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Authors: Allison Brennan

Tags: #Suspense, #Public Prosecutors, #General, #Romance, #Psychopaths, #Suspense Fiction, #United States - Officials and employees, #Fiction, #Women - Crimes against

Fear No Evil

BOOK: Fear No Evil
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Fear No Evil
Evil [3]
Allison Brennan
Random House, Inc. (2007)
Tags: Psychopaths, General, Romance, United States - Officials and employees, Suspense Fiction, Public prosecutors, Suspense, Fiction, Women - Crimes against
Psychopathsttt Generalttt Romancettt United States - Officials and employeesttt Suspense Fictionttt Public prosecutorsttt Suspensettt Fictionttt Women - Crimes againstttt

Product Description

In cyberspace, no one can hear you scream.

Instead of preparing for her high school graduation, Lucy Kincaid is facing a vicious execution. Lured by an online predator, she’s destined to die horribly–live on the Internet–while hundreds of heartless viewers watch and vote on the method of her slaughter. Her family’s only hope rests with Kate Donovan, an FBI agent who took on the same sadistic killer once before . . . and lost. Blamed for another girl’s gruesome murder, Kate’s been fighting to clear her name. But she agrees to join the hunt for Lucy–and reluctantly steps back into her worst nightmare.

With time running out before the bloody webcast airs, Kate teams up with forensic psychiatrist Dillon Kincaid to get inside the head of her twisted quarry, zero in on his chamber of horrors, and reach Lucy before grim history repeats itself and another innocent’s brutal death goes hideously live.

Face the fear. Speak its name. See its face.

About the Author

Allison Brennan is the author of The Prey, The Hunt, The Kill, Speak No Evil, and See No Evil. For thirteen years she worked as a consultant in the California State Legislature before leaving to devote herself fully to her family and writing. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. She lives in Northern California with her husband Dan, and their five children.

Visit the author’s website at www.allisonbrennan.com.

 

CONTENTS

COVER PAGE

TITLE PAGE

DEDICATION

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

PROLOGUE

 

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

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

CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE

CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR

CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE

CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX

CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN

CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT

CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE

CHAPTER THIRTY

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE

CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO

CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE

CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX

CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN

 

ALSO BY ALLISON BRENNAN

EXCERPT FOR FEAR NO EVIL

PRAISE FOR ALLISON BRENNAN

COPYRIGHT

For the 151 sworn officers killed in the line of duty in 2006 and their families, especially Sacramento County Deputy Sheriff Jeffrey Mitchell (1968–2006).

The generosity of professionals, friends, and fellow authors continues to amaze me, in particular Pia Bergqvist of the Cessna Aircraft Company, Rae Monet, Karen Rose, Candy Calvert, Rex Moen, Cheryl Zoe Thomas, and Gordon Hinkle. While I tried to keep the facts of computer technology and small plane craft accurate, if I got anything wrong it was due to my own error and certainly not because of these helpful people.

To Karin Tabke for always listening when I panicked, then telling me to get back to work because I didn’t have time to wallow in self-doubt.

And of course the fabulous Ballantine and Trident teams, without whom I wouldn’t be penning these acknowledgments.

I especially want to recognize and thank businessman and philanthropist Bill Simon, who has been a special friend to my family, for all the good works he and his wife Cindy do.

PROLOGUE

Five Years Ago

T
HE SICK AND DEPRAVED HAD VOTED:
death by stabbing.

“No.”

Kate Donovan’s whisper became a cry as she pocketed her cell phone, unable to respond to the text message her only remaining friend in the FBI had sent.

Unable and unwilling. She was so close, dammit! She knew it, sensed it, but no one believed her. Why should they? Less than two days ago, she’d led her people into a trap, and an agent—her lover Evan—ended up dead. Another agent—her partner Paige—kidnapped.

She had been tracking the webcam of Paige for twenty-four hours. The sick reality of what had already happened to her partner live on the Internet propelled her forward. She’d called in every favor, stolen expensive equipment from FBI headquarters, and hacked into private companies all in what she feared was a futile effort to save Paige’s life. Saving Paige had become her sole goal, so she wouldn’t think about Evan’s death.

She breathed heavily through her mouth as she ran even faster through the woods. An internal clock audibly ticked in her ear, pushing her forward. Fear crawled up her spine and slithered into her heart, constricting her chest until every breath hurt. She wasn’t going to make it.

An all-too-human scream echoed through the wooded canyon, then was abruptly cut short.

Kate tripped, caught herself, and was surprised to feel moisture on her face. She couldn’t be crying. She wiped her forehead and came away with blood. The gash on her head from the failed sting operation had needed stitches, but she’d had no time. No wonder it had started bleeding again.

Wiping her bloody hands on her jeans, Kate tied the bandanna tighter around her forehead and continued running, gun drawn.

