Grace Flint has a device smaller than a packet of cigarettes that she can hide in your car, or on your boat or plane-even, if it suits her, in your briefcase that will track your precise location for the next six months.
Unless the batteries give out, or the satellite goes on the blink.
Grace Flint has a microphone the size of a shirt button, connected to a transmitter as thin as a credit card, that will relay any foolish admissions you might make to her from around the corner, or across the city, or from just about any place on earth.
Unless the lower atmosphere is dirty, or the transmitter spikes, or something else goes wrong; things that the tech boys don't like to talk about.
And even when the technology works, it can be totally irrelevant.
Grace Flint is in the stairwell of a multistory parking garage in Belgravia, with the microphone taped to the underside of her left breast and the transmitter high up inside her left thigh, secure in the knowledge that the backup teams are only yards away, listening to every word, waiting for the first sign of trouble, unaware that between her and them is a steel-lined door installed by the right-thinking management of the garage to deter theft and vandalism at night, but which, on this particular day, someone has neglected to unlock.
"I don't want to talk to your friends," says Frank Harling to Clayton Buller, apropos of nothing. "Know who they are? They're the law."
Watch their eyes, the instructors at Hendon used to say. Don't listen to what they're saying because they're lying, just like you're lying. Watch their eyes.
But she can't see Clayton Buller's eyes because of the dark glasses he wears, and DI Pendle doesn't seem to be alarmed. Besides, in this heart-stopping moment, she wants to believe that Frank Harling is only trying it on, that he can't possibly know the truth of his assertion.
"You're paranoid," snorts Buller. "You think I didn't check them out?"
"Oh, did you?" says Harling, his voice now loaded with contempt. "Trust me, dickhead. They're the filth."
If the subject makes any sudden move, assume it is hostile and react immediately, but Buller's move isn't sudden; it is slow and even graceful for a big man. He leans over and reaches down into the depths of his lawyer's case and suddenly the neurotransmitters in Flint's brain are passing frantic messages about a gun.
Afterward, Flint will not be sure if she saw the gun or heard it first. There is a lot she will not be sure about at the subsequent inquiry. The individual details will be clear enough, each one perpetually etched upon her memory. It is their precise sequence that will evade her.
Pete Pendle has begun to react when the sound of the first explosion fills the stairwell, stunning her with its intensity. It is still resonating when the second explosion comes and then the third. Pendle is pushed backward by the impact of the first bullet but the stairwell is narrow and with his back against the wall he and Buller are still no more than four feet apart. She will remember his body jerking as the second and third bullets entered his chest, as though he were being shaken by some unseen hand, and she will tell the inquiry it was after the second shot, though it may have been the third, that the spray of blood erupted from his mouth. She will remember very clearly that its color was a brilliant scarlet and that when it reached her it was warm.
She, too, has her back to the wall, on the other side of the stairwell, and she sinks down onto her haunches when Buller turns the gun on her. She recognizes it immediately as a nine-millimeter Browning, though the inquiry will incline to the view that she probably learned that fact subsequently. She will not recall closing her eyes or covering her face with her hands as she waits for Buller to kill her.
Reprinted from Flint by Paul Eddy by permission of G. P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright (c) 2000 by Paul Eddy. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.
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