Detective Sgt. Jack Swann, anti-terrorist agent for Scotland Yard’s Special Branch, is breathing a little easier. The international terrorist known as Storm Crow is languishing in jail after threatening to ignite a bomb in London and plotting to unleash a chemical attack in Saint Peter’s Square in Rome. Then, on his way to trial, the prisoner breaks free. He returns to the world’s stage with a shocking act of violence—only to be trailed from the UK to the United States by Swann. And that’s precisely what the madman wants.
Enlisting the help of FBI Special Agent Johnny Harrison, Swann tracks his nemesis across the heartland of America—from Georgia to Nevada—in a bizarre spree of mass murders calculated to trap both men in an ingenious and terrifying endgame. Because Storm Crow is more insidious, and more powerful, than Swann and Harrison ever imagined.
New York Times–bestselling author Jack Higgins called Storm Crow “one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year.” Now the coldblooded terrorist is at large once again—and the stakes are even higher—in Nom de Guerre.
Related collections and offers
|Publisher:||Open Road Media|
|Sold by:||Barnes & Noble|
|File size:||2 MB|
About the Author
Jeff Gulvin is the author of nine novels and is currently producing a new series set in the American West. His previous titles include three books starring maverick detective Aden Vanner and another three featuring FBI agent Harrison, as well as two novels originally published under the pseudonym Adam Armstrong, his great-grandfather’s name. He received acclaim for ghostwriting Long Way Down, the prize-winning account of a motorcycle trip from Scotland to the southern tip of Africa by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman. The breadth of Gulvin’s fiction is vast, and his style has been described as commercial with just the right amount of literary polish. His stories range from hard-boiled crime to big-picture thriller to sweeping romance. Half English and half Scottish, Gulvin has always held a deep affection for the United States. He and his wife spend as much time in America as possible, particularly southern Idaho, their starting point for road-trip research missions to Nevada, Texas, or Louisiana, depending on where the next story takes them.
Read an Excerpt
Nom de Guerre
A Harrison & Swann Thriller
By Jeff Gulvin
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1998 Jeff Gulvin
All rights reserved.
Ismael boese hung upside-down like a bat. Matthews and Thompson bench-pressed, across the floor of the gym; one lying flat, one standing ready to lift the bar back into position. Boese watched them out of upside-down eyes, the heat of blood in his face. Terlucci stared at him through the wired glass of the window.
In the showers afterwards, Boese let hot water roll off his skin, standing with his head slightly bowed, resting his forehead against the limescaled chrome of the pipe. Behind him, Matthews and Thompson discussed how much they could lift. Armed robbers, both of them. Violent men. They were all violent men in here. Boese rubbed cheap shampoo into his scalp. Thompson was speaking to him, though the words were unintelligible through the fall of the water. He raised his voice. 'I said, you're like a fucking bat in there.'
Boese turned the shower tap off and stared at him. He did not reply, merely lifted his towel from the hook. For a moment Thompson held his gaze, with his lip lifting against his teeth. Boese stared calmly back, black eyes, like marks of death in his face.
Dressed again in his own clothes, one of the benefits of the special secure unit, he crossed the tiled floor where Morgan was playing pool with McClellan, the IRA man. He and Boese should have had much in common, but they didn't. Now and again McClellan tried to talk to him, but Boese spoke only fleetingly with anyone. McClellan's cronies, Butcher and Gibbs, came out of the workshop under the eye of wardens in the control room. Gibbs had a visitor coming in the morning, and already he had passed his spare set of clothes for inspection. Morgan was a murderer, who had escaped from both Dartmoor and Parkhurst in his time, a Welshman whose blood family now lived in Scotland. Boese caught his eye as he bent to play his shot.
Griffiths, one of the wardens, was standing by his cell on the north side of the building, minus his red book. He was running an evaluation on him for the authorities, and he wrote his comments and observations down in the red book. Boese walked right up to him. 'State of mind calm,' he said. 'Accommodating if uncommunicative. Non-disruptive. Mixes reasonably well, without being buddy-buddy.' He paused, watching the rush of colour in Griffiths's cheeks. 'Does not instigate conversation. Seeks no company in particular. Plays chess. Works out in the gym, and has the strange habit of sleeping on the floor.' He took half a pace closer and looked deep into Griffiths's eyes. 'Appears to show no remorse for the two hundred and eighty people he killed in Rome.' He showed his teeth in a smile and stepped into his cell.
