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Black List: A Thriller

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Overview

A stunning thriller that predicted the National Security Agency scandal. "Brad Thor is as current as tomorrow’s headlines." —Dan Brown

#1 New York Times bestselling author Brad Thor returns with his most explosive thriller ever. Somewhere deep inside the United States government is a closely guarded list. Members of Congress never get to see...

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Black List (Scot Harvath Series #11)

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Overview

A stunning thriller that predicted the National Security Agency scandal. "Brad Thor is as current as tomorrow’s headlines." —Dan Brown

#1 New York Times bestselling author Brad Thor returns with his most explosive thriller ever. Somewhere deep inside the United States government is a closely guarded list. Members of Congress never get to see it—only the President and a secret team of advisers. Once your name is on the list, it doesn’t come off . . . until you’re dead.


Someone
has just added counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath’s name.


Somehow
Harvath must evade the teams dispatched to kill him long enough to untangle who has targeted him and why they want him out of the way.


Somewhere, someone, somehow
can put all the pieces together. The only question is, will Harvath get to that person before the United States suffers the most withering terrorist attack ever conceived?

An intense, page-turning novel that is action-packed and frighteningly real, Black List blurs the line between fiction and reality and once again reaffirms why Brad Thor "is arguably the best thriller writer of our time" (Suspense Magazine) and "America’s favorite author" (KTTX).

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Brad Thor] is arguably the best thriller writer of our time." --Suspense Magazine

“Thor has mastered thriller storytelling with fast pacing and plots that are relevant to American readers." --The Miami Herald

"Anyone who thinks the only thing to fear is fear itself should meet Brad Thor." --Newsweek

Library Journal
The list? Comprising enemies of the nation, it's known to very few, and once your name has been placed there by the President, it won't be erased until you are. Alas, Navy SEAL—turned—counterterrorism operative Scot Harvath must spend the novel evading assassins so that he can figure out why he got listed. From a No. 1 New York Times best-selling author gearing up for a ten-city tour.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439192986
  • Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
  • Publication date: 7/24/2012
  • Series: Scot Harvath Series , #11
  • Pages: 371
  • Sales rank: 115,207
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Brad Thor
Brad Thor is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Act of War, Hidden Order, Black List, Full Black (one of Suspense Magazine’s best political thrillers of 2011), The Athena Project, Foreign Influence (one of Suspense Magazine’s best political thrillers of 2010), The Apostle, The Last Patriot (nominated best thriller of the year by the International Thriller Writers Association), The First Commandment, Takedown, Blowback (recognized as one of the “Top 100 Killer Thrillers of All Time” by NPR), State of the Union, Path of the Assassin, and The Lions of Lucerne. Visit his website at BradThor.com.
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Read an Excerpt

Black List


  • CHAPTER 1

RURAL VIRGINIA
FRIDAY
FORTY-EIGHT HOURS LATER

Kurt Schroeder glanced down at his iPhone while his Nissan subcompact crunched across the estate’s pebbled motor court. No signal. It was the same with his navigation system. He didn’t need to turn on his satellite radio, it wouldn’t have a signal either. Everything had been blacked out about a mile before the gates—just as it was supposed to be.

None of the locals had ever made a connection between the signal loss and the fact that it only happened when the owners of the estate were in residence.

Some blamed atmospheric conditions, while a few local conspiracy theorists pointed to the government, as neighbors laughed them off. Little did those neighbors know how close to the truth the conspiracy theorists were.

A company called Adaptive Technology Solutions had developed the signal-blocking technology for the use of the U.S. military in Afghanistan and Iraq. ATS was one of the most successful American tech companies most people had never heard of.

Practically an arm of, and indistinguishable from, the National Security Agency, ATS also conducted highly sensitive work for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Department, the State Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, the Treasury Department, the Department of Justice, and a host of other agencies, including the little-known United States Cyber Command—the group in charge of centralizing U.S. cyberspace operations.

Whether via software, hardware, personnel, or training, there wasn’t a move the United States government made in relation to the Internet that didn’t somehow involve ATS.

