Former Washington Post reporter Pete Earley sets the stage for this shocking thriller with an actual security threat the CIA secretly investigated during the peak of the Cold War: that the Soviet Union's KGB had cleverly smuggled a nuclear bomb into the very heart of Washington, D.C. In Lethal Secrets, the bomb is now in the hands of a band of Chechen rebels, led by Movladi ""the Viper"" Islamov, who's threatening to detonate the device unless his demands are met.The fate of the city rests in the hands of a disgraced deputy U.S. marshal, Wyatt Conway, who is reluctantly called into action by his FBI and CIA rivals because he was once a friend of Islamov's, before the freedom fighter turned into an international terrorist. His only hope at getting to Islamov lies with Vladimir Khrenkov, a possibly corrupt Russian intelligence agent. Conway suspects Khrenkov of being the man who executed a top Russian mobster whom Conway was protecting in the federal witness protection program. Kept on short leash by Kimberly Lodge, a skeptical CIA beauty who finds him incompetent and foolish, Conway must find a way to manipulate and expose Khrenkov, keep Lodge and her bureaucratic cronies off his back, and prevent Islamov from igniting the spark for Armageddon. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
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May 01, 2006
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Excerpt from Lethal Secrets by Pete Earley
Chapter One 50 Years Later New York City “Er, uh, would you like to go for coffee?” he asked, lingering near the door of their college economics classroom. “Not today,” she said. “But maybe some other morning.” She stepped by him into the crowded hallway. He was an American, and although she had lived in Brooklyn for five years, she still felt uncomfortable whenever she socialized with non-Russians. Still, he was handsome and seemed polite. He sat behind her every Tuesday and Thursday morning in the lecture hall. It was an easy class for her. She’d always been good with numbers. It had taken him several days to screw up his courage. There’d been clumsy attempts. Once, he’d rushed to open the lecture hall door but was too timid to speak. Another time, he’d borrowed a pencil. It was innocent. She was nineteen. He appeared to be about the same. Perhaps she was making a mistake. What harm would there be in going for coffee? He wasn’t a stranger. But her stepfather expected her earlier than usual today. Their restaurant hadn’t been open for very long. Her parents and uncle had invested everything in it. She left the building. The sun felt warm. There were no clouds. Blue sky. It was mid-October and the trees in the park across from the NYU library were dropping their leaves. Despite the sunshine, the air was crisp. She thought about Moscow. She missed her friends there. She missed her older brother. But she didn’t miss the city. It reeked of decay, stagnation, the past. New York was electric. It was her future. Because she was preoccupied, she didn’t notice the U-Haul truck edging up the street behind her as she walked to the subway. But even if she had, it wouldn’t have mattered. There was nothing odd about rental trucks in Manhattan. The driver hid behind sunglasses and a navy blue baseball cap with white stitching. New York Yankees. “That her?” the driver asked. “Da, da, da,” snapped Victor Manakov, the passenger sitting beside him. The truck eased by the girl and slipped into a no parking zone four car lengths ahead. The driver kept the engine running. Speaking into his cell phone, Manakov said, “She’s the skinny one wearing a white blouse, black pants, carrying textbooks.” The description was hardly necessary. The only other people on the sidewalk were a black youngster riding a skateboard and an elderly Hispanic woman walking with the aid of a cane. Manakov climbed out of the truck’s cab. It’s rear cargo door jerked upward. Three men crawled out. Each was wearing blue overalls. They appeared to be moving men about to deliver furniture. “Olga! Can that be you?” Manakov exclaimed in Russian. She stopped, examined his face, but didn’t recognize him. Stepping closer, he said, “I’m a friend of your brother, Vladimir! We were fighters together in Afghanistan!” The other men quietly encircled her, yet she didn’t sense any danger. She was trying to match his face to a memory. He opened his arms, as if he were about to embrace her. That’s when the others sprang into action. One grabbed her left arm, the other her right, while the third reached around her waist and easily lifted her from the sidewalk. Manakov snatched her legs. Caught completely by surprise, she dropped her books and tried to struggle. But her reaction came too late. They tossed her into the truck. The door slammed down. The vehicle lurched from the curb. “Shut up! Bitch!” Manakov yelled. He slapped her hard across the cheek. Olga was shoved onto her chest. Her hands and feet were