He lay on his bunk; once the doors were open in the morning, they remained that way all day. Only ten of them in here: three Irish terrorists and himself, Morgan, the Blues Brothers, as he had nicknamed Thompson and Matthews, Terlucci and a couple of others. Morgan was the brightest, he also kept to himself like Boese. Terlucci was the one they would use. Boese stared at the wall as he considered how to deal with it. Nothing. No pictures, just the same pale blue paint over brick as the rest of the building. Reading Prison special secure unit, built in the shape of a plus sign; with the sterile area and visitors' room tacked on to the southern hall, by the entrance. Terlucci was a Mafia hit man. He had been arrested in London after carrying out a contract, placed on a rival by his Sicilian father. A knifeman by reputation, he liked to get close to his victims. That would be how it was, a knife. Not kill him, just enough to make sure he knew who they were.
Griffiths was still at the door. 'No remorse?'
'You said, no remorse.'
Griffiths seemed to need to say something. 'Why did you do it?'
Boese laughed then and shook his head. His face closed up again.
'There must have been some reason other than the money?' Griffiths scratched the hair that grew out of his ear. He was middle-aged, one of the wardens that did it for the love of the job, one of the few who really believed he might make a difference. He wore the Ichthys fish of the 'born again' in the lapel of his black jacket. In summer he transferred it to his shirt, as if to emphasize his allegiance. 'Why go to all the trouble of doing what you did in London, only to get yourself caught?'
'Mr Griffiths,' Boese swung his legs over the edge of the bed, bare feet cold on the tiled floor, 'I'm not in the mood for talking.'
Griffiths nodded, again his finger drifting to his ear, as was his habit. 'OK,' he said, and smiled. 'When you are, I'm always ready to listen.'
Boese lay back on the bed, forearm over his eyes. Six months and silence. No visitors. No letters. No calls. He had made none, not written to anyone and had asked for no visitors. That was important. They would come, make their request from the outside. A priest, a social worker, prison visitor maybe. But so far, no one and nothing. He stood up and pulled on some shoes. The mirror over his tiny wash basin showed a dark, lineless face and close-cut hair. He had not aged. From the concourse in the middle of the block, he could hear the clack of pool balls as somebody fired one hard into a pocket. Mindless game, strange that Morgan should be so adept at both pool and chess. Morgan beat everyone at chess, even the Irish freedom fighter, McClellan, who thought he was James Joyce. Morgan had been inside for fifteen years now, having served half his sentence. Age in his face, his hair, lines under his eyes, and a sallow yellow to the skin that stank of a life with no air. The exercise yard was twenty metres square, encased in steel mesh, sides and roof. You could only see the sun through little squares of wire.
Boese recalled the words that police officer had told him, leaning across the table at Paddington Green: Swann, Jack Swann, whom they had used up and spat out for the birds. 'Thirty years,' he had said. 'You'll only be able to walk forty-two paces in any one direction for the next thirty years.' He had been right, Boese had counted.
That had been after the news broke in Rome; just when they thought they had beaten him, a taxi belonging to the unknowing, all-trusting Giancarlo Pasquali had belched pirillium E7/D10 into the crowds outside St Peter's Square. Before that, a chemical bomb in London to send the City into a panic and force the entire population to run for their lives. And then nothing. A hoax, a huge sigh of relief and then his arrest and suddenly hell breaking loose in Rome. Two hundred and eighty dead. None injured. The derivative kills or leaves you alone. There are no injured. He had made the activities of Aum Shinrikyo look foolish. And the sweat on Swann's face as he told Tal-Salem to 'go to work' on the telephone. Confusion, the sudden fear that comes with ignorance, standing out in his eyes.
He heard a movement outside his cell, and then a sudden quietness; the pool game was over. Somebody's foot scraped over the tiles. Boese lay where he was, arm still shading his eyes. Two voices back in the hall, half-whispered words. He felt a tick rise under his left eye and the saliva drained from his mouth. Every muscle was tense now, but still he lay where he was. Somebody filled the door, he detected the subtle change in atmosphere; the smell of the Italian's hair gel. Strange, he thought it would have been in the kitchen. Why he did not know. Perhaps it was the association with knives. Louder voices now, Thompson and Matthews in the hallway, laughing. The fresh clack of pool balls. Still he lay there, arm across his face, and felt the shadow as Terlucci stepped towards him. Boese sat bolt upright. The Italian paused, three paces from the bunk, a filed-down knife cupped in his right palm. Boese ignored the knife, and looked him straight in the eyes.