So intertwined was it with America’s political, military, and intelligence DNA, that it was hard to discern where Uncle Sam stopped and ATS began. Very little was known about the organization, which was exactly what ATS wanted. Had its board of directors ever been published, it would have read like a who’s who of D.C. power. In addition to two former intelligence chiefs, it included a former Vice President, three retired federal judges, a former Attorney General, a former Secretary of State, a former Federal Reserve Chairman, two former Secretaries of the Treasury, three former Senators, and a former Secretary of Defense.

Some believed that ATS was a front for the NSA, while others speculated that the CIA might have been involved in its creation. All, of course, pure speculation. Anyone who knew anything about ATS only really knew about that particular facet they were dealing with, and even then, they didn’t know much. The highly secretive company had worked for decades concealing its true breadth and scope. What was visible above the waterline was only the tip of the iceberg.

The organization was also exceedingly careful about whom they brought inside. Nowhere was the selection process as rigorous as at ATS. Its members shared a very particular worldview, along with a deeply held belief that not only could they shape domestic and international events, it was their duty to do so. Their goals were not the kinds of things they wanted discussed in newspapers and on the Internet. They took great pride in their anonymity.

The corporation’s retreat, with its sophisticated countersurveillance and anti-eavesdropping measures, sat on more than two hundred rural Virginia acres of rolling green countryside. It featured a clutch of buildings, the centerpiece of which was a large, redbrick neoclassical home fronted by thick white columns.

The estate had been named Walworth after the ruins of a small, walled farm at the south end of the property predating the Revolutionary War. Its ownership was hidden behind blind land trusts and offshore corporations. No records existed at the county recorder’s office, and no overhead imagery of the property could be accessed via satellite. For all intents and purposes, the estate didn’t even exist, which was exactly what the powerful forces behind Adaptive Technology Solutions wanted.

Kurt Schroeder had been to Walworth a handful of times, having helped to oversee the installation of several of its computer and security upgrades. But he’d never been to the property for a gathering of the firm’s board of directors. He had only seen the full board together on one occasion, when he had been invited to accompany his boss to a winter board meeting at the ATS property on Grand Cayman.

With its vast wealth, the company hierarchy never failed to do things first-class. The motor court of the Virginia estate looked like the parking lot of a luxury European car dealership, with multiple BMWs, Audis, Mercedes, and Range Rovers. Off to the side, the security teams had parked their armored, black Chevy Suburbans.

Schroeder located an empty spot and parked. He looked into the mirror and dried the perspiration on his forehead. Tightening the knot in his tie, he took a deep breath. His boss, the man who ran ATS, was a lot like his deceased mother. Both had considerably volatile tempers.

Schroeder climbed out of his unimpressive yet efficient Nissan and detected the scent of woodsmoke from one of the house’s many chimneys as he walked across the motor court. Martin Vignon, the head of corporate security, met him at the door. Like the rest of the team, Vignon wore a dark suit and had a Secret Service–style earpiece protruding from one ear. He was a tall man with impossibly pale skin and neatly combed white hair. Behind his back, the boss—who seemed to have a demeaning nickname for everyone—referred to Vignon as “Powder.” Whenever he threw the slur around, most of the employees uncomfortably laughed it off or pretended they hadn’t heard it.

Schroeder didn’t know much about where Vignon had come from nor how he’d secured his job with the organization. Some said he was former military, others said he was former intelligence. Nevertheless, it was widely agreed that the man was discourteous and off-putting. Schroeder had looked into his background once, but the man was a black hole. Everything had been erased. The sick joke that had sprung up around his cold demeanor was that he was possessed of unusual powers; instead of seeing dead people, he created them.

He was the only American on the security team; the rest were Israelis, all handpicked by the security chief himself.

Vignon gave Schroeder a curt nod and waved him toward two of his men, one of whom was holding a metal detector wand. Considering all he was entrusted with at ATS, being wanded was an indignity. These wannabe Secret Service morons were out of control.

Not wanting to cause a scene, Schroeder simply submitted to the search. Before the security team could fully sweep him, though, his boss appeared.

