALSO BY JAMES PATTERSON
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
Alex Cross’s Trial (with Richard DiLallo)
I, Alex Cross
Kill Alex Cross
Merry Christmas, Alex Cross
Alex Cross, Run
Cross My Heart
Hope to Die
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)
14th Deadly Sin (with Maxine Paetro)
15th Affair (with Maxine Paetro)
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)
Burn (with Michael Ledwidge)
Alert (with Michael Ledwidge)
Bullseye (with Michael Ledwidge)
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)
Private Sydney (with Kathryn Fox)
Private Paris (with Mark Sullivan)
The Games (with Mark Sullivan)
NYPD RED SERIES
NYPD Red (with Marshall Karp)
NYPD Red 2 (with Marshall Karp)
NYPD Red 3 (with Marshall Karp)
NYPD Red 4 (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)
The Thomas Berryman Number
Truth or Die (with Howard Roughan)
Murder House (with David Ellis)
Never Never (with Candice Fox)
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)
Miracle at Augusta (with Peter de Jonge)
Black & Blue (with Candice Fox)
Break Point (with Lee Stone)
Private Royals (with Rees Jones)
The Hostage (with Robert Gold)
Zoo 2 (with Max DiLallo)
Heist (with Rees Jones)
Hunted (with Andrew Holmes)
Airport: Code Red (with Michael White)
The Trial (with Maxine Paetro)
Little Black Dress (with Emily Raymond)
Chase (with Michael Ledwidge)
Let’s Play Make-Believe (with James O. Born)
Dead Heat (with Lee Stone)
THE FLOWERS ON her dresser had started to wilt, the tightly cl
The room was kept in darkness.
The chandelier never lit.
The heavy door firmly closed.
The only light came from the television, constantly playing to itself in the corner of the room.
A champagne bottle stood on the table beside her bed. A single glass left, half drunk. Tablets were scattered around the stem.
Her clothes lay strewn across the floor or thrown on the chaise at the foot of her bed, cast off as she fell backwards onto her softly sprung mattress.
From above the bed, her mother looked down on her – her striking face captured in oils. The painting portrayed the strength of character she had both loved and feared.
Without her mother watching over her, she found she could never sleep.
She laid alone, deep in a dream of happiness, oblivious to what others plan.
Silently, the door was opened.
SPRINTING ACROSS THE vast, manicured Tribeca Hotel lawns, Jon Roscoe wondered to himself if he was getting too old for chasing thugs.
In the late dusk of a midsummer evening, he had seen security images of a man scrambling up the towering wall that surrounds the exclusive property. Immediately he had left his office, run across the hotel’s marble foyer, past the Michelin-starred restaurant, through Tribeca’s London-gin bar and out of the garden room.
Charging down the sweeping stone staircase that descends from the back of the magnificent building, he saw the man drop down into the immaculately tended flowerbeds, jump quickly to his feet and turn towards the side entrance of the hotel.
Accelerating his pace, Roscoe could see he was gaining on his prey and, as he launched into a flying rugby tackle to drag the man down, he momentarily congratulated himself for maintaining his sprint-fitness. But a second later, as the man landed a surprising blow across the side of his head, knocking him off-balance and giving the man time to leap back to his feet, Roscoe told himself he definitely needed to do more work on his sharpness at the gym in the coming weeks.
Still berating himself for letting his opponent land a punch, Roscoe redoubled his efforts as he attempted to chase the intruder down. His pursuit continued across the lawn, directly towards the luxury hotel.
Open only for the previous three weeks, hundreds of wealthy and influential guests were resident inside the forty floors of exclusive accommodation, as they savoured the ultimate in fine dining and unparalleled levels of comfort and security. A brutal attack on the chairman of the luxury hotel chain, prior to the opening of the London location, had left Roscoe, as Global Head of Security, on high alert and he’d personally committed himself to taking direct charge of the running of the hotel’s security for its first six months of operation.
Seeing the man charging straight at the building, Roscoe knew he had to take him down before he could threaten the hotel’s inner sanctum.
Hitting his stride, gaining on the man with every step, Roscoe knew this time he wouldn’t let him slip.
As he ran towards the ornamental fountain, the man faltered for a split second and Roscoe pounced. Leaping forward onto the man’s back, the pair crashed down into the ice-cold water.
Roscoe didn’t hesitate.
His ripped six-foot frame overpowered the intruder and he relished submerging him under the freezing water. Grabbing hold of the man’s jacket collar, Roscoe dragged him back to the surface, watching him gasp frantically for air.
Then he thrust him back under.
And held him down.
THE INTRUDER’S ARMS flailed and his skinny legs thrashed about in the fountain as Roscoe’s powerful hands held a vice-like grip on the back of his neck. Increasing the pressure, pushing him down harder, Roscoe forced him under the fountain’s hammering water jet.
The man was unable to breathe.
Unflinching, Roscoe held him firmly, knowing he would be desperate for air and would begin to black out as his body was deprived of oxygen.
Only when he felt the man’s resistance start to drop was it time to let him surface.
Ripping him from the water, Roscoe tossed the intruder out of the fountain and onto the pristine lawn – throwing him to the ground like the drowned rat he was. Soaked to the skin, his clothes clinging to him, Roscoe climbed from the water after him; standing over his catch, he watched as the man desperately tried to fill his lungs.
