Nobody's Safe

Nobody's Safe

3.2 5
by Richard Steinberg

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There are some secrets the government would kill to protect....

No door is locked....

Gregory Picaro lives in the shadows and works in the dark, finding his way into the most exclusive homes in the world and methodically taking away their treasures one precious item at a time. A man who has made safecracking an art form, who has never met a lock he…  See more details below


There are some secrets the government would kill to protect....

No door is locked....

Gregory Picaro lives in the shadows and works in the dark, finding his way into the most exclusive homes in the world and methodically taking away their treasures one precious item at a time. A man who has made safecracking an art form, who has never met a lock he couldn't pick, Picaro is at the top of his field. But he has just opened the wrong safe.

No treasure is secure....

Suddenly Picaro, in the company of a beautiful woman reporter, is on a harrowing cross-country odyssey in pursuit of a truth too extraordinary to guess, dodging enemies who want him dead--and want their evidence back. For over fifty years a mysterious organization has been guarding a secret that will change everything you have believed about our government. And the only person who can tell the truth is a master safecracker--holding the key to a mind-boggling revelation....

Nobody's Safe.

From the Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews
Richard Steinberg -- owner of an international security firm and author of The Gemini Man -- returns with Nobody's Safe, a feverish thunderbolt -- part political espionage thriller, part science fiction jaunt -- that introduces readers to the crafty Greg Picaro, the slickest high-tech thief in the biz.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Picking locks is second nature to the steel-nerved protagonist of Steinberg's tough-talking--and pulp to the core--thriller. Greg Picaro, a thief who prides himself on his fine taste and self-restraint (he doesn't take unnecessary risks and can distinguish Paul Revere silver from the dross) is robbing Jack Kerry's apartment when three men enter and kill Kerry and his hired date. Mr. Kilbourne, the leader of the group, offs Kerry on the hunch that Kerry leaked information about two people named Joe and Max to tabloid TV reporter Megan Turner. Picaro is the next on Kilbourne's list. Steinberg (The Gemini Man) calls on his personal expertise in high-risk security and counterterrorism to impart realism to the courtroom scenes and chilling detail to the maneuvers of the thieves and thugs. Readers who may be initially put off because the opening sequence is reminiscent of Absolute Power will soon be seduced by a compulsively readable story that crackles with narrative energy and demands a sequel. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Greg Picaro is stealing valuables from an apartment when the owner and his girlfriend are murdered. Picaro escapes with items that place him in eminent danger from Majestic Twelve, a super-secret government agency with unlimited power and authority. The agency has been keeping two mysterious charges, Joe and Max Gray, hidden from the world in a virtually impregnable Nevada installation. Picaro, a world-class burglar with a knack for breaking into any security system, proves an elusive target and soon has assembled an assault team consisting of a reporter who has stumbled on the Majestic secret, a computer hack, and a group of gypsies who provide the muscle and then some. The reader knows what is waiting in the hidden bunker in the Nevada desert--we've all seen The X-Files--but Steinberg (The Gemini Man, LJ 3/1/98) has created an extraordinary hero in Greg Picaro, whose ability to overcome all obstacles carries the book to an enormously rewarding conclusion.--Jo Ann Vicarel, Cleveland Hts.-University Hts. P.L., OH
Kirkus Reviews
Steinberg's second novel is not the expected sequel to The Gemini Man (1998), but rather introduces a new character, safecracker supreme Greg Picaro, who looks as if he may return for further adventures. Picaro's unrivaled talents as a master thief derive indirectly from his own author's background running an international security firm. And Picaro himself repeatedly invokes his god, Linus Yale, inventor of the Yale lock, while working on evading top-grade sensors. The story's opening scene is reminiscent of David Baldacci's Absolute Power with a safecracker who-while breaking into an apartment safe-witnesses a double murder, a villainy that leads back to a source in none other than the president-elect. The discovery that he has stolen some perfectly formed, incredibly round, or marble-shaped, diamonds (synthesized by no known earthly process), turns Picaro into a man on the run, as in Harrison Ford's The Fugitive, itself borrowed from F.L. Green's early '40s novel/film Odd Man Out. Then Steinberg hairpins into E.T.: Extraterrestrial with a pair of lovable little aliens, Joe and Max Gray, who have been captured by the federal government and kept in a supersecret big terrarium since their space ship crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, back in 1947 (ah, Men in Black!). Then midnovel, the story plunges feet-first into fantasy with these two "Hesperians." Which leads to a vast error on Steinberg's part, in that he will disappoint hard-nosed thriller readers with the goopy turn of events while his playing it mainly for crashingly cliché melodrama fails to weigh thoughtfully what first contact with an alien culture means. Picaro is a terrific character; whenever he comes near a safeor a sensor, the tension holds brilliantly. And so, a fusion novel folds thriller out into a sentimental fantasy-but cutting-edge only if you like filet mignon under meringue. .

