Investigation Discovery’s James Patterson’s Murder Is Forever is an all-new dramatic series created in partnership with best-selling author James Patterson and is Patterson’s first foray into true-crime television. The show is based upon the authentic stories featured in his new series of three true-crime paperback books, each containing two thrilling cases.
In the fourth episode of James Patterson’s Murder Is Forever, “Murder On The Run,” Detective Derek Mois, a veteran with the Omaha Police Department, responds to a horrific double homicide involving an 11-year-old boy and the family’s housekeeper. With the community on edge and police racing against the clock to make a capture, another murder takes place on the other side of town. Are the two crimes connected? And can police make an arrest before the killer strikes again?
The following is an excerpt from Home Sweet Murder, on sale now!
March 13, 2008
Cursing under his breath, he tried to correct his shaky aim. He knew he needed to seriously focus or he’d blow this one chance at cleanly eliminating the figure that was literally right in front of him. The shot could not be easier. He went to squeeze the trigger and —
The high-pitched, deafening whine sprang up from out of nowhere, causing the boy to inadvertently shift his joystick.
“Aw, man!” he cried out in frustration. Of all times for the housekeeper, Shirlee, to fire up the vacuum cleaner! Taking advantage of the boy’s flub, the Nazi on the TV screen leapt out from behind a bombed-out shack and tossed a grenade at a charging American tank. A massive loss of game points.
All day, 11-year-old Tom Hunter had been jacked up, knowing he would be coming home to his new Xbox and the latest version of Call of Duty. Though he was a top student, he had been distracted in every class by dreams of trudging through the fields of France along with the rest of the Allies. When school had finally let out, the slender, slightly gawky boy with oval-shaped eyeglasses had run right home from the bus. Grabbing one of the basement den’s overstuffed sofa cushions, he’d firmly entrenched himself in front of the family TV.
Tom’s older brothers were away at college, and it would be a while before his father got home from work at the hospital (and started asking about the untouched homework in Tom’s backpack). For the next precious hour, the boy had the TV and one of the decisive battles of World War II all to himself. He just hadn’t counted on interference from the civilian directly upstairs: Shirlee, who continued obliviously sawing the vacuum cleaner back and forth. Though Tom loved the portly, caring Shirlee, right now her kindness was forgotten, and he felt only annoyance. Couldn’t she have done her noisy cleaning while he was at school?
Gritting his teeth, Tom prepared to refocus his aim when — incredibly — the doorbell buzzed.
“No way!” he roared. He tried to ignore the sound and gripped the controller tighter. But, again, the buzzer ricocheted through the huge house — this time more insistently.
“Shirlee!” Tom cried. “Can you get that? Please!”
At last, the vacuum cleaner mercifully stopped, and Tom heard Shirlee’s tired tread as she walked to the front door. Turning his attention back to the game, Tom repositioned himself but then immediately heard loud voices. It sounded like some kind of argument, and then someone shouted. Heavy footsteps began walking back and forth overhead.
Suddenly, a loud thump of the floor was followed by a strange sound — a kind of muffled cry.
The boy cocked his head and listened. Frowning, he put his play stick down and then he heard another odd sound — almost like someone clearing their throat. And although it wasn’t a spoken word, Tom knew immediately that it was Shirlee. And that something was wrong — seriously wrong.
Tom stood and quietly went up the stairs. He paused at the top. Now, he didn’t hear a thing except for the game’s noises downstairs. But then he turned to look down the main hallway.
A man was standing there, a small man that Tom didn’t know. And he wasn’t exactly standing, he was swaying in the hall outside of the kitchen. His eyes were red-rimmed and very black, and his face was streaked with sweat although it was a mild spring day. Though Tom had never seen one in real life, his immediate thought was that this was a drunk person. A drunk man in a dirty coat was standing in the middle of his house!
Tom was so astonished he almost laughed. But then he saw Shirlee. Kind, caring Shirlee — lying in a crumpled heap at the man’s feet. Blood everywhere.
And then he saw the knife in the man’s hand.
The scream that Tom let out seemed to startle the intruder, who blinked several times in rapid succession. In a flash, Tom bolted toward the front door — he was there almost before he was even conscious of running.
The man hurled his body forward and grabbed Tom’s shoulder. He yanked the boy backward and took a crushing grip of the top of his head. He roughly steered Tom into the dining room.
Tom yelped in panic. WHAT was happening? As he struggled, the man shoved him against the sleekly polished dining room table. The boy cried out, “HEL—”
His cry was cut off as the man’s hands went over his mouth. Tom fought wildly, grunting and twisting his body to and fro, trying to knock things off of the table. Through his terror and shock, he suddenly felt something hard and cold press against his throat. Then, strange spots began dancing in front of his eyes.
A wave of darkness started to wash over him. Through it, Tom was dimly aware that — off in a distance that seemed impossibly far away — the noisy Xbox effects coming from the television had abruptly stopped.
His game was over. The battle had been lost.
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Main photo: Home Sweet Murder cover image [Investigation Discovery]