Glass Tiger Pa

Overview

Brendan Thorne, ex-Ranger, ex-sniper for the CIA, has foresworn violence when his presence is demanded at a top-secret meeting. Halden Corwin, legendary Vietnam sniper and mercenary, has vowed to assassinate the recently elected president of the United States, and the government’s computers have picked Thorne as the most likely person to find Corwin. Special agent Terrill Hatfield’s crack FBI team will take care of the rest. But when the plan doesn’t go as described, Thorne discovers he’s been drawn into a web of...

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Overview

Brendan Thorne, ex-Ranger, ex-sniper for the CIA, has foresworn violence when his presence is demanded at a top-secret meeting. Halden Corwin, legendary Vietnam sniper and mercenary, has vowed to assassinate the recently elected president of the United States, and the government’s computers have picked Thorne as the most likely person to find Corwin. Special agent Terrill Hatfield’s crack FBI team will take care of the rest. But when the plan doesn’t go as described, Thorne discovers he’s been drawn into a web of lies, ambitions, and double-crosses that will force him to stand and fight. A fast-paced thriller full of stunning revelations, Glass Tiger will leave the reader breathless.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
PRAISE FOR GLASS TIGER

 
"Fast paced and surprising, Glass Tiger finds Gores getting better with age—while the majority of his contemporaries are content to rest on their laurels, this multiple Edgar Award winning scribe continues to write novels that challenge and entertain."—Mystery Scene Magazine
 
"Edgar-winner Gores will satisfy action junkies with this fast-paced, suspenseful stand-alone . . . Gores artfully shifts perspective between the hunter and the hunted."—Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly
Edgar-winner Gores (Cases) will satisfy action junkies with this fast-paced, suspenseful stand-alone, though not everyone will find suspending disbelief an easy matter. The impending inauguration of near-future U.S. President Gustave Wallberg is clouded by a threat from a man previously thought dead, Hal Corwin. According to the administration, Corwin, a Vietnam veteran and expert marksman, brutally murdered his own daughter, and Wallberg's closest advisers decide that their best chance of thwarting an assassination attempt is to find Corwin's benevolent doppelg nger in the person of Brendan Thorne, a younger man with similar skills. Despite some flimsy plotting (e.g., wounded characters are assumed dead by their adversaries), Gores artfully shifts perspective between the hunter and the hunted as the alleged assassin moves closer to his target and Thorne finds he can't trust his closest allies. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Only one man in America can foil a world-class assassin: his doppelg„nger. Brendan Thorne, ex-Ranger, ex-killing machine (though only when the cause is just), has benched himself in Kenya. "No, never again killing," he's vowed, hoping to banish ghost-ridden nightmares. In another part of the world, however, U.S. President-Elect Gustave Wallberg is contending with ghosts of his own, and his experiences will send Thorne back into action. Wallberg has received a letter that terrifies him: "CONGRATULATIONS TO A DEAD PRESIDENT. CORWIN." It's the "Corwin" that chills the blood: Hal Corwin, Gus Wallberg's former best friend and current bˆte noir, is an ex-Special Forces sniper of mythic reputation. A computer search has convinced Wallberg and his advisors that the best person to stop a Corwin assassination attempt is someone whose attributes, personality and experience are so like the assassin's that the nemesis is his mirror image: Thorne, of course. And so the lethal cat-and-mouse game begins, the hunter-prey roles constantly shifting. But as Thorne soon learns, there's another game afoot, one of Secrets and Lies having mostly to do with the nature of his enemy. Is Corwin really the brutal murderer all the president's men say he is, or are both players being stalked?Thin plot, derivative characters. A disappointment from a writer whose work has so often sparkled (Cons, Scams and Grifts, 2001, etc.).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780156032742
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 9/10/2007
  • Series: Otto Penzler Presents Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 1,183,539
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

Author of the DKA Files series, Joe Gores has won Edgar Awards for First Novel, Short Story, and Teleplay, and been nominated in the category of Best Novel. He lives in California.

