A stunning new thriller in the vein of ‘Velocity’ and ‘The Husband’ from one of the world’s bestselling authors, Dean Koontz. Timothy Carrier, 30, a mason, has a dry sense of humour. Tim’s friend, Rooney, owns a workingman’s bar, Lamplighter Tavern, where the eccentric customers inspire Tim’s deadpan wit. On a Monday evening, the bar is nearly deserted. A nervous man, about Tim’s own age, sits down one stool from Tim and orders a beer. He glances at Tim, then asks, ‘Are you him?’ His sense of fun engaged, Tim says, ‘Who else would I be?’ Tim’s game is to sustain an oblique conversation until the stranger realizes his mistake. But the man slides a fat manila envelope along the bar. ‘Half of it’s there. The rest when she’s gone.’ He walks out, leaving Tim stunned. In the envelope are thick packets of hundred-dollar bills. There’s also a photo of a pretty woman, her name and address. Another stranger, an intense-looking man, again about Tim’s age, enters the bar, looks around, comes towards Tim, and sits where the first stranger sat. He orders a beer. He says nothing. Tim says nothing. The guy glances at the manila envelope. He’s the man who was supposed to get the envelope. He thinks Tim wants to hire him to kill the woman! Shaken, thinking fast, Tim says he’s had a change of heart. He removes the picture of the woman from the envelope, puts it aside, closes the envelope, passes it to the stranger. ‘Half what we agreed – for doing nothing. Call it a no-kill fee.’ The stranger gives him a sour look, shrugs, takes the envelope, leaves. Tim hurries across the tavern, cracks the front door, looks out, and sees the intense man in the passenger seat of a sedan parked at the curb. He’s cranking down the window in order to place a detachable emergency beacon on the top of the car. As it begins to flash, the car rockets away from the curb. The for-hire killer is a cop. In fact, the killer is someone more powerful than a cop. Tim’s wayward sense of humour has led him into a very dangerous world.
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