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The Devil's Teardrop

Jeffery Deaver

  He's the suspense star behind the new 007 novel . . . A "Best Novel of the Year" award--winner from the International Thriller Writers organization . . . Jeffery Deaver is hotter than ever!

  Read these acclaimed bestsellers from the "master of ticking bomb suspense." (People) A thrilling stand-alone novel


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

  --Kirkus Reviews (starred review) The ninth novel in 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--no matter how hard you try, you can't figure out what he's about to spring on you. . . . Another winner from the dependable Deaver."


  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

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

  --Sacramento Bee

  His award-winning bestseller


  Named "Best Novel of the Year" (2009) by 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 "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)

  More praise for Jeffery Deaver, who "stokes our paranoia" (Entertainment Weekly) with his masterworks of suspense "Deaver is able to fool even the most experienced readers with his right-angle turns."--Booklist "His labyrinthine plots are astonishing."

  --The New York Times Book Review

  "A thrill ride between covers."--Los Angeles Times "Rock-solid suspense."--People

  "The grand master of the ticking-clock thriller."

  --Kathy Reichs, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Spider Bones

  Thank you for purchasing this Simon & Schuster eBook.

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  With thanks to Madelyn


  Part I The Last Day of the Year

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Part II The Changeling

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Part III Three Hawks

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Part IV The Puzzle Master

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Author's Note


  About Jeffery Deaver


  The Last Day of the Year

  A thorough analysis of an anonymous letter may greatly reduce the number of possible writers and may at once dismiss certain suspected writers. The use of a semicolon or the correct use of an apostrophe may eliminate a whole group of writers.



  The Digger's in town.

  The Digger looks like you, the Digger looks like me. He walks down the wintry streets the way anybody would, shoulders drawn together against the damp December air.

  He's not tall and not short, he's not heavy and not thin. His fingers in dark gloves might be pudgy but they might not. His feet seem large but maybe that's just the size of his shoes.

  If you glanced at his eyes you wouldn't notice the shape or the color but only that they don't seem quite human, and if the Digger glanced at you while you were looking at him, his eyes might be the very last thing you ever saw.

  He wears a long, black coat, or a dark blue one, and not a soul on the street notices him pass by though there are many witnesses here--the streets of Washington, D.C., are crowded because it's morning rush hour.

  The Digger's in town and it's New Year's Eve.

  Carrying a Fresh Fields shopping bag, the Digger dodges around couples and singles and families and keeps on walking. Ahead, he sees the Metro station. He was told to be there at exactly 9 A.M. and he will be. The Digger is never late.

  The bag in his maybe-pudgy hand is heavy. It weighs eleven pounds though by the time the Digger returns to his motel room it will weigh considerably less.

  A man bumps into him and smiles and says, "Sorry," but the Digger doesn't glance at him. The Digger never looks at anybody and doesn't want anybody to look at him.

  "Don't let anybody . . ." Click. ". . . let anybody see your face. Look away. Remember?"

  I remember.


  Look at the lights, he thinks, look at the . . . click . . . at the New Year's Eve decorations. Fat babies in banners, Old Man Time.

  Funny decorations. Funny lights. Funny how nice they are.

  This is Dupont Circle, home of money, home of art, home of the young and the chic. The Digger knows this but he knows it only because the man who tells him things told him about Dupont Circle.

  He arrives at the mouth of the subway tunnel. The morning is overcast and, being winter, there is a dimness over the city.

  The Digger thinks of his wife on days like this. Pamela didn't like the dark and the cold so she . . . click . . . she . . . What did she do? That's right. She planted red flowers and yellow flowers.

  He looks at the subway
and he thinks of a picture he saw once. He and Pamela were at a museum. They saw an old drawing on the wall.

  And Pamela said, "Scary. Let's go."

  It was a picture of the entrance to hell.

  The Metro tunnel disappears sixty feet underground, passengers rising, passengers descending. It looks just like that drawing.

  The entrance to hell.

  Here are young women with hair cut short and briefcases. Here are young men with their sports bags and cell phones.

  And here is the Digger with his shopping bag.

  Maybe he's fat, maybe he's thin. Looking like you, looking like me. Nobody ever notices the Digger and that's one of the reasons he's so very good at what he does.

