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The Stone Monkey

Jeffery Deaver

  He's the suspense star behind the new 007 novel, Carte Blanche . . . A "Best Novel of the Year" award-winner from the International Thriller Writers organization . . . He's the New York Times bestselling author who "fills every key stroke with suspense" (People) and delivers "a thrill ride between covers" (Los Angeles Times) every time . . . . Jeffery Deaver is hotter than ever!

  Acclaim for his newest crime fiction blockbusters


  "Wildly twisted . . . a nail-biter. . . . Breakneck action [for] fans of Deaver's fiendishly clever suspensers."

  --Kirkus Reviews (starred review) "Ingenious. . . . Tension-filled. . . . A compelling contest between two cunning opponents . . . will have Deaver fans sitting on the 'edge' of their seats."

  --Library Journal

  "Deaver unveils some nifty new tricks."

  --Publishers Weekly

  From his "simply outstanding" (San Jose Mercury News) Lincoln Rhyme series


  "Sterling. . . . Not even the brilliant Rhyme can foresee the shocking twists the case will take in this electrically charged thriller."

  --Publishers Weekly (starred review) "Deaver, master of the plot twist, does his usual magic. . . . Another winner."


  More great reading from the "ingeniously devious" (People) Jeffery Deaver, who "stokes our paranoia" (Entertainment Weekly) and "makes the intellectual puzzle the most thrilling part of his high-anxiety drama" (The New York Times Book Review) Two pulse-pounding novels featuring investigative agent Kathryn Dance


  Chosen as a Hot Summer Thriller on!

  "Deaver's got the world of social networking and blogs down cold. . . . That dose of realism adds a fresh, contemporary edge."

  --David Montgomery,

  "The techno-savvy Deaver . . . has one of those puzzle-loving minds you just can't trust."

  --Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times

  "Clever and twisted . . . . Don't miss this one."

  --Library Journal


  "[An] intricately plotted thriller . . . . A dazzling mental contest."

  --Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times

  "[A] pulse-pounder . . . . Deaver digs into his bottomless bag of unexpected twists and turns, keeping readers wide-eyed with surprise."

  --Publishers Weekly

  "The chase is on, and so are the surprises."

  --Sacramento Bee

  Be sure to read his award-winning bestseller


  "Best Novel of the Year" (2009) from the International Thriller Writers organization "A tour de force . . . . The suspense never flags . . . . Deaver has no rivals in the realm of sneaky plot twists."

  --Kirkus Reviews

  "Hurtles along at 100 m.p.h . . . . An edge-of-the-seat read."

  --Sunday Express (U.K.), 4 stars "A thrill-a-minute wilderness adventure."

  --New York Times

  "Very engrossing . . . . The biggest twist of all, you'll never see coming."

  --Fort Worth Star-Telegram (TX) "Deaver is such a good puppet master that he makes us believe whatever he wants us to believe . . . without telling us a single lie . . . . It's not until we're well more than halfway through the book that we even begin to suspect that we might have made some dangerous mistakes . . . but by then, it's way too late, and we are completely at Deaver's mercy."

  --Booklist (starred review)

  "He makes the characters live and breathe . . . . Read this and no country walk will ever be the same again."

  --Daily Express (U.K.)

  "Not just an adrenaline-charged manhunt but a game of deception and multiple double-cross that keeps the reader guessing right up to the final page."

