Authors: Tom Barber
Copyright: Tom Barber
The right of Tom Barber to be identified as author of this Work has been asserted by he in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in retrieval system, copied in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise transmitted without written permission from the publisher. You must not circulate this book in any format.
This book is a work of fiction and, except in the case of historical fact, any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
The Sam Archer thriller series
26 year old Sam Archer has just been selected to join a new counter-terrorist squad, the Armed Response Unit. And they have their first case. A team of suicide bombers are planning to attack London on New Year’s Eve. The problem?
No one knows where any of them are.
Archer is in New York City for a funeral. After the service, an old familiar face approaches him with a proposition. A team of bank robbers are tearing the city apart, robbing it for millions.
The FBI agent needs Archer to go undercover and try to stop them.
Three men have been killed in the UK and USA in one morning. The deaths take place thousands of miles apart, yet are connected by an event fifteen years ago. Before long, Archer and the ARU are drawn into the violent fray. And there’s a problem.
One of their own men is on the extermination list.
A dead body is found in Central Park, a man who was killed by a deadly virus. Someone out there has more of the substance and is planning to use it. Archer must find where this virus came from and secure it before any more is released.
But he is already too late.
On his way home, Archer saves a team of US Marshals from a violent ambush in the middle of the Upper West Side. The group are forced to take cover in a tenement block in Harlem. But there are more killers on the way to finish the job.
And Archer feels there’s something about the group of Marshals that isn’t quite right.
For Suzanne, Nancy, Pat, Judith and Shannon.
Two officers from East Hampton Town PD took the call. Both male, they’d joined the Department fresh from the Suffolk County Police Academy three years ago, and after a twelve-week orientation and on-the-job training programme, had been partners ever since.
East Hampton Town PD is made up of fifty-six officers who perform all of the law-enforcement tasks the area requires. The Hamptons are a group of villages forming a part of upstate New York everyone associates with wealth; the rich and famous frequently choose to vacation there, some renting places for the season and others just buying them outright to save hassle. Whichever option they take, the Hamptons contain some of the most expensive residential properties not just on the East Coast, but in all of the United States. There was a reason the region served as a setting in
The Great Gatsby;
the area evokes the glamour and sophistication of a prosperous present and romanticised past.
Given the demographic and the amount of zeroes a person needs in their bank account just to rent a place
there, crime is low. Most of those who vacation and live in the Hamptons are the business and social crème de la crème, so any illegal activity tends to be either petty stuff or at the opposite end of the spectrum, serious accounting, fraud or business transgressions which an FBI or a Financial Crimes task force from the city handles. The most common illegal deed is burglary, thieves capitalising on properties mothballed for long periods out of season or when the residents are out of town, making the most of their absence to help themselves to expensive furniture, art and jewellery.
Murder in East Hampton Town is almost unheard of. Until that Saturday afternoon, there hadn’t been a single case in the area in over nine years. The PD has no homicide division, which means in the extremely rare event of an unexplained death, a Department squad car answers the call.
In their three years together, the two young men on their way to the callout that day had never attended a murder scene.
But what they found at the villa significantly changed that.
It had just gone 3pm on a beautiful Saturday in early March. The air was warm, the sun shining, summer missing the memo and arriving three months early. The address the two officers were given by Dispatch was a prestigious beach villa an hour’s drive from the city. A delivery man had called it in fifteen minutes ago. He’d been sent out to deliver a few additional cases of wine for a party and after no-one had responded to his repeated knocking on the front door, he’d gone around the back.
Inside an East Hampton Town PD Ford Interceptor, the two cops swung into the drive, pulling up beside an ambulance and seeing the delivery man sitting in the back. His own van was parked on the side of the road outside the gates, the rear doors still open. The man had an oxygen mask over his face and was being attended to by a couple of paramedics inside the ambulance.
He was staring straight ahead, his eyes glazed, and didn’t seem to notice the two cops arrive.
Sliding on the handbrake and switching off the engine, the two police officers stepped out of their vehicle and slammed the doors. Both were dressed in the dark blue EHT PD police uniform, and were carrying a pistol, cuffs, radio and nightstick on their belts. The medics looked over at them but didn’t say anything, concentrating on their patient. Approaching the entrance to the house, the officers saw the front door was shut, several cases of wine abandoned on a wheeled dolly beside it, the booze
abandoned by the delivery guy.
Looking at the door, one of the officers turned and walked over to the ambulance.
‘Got a glove?’ he asked quietly.
The medic closest to him pulled a latex one from a box, passing it over. Snapping it onto his hand with a silent nod of thanks, the officer re-joined his partner. With the glove protecting against fingerprints, he tried the handle.
It twisted and the door opened. He eased it back to reveal the interior of the villa.
The house had a Mediterranean feel, light, open and airy with a polished tile floor which would keep the place cool in the hot weather. There were impressive paintings on the walls either side of the hallway, an ornate mirror hanging above a gold gilt marble-topped table to the right, a large crystal lamp and vase of flowers placed on the top.
The two cops stepped inside slowly, taking care not to touch or disturb anything. They made their way down the corridor and passed through an open door to arrive at what was the main living area.
It was spacious and open-plan, conjoined with a large kitchen and separated by a long granite-topped counter. Matching the exterior of the house, the walls were painted white and cream.
It meant the blood spattered all over them stood out starkly.
There were bodies strewn everywhere. Men. Women. Children. It was clear from the remaining foodstuffs on the counter and on a dining table that they’d been killed at or just prior to lunchtime.
Bowls of salad and plates of sliced cold-cuts were sitting abandoned.
