Now working for the CIA, ex-chief-of-police Holly Barker joins the elite task force tracking Teddy Fay--a man who kills his political targets for sport. As he begins to pick off America's enemies one by one, Holly unexpectedly finds herself face-to-face with the killer, kick-starting a high-speed chase through the streets of Manhattan.
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April 03, 2006
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Excerpt from Iron Orchid by Stuart Woods
HOLLY BARKER TOOK AIM and squeezed off a round. Her father, Senior Master Sergeant, U.S. Army (ret.), Hamilton Barker, looked through his hand scope.
"High and to the right," he said.
"How high and how far to the right of what " Holly asked in disbelief.
"An inch high and to the right of dead center," Ham replied. "That's not good enough. Push with your right hand, pull with your left."
"That's what I've been doing since I was eight, when you first taught it to me," Holly said. She took aim and, this time, made a point of pushing and pulling.
"That's better," Ham said.
"How much better "
"A quarter of an inch off dead center," he said.
"Oh, please," Holly said, laughing.
"How did the Orchid Beach town council take your resignation as chief of police " Ham asked.
"They were appropriately sad, except for a couple who looked relieved. At least they accepted my recommendation of Hurd Wallace to replace me. They're getting a good man."
"They're losing a better woman. What are you going to do with your house "
"One of my young policewomen is going to move into the guesthouse and be my caretaker. I'll need the house to decompress once in a while. Also to remind me of Jackson." Jackson Oxenhandler, Holly's fianc ' , had been killed in a bank robbery two years before, an innocent bystander.
Ham went to his range bag and came back with a mahogany box.
"What's that "
"Something for you to take with you on the new job." He handed her the box and a small key.
Holly set down the box, inserted the key and unlocked it. "Oooh," she said, gazing at the shiny stainless slide with her name engraved on it. "Nice Colt .45."
"It's not a Colt, and it's not a .45," Ham said. "It's a nine-millimeter made of Caspian parts. The lightweight frame was designed by Terry Tussey, and the grip holds a round shorter than standard, but it will conceal nicely. Only weighs twenty-one ounces. I thought it might come in handy."
Holly picked up the small gun and hefted it. "Nice," she said.
Ham handed her a loaded magazine. "See if you can hit anything with it."
The target was still set at twenty-five feet. Holly set herself, pushed and pulled and squeezed off the round.
"Half an inch off dead center," Ham said. "Not bad, considering it's a three-inch barrel, instead of four."
"Sweet trigger," Holly said. "Four, four and a half pounds "
"Four, exactly. Try it with both eyes open, and use up the magazine, rapid fire."