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Remote Control

Remote Control

by Andy McNab

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Dave Brewster has just finished serving five years of a ten-year robbery sentence. He either has to go straight, or pull off a job that will put him on easy street for the rest of his life — he chooses the job of a lifetime, one that's been five years in the making.

Every year luxury yachts are shipped from Florida to Europe by way of a huge transporter


Dave Brewster has just finished serving five years of a ten-year robbery sentence. He either has to go straight, or pull off a job that will put him on easy street for the rest of his life — he chooses the job of a lifetime, one that's been five years in the making.

Every year luxury yachts are shipped from Florida to Europe by way of a huge transporter. Brewster and his hand-picked crew of crime specialists plan a spectacular heist of one of the yachts, along with an estimated $250 million worth of jewels, art and cash being shipped on the other 16 vessels.

But Brewster is not the only one attempting to take advantage of this floating catch of a lifetime. As agendas conflict, the result is an enormously exciting cat-and-mouse chase and a surprise dénouement on the high seas.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A rogue Special Air Service agent on the lam in suburban America with the seven-year-old daughter of a murdered colleague. Sounds like the latest Bruce Willis vehicle, costarring that little girl from the Pepsi commercials. But McNab, a former SAS agent himself and author of two nonfiction books on the subject, manages to balance the clich s and cuteness with large doses of tradecraft taken from his 17 years of undercover experience. When Nick Stone describes how to maintain a fictitious address or reveals the secrets of tracing a call made from a public telephone, the details ring true--and help get us over some of the more ludicrous speed bumps in his story. Stone, tracking two Irish terrorists from London to Washington, is suddenly ordered back home on the next available flight. His old mate Kevin Brown, now with the Drug Enforcement Agency, lives nearby, so Nick decides to drop in. He finds a slaughterhouse: Kev, his wife, and youngest daughter have been murdered, but daughter Kelly has survived in a special hideout. Prying information from the shocked child, Stone links the killers to either the CIA, the DEA or his own organization--which means that he and Kelly are on the run from everybody. As Nick trundles the spunky youngster from one seedy motel to another, stuffs her with junk food and teaches her the rudiments of espionage, he puts together a picture of why Kevin and his family were killed--a connection between a terrorist bomb scare in Gibraltar in 1988, the Colombian drug cartel and high-level intelligence agency skullduggery. The vast network of sinister collaborations isn't startling, but McNab reliably delivers the believable, real-life details and keeps readers' attention with steady, careful prose until the predictable but satisfying end. (June) FYI: Remote Control was the number one bestseller in London's Sunday Times for seven weeks. Because of McNab's SAS involvement, and his wanted status by several terrorist groups, he makes no public appearances. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Narrator Boyd Gaines seems to have an enormous amount of fun with the characters in Kerr's latest thriller, who include mobsters, Russians, porn stars, and assorted ocean-going scoundrels. During his five years in prison, Dave Delano developed a plan: get aboard a sea transport and hijack a large yacht that is smuggling money for the Russian mob. Such a plan takes financing, so Delano turns to the American mob for backing, which they give along with Al, a ruthless button man who is their loan security. Meanwhile, FBI agent Kate Fury and her Kansas-bred, ocean-loathing, oversexed male supervisor are working the same transport looking for illegal drug shipments. And then there is the all-female crew of a yacht owned by a porno film company that is also being transported. Patrons who like Donald Westlake's Dormunder series will enjoy this. Highly recommended.--Ray Vignovich, West Des Moines P.L., IA
Kirkus Reviews
Versatile Kerr, last spotted scaling the Himalaya in search of hominids and a CIA zealot (Esau, 1997), heads into Elmore Leonard territory in this amusingly overplotted thriller.

When he's finished serving his five years for a manslaughter he didn't commit, Dave Delano, with his earrings and Lucifer beard, looks a lot like a pirate, so it makes sense that he'd think of piracy as his way of getting back on the map. Dave knows that American mobsters have started to launder their drug money by hiding it in yachts being ferried across the Atlantic to the new, mob-infested Russia, and he sees no reason why some of that money shouldn't be his. Naked Tony Nudelli, the capo for whom Dave took the rap, agrees to the extent of staking Dave to a boat of his own, so that he'll have some cover for booking passage on the yacht-carrying Grand Duke and a minder, Tony's business manager Al Carnaro, "Colonel Tom Parker with guns and jokes." Dave's not to know, of course, that Tony and Al have ideas of their own, or that the comely lady Dave's about to fall for, Kate Furey, has a cover story as bogus as his own. As Dave plies his romance with Kate, an FBI agent on the transatlantic trail of a cocaine shipment her idiot boss, Kent Bowen, is convinced is aboard the Grand Duke, it's clear that something special is in store for the happy couple.