'Your name is Gianluca Terlucci,' he stated quietly. 'Your father is the head of the Palermo Terlucci family. He has business in New York and Miami, but never leaves Sicily. You used to go on his behalf, but you don't any more.' He did not get up, did not move, just continued to stare in Terlucci's eyes. No fear, voice low and calm, the words like chips of ice from his tongue. Twenty-four-year-old Terlucci, and sudden incomprehension in those eyes. 'You have killed three men,' Boese went on. 'All with a knife.' He indicated the home-made weapon still half-concealed by fingers. His voice dropped another octave. 'You do it quietly, from behind. Your signature.'
The Italian moved the tip of his tongue to moisten his lips. Three paces still; as if there were some unseen barrier between them. 'You got married at nineteen to Sabrina, your childhood sweetheart,' Boese told him. 'But before you came here, you had four different mistresses. Would you like me to tell you who they are?' He slowly got to his feet. 'You have two daughters, twin girls: Eva and Marianna. They're nearly five years old. You married your wife because you got her pregnant and the Catholic faith of your father would not allow an abortion. Your daughters are pretty little girls, black ringlets in their hair. They go to Mass on Sundays, the Church of St Peter, Father Vittorio Bintempi. Every morning they're taught kindergarten by the Sisters of Mercy at St Teresa, Palermo.' He paused then and again looked at the knife. 'Shall I tell you what their bedroom looks like?'
The Italian stared at him. Outside the pool balls rattled over the table. Boese held Terlucci's eye, saw the line of sweat break from the oiled hairline and roll down the side of his face. He moved closer to him, close enough to smell the morning's tobacco on his breath. 'Next time, come from behind me,' he said.
Swann wiped his mouth with a palm and listened to the echo of voices resounding through the high-ceilinged gymnasium. Webb was chatting away to one of the other climbers while Swann stared at the wall. Why was this so difficult? There was a time when he would swarm up without so much as a second thought. He felt Webb's hand on his shoulder, and kicked the sole of one friction boot with his other foot.
'Can't get my head round it,' he said.
'It's a route, Jack. It's on a climbing wall.' Webb lifted the belayed end of the rope. 'You can't go anywhere.'
Swann was acutely aware of the sweat on his face and he almost walked away. Webb held his eye, smaller than he was, with round, bright blue eyes that had a way of cutting away the bullshit.
'Go on. Get to it.' Webb pushed out a cheek with his tongue. 'I haven't given up an evening of drinking and whoring to hold a rope for someone who isn't climbing.'
Swann smiled then and again slapped the soles of his boots. Dipping his fingers into his chalk bag, he rubbed away the gathered moisture and looked at the long-legged female student who swung up the knots of stone like a monkey. Swann glanced left and right; most of those climbing were a lot younger than he was and he wondered why he was still doing this. He thought he had got over it all last year, but now he knew he hadn't.
He climbed, aware of just how good the girl was on his right, crabbing her way up with a four-fingered mantelshelf, while using her feet as a pressure point. Swann laboured; he could hear the uneven rasp of the breath in his chest as Webb kept the rope tight below him. It was hooked through a bolt ring at the top of the wall. If he peeled off, he would fall no distance at all. Yet the sweat stood out in thick globules against the wrinkled skin of his forehead, and the chalk did nothing for his grip. He slipped, kicked away and dangled above the floor like a broken spider. Slowly he shook his head and Webb lowered him down.
Webb sang in the shower as he always did. Swann was silent. He soaped himself down, rinsed off and got dressed. They crossed the road to the Irish pub on the corner, Swann feeling in his pocket for change for the cigarette machine. October and a biting wind chased itself through the lamplit street. Buses chugged back and forth and the rattle of diesel engines fogged like a muggy weight in his mind. Webb bought the Guinnesses and brought them over. Swann bought a packet of Marlboro and tore off the cellophane.