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Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE
 
january nineteenth. Hal Corwin crossed the Truckee Post Office parking lot with the slightest of limps, gingerly, as if not sure of his footing on the just-plowed surface. Here, at nearly six thousand feet of elevation on the Cal-Nev border, the frigid air bit hard at his bullet-damaged lung.

  Janet Kestrel stepped down from the driver’s side of her old dark-green 4-Runner facing out from a far corner of the lot. Its motor was running as if for a quick getaway. Her tawny face was as brown as his, but from genetics, not weather. Today her ebony hair was piled on top of her head under a fur-lined cap.

 Hal put his left hand on her arm, tenderly. The hand was missing two fingers. “Delivery tomorrow morning, guaranteed.” 

 “Know why that doesn’t make me happy? Tomorrow afternoon he’ll have all of the world’s resources at his command.”

 “Doesn’t matter. He has to feel it coming.”

 Before that night last November she had been avid, urging him on. She knew little about the deaths and was afraid to ask. Afraid to know what she might have helped drive him to.
 
 They hugged. He was a rangy six feet; the top of her head fit just under his chin. Her blue eyes were tight shut. During four months last year, he had become the father she had lost, she had become the daughter he had . . . oh God, what had he done?
 
 She had driven up here as he had asked, would go home and wait for his call. But she had written the letter. She stepped back from his embrace, purging all emotion from her voice.

 “Page my cell phone when you need the 4-Runner.”

“I will. Just bring it back here and catch the first bus down the mountain. Don’t tell anyone what you’re doing.” He laid a gentle palm on her cheek. “I’ll call you afterward.”

 She climbed into the 4-Runner. He bowed slightly and swept a courtly arm to usher her away. Any chance of seeing her again was probably nil, but setting it up now meant there could be no possible danger to her later.

 Gustave Wallberg didn’t have George W.’s little-boy smiley eyes, nor Clinton’s testosterone-drenched good-old-boy appeal. Instead, he had the rugged good looks of, say, a retired pro quarterback, just right for this three-hundred-channel sound-bite era.

 Protocol demanded that he wear a diplomat’s gray cutaway, but he had wanted a snap-on bow tie. Edith had insisted on hand-tied. Once in a lifetime, after all.
 He pulled the offending tie apart yet again and said, “Dammit anyway,” without turning from the mirror. Edith appeared behind him in her Bill Blass original.

 “Yes, dear,” she said gaily. “Turn around.”

 The anteroom door banged open and Kurt Jaeger surged in like a charging bear, bigger than life. He had an unlit cigar in one hand, a flat blue and white Post Office EXPRESS MAIL envelope in the other. Seeing Edith, he slowed, found a grin.

“So, Edith. Ready for the big moment?”

 “Yes, if this man would only stand still long enough for me to”—she gave her husband’s tie a final jerk—“get this right . . .”

 Wallberg was slanting a look at the envelope. “Something?”

 “The usual suspects—their undying love and devotion so they can be riding the gravy train as it leaves the station.”

 Wallberg knew his man too well to believe this. It was in Jaeger’s heavy voice, in the small, hard eyes that dominated the meaty face. He waited patiently until the door to the suite’s bedroom closed behind his wife, then snatched the envelope from the hand of his Chief of Staff.

 “Now let’s see what’s so damned important you had to—”

 He ran down. One line, laser-printed on standard letter-sized paper so it had no identifying characteristics the FBI lab could analyze. Mailed yesterday from Truckee, California.

 “Who has seen this?”

 “Me. As one of the new boys in town, I was being shown how the White House mailroom guys x-ray all incoming for poisons and explosives and biohazards and all that crap. I saw his name on it and snagged it unopened after they ran it through.”

 “What’s the temperature going to be for the ceremony?”

 “Twenty above. With windchill, five above.”

  “Tell Shayne O’Hara I agree with his Secret Service lads. At five above, it is more prudent to go with the closed limo.”

