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Lisa Gardner

The Killing Hour

Lisa Gardner The Killing Hour
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Biographical note:

Lisa Gardner is the New York Times bestselling author of The Survivors Club, The Next Accident, The Other Daughter, The Third Victim, and The Perfect Husband. She lives with her husband, Anthony, and their two dogs in New England, where she is at work on her next novel of suspense.

Country of final manufacture:

US

Excerpt from book:

CHAPTER 1

Quantico, Virginia

3:59 p.m.

Temperature: 95 degrees


"God, it's hot. Cacti couldn't take this kind of heat. Desert rock couldn't take this kind of heat. I'm telling you, this is what happened right before dinosaurs disappeared from the Earth."

No response.

"You really think orange is my color?" the driver tried again.

"Really is a strong word."

"Well, not everyone can make a statement in purple plaid."

"True."

"Man-oh-man, is this heat killing me!" The driver, New Agent Alissa Sampson, had had enough. She tugged futilely on her 1970s polyester suit, smacked the steering wheel with the palm of her hand, then blew out an exasperated breath. It was ninety-five outside, probably one hundred and ten inside the Bucar. Not great weather for polyester suits. For that matter, it didn't work wonders for bulletproof vests. Alissa's suit bled bright orange stains under her arms. New Agent Kimberly Quincy's own mothball-scented pink-and-purple plaid suit didn't look much better.

Outside the car, the street was quiet. Nothing happening at Billiards; nothing happening at City Pawn; nothing happening at the Pastime Bar-Deli. Minute ticked into minute. Seconds came and went, as slowly as the bead of sweat trickling down Kimberly's cheek. Above her head, still fastened to the roof but ready to go at any minute, was her M-16.

"Here's something they never tell you about the disco age," Alissa muttered beside her. "Polyester doesn't breathe. God, is this thing going to happen or what?"

Alissa was definitely nervous. A forensic accountant before joining the Bureau, she was highly valued for her deep-seated love of all things spreadsheet. Give Alissa a computer and she was in hog heaven. This, however, wasn't a back-room gig. This was front-line duty.

In theory, at any time now, a black vehicle bearing a two-hundred-and-ten-pound heavily armed suspected arms dealer was going to appear. He might or might not be alone in the car. Kimberly, Alissa, and three other agents had orders to halt the vehicle and arrest everyone in sight.

Phil Lehane, a former New York cop and the one with the most street experience, was leading the operation. Tom Squire and Peter Vince were in the first of the two backup vehicles. Alissa and Kimberly were in the second backup. Kimberly and Tom, being above-average marksmen, had cover duty with the rifles. Alissa and Peter were in charge of tactical driving, plus had handguns for cover.

In consummate FBI style, they not only planned and dressed for this arrest, but they had practiced it in advance. During the initial run-through, however, Alissa had tripped when getting out of the car and had landed on her face. Her upper lip was still swollen and there were flecks of blood on the right-hand corner of her mouth.

Her wounds were superficial. Her anxiety, however, now went bone deep.

"This is taking too long," she was muttering now. "I thought he was supposed to appear at the bank at four. It's four-ten. I don't think he's coming."

"People run late."

"They do this just to mess with our minds. Aren't you boiling?"

Kimberly finally looked at her partner. When Alissa was nervous, she babbled. When Kimberly was nervous, she grew clipped and curt. These days, she was clipped and curt most of the time. "The guy will show up when the guy shows uA Main Selection of The Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club

A Featured Alternate Selection of Book-of-the-Month Club, Mystery Guild, and Doubleday Large Print

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