  "You're the best," said the man who tells him things last year. You're the . . . click, click . . . the best.

  At 8:59 the Digger walks to the top of the down escalator, which is filled with people disappearing into the pit.

  He reaches into the bag and curls his finger around the comfy grip of the gun, which may be an Uzi or a Mac-10 or an Intertech but definitely weighs eleven pounds and is loaded with a hundred-round clip of .22 long-rifle bullets.

  The Digger's hungry for soup but he ignores the sensation.

  Because he's the . . . click . . . the best.

  He looks toward but not at the crowd, waiting their turn to step onto the down escalator, which will take them to hell. He doesn't look at the couples or the men with telephones or women with hair from Supercuts, which is where Pamela went. He doesn't look at the families. He clutches the shopping bag to his chest, the way anybody would if it were full of holiday treats. One hand on the grip of whatever kind of gun it is, his other hand curled--outside the bag--around what somebody might think is a loaf of Fresh Fields bread that would go very nicely with soup but is in fact a heavy sound suppressor, packed with mineral cotton and rubber baffles.

  His watch beeps.

  Nine A.M.

  He pulls the trigger.

  There is a hissing sound as the stream of bullets begins working its way down the passengers on the escalator and they pitch forward under the fire. The hush hush hush of the gun is suddenly obscured by the screams.

  "Oh God look out Jesus Jesus what's happening I'm hurt I'm falling." And things like that.

  Hush hush hush.

  And all the terrible clangs of the misses--the bullets striking the metal and the tile. That sound is very loud. The sounds of the hits are much softer.

  Everyone looks around, not knowing what's going on.

  The Digger looks around too. Everyone frowns. He frowns.

  Nobody thinks that they are being shot. They believe that someone has fallen and started a chain reaction of people tumbling down the escalator. Clangs and snaps as phones and briefcases and sports bags fall from the hands of the victims.

  The hundred rounds are gone in seconds.

  No one notices the Digger as he looks around, like everyone else.


  "Call an ambulance the police the police my God this girl needs help she needs help somebody he's dead oh Jesus my Lord her leg look at her leg my baby my baby . . ."

  The Digger lowers the shopping bag, which has one small hole in the bottom where the bullets left. The bag holds all the hot, brass shells.

  "Shut it off shut off the escalator oh Jesus look somebody stop it stop the escalator they're being crushed . . ."

  Things like that.

  The Digger looks. Because everybody's looking.

  But it's hard to see into hell. Below is just a mass of bodies piling up, growing higher, writhing . . . Some are alive, some dead, some struggling to get out from underneath the crush that's piling up at the base of the escalator.

  The Digger is easing backward into the crowd. And then he's gone.

  He's very good at disappearing. "When you leave you should act like a chameleon," said the man who tells him things. "Do you know what that is?"

  "A lizard."


  "That changes color. I saw it on TV."

  The Digger is moving along the sidewalks, filled with people. Running this way and that way. Funny.

  Funny . . .

  Nobody notices the Digger.

  Who looks like you and looks like me and looks like the woodwork. Whose face is white as a morning sky. Or dark as the entrance to hell.

  As he walks--slowly, slowly--he thinks about his motel. Where he'll reload his gun and repack his silencer with bristly mineral cotton and sit in his comfy chair with a bottle of water and a bowl of soup beside him. He'll sit and relax until this afternoon and then--if the man who tells him things doesn't leave a message to tell him not to--he'll put on his long black or blue coat once more and go outside.

  And do this all over again.

  It's New Year's Eve. And the Digger's in town.


  While ambulances were speeding to Dupont Circle and rescue workers were digging through the ghastly mine of bodies in the Metro station, Gilbert Havel walked toward City Hall, two miles away.

  At the corner of Fourth and D, beside a sleeping maple tree, Havel paused and opened the envelope he carried and read the note one last time.

  Mayor Kennedy--

  The end is night. The Digger is loose and their is no way to stop him. He will kill again--at four, 8 and Midnight if you don't pay.

  I am wanting $20 million dollars in cash, which you will put into a bag and leave it two miles south of Rt 66 on the West Side of the Beltway. In the middle of the Field. Pay to me the Money by 1200 hours. Only I am knowing how to stop The Digger. If you apprehend me, he will keep killing. If you kill me, he will keep killing.