From the Publisher
"A compulsively readable story that crackles with narrative energy."
--Publishers Weekly

"Picaro is a terrific character; whenever he comes near a safe or a sensor, the tension holds brilliantly."
--Kirkus Reviews

"A wild and enjoyable ride."
--Houston Chronicle

Don't miss Richard Steinberg's dazzling debut thriller The Gemini Man, available from Bantam Books.

And coming soon in hardcover from Doubleday: The Four-Phase Man.

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Getting onto the roof was the easy part.

It was just past three that afternoon when Greg casually walked into the high-rise's lobby. An elevator to the forty-third floor, neither looking anyone in the eye nor looking away. Just another faceless visitor to the newly built high-rise on a crowded Friday afternoon.

As expected, he was the only one to get off on the still-unfinished floor; the last before the two private penthouse floors. And ten minutes after he'd entered the building, he stood in front of the secured fire door that led to the rooftop access stairway.

It was locked.

Of course.

He stood there, very still, carefully listening for any footsteps on the stairs below him. Finally satisfied (the closed-circuit cameras wouldn't be installed on this floor until next week), he set his briefcase on the ground and began to work.

The door was alarmed.

No problem.

Two small pieces of well-chewed bubble gum and four nine-inch-long, pale blue, pure silk threads and the alarm ceased to be a concern.

Attention on the lock.

"Oh, Linus, Linus," he barely whispered, "this is a most piddling little thing." He studied the lock as he reached into the case. "Quality control just isn't what it used to be." He sighed as he came up with what his fingers had been reaching for. "But then, what is?" A quick spray from a can of graphite, a slight push from an Allen wrench and . . .

On the roof, there was no hesitation.

A quick, casual-seeming look around to ensure that he was alone, then straight for the spot he'd been observing from a rented office across the street for the past week: an equipment shed for elevatorservicing and light storage.

It was beige, as was most of the building's exterior. Three sides on the roof like some misplaced pigeon coop, the fourth wall just inches from the roof edge. With the bottom thirty inches of it in constant shadow from the roof's restraining wall.

He quickly reversed his jacket to expose its flat-black lining; pulled on a black hood and gloves from the case; took a last lookaround, a last listen, then slid into the narrow, deeply shadowed space.

And lay there, unmoving, for the next nine hours.

Normally he would've willed sleep to come. Forced rest and relaxation through his adrenalized body to prepare for the night's work ahead.

But ever since he'd decided on this job, sleep had become his enemy. A thing to be avoided at all costs.

Well, not sleep exactly, but the things that sleep brought with it. Phantom pains and fanged shadows that reached out for him from a place he'd thought no longer existed within him.

A place that had been mostly silent for so many years.

He never should've even considered this score. He knew that now. With the clarity of a man who has the time to think Oh? I took that curve a little too fast, moments before crashing over the side of a cliff.

But to walk away, even now, would be conceding a power over him to the dusty, moldy demons.

And this man conceded nothing to no one.

It was a little past midnight when he slowly, carefully crawled from his hiding place. His ears strained to hear everything, anything. Any noise that might give a second's warning of trouble or, worse still, that might give him away.