'You're supposed to be quitting. You even promised your kids.' Webb set the dark beer before him and settled into the seat opposite.
'Don't, Webby. I'm really not in the mood.'
Webb sat back and watched him, drumming square fingers on the tabletop. A siren sounded right outside the door. Swann was thinking suddenly about Pia, or rather Brigitte. He must stop thinking of her as Pia.
'I still call her Pia in my mind,' he said.
'It was her name.' Webb shrugged. 'You've got to forget about it, Jack. It's not doing you any favours. Believe me.'
Swann frowned at him. 'Has somebody said something?'
'Not in so many words.' Webb drank half the Guinness in his glass.
Swann sat back then and stubbed out the cigarette, only half smoked. Immediately he wanted another one. He pushed a hand through his short-cut hair and thought about it. He had been in the Antiterrorist Branch for almost five years now. It was a five-year posting and he should be moving on. He didn't want to move on though, what other kind of policing was there after this? He needed to be careful. He did not need George Webb to tell him that things were not right. Clements, his DI on the investigation squad, Bill Colson, the operational commander, they had all given him a bit of leeway after Storm Crow. The terrorists had suckered him in, using a woman who became his lover for eighteen months, so they could be ahead of the game when the time came for them to act. That act had been a bogus chemical bomb right in the middle of the City, then a real attack in Rome. Ismael Boese, Storm Crow, the protégé of Carlos, was on remand in Reading.
But there is only so much slack a man can have. It was a job, a profession. He had to be professional. Right now, if the shit really hit the fan, how much of a liability would he be? He closed his eyes at that thought; feeling the tension taut all at once on his brow. He looked across at Webb's quiet face and saw sympathy for a friend, but equally the cold professionalism that goes with the job. Two years ago, Webb had saved his life on the Springfield Road. They were undercover in West Belfast; telephone engineers, with false passports, credit cards, driving licences; watching two men who were the mainstay of an IRA active service unit in Hayes. They were compromised, to this day RUC Special Branch could not tell them how, but the back-up team was ten minutes away. They left the pub as soon as Swann realized they were blown, and tried to make it back to their car. Two men approached them, singled him out, one of them with a hand on his arm when Webb buried the muzzle of his Glock into his belly. On yer way, sunshine,' he had offered in his best northern brogue. Swann was clicking the transmitter in his cuff for back-up.
Swann jumped as Webb snapped his fingers under his nose. 'Come on.' Webb stared at him. 'Where were you?'
Webb pursed his lips. 'You know Caroline doesn't even know about that.' He leaned forward. 'I've only just told her I go over there.' He waggled his empty glass. 'By the way, it's your round.'
When Swann got back to the table, Webb was looking thoughtfully at him. He leaned forward and tapped the chipped wood of the tabletop with his forefinger. 'You remember Springfield Road then, Jack.'
'What d'you mean?'
'Not many people could've held it together in that situation.' Webb lifted his eyebrows. 'Wrong word, wrong move and gone.' Again he clicked his fingers. 'Just like that. No time for the ninjas to dig us out.' He stroked the condensation from the side of his glass. 'You remember that when you wake in the middle of the night.'
Swann lit another cigarette and drew the smoke in deeply. 'You're right,' he said. 'I've been losing it, haven't I.'
Webb looked at him and nodded. 'You had a bad time. Pia, or rather Brigitte Hammani stiffed you.' He lifted his shoulders. 'Shit happens, Flash. You're not the first and you won't be the last. Put it behind you. Move on.'
It was the way they had got to him that really stuck in his craw. They wanted a weak link and had found one. A few years previously he had killed his climbing partner, cut the rope and dropped him to his death on Nanga Parbat in the Himalayas. He still heard the screams at night. He had told Pia, one night in Scotland; poured it all out, and afterwards he felt as though he had got some degree of sanity back in his life. But she betrayed him. She was not who she claimed to be, so his confession, if that's what it was, was null and void. The guilt was back ten fold.
'Listen.' Webb laid a hand on his forearm. 'You have to deal with this, Jack. Go and see someone if you have to, doctor, counsellor, whatever. If you don't—the way things are going—you're going to have problems.'
Excerpted from Nom de Guerre by Jeff Gulvin. Copyright © 1998 Jeff Gulvin. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.