Excerpt of The Tourist by Olen Steinhauer
(Page 3 of 5)
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Still inside the airport, he spotted Angela Yates just outside the
doors to the busy arrivals curb. Above business slacks, she wore a
blue Viennese blazer, arms crossed over her breasts as she smoked
and stared through the gray morning light at the field of parked cars
in front of the airport. He didnt approach her. Instead, he found a
bathroom and checked himself in the mirror. The paleness and
sweat had nothing to do with aviatophobia. He ripped off his tie,
splashed water on his cheeks, wiped at the pink edges of his eyes and
blinked, but still looked the same.
Sorry to get you up, he said once hed gotten outside.
Angela jerked, a look of terror passing through her lavender
eyes. Then she grinned. She looked tired, but she would be. Shed
driven four hours to meet his flight, which meant shed had to leave
Vienna by 5:00 a.m. She tossed the unfinished smoke, a Davidoff,
then punched his shoulder and hugged him. The smell of tobacco
was comforting. She held him at arms length. You havent been
And you look like hell.
He shrugged as she yawned into the back of her hand.
You going to make it? he asked.
No sleep last night.
Angela got rid of the smile. Still gulping amphetamines?
Only for emergencies, he lied, because hed taken that last
dose for no other reason than hed wanted it, and now, as the tremors
shook through his bloodstream, he had an urge to empty the rest
down his throat. Want one?
They crossed an access road choked with morning taxis and
buses heading into town, then followed concrete steps down to the
parking lot. She whispered, Is it Charles these days?
Almost two years now.
Well, its a stupid name. Too aristocratic. I refuse to use it.
I keep asking for a new one. A month ago I showed up in Nice,
and some Russian had already heard about Charles Alexander.
Nearly killed me, that Russian.
She smiled as if hed been joking, but he hadnt been. Then his
snapping synapses worried he was sharing too much. Angela knew
nothing about his job; she wasnt supposed to.
Tell me about Dawdle. How long have you worked with him?
Three years. She took out her key ring and pressed a little black
button until she spotted, three rows away, a gray Peugeot winking at
them. Franks my boss, but we keep it casual. Just a small Company
presence at the embassy. She paused. He was sweet on me for a
while. Can you imagine? Couldnt see what was right in front of
She spoke with a tinge of hysteria that made him fear she would
cry. He pushed anyway. What do you think? Could he have done
Angela popped the Peugeots trunk. Absolutely not. Frank
Dawdle wasnt dishonest. Bit of a coward, maybe. A bad dresser. But
never dishonest. He didnt take the money.
Charles threw in his bag. Youre using the past tense, Angela.
Im just afraid.
Angela knitted her brows, irritated. That hes dead. What do
She was a careful driver these days, which he supposed was an inevitable
result of her two Austrian years. Had she been stationed in
Italy, or even here in Slovenia, she wouldve ignored her turn signals
and those pesky speed limit notices.
To ease the tension, he brought up old London friends from
when they both worked out of that embassy as vaguely titled attachés.
Hed left in a hurry, and all Angela knew was that his new job,
with some undisclosed Company department, required a steady
change of names, and that he once again worked under their old
boss, Tom Grainger. The rest of London station believed what
theyd been toldthat he had been fired. She said, I fly up for parties
now and then. They always invite me. But theyre sad, you
know? All diplomatic people. Theres something intensely pitiful
Excerpted from The Tourist
by Olen Steinhauer. Copyright © 2009 by Olen Steinhauer. Excerpted by
permission of St. Martin's Minotaur, a division of Macmillan, Inc. All rights
reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted
without permission in writing from the publisher.