By Jeffery Deaver

Behind the well known U.S. protection enterprises— the FBI and CIA between them—lies a seriously guarded, nameless govt business enterprise devoted to intelligence surveillance and to a hugely really good model of citizen defense.

Shock waves of alarm ripple throughout the clandestine service provider whilst Washington, D.C., police detective Ryan Kessler inexplicably turns into the objective of Henry Loving, a professional, ruthless “lifter” employed to acquire info utilizing no matter what skill invaluable. whereas Loving is deft at torture, his services lies in getting an “edge” on his victim—leverage—usually via kidnapping or threatening family members until eventually the “primary” caves stressed.

The activity of retaining the Kessler kin alive falls to a guy named Corte, a senior federal security officer often called a “shepherd.” Uncompromising, relentlessly dedicated to preserving these in his care and a passionate board video game aficionado, he applies fabulous gaming technique to his paintings. For Corte, the reappearance of Loving—the guy who, six years prior, had tortured and killed a person just about him—is additionally a chance to avenge his friend’s loss of life. The project quickly escalates right into a fast paced duel among Corte and Loving, a deadly volley of wits and calculated hazards.

As he shepherds the Kesslers to a hid secure condo, Corte needs to expect Loving’s each step because the lifter strikes in on his prey, and with assistance from razor-sharp investigator Claire DuBois and his longtime best friend, FBI agent Paul Fredericks, pinpoint which of Kessler’s probably insignificant circumstances has prompted Loving’s go back. because the group digs deeper, all the Kesslers comes less than shut scrutiny, and in captivity their relations bonds are stretched to the breaking point—as the lifter attracts close to, Corte needs to eventually choose from conserving his fees and exposing them to a killer within the identify of long-awaited revenge.

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Merely, Detective Ryan Kessler had heard the pictures and raced into the shop. The hero … “It wasn’t a few crankhead from South East who shot me; it used to be your fucking hit guy. ” Now emotion bled into Joanne’s voice. “I checked the police time table a dozen occasions! not anyone was once alleged to be close by. ” “You have been the single liable? ” She sighed. Like me, she knew what used to be coming. “I was once fundamental anchor on that one, certain. ” “The anchor supplies the … what’d you name it? A shoot order? ” “We don’t name it that yet I gave the order, certain. ” “And you furthermore may gave him the order to shoot me? ” Joanne began to converse yet her voice choked to a cease. “We needed to get our contractor out of there. I used a code. It capability to take advantage of nonlethal strength on an blameless. We by no means may have performed it when you hadn’t been armed. yet instantly there you have been. ” there has been a crash, and that i jumped on the sound. Maree had leapt to her ft and a wineglass and low cup had tumbled to the ground and shattered. She improved and leaned into her sister’s face. Joanne appeared down as Maree raged, “You burst off on me simply because I prove with a boyfriend you don’t like. you assert these poor issues approximately me, being irresponsible. and also you …” Her voice choked. “You murdered humans for a residing! ” Joanne acknowledged not anything yet seemed away. I observed her fists have been kneading and palms white. Maree spun round and stomped up the hallway to the bed room. Ryan shook his head and acknowledged to Joanne, “I didn’t rescue you. I didn’t rescue anyone. ” “I … Oh, honey. one million occasions i attempted to inform you. I—” “So you went out with me for sympathy. Out of guilt. ” “No! I went out with you simply because i wished to alter. i needed a true lifestyles, a standard lifestyles. i wished you. You have been reliable. you probably did the suitable factor! I couldn’t reside with what my association used to be doing anymore. ” She moved her hand towards him. He eased away. He stepped into the kitchen, snagged the whiskey bottle that have been untouched for an afternoon and vanished down the corridor. The bed room door closed. even though I anticipated a slam, I knew it was once close merely as the wedge of sunshine light to black. I didn’t pay attention rather a lot as a latch click on. bankruptcy forty six i used to be within the den with Joanne, by myself. taking a look over the top-secret sheets duBois had emailed me. a lot used to be redacted, together with the identify of her association, which used to be some distance much less public even than mine. even though something that wasn’t redacted used to be an image of Joanne from 8 or ten years in the past. And her identify in the association, Lily Hawthorne. the lady within the photograph regarded very similar to the lady in entrance of me. good-looking yet now not beautiful, unsmiling, slender. Reserved and secretive too. i noticed loads of different curiosities during the last few days made feel now. Joanne’s desperation to get her stepdaughter clear of her, afraid that she was once in truth the explanation the lady should be abducted or harm. And her trouble in regards to the buddies in Fairfax, the Knoxes—a fear on the time that appeared out of share to the placement. She’d been horrified on the probability that she was once the reason for Teddy’s wife’s demise on the hand of Henry Loving.

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