  --The Times (London)

  These titles are also available from Simon & Schuster Audio and as eBooks

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  Author's Note

  Part I: The Snakehead

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Part II: The Beautiful Country

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-one

  Chapter Twenty-two

  Part III: The Register of the Living and the Dead

  Chapter Twenty-three

  Chapter Twenty-four

  Chapter Twenty-five

  Chapter Twenty-six

  Chapter Twenty-seven

  Chapter Twenty-eight

  Chapter Twenty-nine

  Part IV: Cutting the Demon's Tail

  Chapter Thirty

  Chapter Thirty-one

  Chapter Thirty-two

  Chapter Thirty-three

  Chapter Thirty-four

  Chapter Thirty-five

  Chapter Thirty-six

  Chapter Thirty-seven

  Chapter Thirty-eight

  Chapter Thirty-nine

  Chapter Forty

  Part V: All in Good Time

  Chapter Forty-one

  Chapter Forty-two

  Chapter Forty-three

  Chapter Forty-four

  Chapter Forty-five

  Chapter Forty-six

  Chapter Forty-seven

  Chapter Forty-eight

  Chapter Forty-nine

  Chapter Fifty


  The Vanished Man Excerpt

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  About Jeffery Deaver

  To those we lost on September 11, 2001--whose only crime was their love of tolerance and freedom and who will be in our hearts forever

  Author's Note

  I'm including here some information that might be helpful for readers unfamiliar with certain aspects of Chinese life that are described in the book.

  GEOGRAPHY Most of the illegal immigrants to the United States from China come from the southeastern coastal region of that country, generally from two provinces: in the far south, Guangdong Province, where Hong Kong is located, and just north of that, Fujian Province, whose major city is Fuzhou, a large seafaring center and probably the most popular point of embarkation for illegal immigrants beginning their journeys to other lands.

  LANGUAGE The written Chinese language is the same throughout the country but as spoken there are great differences from one region to the other. The major dialects are Cantonese in the south, Minnanhua in Fujian and Taiwan, and Mandarin, or Putonghua, in Beijing and the north. The few Chinese words I use in the book are in the Putonghua dialect, which is the official language of the country.

  NAMES Chinese names are traditionally given in the reverse order from that used in the United States and Europe. For example, with Li Kangmei, Li is the family name and Kangmei is the given name. Some Chinese in the more urbanized regions of China or with close ties to the United States or other Western cultures may adopt a Western given name, which they use in addition to
or instead of a Chinese given name. In such a case the Anglicized name precedes the family name, such as Jerry Tang.



  The Snakehead

  Tuesday, the Hour of the Tiger, 4:30 A.M.,

  to the Hour of the Dragon, 8 A.M.

  The word Wei-Chi consists of two Chinese words--Wei, which means to "encircle," and Chi, which means "piece." As the game represents a struggle for life, it may be called the "war game."

  --Danielle Pecorini and Tong Shu,

  The Game of Wei-Chi

  Chapter One

  They were the vanished, they were the unfortunate.

  To the human smugglers--the snakeheads--who carted them around the world like pallets of damaged goods, they were ju-jia, piglets.

  To the American INS agents who interdicted their ships and arrested and deported them they were undocumenteds.

  They were the hopeful. Who were trading homes and family and a thousand years of ancestry for the hard certainty of risky, laborious years ahead of them.

  Who had the slimmest of chances to take root in a place where their families could prosper, where freedom and money and contentment were, the story went, as common as sunlight and rain.

  They were his fragile cargo.

  And now, legs steady against the raging, five-meter-high seas, Captain Sen Zi-jun made his way from the bridge down two decks into the murky hold to deliver the grim message that their weeks of difficult journeying might have been in vain.

  It was just before dawn on a Tuesday in August. The stocky captain, whose head was shaved and who sported an elaborate bushy mustache, slipped past the empty containers lashed to the deck of the seventy-two-meter Fuzhou Dragon as camouflage and opened the heavy steel door to the hold. He looked down at the two-dozen people huddled there, in the grim, windowless space. Trash and children's plastic blocks floated in the shallow tide under the cheap cots.

  Despite the pitching waves, Captain Sen--a thirty-year veteran of the seas--walked down the steep metal steps without using the handrails and strode into the middle of the hold. He checked the carbon dioxide meter and found the levels acceptable though the air was vile with the smell of diesel fuel and humans who'd lived for two weeks in close proximity.

