A husband and wife race to find a cure for the disease that has inspired a serial killer to terrorize Manhattan in this classic medical thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Harlan Coben.
They’re one of the country’s most telegenic couples: beloved TV journalist Sara Lowell and New York’s hottest basketball star, Michael Silverman. Their family and social connections tie them to the highest echelons of the political, medical, and sports worlds—threads that will tangle them up in one of the most controversial and deadly issues of our time.
In a clinic on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, a doctor has dedicated his life to eradicating a divisive and devastating disease. One by one, his patients are getting well. One by one, they’re being targeted by a serial killer. And now Michael has been diagnosed with the disease. There’s only one cure, but many ways to die...
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With more than seventy million books in print worldwide, Harlan Coben is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of thirty novels, including the Myron Bolitar series and a series aimed at young adults featuring Myron's newphew, Mickey Bolitar. His books are published in forty-three languages around the globe and have been number one bestsellers in more than a dozen countries. The winner of the Edgar, Shamus, and Anthony Awards, he lives in New Jersey.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
Table of Contents
A Note from the Author
Okay, if this is the first book of mine you’re going to try, stop now. Return it. Grab another. It’s okay. I’ll wait.
If you’re still here, please know that I haven’t read Miracle Cure in at least twenty years. It is my second published novel, one I wrote in my early twenties when I was just a naive lad working in the travel industry and wondering if I should follow my father and brother go to (shudder) law school.
I’m hard on it, but aren’t we all hard on our early stuff? Remember that essay you wrote when you were in school, the one that you got an A plus on, the one your teacher called “inspired”—and one day you’re going through your drawer and you find it and you read it and your heart sinks and you say, “Man, what was I thinking?”
That’s how it is with early novels sometimes. This one is a bit preachy in spots and sometimes dated (though in truth, I wish the medical stuff was more dated, but that’s another matter). You might think I based part of this on a “real-life” situation. I didn’t. This book predates that event. I won’t say more because it could be a spoiler.
Finally, flawed and all, I love this book. There are an energy and risk-taking in Miracle Cure that I wonder if I still have. I’m not this guy anymore, but that’s okay. None of us is stagnant with our passion and our work. That’s a good thing.
PRAISE FOR HARLAN COBEN AND HIS BESTSELLING NOVELS
“Coben again keeps the reader off-balance with innovative story lines and diabolical bad guys.”
“More twists and turns than an amusement park ride.”
“Every time you think Harlan Coben couldn’t get any better at uncoiling a whip snake of a page-turner, he comes along with a new novel that somehow surpasses its predecessor.”
—San Francisco Chronicle
“An exhilarating, bang-up Porsche Turbo of a novel that you absolutely will not put down.”
“Coben twists story lines into psychological thrill rides. The pages flip so fast, it’s a wonder you don’t develop paper cuts.”
—The Orlando Sentinel
“The action unfolds with the intensity of TV’s 24. . . . Nobody writes them better than Coben.”
—The Associated Press
“Lively, fast-moving entertainment, jam-packed with the bizarre plot twists that are his stock-in-trade.”
—The Washington Post
“Coben is one of the best authors around at writing page-turning suspense.... He has a knack for hooking readers right away and holding their interest as they zoom through his plots.”
“Most thriller authors only wish they could write like Coben. The guy has a way of grabbing you from the first paragraph and never turning you loose till the ashes have settled. Coben takes chances; he pulls no punches.”
—The Madison County Herald (MS)
“Harlan Coben thrillers are precision-tooled pageturners. If you’re looking for immediate immersion in a book that will not let go until it’s done, then Coben’s your man.”
ALSO BY HARLAN COBEN
One False Move
The Final Detail
Tell No One
Gone for Good
No Second Chance
Just One Look
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Published by Signet, an imprint of New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc. Previously published in an SPI Books edition. Published by arrangement with the author.
First Signet Printing, October 2011
Copyright © Harlan Coben, 1991, 1992
Excerpt from Live Wire copyright © Harlan Coben, 2011
All rights reserved
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the best mommy in the world
FRIDAY, AUGUST 30
D R. Bruce Grey tried not to walk too fast. He slowed his pace, fighting off the temptation to sprint across the soiled floor of Kennedy Airport’s International Arrivals Building, past the customs officials, and out into the humid night air. His eyes shifted from side to side. Every few steps he would feign a soreness in his neck to give himself the opportunity to glance behind him and make sure he was not being followed.
Stop it! Bruce told himself. Stop lurking around like a poor man’s James Bond. You’re shaking like a malaria patient, for chrissake. You couldn’t look more conspicuous if you wore a sign.
He strolled past the luggage carousel, nodding politely at the little old lady who had sat next to him on the flight. The old woman had not shut her mouth during the entire trip, gabbing on about her family, her love of flying, her last trip overseas. She was sweet enough, just somebody’s grandmother, but Bruce still closed his eyes and pretended to be asleep in order to get a little peace and quiet. But, of course, sleep had not come to him. It would not come for some time yet.
But maybe she wasn’t just some sweet, little old lady, Brucie boy. Maybe she was following you . . .
He dismissed the voice with a nervous shake of the head. This whole thing was turning his brain into sewer sludge. First, he was sure that the bearded man on the plane had been following him. Then it was the big guy with the slicked-back hair and Armani suit at the telephone booth. And don’t forget the pretty blonde by the terminal exit. She had been following him too.