Coughing violently, lying prone on the grass, the intruder spluttered up at the Tribeca Hotel’s security chief.
‘What’s wrong with you, Roscoe?’ he gasped. ‘Have you gone bat-shit? You could have killed me.’
Roscoe said nothing.
Instead he stepped forward, dragged the man to his feet and, holding him with his left hand, shaped to hit him with a sharp right.
‘No more, Roscoe, please!’ begged the man, half turning away, as he held up his hands to try to protect his face. As he did so, Roscoe dropped his arm, moving quickly to hit him full in the stomach. Folding over in anticipation, the feeble man winced, but before making contact Roscoe grabbed his arm, spun him around like a rag doll and rammed his arm up behind his back.
The man screamed in pain.
‘Roscoe!’ he yelled. ‘I’m sorry – okay, I’m sorry.’
Easing the pressure, Roscoe felt the man relax, before kicking him in the back of the leg and telling him to move.
‘One more time, Madison, and I swear I will kill you. You’re not welcome here. Get it? This time I’ll take you out front, but next time – let’s just agree there won’t be a next time.’
‘There won’t be a next time! You’ve got my word.’
Roscoe had finally lost all patience. This was the third time he had caught Michael Madison trespassing on the grounds of the Tribeca Luxury Hotel in the past seven days. A South African-born investigative journalist working for The London Informer, Madison was just one member of the vast contingent of world’s press who had spent the last week camped outside the hotel’s main entrance. But Madison had constantly crossed the line and, by refusing to recognise the sacrosanct privacy that Tribeca offered to all of its guests, had threatened the very reputation that was Tribeca Luxury Hotels.
The frenetic press fervour on the roads outside the hotel was driven by Tribeca playing host to Harvey Rylands, billionaire businessman and brother-in-law to the current British Prime Minister, Andrew Turner.
And a man on trial for the attempted murder of his lover, Elegant Daniels.
Roscoe knew the world’s press had an insatiable appetite for the story. Every global news organisation had stationed a crew outside the main gates, ready to capture the briefest image of Rylands or his wife, Amelia. While the sensational trial was taking place at London’s Old Bailey courthouse, the crowd outside the hotel was doubling in number every day, as more and more salacious evidence was presented.
He felt no sympathy for the billionaire. The granting of bail had been almost unprecedented, Rylands’ money and contacts no doubt playing a large part. Always accepting that the media had a job to do, and having no desire to be a defender of Harvey Rylands, Roscoe was the protector of the hotel, its reputation and all of its guests. However hard it might be, he was determined to keep the press outside the hotel grounds and its guests safe within.
Marching Michael Madison across the front lawn, past the hotel’s towering entrance and down its tree-lined driveway, Roscoe issued his final warning.
‘Trespass again and you’ll wake up in a hospital bed with a tube coming down your nose. And it won’t be me you’ll be dealing with; it’ll be my old friends from Scotland Yard.’
As an ex-senior officer with London’s Metropolitan Police, Roscoe knew it needed only one call from him to have Madison removed from the vicinity, to enjoy a night in an overcrowded jail cell.
‘I get it, Roscoe! I promise I do.’
‘You’d better,’ he replied, pushing Madison forward down the driveway.
‘Holy shit!’ said Madison, standing motionless as a brand-new Jaguar sports convertible, it headlights on full beam, raced towards the security barrier at the end of the drive.
With no regard for the vast crowd of journalists and onlookers gathered around the entrance, the car increased its speed, sending splintered wood skywards as it crashed through the barrier and accelerated up the main drive.
Standing in the full beam of its headlights, Roscoe could see the car was heading directly for them.
IN A SINGLE, split-second motion, Roscoe pushed Madison sideways into the garden while hurling himself to the ground, narrowly out of the path of the rapidly approaching vehicle. Lying flat, he watched in amazement as the car veered off the driveway, spun tyre tracks across the lawn, before landing in the flowerbeds at the side of the hotel, where only a few minutes earlier Madison had scrambled over the wall and onto private property.
Turning to look over his shoulder at a startled Madison, Roscoe smiled and said, ‘Thank God you weren’t any later climbing over that wall or I’d have wasted the rest of my evening picking up tiny pieces of your broken legs.’
But Madison wasn’t listening.
Already he was clambering to his feet, searching in his pocket for his camera phone as he did so.
‘It’s Harvey Rylands!’ he exclaimed, quickening his pace as he ran across the driveway and started towards the smashed car.
‘Don’t even think it!’ cried Roscoe, instantly coming after him. ‘This is still Tribeca Hotel’s private property, and you’re still trespassing.’
‘The man might need help,’ said Madison, gesturing towards the car.
‘I’m pretty certain he won’t want any help from you,’ said Roscoe, placing his hands on Madison’s shoulders and turning him back towards the entrance gates. ‘But don’t worry, I’ll make sure he gets the best possible attention. Now, get out!’
Dismissing Madison, Roscoe saw the world’s press eagerly make their way onto the hotel grounds and begin a charge in the direction of the car. Competition between camera crews was already taking place as they vied for the best video footage of the crushed vehicle, while photojournalists lit up the hotel driveway as pictures were rapidly snapped, ready to be raced around the world a second later.