But they're so evenly matched as liars and banterers, so equally spirited and attractive, and so evenly handicapped by their sidekicks, murderous Al and troglodyte Kent, that you keep waiting, as Kerr unveils twist after twist (porn filmmaker shipmates, a nasty hurricane, an unexpected change in course), to see which of them will finally get the upperhand. It all makes for a heartlessly accurate, if synthetic, copy of Leonard at his most disarming and leaves you wondering just how many more voices Kerr has up his sleeve.

From the Publisher
"It's a corker."

"An enjoyably gritty thriller."
The Scotsman

"Proceeds with a testosterone surge."
Daily Telegraph

"McNab is the best suspense thriller writer to put pen to paper since Alistair MacLean."
   Author of Flight of the Intruder

"Action-packed and authentic in every detail, it gives us a hero who's at least as scary as the villains. Andy McNab is the real deal and a rare commodity—a hard guy who knows how to write."
   Author of The First Horseman

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Nick Stone Series , #1
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.75(d)

Read an Excerpt

As I got nearer to Kev and Marsha's room, I could see that the door was slightly ajar. I couldn't actually see anything inside yet, but as I moved nearer I started to smell something. A faint, metallic tang, and I could smell shit as well. I felt sick. I knew that I'd have to go in.

As I inched around the doorframe I got my first glimpse of Marsha. She was kneeling by the bed, her top half spread-eagled on the mattress. The bedspread was covered with blood.

I sank to my knees in the hallway. I felt myself going into shock. I couldn't believe this was true. This was not happening to this family. Why kill Marsha? It should have been Kev they were after. All I wanted to do was throw my hand in and sit down and cry. But I knew the kids had been in the house. They might still be here.

I got a grip of myself and started to move. I went in, forcing myself to ignore Marsha. The room was clear.

The next job was the master bathroom. I went in, and what I saw made me lose it, totally fucking lose it. Bang, I went back against the wall and slumped onto the floor.

Blood was everywhere. I got it all over my shirt and hands; I sat in a pool of it, soaking the seat of my pants.

Aida was lying on the floor between the bath and the toilet. Her five-year-old head had been nearly severed from her shoulders. There was just three inches of flesh left intact; I could see the vertebrae still holding on.

Turning my head away and looking out of the bathroom, I could now see more of Marsha. I had to hold back my scream. Her dress was hanging normally, but her tights had been torn, her panties were pulled down, and she had soiled herself, probably at the point ofdeath. All I saw at this distance of about fifteen feet was somebody that I really cared for, even loved maybe, on her knees, her blood splattered all over the bed. And she'd had the same done to her as Aida.

I was taking deep breaths and wiping my eyes. I knew I still had another two rooms to clear--another bathroom and the large storeroom above the garage. I couldn't give up now because I might wind up getting dropped myself.

I cleared the other rooms and half-collapsed, half-sat on the landing. I could see my bloody footprints all over the carpet.

Stop, calm down, and think.

What next? Kelly. Where the fuck was Kelly?

Then I remembered the hiding place. Because of the threats to Kev, both kids knew where they had to go and hide in the event of a crisis.

The thought brought me to my senses. If that was where Kelly was hiding, she was safe for the time being. Better to leave her there while I did the other stuff I had to do.

I got up and started to move down the stairs, making sure that, as I moved, I had my pistol pointed. As I descended I could see the blood I had left on the wall and carpet where I'd sat. I was almost willing the attackers to appear. I wanted to see the fuckers.

I got a cloth and a trash bag from the kitchen and started to run around the house wiping door handles and any surfaces where I might have left fingerprints. Then I went over to the patio sliding doors and closed the curtains. I didn't want anybody to discover this mess before I was well out of it, hopefully on a plane back to London.

I took a quick look at Kev and knew I was back in control. He was now just a dead body.

I went back upstairs, washed the blood off my hands and face, and got a clean shirt and a pair of jeans and running shoes from Kev's closet. His clothes didn't fit me, but they would do for now. I bundled my own bloodstained stuff into the trash bag that I'd take with me.


KEV HAD SHOWN me the "hidey-hole," as he called it, built under an open staircase that led up to a little makeshift loft stacked with ladders. The kids knew they had to hide there if ever Kev or Marsha shouted the word "Disneyland!"--and they were never ever to come out until Daddy or Mommy came and got them.

I headed to the garage. Pushing the door slightly, I could see the rear of the large metal doors to the right. The garage could easily have taken three extra vehicles besides Kev's company car. "Fucking thing," I remembered Kev saying, "all the luxury and mod cons of the late nineties, in a car that looks like a nineteen-sixties fridge."