Now it was a little old lady.
Get a grip on yourself, Brucie. Paranoia is not what we need right now. Clear thinking, old pal—that’s what we’re looking for.
Bruce moved past the luggage carousel and over to the customs official.
Bruce handed the man his passport.
“No luggage, sir?”
He shook his head. “Only this carry-on.”
The customs officer glanced at the passport and then at Bruce. “You look quite different from your photograph.”
Bruce tried to force a tired smile to his lips but it would not hold. The humidity was almost unbearable. His dress shirt was pasted against his skin, his tie loosened to the point of being nearly untied. Beads of perspiration dotted his forehead. “I . . . I’ve gone through a few changes.”
“A few? You’re a dark-haired man with a beard in this picture.”
“Now you’re a clean-shaven blond.”
“Like I said, I went through a few changes.” Luckily, you can’t tell eye color from a passport photo or you would want to know why I changed my eyes from brown to blue.
The customs official did not appear convinced. “Were you traveling on business or pleasure?”
“You always pack this lightly?”
Bruce swallowed and managed a shrug. “I hate waiting for checked luggage.”
The customs official swung his line of vision from the passport photograph to Bruce’s face and then back again. “Would you open your bag, please?”
Bruce could barely keep his hands steady enough to set the combination. It took him three tries before it finally snapped open. “There you go.”
The customs official’s eyes narrowed into thin slits as he rummaged through the belongings. “What are these?” he asked.
Bruce closed his eyes, his breath coming in short gasps. “Some files.”
“I can see that,” the official replied. “What are they for?”
“I’m a doctor,” Bruce explained, his voice cracking. “I wanted to review some of my patients’ charts while I was away.”
“Do you always do that when you’re on vacation?”
“What type of doctor are you?”
“An internist at Columbia Presbyterian,” Bruce replied, telling a half-truth. He decided to leave out the fact that he was also an expert in public health and epidemiology.
“I see,” the official replied. “I wish my doctor was that dedicated.”
Again Bruce tried to smile. Again it was a failed attempt.
“And this sealed envelope?”
Bruce felt his whole body quake. “Excuse me?”
“What is in this manila envelope?”
He willed a casual look on his face. “Oh, that’s just some medical information I’m sending to a colleague,” he managed.
The customs official’s eyes locked onto Bruce’s bloodshot ones for a few long moments. “I see,” he said, slowly putting the envelope back in the bag. When the customs official finished going through the rest of the carry-on, he signed Bruce’s customs declaration and handed him back his passport. “Give the card to the woman on your way out.”
Bruce reached for the bag. “Thank you.”
Bruce looked up.
“You might want to visit one of your colleagues,” the customs official said. “If you don’t mind a layman giving medical opinions, you look awful.”
“I’ll do that.”
Bruce lifted the bag and glanced behind him. The little old lady was still waiting for her luggage. The man with the beard and the pretty blonde were nowhere in sight. The big guy in the Armani suit was still talking on the phone.
Bruce moved away from the customs desk. His right hand gripped his bag with excessive vigor; his left hand rubbed his face. He handed the customs declaration to the woman and walked through the sliding glass doors into the waiting area. A sea of anxious faces greeted him. People stood on their toes, peering out from all points with each swish of the glass doors before lowering their heads in disappointment when an unfamiliar face approached the threshold.
Bruce moved steadily past the waiting friends and relatives, past the bored limousine drivers with name signs held up against their chests. He made his way to the Japan Airlines ticket counter on the right.
“Is there a mailbox near here?” he asked.
“To your right,” the woman replied. “By the Air France desk.”
He walked by a garbage can and casually dropped his torn-up boarding pass into it. He had considered himself very clever to book the flight under an assumed name—very clever, that was, until he got to the airport and was informed that you could not have an international ticket issued under a different name from the one on your passport.
Luckily, there had been plenty of space on the flight. Even though he had to purchase another ticket for himself, reserving one under an alias had not been such a dumb idea. Before his actual departure date, no one could have found out what flight he was booked on because his name was not in the computer. Pure genius on his part.
Yessiree, Brucie. You are a regular genius.
Yeah, right. Genius. Bullshit.
He located the mail slot near the Air France desk. A few passengers spoke to the airline representative. None of them paid him the slightest attention. His eyes quickly checked the room. The old lady, the bearded man, and the pretty blonde had either left or were still going through customs. The only “spy” he could still see was the big guy in the Armani suit, who now moved hurriedly through the sliding glass doors and out of the terminal.
Bruce let loose a sigh of relief. No one was looking at him now. He turned his attention back to the mail slot. His hand reached into his bag and quickly slipped the sealed manila envelope down the chute. His insurance policy was safely on its way.
He certainly could not go home. If anyone was searching for him, his apartment on the Upper West Side would be the first place they would look. The clinic was no good at this hour of the night, either. Someone could nab him there just as easily.
Look, I’m not very good at this. I’m just your average run-of-the-mill doctor who went to college, went to medical school, got married, had a kid, finished residency, got divorced, lost custody of the kid, and now works too hard. I’m not up to playing I Spy.
But what other choice did he have? He could go to the police, but who would believe him? He had no rea...
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