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He was getting through to him. The assassin sighed while he checked his watch.

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Time to go. Sianne Cassel turned around, annoyed at the interruption. Why was decrepit old Lopin here anyway? He had no influence any more, no allies in this room.

Lachlan Fox

Cassel turned her attention back to the solicitor and waved at him to go on. With a raised eyebrow, the solicitor resumed the reading. An hour later, Sianne Cassel was riding in the back seat of a black Peugeot , talking on a cell phone. The dark-tinted windows shielded her from public view, as the ex-military driver navigated the Arc de Triomphe with a couple of toots of the horn. In the passenger seat sat a bodyguard with the proportions of a champion weightlifter.

It was the first articulation of her salutation, and she liked it. Light drizzle had fallen all morning, and she focused on the windowpane. I hope to see things move more quickly now.

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They will avenge your loss. Au revoir. A garbage truck was backed into a loading bay, blocking off the way ahead. A man in overalls and a woollen hat turned after throwing a bag in the back of the truck, signalling to the Peugeot to wait a moment. Cassel turned to stare in the same direction he was looking, to see a black BMW 5 Series speeding up the lane behind them, closing fast. The two occupants of the BMW wore ski masks. The V6 turbo diesel roared as the tyres fought for traction on the wet cobbled road. The driver slid the gear into drive, the Peugeot surged forward.

Track 3 17 Killsuit The Equation Groups Swiss Army knife for persistence evasion and data exfil Fran

A rocket-propelled grenade streaked towards them from the garbage truck, and as the driver kept his foot hard on the accel- erator, the grenade scraped over the roof of the Peugeot and exploded into the ground under the front of the BMW — sending the car flipping end-over-end down the lane in a ball of flames. While reloading his RPG launcher, his body was ripped to shreds as at least twenty 5.

The Peugeot braked hard, the ABS still gripping the road when Cassel saw her bodyguard tumble out of the door, ejecting his spent magazine and inserting a fresh one as he rolled to his feet. He never stopped moving as he stepped over the corpse and disappeared around the back of the truck. A quick burst from the FN P90 rang out, followed by the sharper report of a pistol.

The passenger-side window of the truck splattered with thick crimson. The driver nodded to her, pulled an automatic pistol from under the steering column and left the car. She watched him approach the truck, pistol trained ahead as he moved.

A Lachlan Fox Thriller Series

Two quick sets of gunshots rang out, followed by silence. Cassel waited, looked for a sign from her driver or an attacker, but nothing came. Moments later she steeled herself, took a small pistol from her purse and left the car. The laneway behind was blocked with the flaming wreckage of the BMW, so the way ahead — past the truck — was her only choice. From around the cab of the truck she saw the back of a masked assassin move with military precision towards her prone driver. A tiny pop of a gunshot rang through the air, in contrast to the louder sound of approaching sirens. The assassin turned around to face Cassel.

She still had the pistol pointed at him, and smoke trailed from the short barrel. She kept her gun trained on him as he turned his own from the driver to her. As he raised his arm he tore the coronary artery in his neck, blood spraying violently with the pump of his heart through the small entrance wound. He fell to the ground. Another shot to the head left him motionless. Cassel helped her driver to his feet.

The man opposite looked tired and undernourished, the dark rings under bloodshot eyes masking what was usually a guy in good physical shape. Both men looked older than the early thirties they were. At the United Airlines service counter, a typed note was waiting for him.

This person was punctual. It was metallic, spoken through one of those scramblers you could get from prank stores. The NSA. The largest and most advanced intelligence agency in the world. Illegal phone intercepts of UN delegates in New York. Embarrassing material emerged for many countries and the repercussions of international relations were still being felt, even among the closest of allies.

The streets were packed with the usual late-evening rush and Fox got out two blocks before his destination and walked the remainder of the way. He could sense the meeting was over, as his NSA informant had stopped talking and become fixated on checking his watch and the hundreds of faces around them. It was a Thursday night and the Irish pub on East 24th was crowded well over fire regulations. The ex-NSA agent was struggling, and judging from his pupils and tapping hands, Fox suspected he was high — undoubtedly some kind of amphetamine to keep him awake.

He rose from the booth to leave. Make sure it gets out, fast. An unseen envelope added weight to the paper. One drink. Under five minutes. Busy place. Nothing revealed in their discussion for fear of being overheard. Fox knew too well what it was like to work in an area where trust meant saving lives. It was something drummed into intel- ligence operatives, enough to stick with them even when on the outer. Particularly when on the outer. And Lachlan Fox knew what that felt like.

The walk signal changed and Fox jogged to get ahead of the pack. He put his ticket through a turnstile and joined the throng boarding the ten-thirty ferry. As he walked across the gangplank he took the opportunity to check behind him in the reflection of the pilothouse window. Moving as fast as him. Following him. On the way to the gangplank he released a latch on a life boat and let the winch play out a little.

As he walked across the gangplank, he saw in the reflection of the ticket booth the man following him, four people behind. Another party he may not be able to detect until too late. Looking around, he figured he had two options. Escape via a small window with the hope of losing his pursuer, or waiting long enough for the man to come in and check.

He knew he only had a few minutes, as the ferry crew would check all lifeboats and moorings before casting off. The loose raft might buy him an extra two minutes, tops.

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It s a novel in which Russia is under the influence of corrupt capitalists, the pace is non-stop, the stakes are inconceivably high, the villain a true megalomaniac - and ex-Navy hero Lachlan Fox is seriously challenged. From his teens he wanted to be a novelist but first tried his hand at a real job, studying and working in architecture before turning to English literature, spending five years at a newspaper and obtaining an MA and PhD in writing.

Patriot Act (Lachlan Fox, #2) by James Phelan

James lives in Melbourne. For more information visit jamesphelan. Living to Tell about It James Phelan. Experiencing Fiction James Phelan.