  Unlike many of the captains and crew who operated "buckets"--human smuggling ships--and who at best ignored or sometimes even beat or raped the passengers, Sen didn't mistreat them. Indeed he believed that he was doing a good thing: transporting these families from difficulty to, if not certain wealth, at least the hope of a happy life in America, Meiguo in Chinese, which means the "Beautiful Country."

  On this particular voyage, however, most of the immigrants distrusted him. And why not? They assumed he was in league with the snakehead who'd chartered the Dragon: Kwan Ang, known universally by his nickname, Gui, the Ghost. Tainted by the snakehead's reputation for violence, Captain Sen's efforts to engage the immigrants in conversation had been rebuffed and had yielded only one friend. Chang Jingerzi--who preferred his Western name of Sam Chang--was a forty-five-year-old former college professor from a suburb of the huge port city of Fuzhou in southeastern China. He was bringing his entire family to America: his wife, two sons and Chang's widower father.

  A half-dozen times on the trip Chang and Sen had sat in the hold, sipped the potent mao-tai that the captain always had in good supply on his ship and talked about life in China and in the United States.

  Captain Sen now saw Chang sitting on a cot in a forward corner of the hold. The tall, placid man frowned, a reaction to the look in the captain's eyes. Chang handed his teenage son the book he'd been reading to his family and rose to meet the captain.

  Everyone around them fell silent.

  "Our radar shows a fast-moving ship on course to intercept us."

  Dismay blossomed in the faces of those who'd overheard.

  "The Americans?" Chang asked. "Their Coast Guard?"

  "I think it must be," the captain answered. "We're in U.S. waters."

  Sen looked at the frightened faces of the immigrants around him. Like most shiploads of illegals that Sen had transported, these people--many of them strangers before they'd met--had formed a close bond of friendship. And they now gripped hands or whispered among themselves, some seeking, some offering reassurance. The captain's eyes settled on a woman holding an eighteen-month-old girl in her arms. Her mother--whose face was scarred from a beating at a reeducation camp--lowered her head and began to cry.

  "What can we do?" Chang asked, troubled.

  Captain Sen knew he was a vocal dissident in China and had been desperate to flee the country. If he was deported by U.S. Immigration he'd probably end up in one of the infamous jails in western China as a political prisoner.

  "We're not far from the drop-off spot. We're running at full speed. It may be possible to get close enough to put you ashore in rafts."

  "No, no," Chang said. "In these waves? We'd all die."

  "There's a natural harbor I'm steering for. It should be calm enough for you to board the rafts. At the beach there'll be trucks to take you to New York."

  "And what about you?" Chang asked.

  "I'll head back into the storm. By the time it's safe for them to board you'll be on highways of gold, heading toward the city of diamonds. . . . Now tell everyone to get their belongings together. But only the most important things. Your money, your pictures. Leave everything else. It will be a race to the shore. Stay below until the Ghost or I tell you to come up top."

  Captain Sen hurried up the steep ladder, on his way to the bridge. As he climbed he said a brief prayer for their survival to Tian Hou, the goddess of sailors, then dodged a wall of gray water that vaulted the side of the ship.

  On the bridge he found the Ghost standing over the radar unit, staring into the rubber glare shade. The man stood completely still, bracing himself against the rolling of the sea.

  Some snakeheads dressed as if they were wealthy Cantonese gangsters from a John Woo film but the Ghost always wore the standard outfit of most Chinese men--simple slacks and short-sleeved shirts. He was muscular but diminutive, clean-shaven, hair longer than a typical businessman's but never styled with cream or spray.

  "They will intercept us in fifteen minutes," the snakehead said. Even now, facing interdiction and arrest, he seemed as lethargic as a ticket seller in a rural long-distance bus station.

  "Fifteen?" the captain replied. "Impossible. How many knots are they making?"

