Overview


It was thought that during the height of tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States, the KGB may have cleverly smuggled a nuclear bomb into the very heart of Washington D.C. In Pete Earley's new thriller, Lethal Secrets, this bomb is in the hands of a band of Chechen rebels, lead by an insane terrorist, Movladi 'the Viper' Islamov, who's threatening to detonate it unless his demands are met.
The fate of the city rests in the hands of a disgraced deputy U.S. ...
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Lethal Secrets

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Overview


It was thought that during the height of tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States, the KGB may have cleverly smuggled a nuclear bomb into the very heart of Washington D.C. In Pete Earley's new thriller, Lethal Secrets, this bomb is in the hands of a band of Chechen rebels, lead by an insane terrorist, Movladi 'the Viper' Islamov, who's threatening to detonate it unless his demands are met.
The fate of the city rests in the hands of a disgraced deputy U.S. Marshal, Wyatt Conway, who is reluctantly called into action by his FBI and CIA rivals because he was once a friend of Islamov's, before the freedom fighter turned into an international terrorist.
But to stop Islamov, Conway must trust Vladimir Khrenkov, a possibly corrupt Russian intelligence agent, and Kimberly Lodge, a skeptical CIA beauty. Conway suspects Khrenkov of being the man who executed a top Russian mobster that Conway was protecting in federal witness protection program. And the CIA's Lodge isn't all that certain Conway is capable of outwitting the terrorists and protecting the capital of the free world.
With time running out, Conway must find a way to manipulate and expose Khrenkov, keep Lodge and her bureaucratic cronies off his back, and prevent Islamov from igniting the spark for Armageddon.

At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
What could have been an explosive novel of international intrigue exploiting post-9/11 paranoia sparks brilliantly before sputtering out. Deputy U.S. Marshal Wyatt Conway is charged with guarding Sergey Pudin, a Russian mafiosi. Meanwhile, Russian intelligence agent Colonel Khrenkov is blackmailed into murdering Pudin before he can testify against major crime bosses. In distant Chechnya, Movladi "The Viper" Islamov-a former student of Conway's-has become an international terrorist in the Chechen cause, and he's discovered that in the 1950s, the Soviets built a thermonuclear "sleeper bomb" that they secreted in the basement of the Russian embassy in Washington, D.C. Conway, a throwback to pre-1950s he-man values, is a devil-may-care smart aleck who confuses prejudice for opinion and wisecracks for wisdom, but he's apparently irresistible to women, especially to Kimberly Lodge, a shapely CIA counterterrorism expert. Undaunted by demotion, Conway shoehorns himself into the CIA's investigative team, making monkeys of the best of the U.S. and Russian officials. Earley knows his stuff-he seamlessly works in complex detail about everything from government bureaucracy to weapons technology-but he undermines his plot with improbabilities and contrivances. Better editing could have made this thriller a blast. Agent, Robert Gottlieb. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Twisty chase thriller involving a spectrum of Russian agents, rogue and regular, pursued by a volatile and incompatible pair of Americans. In 1955 Moscow, Soviet physicist Andrei Bobkov goes on the run when he realizes that he knows too much for his own well being-specifically, that a devastating nuclear bomb is hidden somewhere in a major American city (Washington, D.C., it's eventually revealed). The story then jumps 50 years and fans out to multiple perspectives. College student Olga Khrenkov, a Russian emigre studying in Brooklyn, is kidnapped in broad daylight by Russian thug Viktor Manakov. The young woman is used as a bargaining chip in a complicated plan to "convince" her brother Vladimir, a possibly corrupt colonel in the intelligence agency GRU, to assassinate witness Sergey Pudin, about to testify in detail about Russian mob operations in Brighton Beach. As Khrenkov makes his way across the ocean, recently captured Chechen rebel Oleg Kotlyar suffers extensive torture in an effort to elicit information about the dangerous Movladi "The Viper" Islamov, a rebel leader and international terrorist. Kimberly Lodge, an abrasive and habitually tardy CIA counterterrorism expert, receives a briefing at Langley about the Viper and his projected activities while Wyatt Henry Conway, a rugged U.S. Deputy Marshal and (oddly) the only character who relates his own narrative thread in the first person, shares snippets of past exploits and some of the minutiae of his job as he takes control of Pudin's protection. Khrenkov does complete his mission and return to Russia, besmirching Conway's record and wounding his pride. But that's just the curtain raiser to the main attraction: the proverbialrace against the clock, the fierce Islamov in pursuit of the fabled bomb with Kimberly, Conway and a reluctant Khrenkov close behind. Earley (The Big Secret, 2004, etc.) keeps pace and paranoia effectively high, but his characters need deepening. It's also difficult following who's who in his large Russian supporting cast. A good warm-up for Tolstoy.
From the Publisher
"Pete Early imagines the unimaginable and delivers a very chilling and much too believable story of nuclear Armageddon. A wonderful blend of fact and fiction."—Nelson DeMille, New York Times bestselling author of Night Fall on Lethal Secrets

