From the #1 international bestselling author: a woman wakes up on a Central Park bench with no memory of how she got there in this “unpredictable and moving psychological thriller that keeps you holding your breath” (Métro)

Alice, a fierce and respected Parisian cop, wakes up on a Central Park bench with no memory of the night before, handcuffed to a complete stranger—a musician named Gabriel. Disoriented, dazed, and with someone else’s blood on her shirt, Alice works furiously to reconnect the dots. She remembers clubbing with her friends the night before on the Champs-Élysées. Gabriel claims he was playing a gig in Dublin. Was she drugged? Kidnapped? Why is the gun in her jacket pocket missing a bullet? And whose blood is on her clothes?

Over the next twenty-four hours, Alice and Gabriel race across New York in search of answers, stumbling upon a startling set of clues that point to a terrible adversary from the past. Alice must finally confront her memories of hunting the serial killer who took everything from her—a man she thought was dead, until now.
 
From France's #1 bestselling author, Central Park is a taut and suspenseful thriller that will keep readers riveted until its final shocking twist.

What's Inside

PART ONE

HANDCUFFED

 

1

ALICE

 

First, a gust of wind stings her face. The light rustling of leaves. The distant murmur of a stream. The quiet trill of birdsong. The first rays of sunlight illuminating the tiny blood vessels in her still-closed eyelids.

Then the creak of swaying branches. The smell of moist earth, rotting leaves. The strong, woody odor of gray lichen.

And farther off, an indistinct buzzing, dreamlike and discordant.

Alice Schafer opened her eyes with difficulty. She was blinded by the early-morning sun, her clothes sticky with dew. The frozen sweat on her skin made her shiver. Her throat was dry and her mouth filled with the harsh taste of ashes. Her joints were bruised, her limbs stiff, her mind numb.

When she tried to sit up, she became aware that she was lying on a rough wooden bench. Suddenly, she realized that a large, sturdy man was curled up next to her, his body leaning heavily on hers.

Alice stifled a cry and her pulse raced. Trying to free herself, she toppled over onto the ground and stood up in the same movement. That was when she realized that her right wrist was handcuffed to the left wrist of this stranger. She took a step back, but the man remained motionless.

Shit!

Her heart was pounding in her chest. A glance at her watch—the face of her old Patek was scratched, but the mechanism still worked. According to the watch, it was eight a.m. on Tuesday, October 8.

Jesus Christ! Where the hell am I? she wondered, using a sleeve to wipe the sweat from her face.

She looked around in an attempt to assess the situation. She was in the middle of a forest, the leaves on the trees autumn gold, the undergrowth fresh and dense. A wild, silent clearing surrounded by oaks, thick bushes, and jutting rocks. There was no one else here, which was probably a good thing, considering the circumstances.

Alice looked up. The light was soft, beautiful, almost unreal. Shards of brightness sparkled through the foliage of a huge flame-colored elm tree. Its roots disappeared into a carpet of damp leaves.

Where was she? She hazarded a few guesses: The forest of Rambouillet? Fontainebleau? The bois de Vincennes?

It was like an Impressionist painting on a postcard, the serenity of the image clashing with the surreal weirdness of waking up next to a total stranger.

Cautiously, she leaned forward to get a better view of his face. He was in his late thirties, she thought. Disheveled chestnut hair and the beginnings of a beard.

A corpse?

She knelt down and placed two fingers on his neck, to the right of his Adam’s apple. When she pressed down on the carotid artery, she felt a pulse. Relief. The guy was sleeping but alive. She took a moment to look at him more closely. Did she know him? Some thug she was taking to jail? A childhood friend whose face she’d forgotten? No, his features were completely unfamiliar to her.

Alice pushed back a few stray blond locks that had fallen over her eyes, then examined the pair of metal handcuffs that connected her to the man.

It was a standard doublelocking model, a type used by police departments and private security firms all over the world. Most likely, this was her own pair. Alice rummaged in her jeans pocket, hoping to find the key. It wasn’t there. She did, however, find a gun in the inside pocket of her leather jacket. Thinking it must be her service pistol, she sighed with relief as she gripped the butt. But this was not the SIG Sauer used by cops in the Paris Criminal Division. It was a polymer Glock .22, and she had no idea where it had come from. She wanted to check the magazine, but it was difficult with one hand shackled. She did eventually manage it, after a few contortions, taking care not to wake the stranger. One bullet missing. As she handled the pistol, she became aware that the butt was stained with dried blood. Unzipping her jacket all the way, she discovered that there were traces of blood all over her blouse.

My God, what have I done?

 

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Why You Will Become Obsessed with This Bestselling French Novelist

Praise

Praise for Central Park:

Musso spoons out details and misdirection with brio… the initial conceit provoked plenty of interest… [the] opener is a doozy."—Sarah Weinman, New York Times Book Review
“Sure to please those who like to use reading as their cardio.”—CrimeReads
Praise for The Reunion

"This immensely satisfying thriller about a prep school scandal and three friends' buried secrets had me turning the pages well into the night. The Reunion has everything a masterful thriller should: gut-wrenching suspense, a twisting story with blindsiding surprises, and a narrator with a mysterious past. It's no wonder that Guillaume Musso is one of France's most loved, bestselling authors."—Harlan Coben
"The French call it a coup de foudre: a strike of lightning. That's how The Reunion zapped me, electrified me. For almost a decade, Guillaume Musso has reigned supreme as France's most popular author, and with this, his American debut, he's instantly poised to join the ranks of Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo. The Reunion zigzags so nimbly -- between past and present, from intrigue to terror, amid possible suspects and potential victims -- that you're at very real risk of whiplash. Witty, elegant, and peopled with complex characters, it's one of the most sheerly suspenseful novels I've read in years -- and among the most enjoyable, too."—A.J. Finn, bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
"A fast-paced thriller, set on the Cote d'Azur, packed with a glamorous missing girl, a dead body, and enough references to Twin Peaks and raves and Belle and Sebastian to tickle anybody who came of age in the 1990s... Musso is not just a popular author but the number one bestselling novelist in France. So you're bound to emerge more branché than those people you see on the beach reading home-grown potboilers."—Lauren Mechling, Vanity Fair
"In Musso's masterful plotting, Thomas faces fresh dangers at every turn. The atmospheric finale--which unfolds at Villa Fitzgerald and along Smugglers Way, the coastal path near some of the most lavish properties on the Côte d'Azur--brings shocking revelations."—Jane Ciabattari, BBC.com
"A multi-layered thriller that's fueled by urgency and drama. Guillaume Musso adds a menacing quality to the glamorous Côte d'Azur. With plot twists unleashed at a furious pace, The Reunion is a nightmare set in privileged utopia."—Frank Brasile, Shelf Awareness
"Despite the ticking-clock premise, Musso takes time to set the atmosphere, with lush details that transport the reader to a locale that's at once glamorous and also laced with a deep, abiding sadness."—Crimereads
"A fine tale of suspense from France's best-selling author."—Michele Leber, Booklist
"Long-buried secrets will give way to the truth in this tragic, riveting, French-Riviera-set story."—Becky Toyne, Globe and Mail
"Intense nostalgia and simmering guilt drive this evocative mystery... Musso moves effortlessly between the violent past and the increasingly dangerous present as complicated relationships and tragic misunderstandings unfold... Readers interested in the dark side of the good life on the Cote d'Azur will be satisfied."—Publishers Weekly
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