You've Been Warnedby James Patterson, Howard Roughan
James Patterson's scariest stand-alone thriller ever: a young woman alone in the big city with murder in her dreams.
Kristin Burns is making her way in New York City. Her photos are being considered at a major Manhattan gallery, she works by day with two wonderful children, and the man of her dreams is almost hers for keeps. But just as everything she's/b>… See more details below
James Patterson's scariest stand-alone thriller ever: a young woman alone in the big city with murder in her dreams.
Kristin Burns is making her way in New York City. Her photos are being considered at a major Manhattan gallery, she works by day with two wonderful children, and the man of her dreams is almost hers for keeps. But just as everything she's ever wanted is finally within reach, her life changes forever--with one murderous nightmare. Kristin wakes up every morning from the same chilling, unforgettable dream. And suddenly, it's visiting her during the day too. As her life turns stranger by the minute, Kristin is haunted and terrified. Is it all in her head? Or is the nightmare becoming her life? Kristin searches desperately for what's real through the lens of her camera, only knowing two things for sure: that no place is safe and the fate of everyone she loves lies in her hands.
About the Author
James Patterson's most recent major bestseller is Judge and Jury. He is one of the world's most popular and successful authors and lives in Florida
- Little, Brown and Company
- Publication date:
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- 6.00(w) x 9.50(h) x 1.30(d)
Read an Excerpt
You've Been Warned
By James Patterson Howard Roughan
Little Brown and CompanyCopyright © 2007 James Patterson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneIT'S WAY TOO EARLY in the morning for dead people.
That's what I'd be thinking, were I actually thinking clearly right now. I'm not.
The second I turn the corner on my way to work and see the crowd, the commotion, the dingy gray body bags being wheeled out of that oh-so-chichi hotel, I reach for my camera. I can't help it. It's instinct on my part.
Click, click, click.
Don't think about what's happened here. Just shoot, Kristin.
My head whips left and right, the lens of my Leica R9 leading the way. I focus first on the faces around me - the gawkers, the lookie-loos. That's what Annie Leibovitz would do. A businessman in wide pinstripes, a bike messenger, a mother with her stroller, they all stand and stare at the terrible murder scene. Like it or not, this is the highlight of their day. And it's not yet eight a.m.
I move forward, even as something inside me is saying, "Look away, walk away." Even as something says, "You know where you are. This hotel. You know, Kristin."
I'm weaving my way toward the entrance to the hotel. Closer and closer, I'm being pulled - as if by an undertow that I can't resist. And I keep shooting pictures as though I'm on assignment for the New YorkTimes or Newsweek.
Click, click, click.
Parked at jagged angles, police cars and ambulances fill the street. I look up from their sirens, tracing the twirling beams of blue-and-red light as they dance against the surrounding brownstones.
I spy more gawkers in the windows of nearby apartments. A woman wearing curlers takes a bite of a bagel. Click.
Something catches my eye. It's a reflection, the sun bouncing off the rail of the last gurney being wheeled out of the hotel. That makes four. What happened in there? Murder? Mass murder?
They sit, gathered on the sidewalk - four gurneys - each holding a body bag. It's horrifying. Just awful.
My wrist twists, and I go wide-angle to shoot them as a group - like a family. My wrist twists back, and I go tight, shooting them one by one. Who were they? What happened to these poor people? How did they die?
Don't think, Kristin, just shoot.
Two muscular paramedics walk out of the hotel and approach a couple of cops. Detectives, like on Law & Order.
They all talk, they all shake their heads, and they all have that hardened New York look to them, as if they've seen it all before.
One of the detectives - older, rail thin - looks my way. I think he sees me.
Click, click, click.
Having burned through a roll of film, I furiously load another.
There's really nothing more to shoot, and yet I keep firing away. I'm late for work, but it doesn't matter. It's as if I can't leave.
My head snaps back to the gurneys as something catches my eye. At first, I can't believe it. Maybe it's the wind, or just my mind playing tricks early in the morning.
Then it happens again, and I gasp. The last body bag ... it moved!
Did I just see what I think I saw?
I'm terrified and want to run away. Instead, I edge even closer. Instinct? Undertow?