"Lethal Secrets made my hair stand lethally on end and put my pulse at DefCon One. You'll be up all night with nitroglycerin tablets on the bedstand. You'll need them. Pete Earley proves he's a master of thrills and chills."—Doug Preston, New York Times bestselling author of Tyrannosaur Canyon

"Lethal Secrets is a book definitely worth your time. Pete Earley's novel [is] quite a blast."—Alan Cheuse, All Things Considered

"Sparks brilliantly. . . . Earley knows his stuff—he seamlessly works in complex detail about everything from government bureaucracy to weapons technology."—Publishers Weekly on Lethal Secrets

"A tale as wired as Washington itself."—W.E.B. Griffin, New York Times bestselling author of The Hostage on Lethal Secrets

"Pete Earley goes to Condition Red on page one, and never lets up in this absorbing thriller of nuclear terror! With rich characters, fast pace and exotic locale's, Lethal Secrets sweeps you on with one surprise after another."—-Walter J. Boyne, New York Times bestselling of Operation Iraqi Freedom

"The ultimate 'sleeper agent.' Lethal—and believable—terror."—Barbara D'Amato, Edgar Award-winning author of Death of a Thousand Cuts on Lethal Secrets

"Pete Earley's eye for detail—honed over twenty-five years in the trenches of investigative journalism—brings his fiction to life. His spies, mobsters, and law enforcement officials walk straight off the pages into your mind's eye. Lethal Secrets, his sophomore outing, is his best to date."—Mike Sager, Los Angeles Times bestselling author of Scary Monsters and Super Freaks

Nelson DeMille
A very chilling and much too believable story of nuclear Armageddon. A wonderful blend of fact and fiction.
New York Times bestselling author of Tyrannosaur Canyon - Douglas Preston
Earley proves he's a master of thrills and chills.
New York Times bestselling of Operation Iraqi Freedom - Walter J. Boyne
[An] absorbing thriller of nuclear terror! Lethal Secrets sweeps you on with one surprise after another.
Edgar Award-winning author of Death of a Thousand Cuts - Barbara D'Amato
"The ultimate 'sleeper agent.' Lethal—and believable—terror."
Stephen Coonts
"Pete Earley is a major talent."
All Things Considered - Alan Cheuse
Lethal Secrets is a book definitely worth your time. Pete Earley's novel [is] quite a blast.
New York Times bestselling author of The Hostage - W.E.B. Griffin
A tale as wired as Washington itself.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781429940191
  • Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
  • Publication date: 5/2/2006
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,305,278
  • File size: 418 KB

Meet the Author


Pete Earley is a former Washington Post reporter and winner of the Mystery Writers of America's Edgar for Best Fact Crime Book in 1996 for Circumstantial Evidence: Death, Life, and Justice in a Southern Town. His book, which also won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, helped free an innocent man from Alabama's death row. Earley's account of the John Walker spy ring, Family of Spies, was a New York Times bestseller and CBS mini-series. The Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison was a national bestseller and was based on a year that Earley spent inside a maximum security federal prison as an author.

Born in Arizona, Earley was reared in Colorado and worked for newspapers in Kansas and Oklahoma before moving to the Virginia suburbs of Washington D.C., where he lives with his wife, Patti. They have seven children.
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Read an Excerpt


Lethal Secrets
PART I150 YEARS LATER, NEW YORK CITY 
 
 
"Er, uh, would you like to go for coffee?" he asked, lingering near the door of their college economics classroom."Not today," she said. "But maybe some other morning."She stepped by him into the crowded hallway. He was an American, and although she had lived in Brooklyn for five years, she still felt uncomfortable whenever she socialized with non-Russians. Still, he was handsome and seemed polite. He sat behind her every Tuesday and Thursday morning in the lecture hall. It was an easy class for her. She'd always been good with numbers.It had taken him several days to screw up his courage. There'd been clumsy attempts. Once, he'd rushed to open the lecture hall door but was too timid to speak. Another time, he'd borrowed a pencil. It was innocent. She was nineteen. He appeared to be about the same.Perhaps she was making a mistake. What harm would there be in going for coffee? He wasn't a stranger. But her stepfather expected her earlier than usual today. Their restaurant hadn't been open for very long. Her parents and uncle had invested everything in it.She left the building. The sun felt warm. There were no clouds. Blue sky. It was mid-October and the trees in the park across from the NYU library were dropping their leaves. Despite the sunshine, the air wascrisp. She thought about Moscow. She missed her friends there. She missed her older brother. But she didn't miss the city. It reeked of decay, stagnation, the past. New York was electric. It was her future.Because she was preoccupied, she didn't notice the U-Haul truck edging up the street behind her as she walked to the subway. But even if she had, it wouldn't have mattered. There was nothing odd about rental trucks in Manhattan. The driver hid behind sunglasses and a navy blue baseball cap with white stitching. New York Yankees."That her?" the driver asked."Da, da, da," snapped Victor Manakov, the passenger sitting beside him.The truck eased by the girl and slipped into a no parking zone four car lengths ahead. The driver kept the engine running.Speaking into his cell phone, Manakov said, "She's the skinny one wearing a white blouse, black pants, carrying textbooks." The description was hardly necessary. The only other people on the sidewalk were a black youngster riding a skateboard and an elderly Hispanic woman walking with the aid of a cane.Manakov climbed out of the truck's cab. It's rear cargo door jerked upward. Three men crawled out. Each was wearing blue overalls. They appeared to be moving men about to deliver furniture."Olga! Can that be you?" Manakov exclaimed in Russian.She stopped, examined his face, but didn't recognize him.Stepping closer, he said, "I'm a friend of your brother, Vladimir! We were fighters together in Afghanistan!"The other men quietly encircled her, yet she didn't sense any danger. She was trying to match his face to a memory. He opened his arms, as if he were about to embrace her. That's when the others sprang into action.One grabbed her left arm, the other her right, while the third reached around her waist and easily lifted her from the sidewalk. Manakov snatched her legs. Caught completely by surprise, she dropped her books and tried to struggle. But her reaction came too late. They tossed her into the truck. The door slammed down. The vehicle lurched from the curb."Shut up! Bitch!" Manakov yelled. He slapped her hard across the cheek. Olga was shoved onto her chest. Her hands and feet were pushed together and bound with gray duct tape. A torn strip was slapped across her lips. It all happened in a matter of seconds. One moment she had been recalling Moscow and daydreaming about the friendly American boy in her class. Now she was being abducted in the darkened rear of a rental truck.Why?Her body began to tremble. She couldn't control the shaking. Her face burned.How had they known her brother's name? What did they want?Most of all: Why me?Copyright © 2005 by Pete Earley
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First Chapter

