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Karim took the laptop and sat down at the kitchen table facing Hakim.

“What are you doing?” Hakim asked.

Without taking his eyes off the screen he said, “Finding a place to stay tonight.”

Hakim got a sinking feeling in his stomach. “What kind of place?”

“A house. Preferably one without any neighbors.”



RAPP landed back in the States feeling a lot better than when he’d left. He’d slept a solid four hours on the flight back. He woke up almost precisely an hour before landing and put on a fresh pot of coffee. While he waited for it to brew, he ate a turkey and bacon sandwich and some chips and drank a bottle of water. With that out of the way he set about drinking some coffee and making a list. Every time he got out one of his yellow legal pads and a pen, Kennedy cringed. She adhered to the old-school ways of guys like Bill Donovan, Bill Casey, and Thomas Stansfield. They liked to say if you needed a pen and paper you were in the wrong business. Rapp didn’t have their photographic memory, and they almost certainly couldn’t break a man’s neck with their bare hands.

So he made his list. He tore off a single sheet at a time and scratched down his thoughts in near-unintelligible handwriting. No names were used, just initials, last and then first. He filled up two and a half sheets with his chicken scratch, jumping from one person or problem to the next and then back as new solutions or concerns came to him. He’d found that if he didn’t do this at least twice a week things began to slip through the cracks, and in his line of work that usually meant someone was either going to have his career ruined or end up dead.

By the time the plane landed on the rain-slick Dulles runway Rapp had torn the sheets into quarters and fed them through the shredder. The slivers of paper, like strands of angel hair pasta, were collected in a burn bag. The ground crew would dispose of it later, and if by chance it fell into the wrong hands, Rapp wished the fools luck. Even if they could reconstruct the original pages they wouldn’t make much sense.

The plane taxied to the private aviation hangars, where the CIA kept their planes. Rapp looked out the window and was relieved there were no government sedans waiting for him. He gathered his stuff, thanked the pilots, and moved across the tarmac with his garment and duffel bags. As he passed through the gate, he saw someone standing under an umbrella, next to his car. Rapp tensed a bit and draped his garment bag over his right arm. In a smooth, casual motion his left hand tugged at his belt buckle and then slid around to the hilt of his gun. Two steps later he realized it was Coleman and relaxed.

Rapp fished his keys out and unlocked the doors from about twenty feet away. “What’s up?”

Coleman looked as if he was in a shitty mood. “We have a problem.”

“What kind of problem?”

“I think it’d be better if we talked on the way back into town.” Coleman glanced over at the entrance to the private aviation center. A couple of beefy guys who looked like they might be Diplomatic Security were waiting for someone.

Rapp threw his stuff in the backseat and asked, “Can you ride with me?”

“Yes.” Coleman pointed a few rows over and said, “I brought Mick with me. He’ll follow us back downtown.”

“Downtown . . . why are we going downtown?”

“Because I think you’re going to want to talk to someone.”

Rapp almost asked who, but decided he’d wait until they were on the road.

As they pulled out of the lot, Coleman said, “Your car’s clean. I swept it while I was waiting.”

“Good.” Rapp turned onto the service road and asked, “You sure?”

Coleman glanced over at him and gave him a noncommittal stare. “I checked out Doc’s office.”


“I didn’t find shit.”

Rapp frowned. “How many guys did you use?”

“Myself plus three.”

“Marcus?” Rapp asked, referring to his main computer guy.


“And you found nothing. Damn it.”

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