By Jeffery Deaver

Behind the well known U.S. defense companies— the FBI and CIA between them—lies a seriously guarded, nameless executive service provider devoted to intelligence surveillance and to a hugely really good model of citizen defense.

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

The activity of conserving the Kessler family members alive falls to a guy named Corte, a senior federal safety officer referred to as a “shepherd.” Uncompromising, relentlessly dedicated to keeping these in his care and a passionate board online game aficionado, he applies fabulous gaming technique to his paintings. For Corte, the reappearance of Loving—the guy who, six years past, had tortured and killed somebody on the subject of him—is additionally a chance to avenge his friend’s demise. The task quickly escalates right into a fast paced duel among Corte and Loving, a perilous volley of wits and calculated hazards.

As he shepherds the Kesslers to a hid secure apartment, Corte needs to count on Loving’s each step because the lifter strikes in on his prey, and with the aid of razor-sharp investigator Claire DuBois and his longtime best friend, FBI agent Paul Fredericks, pinpoint which of Kessler’s doubtless insignificant situations has brought on Loving’s go back. because the workforce digs deeper, all the Kesslers comes below shut scrutiny, and in captivity their kinfolk bonds are stretched to the breaking point—as the lifter attracts close to, Corte needs to eventually choose from holding his fees and exposing them to a killer within the identify of long-awaited revenge.

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I bought to the sting and regarded down on the turbulent brown and grey water, the foam, the glossy rocks. To my correct, Maree used to be huddled at the ledge, legs crossed like a yoga practitioner’s. “Maree,” I acknowledged. She was once fidgeting with her digicam. I moved in nearer and made yes she observed my sluggish, unthreatening transit towards her. i finished while i used to be approximately twenty ft away, on the most sensible of the cliff, and likewise sat—partly in order that I wouldn’t be noticeable as a probability and in part simply because i actually am no longer an outstanding fan of heights. She glanced towards me and grew to become her realization again to the Canon. She lifted it and took a few panoramic images of the view, then aimed down on the rocks less than her. Then, interestingly, she grew to become the lens to her face, which used to be puffy and damp with tears. Hopeless. Even over the roar of the water i'll pay attention the clicking of the digicam. “Maree? ” She acknowledged not anything yet persisted to shoot. She then became towards me and took an image. I gave no response and he or she leaned again opposed to the rock. I checked out her haunted eyes. was once she approximately to take her personal lifestyles? “Maree. I’d such as you again inside of now. ” ultimately she known as, “It’s appealing the following… . You gave me my money’s worthy for the travel. ” “Please. ” “How could this be for a photograph sequence? ” Eerily, the sisters had swapped roles. Joanne was once the emotional one now, whipped right into a frenzy. Maree was once the other, numb, calm. Too calm. “What do you're thinking that? ” she persevered. “A sequence of pictures of somebody falling into the water. i ponder how lengthy the digital camera might retain capturing. i'll positioned it on automated. yet i assume the battery could brief out beautiful quickly. How lengthy do you're thinking that it can final? ” “Maree. Come on again. ” “Not very lengthy. however the pictures’d be kept at the chip… . It’s challenging to get a gallery express. challenging to promote your photos. yet I’ll guess that series’d be a winner. placed me at the map. ” My task is to maintain my principals secure from every little thing, even their very own self-destructive behaviors. Which was once frequently the toughest half. within the severe situations of the area I function in, it’s commonplace for individuals to think about suicide. None of my principals has ever long past ahead with the act yet I’ve recognized shepherds who've misplaced humans to their very own hand. frequently it’s on longer assignments, while the times of seclusion amble slowly into months and the principals start to pay attention progressively more usually sounds which are blameless adequate yet that they take to be lifters or hitters getting shut for the kill. extra insidious is their very own reasoning, convincing themselves that the lifestyles they’ve lived is over with, that friends and family will fade away, that they have got not anything to appear ahead to. And for the remainder of their days they’ll be pursued. loss of life is a relaxed replacement. In Maree’s case, she was once ranging from a drawback: her self-destructive nature. Falling for abusive boyfriends, neglecting to supply for the fundamentals in her existence, leaping from caretaker to caretaker, who actually merely took good thing about her after which obtained drained while the charm of the flirt, the cuteness, the artiness, wore off.

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