“Where have you been?” the man demanded.

It was a stupid question. He knew where he had been, and Schroeder didn’t bother answering.

“You’d better not have bad news for me.”

Schroeder was opening his mouth to respond when his boss cut him off.

“Not here.” He gestured for him to follow and led him down a wide hallway to an opulent study. A myriad of exotic animal heads adorned the walls. A fire in the fireplace warded off the chill from outside.

Schroeder waited for his boss to offer him a seat, but the offer never came, so he just stood there.

“Well?” the boss asked, as he walked over to a wet bar and poured himself a drink.

Schroeder took a deep breath into his lungs and let it out. “I’m sorry. Nothing yet.”

“What do you mean, nothing yet?”

“We haven’t been able to locate anything.”

“Don’t give me that we bullshit,” the older man turned and said. “I made myself perfectly clear. I tasked you with this, and failure is not an option.”

Craig Middleton was in his early sixties, had a thin build and curly gray hair that resembled a scouring pad. Despite sporting a perpetual tan and laser-whitened teeth, the most distinct feature of his rather unremarkable appearance were his deep-set eyes, which were rimmed with dark circles. Contrary to Craig Middleton’s opinion, he was not an attractive man.

Schroeder eyed the matching purple silk tie and handkerchief that his peacock of a boss was sporting and, masking his distaste, focused carefully on his words. “It’s only a matter of time,” he replied. “Don’t worry.”

Middleton eyed his subordinate as he took a long draught of scotch. “Do you like your job, Kurt?”

“Excuse me?”

“I said do you like your job?”

“Of course I—”

The older man shook his head and motioned for him to be quiet. “I could have taken anyone under my wing, but I took you.”

“And I’m grateful for—”

“I don’t think you are, Kurt. I think, like the rest of your spoiled, entitled generation, you take everything for granted. I don’t think you know the meaning of hard work. What’s worse, I don’t think you know the meaning of loyalty. Do you have any idea what I put on the line to bring you in and raise you up through the ranks? Do you have any idea at all?”

Schroeder knew all too well. If it weren’t for Craig Middleton, he’d be sitting in a federal prison, or worse. “I think you know where my loyalty lies.”

The older man took another sip and then looked at his watch. “Do I? I’m the one who has to go sit down with the board in ten minutes and look like I have zero control over this organization, and it’s all because you aren’t doing your job.”

“We’re talking about a needle in a haystack.”

“We own the fucking haystack,” Middleton spat. “Every last fucking straw of it. We own every rock. We own every drainpipe. We own every hollowed-out fucking tree. You can’t even change your fucking mind without us knowing about it. So don’t tell me you’ve got nothing yet. You’ve got everything you could possibly need at your disposal. Which means you’d better get me something and get it to me soon. Do you understand me?”

Schroeder nodded.

“Don’t you fucking nod at me,” snapped Middleton. “Answer me.”

“Yes, sir,” he piped up. “I understand.”

His boss then raised his hand and pointed at the door. The pep talk was over.

As Schroeder left the house and climbed back into his car, Middleton crossed over to the desk and picked up the handset of his encrypted telephone, known as an STE, short for Secure Terminal Equipment. Inserting a dummy NSA Crypto Card into the slot, he dialed.

After two rings, the call was answered. “What’s the verdict?”

“I think he’s lying,” Middleton stated.

“What do you want me to do?”

“Follow him.”

“And if he is lying?” replied the voice.

“Add him to the list.”

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 247 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(134)

4 Star

(59)

3 Star

(23)

2 Star

(21)

1 Star

(10)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 247 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2012

    Awesome read. Got it at yesterday and read it straight through.

    Awesome read. Got it at yesterday and read it straight through. Thor definitely has great skill in the pacing of his stories and I almost wish they were longer just so i wouldnt get done finishing them so early. Really hoping the series continues

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2012

    ???

    How does one write a review for a book not yet published?

