Payoff: A Simon Fisk Thriller (Simon Fisk Novels)

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9781250067982: Payoff: A Simon Fisk Thriller (Simon Fisk Novels)
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The author of Good as Gone delivers another riveting read that will keep your eyes glued to the page until the final PAYOFF...

Movie studio mogul Edgar Trenton's wife, Emma, is awoken one night to a violent invasion of her home. She is beaten up and terrified by four masked men-and when they leave, Emma realizes that the nightmare has only just begun: Her teenage daughter, Olivia, was abducted. When she and Edgar find a ransom note forbidding police involvement. Edgar can think of only one person he trusts to ensure a smooth ransom exchange: former U.S. Marshal Simon Fisk.

"Amazing...nonstop action." -Mystery Tribune

Haunted by his own daughter's unsolved kidnapping many years ago, Simon feels it's his personal duty to take on child abduction cases. But something about the Trentons' ordeal isn't adding up. . .and soon it's clear to him that the kidnappers never intended to return Olivia, regardless of how much her parents were willing to pay. Knowing he has nothing left to lose, Simon throws himself into the hunt for Olivia with reckless abandon, following a lethal trail that will take him from California coast to the Cayman Islands, through the wild jungles of Costa Rica, and into some of the darkest reaches of his own soul. Meanwhile, time is running out...

"If James Bond were in the business of rescuing kidnapped children, he might easily be mistaken for Simon Fisk...a character worth rooting for." -Publishers Weekly

This edition of the book is the deluxe, tall rack mass market paperback.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

DOUGLAS CORLEONE is a former New York City defense attorney and winner of the MB/MWA First Crime Novel Competition. He now lives in the Hawaiian Islands with his wife and three children. Payoff is his fifth novel.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1

 

The nightmare opened with a sound she heard at least a dozen times a day. On the north side of the house, there was a door used by the servants. The door opened onto a vestibule that guests had to pass through to reach the staircase that led to the main floor of the house, one floor below her bedroom. The door had a distinctive squeal. She’d been meaning to ask Manny to oil the hinges for weeks. Now she was relieved that she had forgotten. That sound gave her time, maybe just enough time to get to Edgar’s handgun. Because she was suddenly certain that sound could mean only one thing—someone was inside the house.

Emma threw her legs over the side of the bed and instinctively fell into her slippers. When she stood she was nearly overcome by a wave of dizziness. She planted her right foot and steadied herself, took a deep breath, and moved like a shot toward the walk-in closet.

As she rose on tiptoes to reach the high shelf of the closet, she listened for footfalls on the stairs, but the rest of the house remained quiet. When she’d left Olivia’s room not twenty minutes ago, her teenage daughter was sound asleep in her bed.

Please stay there, sweetheart. No matter what you hear.

Emma hefted the small steel gun vault off the shelf, turned, and set it on the edge of the bed. She spun the first of the three dials on the combination lock, fixed it into position, then moved on to the next—8, 2, 1—her and Edgar’s wedding anniversary.

No question now, as she lifted the lid, that there were footsteps on the stairs, heavy footsteps, not the steps of a lone intruder attempting to maintain stealth, but the steps of two or three individuals moving as quickly as their legs allowed.

Emma removed Edgar’s .38 Special from the vault’s foam-lined interior. The revolver was loaded, as always, and felt heavier in her hand now than when she’d practiced with her husband at the gun range.

She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror above the dresser as she moved toward the closed bedroom door. She would have liked to retreat to the master bath to slip her spa robe over her lavender nightie, but there wasn’t time. The footfalls had reached the main floor.

Emma curled her long fingers around the door handle. Cursed herself for leaving her cell phone downstairs, charging in the kitchen, for not insisting on having a landline in the bedroom.

Deep breaths. Olivia is safe upstairs. You won’t let them reach her.

She twisted the handle and slowly opened the door. Instantly nausea struck and she nearly vomited at her feet. Looking down from the second landing, she watched three masked men turning the corner, single-file, and heading with long, purposeful strides straight for the stairs that led up to her bedroom.

A clipped shriek escaped her lips, and the first of the men looked up. Beneath his black ski mask, the visible flesh around his eyes was painted black.

Emma raised the .38 in both hands and aimed for the center of his chest.

As she squeezed the trigger, a fourth man blew out of the door to the home office she’d recently set up across the hall. The revolver discharged as he rammed his right shoulder into her midsection, slamming her against the doorframe.

Emma’s body tumbled into the bedroom, and as soon as her head smacked against the hardwood floor, she realized she’d dropped the handgun.

Through the open door, she could see each of the three men reach the top of the steps and turn toward the stairs leading to the third floor.

Olivia.

“Please, no!”

The fourth man—the one who had lain in wait in her office—delivered a powerful blow to her temple, knocking her face hard against the floor. She immediately became disoriented, the ringing in her ears reminding her of the times she sat on the green shag carpet in her grandparents’ living room watching Woody Woodpecker or Bugs Bunny cartoons, when all of a sudden Woody or Bugs or Elmer Fudd was interrupted by an earsplitting pulse, followed by “This is a test of the Emergency Broadcast System. This is only a test.”

Emma attempted to lift her head but the room spun as though she were drunk, a fuzzy white frame rapidly closing over her vision.

She bit down hard on the tip of her tongue, tasted the tang of blood in her mouth as she tried to keep herself from falling into a faint.

Olivia needs me.

The fuzzy white frame began receding but then she felt a hand grab her by her hair and drag her backwards as she shrieked. The heels of her bare feet bounced against the surface of the hardwood floor.

She screeched as the intruder pulled a hood over her face.

She was shrouded in blackness, a gloved hand closing tightly around her throat.

Upstairs, Olivia screamed, and Emma felt her entire body shudder.

Help. Please someone help us.

Emma’s mind reflexively turned to the next morning, to the sun rising high in the California sky, and Manny arriving through the same door the intruders had entered. She envisioned the majordomo trudging upstairs, none the wiser that anything had transpired while he was gone.

Until he reached the second landing, that is, where her bedroom door would no doubt remain ajar. He would rap lightly, afraid to wake her even though he knew she never slept past five.

“Mrs. Trenton,” he would call with his thick Spanish accent.

There would come no reply, of course. Concerned, Manny would push open the door to make certain nothing was wrong.

Here he would find Emma sprawled out on the hardwood floor—strangled, though he wouldn’t know it yet—a black hood still covering her head as though she were the executioner rather than the executed.

“Mrs. Trenton,” he would say again as he approached her.

Manny would kneel over her and feel for a pulse. Then, as he often did, he’d make the sign of the cross, dip into his pocket for his cell phone, and dial 911.

Once he was sure the authorities were on their way, Manny would walk out of the bedroom and hurry up the stairs to check on Emma’s daughter.

Oh, please, no, not Olivia …

 

Copyright © 2014 by Douglas Corleone

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9781250040732: Payoff: A Simon Fisk Thriller (Simon Fisk Novels)

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ISBN 10:  1250040736 ISBN 13:  9781250040732
Publisher: Minotaur Books, 2014
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