I'm staring at that zipped-up body bag, and all I know is that there's been a horrible mistake by the police or the EMS.
It's creeping backward. That body bag is opening from the inside!
My eyes bulge, and my knees buckle. Literally. I stagger through the crowd, staring through my lens in shock and disbelief.
I see a finger emerge, then an entire hand. Oh, God, and there's blood!
"Help!" I scream, lowering my camera. "That person is alive!"
The crowd turns, the cops and paramedics too. They glance at me and scoff in disbelief or reproach, shaking their heads as if I just escaped from Bellevue. They think I'm nuts!
I stab the air, pointing at the body bag as the hand pushes through the plastic, desperately reaching out for help. I think it's a woman's hand.
Do something, Kris! You have to save her!
I raise my camera again, and -
Chapter TwoI JOLT UP SO FAST I nearly break my neck. I'm drenched with sweat, crying hysterically, and have no idea where I am. Everything is blurry, so I try to rub my eyes into focus, but it's hard because my hands are trembling out of control. Actually, my whole body is trembling.
I plead with myself, C'mon, Kris.
Finally, shapes begin to appear before me, followed by outlines ... and, like a Polaroid, it all becomes clear.
It was just a dream, you spaz! Just a dream.
Collapsing back into my pillow, I let out the world's hugest sigh of relief. Never have I been so happy to be alone in my own bed.
But it was so real.
The body bags ... a woman's hand coming out of one of them.
I turn to my alarm clock - a little before six a.m. Good, I can still get a few more minutes of sleep. But the moment I close my eyes, they pop right open again.
I hear something, a pounding, and it's not just my stressed-out heart. Someone's at the door.
Throwing on the same blue terry cloth robe I've had since my Boston College days, I trudge across my tiny apartment, which is decorated with the very finest furnishings from the Crate & Barrel factory-reject sale. So what if my couch has only three legs and belongs in a Farrelly brothers movie?
The pounding gets louder. More urgent and annoying.
All right already, hold your horses!
Approaching the door, I don't call out and ask who it is. That's what peepholes are for, especially in Manhattan.
Quietly, I lean forward and squint to look with a tired eye.
I open the door. Glaring at me through a pair of drugstore bifocals is my nosy old neighbor from down the hall, Mrs. Rosencrantz. She's clearly ticked off about something, and that makes two of us.
"Do you realize what time it is?" I grumble.
"Do you realize what time it is?" she shoots back. "Once and for all, you've got to stop this psychotic screaming every morning."
I look at Mrs. Rosencrantz - all four feet ten of her - as if she's the one who's psychotic. I may have been crying, but I certainly wasn't screaming.
"You know, if you really want to hassle someone about noise, Mrs. Rosencrantz, you should find out who's playing that music at six a.m."
She gives me a sideways look. "What music?"
"C'mon, you don't hear that? It's coming from ..." I step into the hallway, turning my head left and right.
Wait - where exactly is it coming from?
Mrs. Rosencrantz shakes her head and huffs. "I don't hear any music, Ms. Burns. And if you're trying to be a little smartass with me, I'm telling you right now I don't appreciate it."
"Mrs. Rosencrantz, I'm not trying to -"
She cuts me off. "Don't think I can't get you evicted, because I can."
I frown at the old bat, who happens to look even more unpleasant and haggard than usual, if that's possible. You want smart-ass, lady? I'll give you smart-ass!
"Mrs. Rosencrantz, I'm going back to bed now ... and if you don't mind my saying so, you could use a little more beauty sleep yourself."
With that, I promptly close the door on her stunned, sourpuss face.
I'm about to turn and make a beeline for my bed, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror by the coat closet. Whoa! I'm sporting some serious raccoon eyes and a pretty spectacular case of bedhead. Omigod, I look almost as bad as Mrs. Rosencrantz!
Supposedly, I have this killer wink that everybody loves. I wink at myself in the mirror. It doesn't help. I wink at myself again. Nope, nothing.
I laugh out loud, and for a moment, I forget about the horrible dream and my neighbor from hell.
But only for a moment.
Because I still can't figure out the music and where it's coming from.
Walking around my apartment like Elmer Fudd hunting rabbits, I press my ear against the walls. Feeling totally ridiculous, I drop to my knees and try listening through the floorboards.
