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"America's #1 storyteller."Forbes"
The prolific Patterson seems unstoppable."USA Today"
James Patterson knows how to sell thrills and suspense in clean, unwavering prose."People"
Patterson's novels are sleek entertainment machines, the Porsches of commercial fiction, expertly engineered and lightning fast."Publishers Weekly
"The prolific Patterson seems unstoppable."
"James Patterson knows how to sell thrills and suspense in clean, unwavering prose."
"America's #1 storyteller."
James Patterson knows how to sell thrills and suspense in clean, unwavering prose.
Read an Excerpt
By Patterson, James
Little, Brown and Company Copyright © 2010 Patterson, James
All right reserved.
“YOU’RE DEAD, JACK”
TO THE BEST OF my understandably shaky recollection, the first time I died it went something like this.
Mortar rounds were thumping all around me, releasing what sounded like a shower of razor blades. I was carrying Marine Corporal Danny Young over my shoulder, and I loved this guy. He was the toughest soldier I’d ever fought beside, funny as hell, and best of all, he was hopeful—his wife back in West Texas was pregnant with their fourth kid.
Now his blood bubbled down my flight suit, splashing on my boots like water from a drainpipe.
I ran across rocky ground in the dark, and I choked out to Danny, “I’ve got you; I’ve got you. Just stay with me, you hear me?”
I lowered him to the ground a few yards away from the helicopter, and suddenly there was a concussive explosion, as though the ground had blown up around me. I felt a stunning hammer strike to my chest, and that was the end.
I died. I passed to the other side. I don’t even know how long I was gone.
Del Rio told me later that my heart had stopped.
I just remember swimming up to the light, and the pain, and the awful reek of aviation fuel.
My eyes flashed open and there was Del Rio in my face, his hands pressing down on my chest. He laughed when my eyes opened—and at the same time tears ran down his cheeks. He said, “Jack, you son of a bitch, you’re back.”
A dense curtain of oily black smoke rolled over us. Danny Young lay right there beside me, his legs splayed at weird angles, and behind Del Rio was the helicopter, burning bright white, getting ready to blow.
My buddies were still in there. My friends. Guys who had risked their lives for me.
I choked out a few words. “We’ve got to get them out of there.”
Del Rio tried his best to hold me down, but I used an elbow to swing at his jaw, and connected. He fell back and I got away from him, started running toward the fallen bird just as its magnesium skin caught fire.
There were Marines in there, and I had to get them out.
The fearsome chunk-a chunk-a chunk of fifty-caliber machine gun ammo hammered. Ordnance exploded inside the aircraft. Del Rio shouted, “Get down, asshole. Jack, get the hell down!”
I felt all of his hundred and ninety pounds as he tackled me to the ground, and the helicopter disappeared in white-hot flames. I wasn’t dead, but a lot of my friends were. I swear to God, I would have traded myself for them.
I guess that says a lot about me, and I’m not so sure that all of it is good. You’ll see, and you can be the judge.
Sit back; it’s a long story but a good one.
Excerpted from Private by Patterson, James Copyright © 2010 by Patterson, James. Excerpted by permission.
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