Read The Wreckage: A Thriller Online

Authors: Michael Robotham

Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Mystery & Detective, #Suspense, #Thrillers, #Suspense Fiction, #Bank Robberies, #Ex-Police Officers, #Journalists, #Crime, #Baghdad (Iraq), #Bankers, #Ex-Police, #Ex-Police Officers - England - London

The Wreckage: A Thriller

BOOK: The Wreckage: A Thriller
8.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
The Wreckage: A Thriller -SA
Stand Alone [0]
Michael Robotham
Mulholland Books (2011)
Fiction, General, Mystery & Detective, Suspense, Thrillers, Suspense Fiction, Bank Robberies, Ex-Police Officers, Journalists, Crime, Baghdad (Iraq), Bankers, Ex-Police, Ex-Police Officers - England - London

"One of the best novels to come out of the chaos of Iraq; a penetrating peek through the fog of war, and a high-octane thriller." (
Nelson Demille

"Fine and ambitious [with characters who are] wonderfully human--smart, determined, decent, and flawed. Thoroughly compelling." (
(starred review)

"A high-voltage international thriller ... terrific suspense set against an exotic backdrop,
The Wreckage
is easily one of the summer's most unputdownable books." (

"I have seldom read a more chilling and suspenseful tale. Robotham makes you see the sand, smell the burning oil and feel the bullets flying past. Most thrillers are lucky to have one great character; Robotham has given us at least four. They sweat, bleed and cry with such raw emotion that you can barely catch your breath and the words on the page feel like a million needles beneath your clenched fingers. This is a writer who will give you a slice of the Middle East you will never see on CNN or Fox. Robotham is the real deal and we can only hope he will write faster." (
David Baldacci

"[An] international crime thriller with short, punchy chapters that shift abruptly-suspensefully, even-from London to Baghdad to Washington and other locales, just like the movies....I read
The Wreckage
on vacation...a good call on my part; it's nothing if not a summer read
...There are plenty of murders, chases, explosion and general mayhem." (
The New York Times Book Review

"A fast-paced, gritty story that raises disturbing real-world questions ... will appeal to readers seeking summer fiction with depth." (
Library Journal

"High-octane [and] complex ... Robotham, a former investigative journalist, weaves current events and white-knuckle suspense with a practiced hand." (
Publishers Weekly

"An absolute stunner in every possible way." (
The Review Broads


*The most suspenseful book I read all year."
Entertainment Weekly
Stephen King
* )

"Pleasantly creepy....Plotted with precision and narrated with real intelligence."
-- The New York Times Book Review

"Terrific...a classic 'wrong man' thriller that puts its hero in hot water, then raises the Fahrenheit to a fever pitch....Robotham not only builds the suspense masterfully but tops it off with a stunning twist."
-- *People
* )

"A taut, swiftly paced thriller [of] speed and strength ... satisfying." (

: "Vibrant and utterly contemporary.... An altogether superior thriller."
Los Angeles Times* )

About the Author

Michael Robotham was an investigative journalist in Britain, Australia, and the U.S before his career as a novelist. He lives in Sydney with his wife and 3 daughters.



Michael Robotham




Begin Reading

Table of Contents

Copyright Page

For Ursula Mackenzie


During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.


Have you killed?”

“Many times.”

“Were you scared?”



“It’s not hard to take a life when a life has been taken from you. It is not about embracing revenge or nurturing hatred. And forget about taking an eye for an eye. Equality is for
the weak and stupid. It’s about pulling the trigger… simple as that. One finger, one movement…”

“Who was the first?”

“A schoolgirl.”


“I can’t remember, but I’ve never forgotten the warmth of the day, the blinding glare, the dust on the leaves of the apricot trees. It was apricot season. In that final instant
everything slows down—the cars, the buses, voices on the street. Everything goes quiet and all you hear is your own heartbeat, the blood squeezing through smaller and smaller
channels. There is no other moment like it.”

“Why do they call you the Courier?”

“I deliver messages.”

“You kill people?”

“People kill every day. Nurses push needles. Surgeons stop hearts. Butchers slay beasts. You’re doing something good here. You and the others are going to be famous. You
are going to create a day that will live forever, a date that doesn’t need an explanation. History made. History changed. These things begin somewhere. They begin with an idea.

They begin with faith.”

“Why me?”

“The others will also be tested.”

“Are you going to film it?”

“Yes. Here is the gun. It won’t bite you. This is the safety. Pull back the slide and the bullet enters the chamber.”

“Nobody will see my face?”

“No. Now walk through the door. He’s waiting. Seated. He will hear you coming. He will beg. Don’t listen to his words. Press the barrel to the back of his head and pull off the
hood. Make him look at the camera’s red light: the drop of electrified blood.”

“Should I say something? A prayer.”

“It’s not what you say—it’s what you do.”



The most important lesson Luca Terracini ever learned about being a foreign correspondent was to tel a story through the eyes of someone else. The second most important lesson was how to make spaghetti marinara with a can of tuna and a packet of ramen noodles.

There were others, of course, most of them to do with staying alive in a war zone: Do not make an appointment to see anyone you do not trust absolutely. Do not go out before checking whether any suspicious vehicles are loitering outside. Do not assume that a place that was safe yesterday wil be safe today.

These security measures were fol owed by al western reporters in Baghdad, but Luca had added a few of his own over the years—advice that came down to possessing three vital tools for survival: a natural cowardice; several US hundred-dol ar bil s sewn into his trouser cuffs; and a wel -developed sense of the absurd.

The first cal to prayer is sounding. Sunrise. Luca had been woken by the racket of washing machines, TV sets and air conditioners coming to life simultaneously. The government can only provide electricity during certain hours, which means the appliances trigger at random times, day or night, creating a strange symphony of music and metal.

Stripping off his T-shirt, he scoops water from a bucket with a ladle, pouring it over his head. Droplets pour from his short dark beard and down his chest over his genitals. It’s already nearly ninety degrees outside and not even the shutters can keep the heat out once the sun hits the side of the building.

Drying his hair, he chooses a thin cotton shirt, something plain, cheap. He dresses like an Iraqi and tries to sound like an Iraqi. His shoes are not western. His sunglasses are not too foreign looking.

Sliding his hand beneath the mattress, he pul s out a compact semi-automatic 9mm pistol and tucks it into a holster in the smal of his back. In his office, he unplugs his mobile, grabs his camera gear and opens the front door of his apartment, checking the corridor and then taking the rear stairs.

A security guard dozes behind a desk in the foyer.

“Sabah al-khair, Ahmed.”

The guard jerks awake, reaching for his rifle. Luca holds up his hands in mock fear and the guard grins at him.

“Have you made the city safe, Ahmed?”

“I have defused two dozen bombs.”

“Excel ent. Just don’t recycle them.”

The guard laughs and gets to his feet. His belt is undone, his stomach bulging freely.

Luca opens his mobile and cal s Jamal.

“Where are you?”

“Two minutes away.”

Glancing through the taped windows, the street view is shielded by concrete blast wal s that are fifteen feet high. There are checkpoints at the two nearest intersections, giving the il usion of safety. Just like his rules for survival, Luca has developed his own conflict metabolism, attuned to the violence. His heart no longer punches through his chest when a mortar explodes and he doesn’t duck when a round zings overhead.

BOOK: The Wreckage: A Thriller
8.67Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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