  If you dont think I'm real, some of the Diggers bullets were painted black. Only I know that.

  This was, Havel decided, about as perfect an idea as anybody could've come up with. Months of planning. Every possible response by the police and FBI anticipated. A chess game.

  Buoyed by that thought, he replaced the note in the envelope, closed but didn't seal it and continued along the street. Havel walked in a stooped lope, eyes down, a pose meant to diminish his six-two height. It was hard for him, though; he preferred to walk tall and stare people down.

  The security at City Hall, One Judiciary Square, was ridiculous. No one noticed as he walked past the entrance to the nondescript stone building and paused at a newspaper vending machine. He slipped the envelope under the stand and turned slowly, walking toward E Street.

  Warm for New Year's Eve, Havel was thinking. The air smelled like fall--rotten leaves and humid wood smoke. The scent aroused a pang of undefined nostalgia for his childhood home. He stopped at a pay phone on the corner, dropped in some coins and dialed a number.

  A voice answered, "City Hall. Security."

  Havel held a tape recorder next to the phone and pressed play. A computer-generated voice said, "Envelope in front of the building. Under the Post vending machine. Read it now. It's about the Metro killings." He hung up and crossed the street, dropping the tape recorder into a paper cup and throwing the cup into a wastebasket.

  Havel stepped into a coffee shop and sat down in a window booth, where he had a good view of the vending machine and the side entrance to City Hall. He wanted to make sure the envelope was picked up--it was, before Havel even had his jacket off. He also wanted to see who'd be coming to advise the mayor. And whether reporters showed up.

  The waitress stopped by his booth and he ordered coffee and, though it was still breakfast time, a steak sandwich, the most expensive thing on the menu. Why not? He was about to become a very wealthy man.


  "Daddy, tell me about the Boatman."

  Parker Kincaid paused. He set down the cast-iron skillet he was washing.

  He'd learned never to be alarmed by anything the children asked--well, never to appear alarmed--and he smiled down at the boy as he dried his hands with paper towels.

  "The Boatman?" he asked his nine-year-old son. "You bet. What do you wan
t to know?"

  The kitchen of Parker's house in Fairfax, Virginia, was fragrant with the smells of a holiday meal in the works. Onion, sage, rosemary. The boy looked out the window. Said nothing.

  "Go ahead," Parker encouraged. "Tell me."

  Robby was blond and had his mother's blue eyes. He wore a purple Izod shirt and tan pants, cinched at the waist with a Ralph Lauren belt. His floppy cowlick leaned to the starboard this morning.

  "I mean," the boy began, "I know he's dead and everything . . ."

  "That's right," Parker said. He added nothing more. ("Never tell the children more than they ask." This was one of the rules from Parker Kincaid's Handbook for the Single Parent--a guide that existed solely in his mind yet one he referred to every day.) "It's just that outside . . . sometimes it looks like him. I mean, I looked outside and it's like I could see him."

  "What do we do when you feel like that?"

  "I get my shield and my helmet," the boy recited, "and if it's dark I put the lights on."

  Parker remained standing. Usually, when he had serious conversations with his children, he subscribed to the eye-level approach. But when the subject of the Boatman arose a therapist had recommended that Parker stand--to make the boy feel safe in the presence of a strong, protective adult. And there was something about Parker Kincaid that induced a sense of security. Just forty, he was tall--a little over six feet--and was nearly in as good shape now as he'd been in college. Thanks not to aerobics or health clubs but to his two children--and their soccer scrimmages, basketball, Frisbee tourneys and the family's regular Sunday morning runs (well, Parker's run--he usually brought up the rear behind their bicycles as they looped around a local park).

  "Let's take a look. Okay? Where you think you saw him."


  "You have your helmet and your shield?"

  "Right here." The boy patted his head and then held up his left arm like a knight's.

  "That's a good one. I've got mine too." Parker mimicked the boy's gestures.

  They walked to the back door.

  "See, those bushes," Robby said.

  Parker looked out over his half acre in an old development twenty miles west of Washington, D.C. His property was mostly grass and flower beds. But at the back of the land was a tangle of forsythia and kudzu and ivy he'd been meaning to cut back for a year. Sure enough, if you squinted, some of the vegetation did resemble a human form.