About this title:
He's a Russian defector given a new life in America by the U.S. government. Now he's exploded into violence--driven by a mad lust to kill young women.
From the Publisher:
An embarrassed CIA knows it must stop him--and that only one man can do the job. But former agent Mike Culley is in prison, sold out by his bosses, stripped of his family and everything he holds dear. Now they'll free him: to hunt down a killer before he kills again.
The CIA has betrayed Culley once. It won't happen again. He will find his man. And with the help of a beautiful reporter, he'll bring him down. But suddenly the rules change. Culley's target has answered back: snatching the one person who means more to Mike Culley than life itself.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
"Powerfully written....a knockout as both a serial-killer story with a twist and a post-Cold War spy novel."
"Wickedly entertaining...nonstop action...readers will stay up far into the night."
"An exciting thriller that moves with....breakneck speed."
IT WAS HER favorite time of day, when the first rays of morning sun slipped slowly over the horizon and the grounds of the university were still and silent. She was near the end of her five- mile course through the heart of the campus and was still running effortlessly. She moved swiftly, with long, graceful strides, along the edge of a sprawling expanse of fading lawn, beneath towering maple trees ablaze with color, and past graceful white columns supporting the porticoes of imposing redbrick buildings.
As she reached McCormick Road, she checked her watch and slowed her pace to begin her cool- down walk. She breathed deeply of the crisp October air heavy with the scent of autumn as her eyes moved warily over the surrounding area. She zipped open her waist- pack to remove a small bottle of Evian water and her hand brushed past the can of Mace that she, and most of the other coeds, now took to carrying wherever they went.
The promise of a tranquil college life had been broken by a pervasive fear that gripped the University of Virginia's academic community. Four coeds had mysteriously disappeared in the past month, all under cover of darkness: the first was last seen leaving the Newcomb Hall student center, the second following an evening piano recital in Old Cabell Hall, and the third and fourth upon crossing the grounds after late nights at Alderman Library. One each week. None had been heard from since. And none of the missing students was troubled or given to erratic behavior. No demands for ransom surfaced. No contact of any kind from whoever was responsible. Nothing. Only silence. Followed by the worst kind of fear: not knowing.
After the disappearance of the second coed an escort service was arranged for female students and faculty. A telephone call brought one or two male students to accompany the caller to her dorm or parking lot after dark, waiting until she was safely inside or had driven away. The university police had tripled the number of officers who walked the grounds from dusk until dawn. But still two more abductions had occurred- - both of the young women, forgoing the escort service, had refused to let fear dictate their lives and had paid dearly for their obstinate independence.
The young runner's breathing and pulse rate returned to normal as she skipped down the steps to the walkway in front of Garrett Hall. She then turned to descend another series of steps to the small outdoor amphitheater, where she sat on the top tier of the semicircle of stone bleachers to drink the last of her water and complete her morning ritual of watching the sun rise over the grounds.
The amphitheater was used periodically throughout the year by guest speakers, theater groups, and student organizations, but evening performances had been suspended indefinitely after the disappearance of the third coed. The walls flanking the stage below were still strung with banners advertising fraternity and sorority functions. The runner strained to read them, but she was nearsighted and could barely make them out without her glasses.
She noticed something in the center of the stage, and squinted at the blurred, indistinct form. She rose slowly and began to descend the stairs to the lower tier, where the morning sun had not yet reached. Her gaze was fixed on the deep shadows ahead, on what appeared to be an unclothed female mannequin sprawled on the stage in a suggestive pose. She shook her head in disgust at what she assumed was another tasteless and sexist fraternity prank.
Something made her move still closer, and as she crossed the grassy area in front of the stage the form came into sharp focus. An icy chill coursed through her veins and a wild panic suddenly gripped her and froze her in place. She tried to scream, but such was the horror of the image before her that no sound emerged. She stood in sheer terror, her body rigid, frantically gulping in huge breaths. A terrible sound finally erupted, again and again, in bloodcurdling screams that shattered the early morning silence and carried across the grounds to echo off the stately buildings.
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