 An hour later, Wallberg was standing before Chief Justice Alvin Carruthers, his right hand raised, his left hand flat on an open Bible. He was hatless, the icy wind ruffling his hair as he recited the oath of office after the aged jurist.

 “I, Gustave Wallberg . . . do solemnly swear . . . that I will faithfully execute . . . the Office of the President of the United States . . . and will to the best of my ability . . . preserve, protect and defend . . . the Constitution of the United States.”

 As he repeated the sacred words, that mad message burned in his brain: congratulations to a dead president. corwin.

 Dear God. Would he have to shift priorities for his first weeks—months?—in office to accommodate the nearly unthinkable fact that Hal Corwin might still be alive?
 

 The late March air was icy. Hal Corwin shivered as he crawled out of his sleeping bag to restart his fire. His campsite was a calculated quarter mile off the ridge trail above California’s Kings Canyon National Park, at the edge of the subalpine zone where ponderosa pines crept up to mingle with old-growth Douglas firs and Engelmann spruce.

 He sat on the hollow fir log that dominated the clearing as he waited for snowmelt to heat for instant coffee. The log was six feet in diameter and twenty-five feet long. It had been rotting there for four hundred years. The scattered droppings of countless generations of tiny deer mice, shrews and voles living in its depths had nourished the root fungi that laced its open end.

 As he breathed the icy air as deep as his damaged lung would allow, he massaged his bad knee.

  He stepped away from the tree and was struck a terrific blow below the left knee. . . .

 The stalking beast of his dreams didn’t exist, but he knew in his gut that tomorrow the searchers, lesser men, would come.
  
At two minutes after midnight, a red Chevy Tracker turned off California 180 to stop in the puddle of pale light by the antique gas pumps fronting Parker’s Resort. Two men got out to walk toward the rustic bar-café. One was six feet and hard-bitten, the other short, round, red of face. Both wore insulated coats and hunting caps with the earflaps down.

  Seth Parker had just finished scraping the grease into the trap underneath the grill. He was a tall, stooped, skinny man, with wary brown eyes and a drooping ginger mustache. The rolled-up sleeves of his long johns revealed tattooed forearms. He stepped into the open doorway, his shadow cast long before him. His 12-gauge leaned against the wall two feet away.

 “No gas tonight, guys,” he called. “Sorry.”

 Except for the café, he and Mae weren’t really open for the season until the weekend, yet here were these two showing up at midnight on this lonely stretch of highway.

 Big Guy stopped, said disarmingly, “How about a cabin?”

 “That we might be able to do. Depends on—”

 “How about something to eat?” said Short and Round.

 “Just closed down the grill.” But Seth’s wariness was gone. Obviously, for Short and Round, munchies were more important than mayhem. “Toasted cheese sandwiches?”

  “With bacon in ’em? And fries?”

 “Bacon we got. No fries tonight. Potato chips, pickles.”

 While Seth grilled the sandwiches, they wandered around the old chinked-log building, drinking Miller Lite and looking at the deer and elk heads over the bar, the chinook salmon mounted above the wide stone fireplace with its still-glowing hardwood embers.

 Seth joined them at the table to have a beer himself. He never could get to sleep much before 2:00 a.m., anyway.

 Washing down his sandwich with his beer, Short and Round said primly, “No private facilities are allowed in national parks, but this place sure as hell looks private to me.”

 “Run-down, you mean?” Seth chuckled. “My granddaddy built it before the park went in. Sure you guys wouldn’t be happier at Grant Grove Center? It’s official, open all year. New cabins, a lodge, gift shop, grocery store—and you can get gas there.”

 Big Guy shoved his plate aside, shook out a Marlboro, raised it and his eyebrows slightly. Seth nodded. He lit up.

Copyright © 2006 by Joe Gores

 
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

 
Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be submitted online at www.harcourt.com/contact or mailed to the following address:  Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

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