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Dark Waters: A Raisa Jordan Thriller

Dark Waters: A Raisa Jordan Thriller

by Chris Goff

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Raisa “Rae” Jordan, an agent for the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service, isn't in Israel for more than a day before her predecessor is killed in a Tel Aviv square. Assigned to investigate the assassination of one of her own, she must also protect Judge Ben Taylor and his teenage daughter. They may be the sniper's next target and are most certainly being


Raisa “Rae” Jordan, an agent for the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service, isn't in Israel for more than a day before her predecessor is killed in a Tel Aviv square. Assigned to investigate the assassination of one of her own, she must also protect Judge Ben Taylor and his teenage daughter. They may be the sniper's next target and are most certainly being threatened by a desperate cadre of terrorists with their sights set on the Secretary of State's upcoming visit. But is an attack on the Secretary of State all that they have planned or is that just the beginning?

There are no protocols for this kind of a situation, and following the rules is exactly the kind of thing that could get the Taylors killed. To subvert an attack that could crush the fledgling peace in the Middle East, Jordan must trust her instincts and bring together a contentious team of agents from Israel, the U.S., and the Palestinian territories to uncover a conspiracy years in the making.

With millions of lives hanging in the balance, Dark Waters, Chris Goff's explosive new thriller, is a series debut that mirrors global headlines and will have you frantically turning pages.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Goff’s strong first thriller, a series opener, introduces Raisa Jordan, an agent for the U.S. Diplomatic Security Service who’s assigned to Tel Aviv as the assistant regional security officer. American judge Ben Taylor and his 11-year-old daughter, Lucy, survive but appear to have been additional targets in the very public double assassination of a Palestinian with links to the Palestinian Liberation Committee and Raisa’s predecessor as ARSO. The two victims were involved in a botched exchange of USB drives. Ben refuses to leave Tel Aviv, but the secretary of state is due to arrive shortly, so only Raisa and a small Marine detachment can safeguard him and Lucy. Raisa must also discover the nature of the information being exchanged in order to discern the goals of all parties involved. Figures from Raisa’s past complicate matters further, while allies and enemies are difficult to differentiate. Goff (A Sacrifice of Buntings) doesn’t try to minimize the region’s political complexities. Agent: Peter Rubie, Fine Print Literary Management. (Aug.)
From the Publisher


"Great characters, action, and location—altogether terrific."
--Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Strong first thriller.”
--Publishers Weekly on Dark Waters

"Goff, known for her intriguing mysteries, reveals a knack for thrillers...Goff has a winner with Raisa as a series lead. A sure bet for fans of international thrillers."

"Goff combines cultural detail, rich geographic description, and countless plot twists to create an engaging and satisfying thriller."
--Foreword Reviews

"From the first sentence I was caught in the book... I actually felt like I was right there in the middle of the action. I didn’t want to put the book down, I was hooked."
--Night Owl Reviews

"Breakneck pacing, fascinating characters and depth of content make DARK WATERS a welcome addition to the world of thrillers. This is sure to be a breakout step for Goff."
--The Denver Post

"One of my first thoughts was that this novel was going to make Alan Dershowitz jealous...his thrillers set in Israel have nothing on Chris Goff."
--Israel Thrives

"A solid, well told story from a unique perspective."
--Reviewing the Evidence

"Whip-smart, informed, and tightly woven, Chris Goff’s international thriller Dark Waters reeks of authenticity and intrigue. Through her frank depictions of modern-day Israel, and on the backs of nuanced characters, Goff has fashioned a story that unfolds at a blistering pace, and feels like it all could happen tomorrow. Writing like a seasoned pro, she crushes the genre in her debut effort."
--Mark Sullivan, #1 New York Times bestselling co-author of Private L.A. and Thief

"A darkly intense story with all the right moves. Goff has crafted one heck of a thriller. Great characters, cool setting, and sharp, tight writing make Dark Waters a sure winner."
--J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of What Lies Behind

“Edgy and exciting… Rich with detail and bristling with suspense, you’ll want to put your life on hold to read this first-rate thriller.”
--Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Spies

“Chris Goff's Dark Waters is one of the best thrillers I've read in a long time. The characters are real, the story is compelling and the action is heart-stopping. This one's a sure thing.”
--John Gilstrap, New York Times bestselling author of Against All Enemies and the Jonathan Grave thriller series

"Dark Waters is Chris Goff's breakout book. A relentless international thriller with a terrifying topic and an impressive heroine, Raisa Jordan. It's been a while since I had such fun reading the work of a fellow writer. Well done!"
--David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of First Blood, Brotherhood of the Rose, and Murder as a Fine Art