    9 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2012

    Love reading Brad Thor. Have read all his books. Sorry. I was

    Love reading Brad Thor. Have read all his books. Sorry. I was disappointed with this one. Seem to get bogged down with explaining the history of the internet for example. Took up almost a whole chapter. I found myself skimming though pages looking for the characters to continue reading. I know you did your homework in research and worked hard at it. . That the Army and not Al Gore invented the internet, or all the explanations in detail all the acronyms of gov agencies etc. didn't hold my interestI just want to read about Scott and co. saving the world.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2012

    LIST

    For some reason it didn't seem to flow as smooth as his other books. As usual, lots of thrills and latest techno gadgets and somehow always pulling off the mission at the end. A very good book. I never tire of Harvath and crew.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    An okay thriller that high-lites government use of tech.

    The author does a great job of giving the reader a glimpse of the government's ability to track almost every aspect of our lives. As a story, though, the book lacked character development or making the reader care about the main characters. The plot was predictable. Much of the exposition was so cumbersome I skipped paragraphs at a time without missing any development of the story.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2012

    I can't wait to read it!! I have every Brad Thor book

    I can't wait to read it!! I have every Brad Thor book

    4 out of 34 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    Great read!

    A real page turner. Lots of action and suspense. Can't wait until his next one is released!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2012

    Highly Recommend

    This is a typical Brad Thor book....FANTASTIC!! He is one of my favorite authors and I'm always sad when I finish one of his books because I know I have a long wait for another one!!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2012

    Thrilling and chilling

    This was a great book, moved quite well with no drag. This is my first Brad Thor book and I look foward to reading others.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2012

    highly recommend

    Brad Thor has delivered another exciting book. Full of intrigue and very thought provoking.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 7, 2012

    Another great Brad Thor thriller

    This is an impossible story - or is it? Could it happen here? Can we trust our government not to spy on us? Hmmm.

    A real page turner - could hardly put it down.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2012

    Excellent

    I have read all of his books! This is one of his best. You will begin to question many things.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 6, 2012

    Brad Thor's BLACK LIST is a thriller you won't want to put down!

    Brad Thor's BLACK LIST is a thriller you won't want to put down! It grabbed me from the beginning and didn't let go! I was just like WOW, what a great story that is very thought provoking and kinda scary! I have read all of Brad Thor's previous books and enjoyed all of them. BLACK LIST is his best yet! Can't wait for the next one!

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2012

    Black list

    Awsome book

    3 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2012

    OK but not one of Thor's best

    I'm beginning to wonder if Brad Thor has lost his mojo. His last few books have not been up to the standard of his early ones and this is true of Black List. The plot is very good and some of the action sequences are excellent, but in between, there is a lot of pedantic exposition. In effect some of the characters are "educating" the reader by lecturing to him. It feels very contrived. Michael Crichton made this error in one of his novels, even going so far as to include footnotes. Thank God, Thor does not go that far, but sometimes you get the feeling that you'll be tested on the material. In short, this one is worth reading, but uneven and a bit disappointing.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 5, 2012

    A real thriller

    Thor has improved a lot since he came on the bestsellers' scene. His technical details are more useful and less "just because he can". I notice that male authors of political thrillers seem to think that all readers want to know what company built the temperature guage on the jet that blew away the bad guy, but I just want to know that the bad guy is obliterated and no longer a threat. I do like Thor's characters and story lines a lot. His main hero is truly that, a hero.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2012

    Would not black list this book

    Mr. thor continues to write books that are exciting and a lot of fun to read.His novels with the same characters makes you feel that they are very familiar to you. Enjoyed the book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2012

    His Best So Far! I really liked the plot and pacing in this book

    His Best So Far! I really liked the plot and pacing in this book. The
    characters were much richer and this was his best book to date. A good
    read. Right next to Vince Flynn's Consent to Kill.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Fantastic Read

    I really enjoy a good Brad Thor mystery and this one does not disappoint the reader. It gets kind of tedious and detailed but then it pops full of excitement.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2012

    Never lets up--fast paced and full of suspense as Horvath and al

    Never lets up--fast paced and full of suspense as Horvath and allies now
    has to deal w/domestic terroism against a brilliantand cagey villian. a
    real page-turner---highly recommended.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 247 Customer Reviews

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