Only after grabbing a chair to climb closer to the ceiling do I realize what's going on. The music isn't coming from anywhere.
The music is inside my head.
Chapter ThreeTHIS IS NOT GOOD!
I stand perfectly still in my living room and try to listen ... between my ears. The music is faint, but it's definitely there. How bizarre is this? How scary? What a weird, weird morning this has been, and I've barely been out of bed five minutes.
I close my eyes. It's a song, and it sounds familiar. I've definitely heard it before. For the life of me, though, I can't put my finger on it.
Just keep quiet and keep listening, I tell myself.
But in the next second, I can do neither, as the silence in my apartment is upended by the phone ringing. It's okay, though. It's always okay when he calls.
"Good morning, sweetheart," Michael whispers, "this is your phone sex wake-up call."
I've heard him say the line a hundred times and still I giggle. "Good morning," I whisper back. And now I'm smiling.
"How did you sleep, Kris?"
"Why? What's wrong?"
"I had this horrible, horrible dream, and to top it off, my crackpot neighbor just pounded on my door and flipped out on me."
"Let me guess," he says. "It's that nasty old lady from down the hall. The one out of Rosemary's Baby."
"Bingo. The woman's got one foot in the grave and the other in her mouth. I swear, the things she says, she's going to drive me crazy." Maybe she has already.
"Even more of a reason to move, Kris."
"I knew you were going to say that."
"The offer still stands. It's only what you deserve."
"I told you, Michael, I don't want you getting me a new place. I need to do it myself. I will. My portfolio is at the Abbott Show. I'm gonna be a star. Aren't I?"
"Of course you are. But you're so stubborn sometimes."
"That's what you love about me."
"You're right," he says. "The fact that you're smart, talented, and gorgeous has nothing to do with it."
God, how I love him. He's such a sweetheart!
Mind you, it doesn't hurt that he's also handsome, athletic, and a managing partner at Baer Stevens Asset Management. Michael could buy me ten new apartments without batting an eyelash.
"So, are you already at the office?" I ask.
"Of course. Either you eat the Baer Stevens, or the Baer Stevens -"
I chuckle. The sun's barely up. "I don't know how you do it."
"Clean living, that's how."
"Speaking of doing it, though ..."
"Very funny, lover boy. Just for that you're going to have to buy me dinner first."
"Damn, I wish I could, except I've got to wine and dine some important clients in town for the night. Business before pleasure, as they say. What about after dinner? You could be my dessert. Yum."
"We'll just see about yum."
Of course, Michael knows that's as good as a yes with me. All I really want to do is my photography and be with him, my almost perfect man.
"Now tell me," I say.
His voice drops to a whisper again. "I love you, Kristin. I adore you. I can't live without you."
"And I love you, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I do, Michael."
He sighs. "Such music to my ears. You really do love me, don't you?"
I don't respond. I can't. The word has me momentarily frozen.
It dawns on me that since Michael called, I no longer hear the song in my head. What a relief! I'm not losing my mind after all.
"Kristin, you there?" he asks.
For a split second, I consider telling him about the music. I don't, though. It's a little too flaky.
"Yeah, I'm here," I say.
"I'm fine - sorry, I was just checking the time. Don't want to be late for work."
"You're right," he says. "I'll let you go. Lord knows you don't want to piss off that boss of yours."
Excerpted from You've Been Warned by James Patterson Howard Roughan Copyright © 2007 by James Patterson. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This was a very poor read indeed. It felt like a child wrote it. I kept hoping that somewhere along the way, things would get more interesting but it never did. I suggest filing your fingernails for an hour...it would be more entertaining than this. I was very disapointed.
I loved this book, I couldn't put it down. I was surprised to see it rated poorly on this site. I enjoyed the twists it took, gripping at times, nerve-racking. Good book.
foul language, that is not needed in any way for character development
Not in the normal style of James Patterson - it seems that he didn't add much influence to his co-writer. Too weird for a Patterson thriller - He should abandon this style, maybe he's getting a bit diluted by churning out so many books - he should stick to his core competanciers: Alex Cross and The Woman's Murder Club type stuff.
