Delivering "a gripping insider's view of the secret world of nuclear security" (W.E.B. Griffin), Dick Couch's explosive novel poses the chilling and timely question: How safe are America's waterways from terrorist threat?
Riding quietly at her moorings on Puget Sound, the U.S. Navy's deadly weapon -- the Trident submarine -- waits for her return to the sea. But an Arab terrorist known as the Shadow has targeted the USS Michigan, with nearly three hundred nuclear warheads nestled in its missile silos. He intends to take the deadliest weapon of the Cold War and turn it into the deadliest dirty bomb conceivable -- by hijacking the Spokane, flagship of the nation's largest ferry fleet. The nation, caught by surprise, sends a select team of Navy SEALs to stop the Shadow. They are aided by a savvy FBI agent and the ferry's captain, Ross Peck. Unless the U.S. wields its political might to support his terrorist brothers in the Middle East, the Shadow will unleash a radiological holocaust, and a nightmare beyond imagining. . . .
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April 24, 2006
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Excerpt from Pressure Point by Dick Couch
From Part One
Thursday, June 18, 1992,
6:00 PM -- Vancouver, British Columbia
The man standing near the corner was indistinguishable from the commuters waiting for the 6:05 bus. The Vancouver evening rush hour was nearly over, but the streets were still crowded. Those who waited did so patiently, reading the newspaper or staring vacantly at the passing traffic. There was little conversation. The man held a newspaper, head bent over the newsprint, but his eyes continually moved over the street in front of him. He wore light cotton trousers, a short-sleeved polo shirt, and woven leather shoes. His skin was a smooth olive color, and he could easily have been taken for a member of British Columbia's large Indian community, but his features were too angular and his dark, close-cropped hair much too coarse.
"Excuse me there, buddy," said a commuter with a briefcase as he stepped past the man toward the curb and an approaching bus. The man's head snapped up from the paper and his eyes flashed. Then, as if by an act of will, he softened.
"Certainly, sir, by all means."
The bus pulled away with fewer than half of those who waited, and the man resumed his vigil. It had rained earlier in the day and the evening promised to be unseasonably cool, but he didn't seem to notice.
Across the street, another man casually worked his way along the block, pausing occasionally to glance into a shop window. He was tall and wore glasses, and carried a paper folded in his right hand. At the corner across from the bus stop, he abruptly turned and walked back to a small cafe in the middle of the block. The watcher at the bus stop remained in place until the next bus arrived, then moved away from the crowd with those who got off the bus. He crossed the street and followed the second man into the cafe.
It was a small establishment with checkered tablecloths, and it smelled of garlic. He entered and stepped away from the door, and paused to allow his eyes to adjust to the interior light. A round woman in a dirty apron approached him carrying a plastic-covered menu, but he waved her away. The man wearing glasses who had entered some minutes ahead of him was seated in the corner with his back to the door and his paper on the edge of the table. Satisfied, he glanced around the room and walked over to the table, taking a seat with his back to the wall.
"It is good to see you again, my friend," he said, looking past his companion to survey the room again.
"And you, Jamil. How are you?" The two men worked at a casual conversation, speaking in English. Their accents differed slightly, as one's native tongue was Farsi and the other's Arabic. They had spoken often by telephone, but had not seen each other for about six weeks. After the waitress served them espresso, the one called Jamil leaned forward.
"Now, Ahmed," he commanded in a low voice, "tell me about the preparations."