  Sen walked to the chart table, the centerpiece of all ocean-crossing vessels. On it sat a U.S. Defense Mapping Agency nautical chart of the area. He had to judge the two ships' relative positions from this and from the radar; because of the risk of being traced, the Dragon's global positioning system and her EPIRB emergency beacon and Global Maritime Distress and Safety System were disconnected.

  "I think it will be at least forty minutes," the captain said.

  "No, I timed the distance they've traveled since we spotted them."

  Captain Sen glanced at the crewman piloting the Fuzhou Dragon, sweating as he gripped the wheel in his struggle to keep the Turk's head knot of twine, tied around a spoke, straight up, indicating that the rudder was aligned with the hull. The throttles were full forward. If the Ghost was right in his assessment of when the cutter would intercept them they would not be able to make the protected harbor in time. At best they could get within a half mile of the nearby rocky shore--close enough to launch the rafts but subjecting them to merciless pounding by the tempestuous seas.

  The Ghost asked the captain, "What sort of weapons will they have?"

  "Don't you know?"

  "I've never been interdicted," the Ghost replied. "Tell me."

  Ships under Sen's command had been stopped and boarded twice before--fortunately on legitimate voyages, not when he was running immigrants for snakeheads. But the experience had been harrowing. A dozen armed Coast Guard sailors had streamed onto the vessel while another one, on the deck of the cutter, had trained a
two-barreled machine gun on him and his crew. There'd been a small cannon too.

  He now told the Ghost what they might expect.

  The Ghost nodded. "We need to consider our options."

  "What options?" Captain Sen now asked. "You're not thinking of fighting them, are you? No. I won't allow it."

  But the snakehead didn't answer. He remained braced at the radar stand, staring at the screen.

  The man seemed placid but, Sen supposed, he must've been enraged. No snakehead he'd ever worked with had taken so many precautions to avoid capture and detection as the Ghost on this voyage. The two-dozen immigrants had met in an abandoned warehouse outside of Fuzhou and waited there for two days, under the watch of a partner of the Ghost's--a "little snakehead." The man had then loaded the Chinese onto a chartered Tupolev 154, which had flown to a deserted military airfield near St. Petersburg in Russia. There they'd climbed into a shipping container, been driven 120 kilometers to the town of Vyborg and boarded the Fuzhou Dragon, which Sen had sailed into the Russian port just the day before. He himself had meticulously filled out the customs documents and manifests--everything according to the book, so as not to arouse suspicion. The Ghost had joined them at the last minute and the ship had sailed on schedule. Through the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the English Channel, then the Dragon had crossed the famous starting point of transatlantic voyages in the Celtic Sea--490N 70W--and had begun steaming southwest toward Long Island, New York.

  There was not a single thing about the voyage that would arouse the suspicion of the U.S. authorities. "How did the Coast Guard do it?" the captain asked.

  "What?" the Ghost responded absently.

  "Find us. No one could have. It's impossible."

  The Ghost straightened up and pushed outside into the raging wind, calling back, "Who knows? Maybe it was magic."

  Chapter Two

  "We're right on top of 'em, Lincoln. The boat's headin' for land but are they gonna make it? Nosir, nohow. Wait, do I hafta call it a 'ship'? I think I do. It's too big for a boat."

  "I don't know," Lincoln Rhyme said absently to Fred Dellray. "I don't really do much sailing."

  The tall, lanky Dellray was the FBI agent in charge of the federal side of the efforts to find and arrest the Ghost. Neither Dellray's canary yellow shirt nor his black suit, as dark as the man's lustrous skin, had been ironed recently--but then no one in the room looked particularly well rested. These half-dozen people clustered around Rhyme had spent the past twenty-four hours virtually living here, in this improbable headquarters--the living room of Rhyme's Central Park West town house, which resembled not the Victorian drawing room it had once been but a forensics laboratory, chock-full of tables, equipment, computers, chemicals, wires and hundreds of forensics books and magazines.