By Jeffery Deaver

8 weak women and their helpless academics are pressured off a college bus and held hostage. The madman who has them at gunpoint has an easy plan: one hostage an hour will die except the calls for are met. referred to as to the scene is Arthur Potter, the FBI's most sensible hostage negotiator. He has a plan. yet so does one of many hostages-a appealing instructor who is prepared to do something to save lots of the lives of her scholars. Now, the clock is ticking as a chilling online game of cat and mouse starts.

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Those military jets climbed so fast his ears filled up like pressure cookers if he didn't chew a whole pack of Wrigley's as soon as the wheels left the asphalt. How he hated to fly. Oh, I'm tired, he thought. So damn tired. "I'll be back, Marian," he whispered, not looking toward the grave. M. As always, an element of circus. Arthur Potter stood beside the FBI resident agency's best car, a Ford Taurus, and surveyed the scene. Police cars drawn into a circle like pioneers' wagons, press minivans, the reporters holding their chunky cameras like rocket launchers.

And federal agents, yes, but God-fearing agents perhaps (many of them were), they kept their distance. No prayers, but he spoke some words to his bride, lying in the same place where she had lain for these long years. His lips moved. He received responses only because he knew her mind as well as his own. But the presence of the men in the matching suits kept intruding. Finally he rose slowly and looked at the marble flower etched into the granite above her tombstone. He'd ordered a rose but the flower looked like a chrysanthemum.

The elegant movement of the tall wheat, swaying in the intemperate July wind. The motion of the man's arm rising and falling slowly, once, twice. His face studying the body lying in front of him. Mrs. Harstrawn fixed Stoat with a stoic gaze. "… us go and… won't bother you. We won't…" Melanie was comforted to see the woman's defiance, her anger. The sturdy set of her jaw. Stoat and Bear ignored her. They herded Susan, Mrs. Harstrawn, and Melanie toward the bus. Inside, the younger girls huddled in the back.

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