Kirkus Reviews
An American diplomat, an Israeli agent, and a radical group fight to control the flow of critical and deadly information in Goff's first thriller. Ben Taylor, a U.S. federal judge, has brought his daughter, Lucy, to Israel for alternative treatment of a potentially life-threatening disease, but he and Lucy unwittingly become embroiled in a murderous plot when they witness a killing in a nearby square. That brings Batya Ganani, a deadly Israeli agent, and her boss, the shadowy Col. Ilya Brodsky, into the picture. Also in on the action is Raisa Jordan, an officer with the U.S. State Department's Diplomatic Security Service. Jordan has been assigned to protect the judge and his daughter, but it's difficult because the judge isn't very cooperative. And an impending visit from the U.S. secretary of state means resources are spread thin. So, when Alena, the Russian woman treating Lucy, is kidnapped by some would-be terrorists, Jordan is forced into an uneasy partnership with Ganani. Goff's style is spare and slightly dry, but she does an admirable job of highlighting the struggle between Arab and Israeli factions in that part of the world, as well as shedding light on some of the little-known—at least by most Westerners—cultural issues they face. But much of the plot turns on coincidence, and readers will be hard-pressed to believe that Jordan's long-ago childhood in Russia could figure in as a critical piece of the modern-day puzzle with which she's dealing. In addition, when it comes to firearms and defensive tactics, the book lacks credibility. When Jordan slips into a hiked-up pencil skirt and fashions a makeshift thigh holster for her nearly 3 pound gun out of a belt she wraps around her thigh, then repeatedly draws, fires, and holsters that same weapon, readers knowledgeable about weapons—and pencil skirts—will most likely find themselves rolling their eyes. A story in need of better research, fewer coincidences, and a more definitive ending.

Product Details

Crooked Lane Books
Publication date:
A Raisa Jordan Thriller , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
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File size:
3 MB

Read an Excerpt


The smell of falafel hit Ben Taylor’s nose the moment he opened the door. For the hundredth time, he cursed the preponderance of eating establishments around Zinah Dizen­goff Square. The mingling of odors created a non-Kosher smell that oozed from the surrounding buildings and wafted up from the outdoor dining areas. The only respite came at sundown on Friday, when every business establishment in Tel Aviv closed for Shabbat.

“Luce, we need to get moving.”

“I’m coming, Daddy.”

His daughter sounded annoyed, but Taylor cut her some slack. It was tough being eleven. Especially since he had picked her up and set her down halfway around the world—without her mom and without her friends.

“We don’t want to be late.”

“I said, I’m cooooming!” Lucy dragged out her final word as she stomped through the bedroom doorway, tying up her blond hair with a ponytail band. “Have you seen my Coach bag?”

Translation, pink purse. Her mother had given it to her the day before they had left for Israel. Lucy carried it everywhere.

Taylor glanced around the sparsely furnished apartment. To his left, a small entertainment center faced a sofa littered with the remnants of yesterday’s New York Times. Between the entertain­ment center and sofa, a rickety end table served as a catchall.

No purse.

Behind the sofa, a small, empty table and four metal chairs segued into a kitchen of miniature proportions.

“I don’t see it, Luce.” He glanced at his watch. “Six minutes until the fountain goes off. You either go without the purse or we miss the show.”

Taylor figured that would get her moving. Lucy liked their daily routine—heading into the square, stopping to watch the fountain in all its glory, and then walking along Sharon Street to Alon, cutting through the residential neighborhoods, past the dusty school yard and down the block to the strip mall where Alena’s office was tucked away in the basement. Following Lucy’s treatment, they would saunter back, taking their time to window-shop. Taylor liked the bookstore. Lucy liked the Pizza Hut. Taylor figured it reminded her of home.

“I need my bag,” she said.

“Did you check the bathroom?”

Lucy dashed down the hall and came back seconds later, flaunt­ing the purse on her arm. Cropped blue jeans, black flip-flops, and coral-tipped toenails completed the “all-American kid next door” look. She struck a model’s pose with her little-girl frame. “Ta da!”

“Come on,” he said. “Let’s move it.”

She stepped around him, swishing back her ponytail, her white tank top riding up on her tanned stomach. Only her pale face and the dark circles under her eyes belied the picture of health. It frightened him.

Taylor keyed the deadbolt and led the way down two flights of stairs and through the garden bereft of chairs, benches, or plants. Across a wide expanse of gravel, the back door to the bar catercor­ner to the apartment complex stood ajar, propped open by a large, black, plastic trash can. Straight ahead was the back entrance to the apartment building offices.

He stuck to the sidewalk, skirting both doorways, and held open the garden gate. Heading across the street toward the square, Lucy edged closer.