Once he was fully out of the crawl space, he rolled onto his back, staring up into the starry night, slowly counting to 300.

He felt the blood come racing back into previously cramped limbs. Forced pinioned muscles to stretch, then relax. Rolled his neck to loosen his shoulders.

Felt himself come alive again.

Only then did he try to stand.

After testing his legs and arms, convinced that they'd fully recovered from the odd positions they'd been forced into all day, he moved silently across the gravel roof to the Gravesend Avenue side.

Avoiding any look down at the dark street, he spent more than a minute spotting the rented office across the street that he'd used for his reconnaissance. Then he checked his watch.

Nine minutes after twelve.

Counting down the seconds in his head, he kept his eyes locked on that distant office window. Where a steady light meant Go. The target is dark and has remained dark for at least the last two hours. Where a flashing light meant Something is different. Beware! Take precautions! And no light would mean . . .

Greg wiped his sweaty face beneath the nylon hood.

No light could mean Abort! Something has been compromised! Return to hiding, then leave with the lunch crowd later in the day.

Or it might mean that Foss just wasn't there.

Maybe he'd forgotten. Or was there and so stoned that he couldn't tell time or see across the room, let alone the street. Or maybe he'd been picked up on some bullshit buy-bust or reverse sting. Maybe he'd given Greg up to the cops already. Maybe they were waiting below, in the dark, to grab him.

All because he had a stone dope fiend for a partner.

For a friend.

"Be there," he whispered as he counted down the last seconds.

A light flicked on.

It shone brightly, steadily, for thirty seconds, then flicked out as suddenly as it had appeared.

The rest now depended on faith.

He glanced down at the street below. Gravesend Avenue. An empty, dirty street with only back doors, back walls, and no hope.

A street Greg used to know as intimately as any in the world.

But would rather die than return to.

It was a bad sign, Foss would say. A dark omen, Deo might laugh.

And Greg would agree.

But the building's address wasn't on Gravesend, but Beecher. A difference that Greg told them made all the difference in the world.

So long as he was awake.

After listening at the door to the stairway for long minutes, he put his hiding place behind him, silently descending toward the four luxury penthouses on 44 and 45.

Across the street, Bobby Fosselis sat shivering on the floor of the rented office.

He had no way of knowing if Greg had seen his signal. Or if Greg was even on the roof. But he gave it anyway. As he would three more times in the next hour.

He wiped the heavy sweat from his eyes and peeked out the window.

The targeted penthouses were still dark, had been since just before nine that evening. If everything was going according to plan, Greg should be walking around in the first one right now. It should all be over in the next forty-five minutes.

Should be.

But to an addict who hadn't fixed in six hours, forty-five minutes was a lifetime.

The late-fiftyish man (who looked twenty years older) glanced back at the desk where his works and a rock of black tar heroin sat waiting.

It would be easy, so easy for him to shoot up now. To feel the warmth course through his collapsing veins. It would steady him, he tried to convince himself, sharpen him for the vigil he must keep. It would make him more alert to any changes in the status of the penthouses. Changes that Greg must instantly be made aware of.


Greg would understand, he continued in his silent argument. He always did. Right? He would sigh and say, "Hey, it happens." Then shake his head and walk away, a look of disappointment and pity on his face.

But Foss had given his word to the younger man. And, for the moment at least, that was a stronger, more visceral demand on him than the drugs.

For the moment.

He checked the penthouses again, then glanced down at the street below. Wondering if there'd be any dealers around when he left.

* * *

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Meet the Author

Richard Steinberg lectures on issues that include counterterrorism, international security, and the history of assassinations in America. A former consultant and founder of an international high-risk security firm, Steinberg began writing full-time after recovering from a gunshot wound incurred in the line of duty. His first novel, The Gemini Man, is currently being developed for feature film adaptation by producer Steven Haft.

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Nobody's Safe 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this new character Gregory Picaro is going to be a great second book.