I usually love James Patterson books, but this one was very disappointing to say the least....At first I thought, wow, this is going to be good, but then it went downhill - fast! The ending was the worst! Ugh, I am mad at myself for picking it up!
I have read several of his books and this one was at the lower end of the list. I would not recommend this book as he has done much better work.
Disappointed in the book, unlike Patterson's books...not sure it is worth the time....
It is obvious Patterson is going for quantity & not quality in this bizarre but boring attempt @ infusing supernatural elements into You've Been Warned. I think he was trying to branch out into the supernatural arena -- maybe it was my mind trying to grasp the dreadfully peculiar happenings. Patterson's signature short chapters, speedy nonsensical storyline & ever present co-author is packaged into a snoozefest. You've Been Warned... Grab the Tylenol. Run away!!! I love Patterson's Alex Cross series but this novel is best stored away for when there is a toilet paper shortage!
Once again this duo has out doen thereselves. This book was a nail bitter. Trying to piece everything togehter and sole the mystery kept me reading diligently. A great read and definaley twists and turns to keep you reading.
I've read a handful of Patterson books before and I can see why people don't like this book because its not in line with his usual thriller. That being said, I don't dislike it. Its supernatural twist was decent and didn't bother me. I'm not sure how co-writers work out and who does what but my biggest beef with this book is although it was nearly 400 pages, a third are blank and it can be read in a few hours. If I had bought this at full brand brand new I would have benn livid. And what's with the title? Really bad choice there. Overall, an average book.
I just simply loved the book. It is one of the first books of James Patterson I have read, and I absolutely loved it, I could not put the book down, and I'm now trying to get every book ever written by him to read. He is an awesome author and I will continue to read all of them, one at a time.
I have read everything James Patterson has written, and this has got to be the worst book of anyone's I have ever read! I have told all my friends how terrible it is.... James Patterson you didn't get this one right!!
I loved this book being a stephen king fan and all, I just wish it wasnt so short but it had a message in it, twists, I also recommend 'from the corner of his eye' loved it. good work patterson
A most unusual book but one that does raise some questions that need to be thought about. I don't believe there is such a place as hell for eternity but I do believe in a karma. 'W.' sure has amassed a lot in this lifetime. A couple of things that I found annoying about the main character is that she rushes into situations which she needs to stay away from. The entry into Michael's bedroom and following Pentley into the hotel to name a couple. It makes you not want to root for her. This book is one that some people will like and some will hate. I think its worth the time to read this one.
I don't understand why this book is getting rated so poorly. I thought it was refreshing to read a totally different story as compared to a 'good cop vs. bad guy' typical story. This book is a psychological thriller, it kept me turning the pages. Overall, this is a good book. I am glad I gave the book a chance.
I have -until now- always liked Patterson's books, especially the Cross series. This is the worst and most boring of his stories I ever read.
Thj ub .
Having read many of James Patterson's books, I had reasonably high hopes for this, but book was completely disappointed. Predictable, ridiculously unrealistic, and an ending that is unsatisfactory to say the least. Not one of hi better books.
Story starts slow and really never picks up. BORING. Charctors had no good qualities. I'm glad that they all died and went to hell. Thats where i was while readinyg this book.
This was a good book for me although it was a little strange at times but in a good way. I liked how the chapters were so small as that made it read even faster. The story itself has me so interested I could not put the book down as I could not wait to see what happened next because I was not sure what was next and I was trying to figure out what was going on but the authors did such a good job of keeping you in suspense that you had to keep turning the page to figure it out. All in all a good book that makes you think twice.
So I started this book on vacation. It kept me guessing; however, I felt like the ending was rather odd (and truthfully a cop out). The ending is why I gave this only 3 stars. Could have been better
I am a die hard James Patterson reader. I have read all of his current books and have now gone back and am reading his earlier books. You've been warned was a scarey book! I was very interested in turning each page. Good read! Never dis-appointed!!!!!
You've Been Warned .... Good, fast paced, easy read! Plot was pretty good - although the main character, Kris, was a piece of work! Otherwise, I guess she had to have this spoiled, self-absorbed mentality to make this story work. I love this ending - could lead into another book. I read this book in two days - hard to put down. I don't understand the bad ratings on this book - I would highly recommend it as a fast, fun read! ,