The grand, two-story cabin stood in a clearing. She stared at the satellite dish on the roof and knew this was it. Her training and instincts had paid off: she had been right about where Trask had taken Paige. The dish opened onto the clear blue sky, enabling Paige Henshaw’s rape and murder to be bounced from satellite to server to satellite, broadcast live for all to see. Kate almost ran across the open field to storm the cabin, but that could possibly have gotten her killed.

Don’t be stupid, Donovan!

She circled the property, staying behind the tree line, ignoring her vibrating cell phone. The FBI knew where she was. If they had really been determined to save Paige, they would have listened to her, come with her instead of trying to arrest her for disobeying orders.

A black Suburban was parked next to the cabin. No other vehicles were in sight. Trask wasn’t stupid enough to be out here alone, without security. Even though he lost men the night before last when he’d ambushed her and Paige in the warehouse, he still had at least two other men in his employ.

Her skin tingled. Someone was watching. Swallowing, she looked around, keeping low. She thought she had bypassed all his security traps. Had she unknowingly triggered something? A camera, a microphone? What kind of technology did this monster have?

She crouched in the bushes, still as a hunter with prey in sight—yet she felt more like a deer in a rifle sight than a tough FBI agent.

Nothing
. No sound from the cabin. No sound from the woods except the soft
whish-whish
of the breeze rustling the pine needles. Frogs. A bird.

Where was he?

Dammit, Trask! Where are you?

Sixty yards away, the cabin door slowly opened. He stood, framed in the doorway.

She didn’t know his real name, only knew him as “Trask,” the founder of Trask Enterprises, an online pornography company. Kate hadn’t known his race, his nationality, or his age. Now she studied him. He was Caucasian or light-skinned Hispanic, perhaps European from his high-chiseled cheekbones and strong chin, darker than Scandinavian, lighter than Mediterranean. Thirty? Older?

She might not know anything personal about him, but she’d never forget his face. She had stared into his icy blue eyes thirty-six hours ago as he aimed a gun at her head.

He stared at her hiding place, as frozen in time as she. Her mouth went dry, her hand itched to fire her gun. She swallowed and training won out. There was no way, even with her excellent marksmanship skills, that she could assuredly take him down with her service pistol at this distance.

He stepped outside, and two larger men followed. One carried two suitcases. The other carried a semiautomatic rifle and eyed the horizon. He didn’t see her, but his eyes swept back and forth as the three men walked purposefully toward the Suburban.

There was no hope. She couldn’t take down all of them by herself. And while she might get a shot at one of the guards, she wouldn’t get to the leader, the man who had come up with the plan, who had executed it, and who took perverse pleasure in killing.

If she could kill the bastard who called himself Trask, Kate would be willing to die—already the pain of losing Evan was eating at her. But if she couldn’t get Trask, her sacrifice would be for nothing. And Kate refused to die in vain.

She watched the Suburban drive away, deep anger and remorse clutching her heart. She’d lost Evan, lost everything because she had moved too quickly, too soon, at the warehouse. She hadn’t verified crucial information. If only she hadn’t been so eager to capture Trask and prove to everyone that she was right, she wouldn’t have lost her career, her best friend, and her freedom.

Being right meant nothing when everything you cared about was destroyed.

The Suburban disappeared around the bend. Kate left her hiding place and ran to the main door of the cabin. Instinct told her everyone was gone, but she had to do a perimeter check anyway.

Through the back window, she saw her best friend.

Paige lay on a blood-soaked mattress, a knife protruding from her chest. Her body was in shreds, her eyes open, staring at Kate, accusing her.

You promised you’d find me.

Paige had saved her life at the warehouse. Trask had Kate first and brought his gun to her head.

“You’re coming with me,”
he’d said.

Paige had attacked him from behind, stunning Trask just long enough for Kate to dive behind crates and retrieve the gun she’d lost in the struggle. Sirens had then cut through the night and Kate had looked up just as Trask hit Paige over the head and his partner, Roger Morton, carried her from the warehouse.

Kate didn’t shoot out of fear of hitting Paige.

Paige had given her life to save Kate’s. A cry escaped from her and she swallowed her pain and failure. Kate almost ran into the room, just to shut Paige’s eyes. To call their boss and blame him for not backing her up. To turn off the damn video camera in the corner, broadcasting Paige’s mutilated body to the thousands of sick bastards who had paid to see her raped and murdered.

A blink of something green caught her eye. Next to the door a digital clock. All at once Kate took in the entire room, not just Paige’s dead body.

The wires.

The plastique.

The time.

The clock was counting backward: 1:11, 1:10, 1:09.

Looking quickly around the window for any booby traps, she broke it with the grip of her gun, cleared the glass as best she could, and jumped through.

The countdown turned from one minute to fifty-nine seconds. Fifty-eight. Fifty-seven.

BOOK: Fear No Evil
9.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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