Chapter One

50 Years Later

New York City

"Er, uh, would you like to go for coffee?" he asked, lingering near the door of their college economics classroom.

"Not today," she said. "But maybe some other morning."

She stepped by him into the crowded hallway. He was an American, and although she had lived in Brooklyn for five years, she still felt uncomfortable whenever she socialized with non-Russians. Still, he was handsome and seemed polite. He sat behind her every Tuesday and Thursday morning in the lecture hall. It was an easy class for her. She'd always been good with numbers.

It had taken him several days to screw up his courage. There'd been clumsy attempts. Once, he'd rushed to open the lecture hall door but was too timid to speak. Another time, he'd borrowed a pencil. It was innocent. She was nineteen. He appeared to be about the same.

Perhaps she was making a mistake. What harm would there be in going for coffee? He wasn't a stranger. But her stepfather expected her earlier than usual today. Their restaurant hadn't been open for very long. Her parents and uncle had invested everything in it.

She left the building. The sun felt warm. There were no clouds. Blue sky. It was mid-October and the trees in the park across from the NYU library were dropping their leaves. Despite the sunshine, the air was crisp. She thought about Moscow. She missed her friends there. She missed her older brother. But she didn't miss the city. It reeked of decay, stagnation, the past. New York was electric. It was her future.

Because she was preoccupied, she didn't notice the U-Haul truck edging up the street behind her as she walkedto the subway. But even if she had, it wouldn't have mattered. There was nothing odd about rental trucks in Manhattan. The driver hid behind sunglasses and a navy blue baseball cap with white stitching. New York Yankees.

"That her?" the driver asked.

"Da, da, da," snapped Victor Manakov, the passenger sitting beside him.

The truck eased by the girl and slipped into a no parking zone four car lengths ahead. The driver kept the engine running.

Speaking into his cell phone, Manakov said, "She's the skinny one wearing a white blouse, black pants, carrying textbooks." The description was hardly necessary. The only other people on the sidewalk were a black youngster riding a skateboard and an elderly Hispanic woman walking with the aid of a cane.

Manakov climbed out of the truck's cab. It's rear cargo door jerked upward. Three men crawled out. Each was wearing blue overalls. They appeared to be moving men about to deliver furniture.

"Olga! Can that be you?" Manakov exclaimed in Russian.

She stopped, examined his face, but didn't recognize him.

Stepping closer, he said, "I'm a friend of your brother, Vladimir! We were fighters together in Afghanistan!"

The other men quietly encircled her, yet she didn't sense any danger. She was trying to match his face to a memory. He opened his arms, as if he were about to embrace her. That's when the others sprang into action.

One grabbed her left arm, the other her right, while the third reached around her waist and easily lifted her from the sidewalk. Manakov snatched her legs. Caught completely by surprise, she dropped her books and tried to struggle. But her reaction came too late. They tossed her into the truck. The door slammed down. The vehicle lurched from the curb.

"Shut up! Bitch!" Manakov yelled. He slapped her hard across the cheek. Olga was shoved onto her chest. Her hands and feet were pushed together and bound with gray duct tape. A torn strip was slapped across her lips. It all happened in a matter of seconds. One moment she had been recalling Moscow and daydreaming about the friendly American boy in her class. Now she was being abducted in the darkened rear of a rental truck.

Why?

Her body began to tremble. She couldn't control the shaking. Her face burned.

How had they known her brother's name? What did they want?

Most of all: Why me?

Copyright © 2006 by Pete Earley
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