Glasses and plates were shattered all over the floor, shards of glass and pieces of bone china lying amongst spilt food.
Bottles of wine and beer had either been fragmented by gunfire or were lying smashed on the counter, table and floor, the liquid mixing with the food and blood. Deep black bullet holes riddled the light walls and scores of copper shell casings were scattered everywhere, lying amongst the bodies and debris.
The villa had a terrible stillness.
It looked more like an abattoir than a holiday home.
Both cops stood frozen in the doorway. It took each of them a moment to recover from the initial shock. As one stared in horror at the carnage in front of him, the other looked out onto the veranda directly in front of them. The windows were all intact. One of the doors was pulled open, and the thin cream curtains fluttered gently in the breeze.
The only movement in an otherwise motionless house.
They heard a set of wind-chimes, tinkling softly from somewhere outside as they made gentle contact in the light wind. The villa was on the edge of the beach so the two men could see and hear the waves as they rolled in, seagulls calling from somewhere nearby, the air salty.
The cop to the right stepped forward, picking his way slowly and cautiously round the edge of the room, taking great care not to tread on any evidence. It was easier said than done. When he made it to the window, he drew his nightstick and used the club to push the gently billowing curtains to one side, examining the sand visible beyond the veranda.
There were a series of children’s footprints visible, coming back and forth from the water.
But there were also a set of four, maybe five, definite adult prints, leading from the sea to the villa and back again.
He looked up but saw nothing except clear blue sea and horizon.
No ships, no sailboats. No people.
Whoever did this was long gone.
He turned away from the window and re-joined his partner, who still hadn’t moved as he stared at the massacre. He sensed his partner watching him and they made eye contact.
Their priority now was to clear the rest of the residence.
The two men pulled their side-arms and split up, following protocol, checking the villa quickly. They moved fast but worked thoroughly, both of them on edge, inspecting every room. The rest of the house was equally lavish, each room beautifully decorated and well-appointed with expensive furniture. Whoever owned the property was damn wealthy, that was for sure.
It was clear as daylight they also had enemies.
Soon after, the two officers met up again outside the main room. The man who’d stepped up to the window holstered his side-arm and swallowed, his throat dry.
‘Found two more upstairs. Both shot in the head.’
‘Was this a robbery?’
His partner stared at the blood-stained and bullet-riddled walls around them.
‘No. This was an execution.’
The other man looked down at the corpses. The body closest to his feet was a big man in shorts and a white shirt, lying flat on his back. He had a gold chain around his neck, thick chest hair protruding through the gap in the fabric, his hair combed back.
He’d been shot three times in the chest. Blood had dried around him, his lifeless eyes staring up vacantly at the ceiling.
Shifting his gaze, a body ten feet away caught the officer’s eye. The guy had a pistol in a holster on his hip, lying face down in a pool of his own blood. He wasn’t the only corpse in the room who had a weapon.
Staying where they were, the two cops both heard the sound of wailing sirens somewhere in the distance. Back up was almost here.
Then a noise came from inside the house. The two men froze. They pulled their side arms and looked at each other.
It had come from one of the rooms along the corridor.
They lifted their pistols and stood there, listening. They heard it again.
Keeping their weapons in the aim, the two men moved down the corridor slowly as the sirens outside grew louder. There was the sound of a series of cars screeching to a halt in the drive, the quiet villa about to become a hell of a lot busier.
Behind the two cops, the thin curtains rippled gently in the sea breeze.
And the tinkling of the wind chimes echoed through the house.
Two weeks later and almost fourteen hundred miles south of East Hampton, a man twisted a key in a lock and pushed open the door to his second-floor apartment. He lived alone and had just come back from a long day’s work. He’d been having a rough time at the office lately and today had been especially gruelling, full of questions and not many answers. He felt like a boxer with his back to the ropes, taking an onslaught of punches, desperately trying to make it to the bell and back to his corner. He was hanging in there.
Closing the door behind him and ensuring it was locked, the man laid the keys on the side, along with a pistol he pulled from his belt and a cell phone he drew from his pocket. Walking over to the fridge, he yanked the door open and took out a cold Corona from the shelf, unscrewing the cap and tossing it at the trash. Scooping up a take-out menu, he wandered into the lounge and collapsed onto a chair, tired and pissed off in equal measure.
He grabbed the remote control from the arm beside him and flicked on the television, taking a long pull of cold beer. The last thing he felt like doing was concentrating on anything right now, but considering what he did for a living, it was important to stay abreast of current affairs.
He also wanted to see if he or anyone he knew had made the headlines.
He flicked onto CNN and took another swig of icy beer, looking at the take-out menu and thinking about what to order. He glanced at the screen again.
And he froze.
The footage was of a small girl leaving an urban Police Department Plaza in what had to be Washington or Philadelphia or maybe New York. She was being moved quickly, escorted fast by a male and female security team, reporters and journalists being kept well back.
The man scanned the banner headline and the images.
Slamming his beer on the table beside him, he jumped up from the chair and rushed across the room, grabbing his cell phone. Dialling a number, he moved back in front of the television and continued watching the screen, at the little girl being ushered towards a blacked-out car.
Someone picked up the other end.
‘It’s me!’ the man said hurriedly.
‘What is it?’
‘You’re not going to believe who I’m looking at right now.’
‘CNN, right now.
‘OK. Hang on.’
There was a pause. A shuffling the other end of the line. ‘Hurry!’
Then the man the other end came back.
‘It’s her,’ the man said, staring at the screen. ‘It’s her.’