On their first day in Tel Aviv, they’d learned that, in 1994, Dizengoff Square had been the site of a suicide bombing. A bus trundling down Dizengoff Street had passed underneath the ele­vated pedestrian square and exploded, killing twenty-two people and injuring forty-eight others. The story had terrified Lucy.

In Israel, suicide bombings were never a thing of the past. While they had gotten used to seeing soldiers with guns and being searched every time they entered the grocery store or mall, the military presence served as a constant reminder of the possibility for violence.

Now, starting up the rise toward the fountain, Lucy dogged Taylor’s heels. He knew the gathering throng spooked her. She possessed a fear of crowded places—and teenagers—and Dizen­goff Square served as a Mecca for Tel Aviv teens. Still, her love of the spectacle of the fountain trumped her anxiety.

The Fire and Water Fountain stood in the middle of the over­pass. Created by Jewish artist Yaakov Agam, the fountain was more entertainment than art. Four times daily, it spun to a puls­ing musical beat, flashing a variety of colors and spewing fire and water into the air. The display was listed in every guidebook and on every website as “among the top ten things to do in Tel Aviv.”

Today the square seemed busier than usual. Young and old, Jewish and non-Jewish, soldiers and civilians crowded the walk­ways. People lined the waist-high walls and filled the benches that encircled the square, waiting for the show to begin.

Ahead of them, Taylor spotted their landlord, Ofer Federman, coming toward them. A tall man with close-cropped hair and dark glasses, he towered a head above the crowd. As always, he carried a bag full of crepes, purchased every day at 10:50 a.m. from the stand on the opposite side of the square.

Shalom Aleichem, Lucy. Ben.”

Shalom, Mr. Federman,” Lucy answered, plastering herself to Taylor’s side. He squeezed her shoulders and nodded to Federman as they passed.

“Look, Daddy, there’s a seat.” Lucy grabbed Taylor’s hand and tugged him forward. One-half of a blue bench sat empty, the other half occupied by an olive-skinned man in a black, short-sleeved shirt, clutching a small computer.

As Lucy scooted onto the bench, the man glanced up at Taylor. “Together?” he asked, first in Hebrew, then in English.

“Yes,” Taylor said. “But we’re here every day, sometimes twice a day. I can stand.”

“You may have it.” The man’s accent made him hard to under­stand, and he no longer looked at Taylor but at some point beyond. Taylor started to turn around, to see what captured the man’s attention, when the man stood up.

“I insist,” he said.

“It’s okay, really,” Taylor said, but the man hurried off.

Lucy scooted over and patted the bench beside her. “Front row seats.”

Taylor smiled.

They spent the next five minutes watching the people filling the square. Lucy pressed up close to his side, and he draped his arm lightly around her shoulders. It was these moments he cherished most, the times when she seemed just like any other child.

A commotion beside them caused Taylor to turn. A computer clattered to the pavement. A man on a bench to their right clutched his throat. A tall man in sunglasses stood behind him, one arm snaked around the seated man’s shoulders, one arm held out to the side. Sunlight flashed off the blade of a knife in his hand. Blood gushed from the victim’s throat.

Then a shot rang out.

A red circle bloomed on the assailant’s forehead. His head snapped back. His arms flew up. The knife clattered to the con­crete, and both men dropped to the ground.

Taylor reacted. Pulling Lucy to her feet, he pushed her for­ward, toward the cover of the fountain wall. A moment later, the fountain cranked into motion, its pulsing music and erupting fire whipping the crowd into a bigger frenzy. People screamed and ran for cover. A young mother pushing a baby carriage veered to the right, the carriage on two wheels. Someone knocked into Lucy, sending her sprawling onto the pavement.

“Lucy!” Taylor grabbed the back of her shirt.

She scrambled to her knees, her face bloodied. Grabbing her unzipped purse, she frantically scooped up its spilled contents—a cell phone she carried in case of emergency, lip gloss, and a small Hello Kitty wallet.

An Israeli soldier nearby shouldered his gun to return fire. When a bullet slammed into the sidewalk near his feet, near Lucy, the soldier jumped for cover.

“Move!” Taylor yanked his daughter up. He dragged her closer to the fountain and pushed her down behind the concrete wall. “Stay down!”

Hunching over his daughter, he put his body and the whirling fountain between her and the shooter. A third shot ricocheted off the edge of the fountain above his head. Was the sniper gunning for him?

Taylor pressed tighter the fountain wall, closer to Lucy. He knew he had taken a chance coming here, but what else could he have done? Lucy’s life hung in the balance. He knew Alena would save her, just as long as he didn’t get her killed first.

Meet the Author

Chris Goff, an award-winning mystery author, began her career as a newspaper columnist. She has taught writing workshops and has served on the board of the Mystery Writers of America. She lives in Colorado. This is her first thriller.

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