Excerpt from The Survivor's Club by Lisa Gardner, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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The Survivor's Club

by Lisa Gardner

The Survivor's Club by Lisa Gardner X
The Survivor's Club by Lisa Gardner
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  • First Published:
    May 2002, 352 pages
    May 2003, 528 pages

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Except that someone down in that park, sitting on the grass, surrounded by war memorials and freakish exhibits of modern art, was going to get a scoop this morning. Someone, maybe that pretty little blonde, was going to show up to get a routine clip of a blue ACI van, and come away with a picture of a hired gun instead.

There was no way around it. The only time Jersey would have access to Eddie Como was when the alleged rapist was moved from the ACI to the Licht Judicial Complex on the opening day of his trial. And the only time Jersey would have access at the Licht Judicial Complex was when Eddie was unloaded from the ACI van within a fenced-off drop-off roughly the size of a two-car garage. And the only way Jersey could shoot into a drop-off zone enclosed by an eight-foot-high fence was to shoot down at the target.

The massive red-brick courthouse took up an entire city block. Soaring up to sixteen stories high with swooping red-brick wings, it towered above its fellow buildings and zealously protected its back courtyard and the all-important drop-off zone. So Jersey's options had been clear from the beginning. He would have to access the courthouse itself, easily done in the cover of night once he learned the routine of the Capital Security guards.

He would have to take up position on the sixth-story roofline immediately overlooking the drop off point to have a clean shot down into the fenced-off area. He would have to line up the shot in the cover of darkness. And then, when the van finally arrived sometime between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m., he would have five seconds to stand, blow off the top of Eddie Como's head, and start running.

Because while the state marshals who escorted the inmates probably wouldn't be able to see him--the angle would be too steep--and while the prisoners themselves wouldn't be able to see him--they would probably be too busy screaming at all the brains now sprayed in their hair--the reporters, every single greedy, desperate-for-a-scoop reporter camped across the street--they would have a clear view of Jersey standing six stories up. Jersey firing a rifle six stories up. Jersey running across the vast roofline, six stories up.

The shot itself was going to be easy. A mere seventy feet. Straight down. Hell, Jersey should forget the assault rifle and drop an anvil on the guy's head. Yeah, the shot itself was downright boring. But the moments afterward . . . The moments afterward were going to be really entertaining.

A disturbance down the street. Jersey flicked back to the pretty blonde in time to see her drop her lipstick and scramble forward. Showtime.

He glanced at his watch. Eight thirty-five a.m. Apparently, the state marshals didn't want to keep the reporters waiting.

Jersey brought his rifle back down against him. He adjusted the scope to 1.5, all he would need for a seventy-foot headshot. He checked the twenty-cartridge magazine, then chambered the first round. He was using Winchester's .223 Remington, a 55-grain soft point bullet, which according to the box was best for shooting prairie dogs, coyotes and woodchucks.

And now, the College Hill Rapist.

Jersey got on his knees. He positioned the rifle along the top of the rail, then placed his eye against the scope. He could just make out the street through the stone archways lining the outer courtyard. He heard, more than saw, the black wrought-iron fence of the inner courtyard swing open. Calm and controlled. Easy does it. Nothing here he hadn't done before. Nothing here he couldn't handle.

He flexed his fingers. He listened to the reassuring crinkle of his black leather shooting gloves . . .

The prisoners would be shackled together like a chain gang. Most would be in khaki or blue prison overalls. But Eddie Como would be different. Facing the first day of trial, Eddie Como would arrive in a suit.

Jersey waited for the barking sound of a state marshal ordering the unloading of the van. He felt the first prick of sweat. But he didn't pop up. He still didn't squeeze the trigger.

Excerpted from The Survivors Club by Lisa Gardner Copyright 2002 by Lisa Gardner. Excerpted by permission of Bantam, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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