The kids' bikes were hanging from frames on the wall, together with all the other clutter that families accumulate in garages. I could see the red laser dot on the far wall.

I moved in and cleared through. There was no one here.

I went back to the area of the staircase. Chances were she wasn't going to come out unless her mom and dad came for her, but as I moved I started to call out very gently, "Kelly! It's Nick! Hello, Kelly, where are you?"

All the time the pistol was pointing forward, ready to take on any threat.

Moving slowly toward the boxes, I said, "Oh well, since you're not here I'll go. But I think I'll have one more look, and I bet you might be hiding underneath the staircase in those boxes. I'll just have a look ... I bet you're in there ..."

There was a pile of large boxes. One had contained a freezer, another a washing machine. Kev had made a sort of cave with them under the staircase and kept a few toys there.

I eased the pistol down my waistband. I didn't want her to see a gun. She'd probably seen and heard enough already.

I put my mouth against a little gap between the boxes. "Kelly, it's me, Nick. Don't be scared, I'm going to crawl toward you. You'll see my head in a minute, and I want to see a big smile ..."

I got down on my hands and knees and kept talking gently as I moved boxes and squeezed through the gap, inching toward the back wall. I wanted to do it nice and slowly. I didn't know how she was going to react.

"I'm going to put my head around the corner now, Kelly."

I took a deep breath and moved my head around the back of the box, smiling away but ready for the worst.

She was there, facing me, eyes wide with terror, sitting curled up in a fetal position, rocking her body backward and forward, holding her hands over her ears.

"Hello, Kelly," I said very softly.

She must have recognized me, but didn't reply. She just kept on rocking, staring at me with wide, scared eyes.

"Mommy and Daddy can't come and get you out at the moment, but you can come with me. Daddy told me it would be OK. Are you going to come with me, Kelly?"

Still no reply. I crawled right into the cave until I was curled up beside her. She'd been crying; strands of light brown hair were stuck to her face. I tried to move them away from her mouth. Her eyes were red and swollen.

"You're in a bit of a mess there," I said. "Do you want me to clean you up? Come on, let's go and get you sorted out, shall we?" I got hold of her rigid hand and gently guided her out into the garage.

She was dressed in jeans, a denim shirt, running shoes, and a blue nylon fleece. Her hair was straight and just above her shoulders, a bit shorter than I remembered it; she was quite lanky for a seven-year-old, with long, skinny legs. I picked her up in my arms and held her tight as I carried her into the kitchen. I knew the other doors were closed; she wouldn't see her dad.

I sat her down on a chair at the table. "Mommy and Daddy said they had to go away for a while but asked me to look after you until they come back, OK?"

She was trembling so much I couldn't tell if her head was nodding or shaking.

I went to the fridge and opened it, hoping to find some comfort food. I found the world's largest Easter egg. "Mmm, yum--do you want some chocolate?"

I'd had a good relationship with Kelly. She was a great kid, and that wasn't just because she was my pal's daughter. I smiled warmly, but she just stared at the table.

I broke off a few pieces and put them on one of the side plates that she'd probably been setting earlier with Aida. I found the Off switch on the radio; I'd had enough relaxing soft rock for one day.

As I looked at Kelly again I suddenly realized I'd fucked up. What was I going to do with her? I couldn't just leave her here: her family was lying dead all over the house. But more important, she knew me. When the police arrived she'd be able to say, "Nick Stone was here." They'd soon find out that Nick Stone was one of Daddy's friends; the house was littered with photographs with me in them. And if they did arrest the grinning drunk in the barbecue shots, they'd find that for some strange reason he wasn't Nick Stone at all--he was Mrs. Stamford's little boy.

Kev's jacket was hanging over one of the chairs. I said, "Let's wrap you up in your dad's coat; that'll keep you nice and warm." At least she'd have something of her dad's; with luck it would cheer her up.

There was just a little bit of whimpering in reply. She was almost in rigor mortis with shock, though at least she had turned her head to look at me now. This was where normally I would have let Marsha take over, because a child's mind was far too complicated for me to work out. But I couldn't do that today.

I wrapped the coat around her and said, "Here you are; get this around you. Look, it's your dad's! Don't tell him, eh, ha ha ha!" I felt something solid in one of the pockets and checked. "Oh good, look, we can phone him up later."

I looked out the window--no movement. I picked up the trash bag, grabbed Kelly's hand, then realized that to reach the front door I'd have to come out of the kitchen and into the hallway.

"Just sit there a second," I said. "I've got to do something."

I had a quick look to make sure the doors were closed. I thought again about fingerprints, but if I'd missed a set, there was nothing I could do about it now. My only thought was to get out of the area and keep Kelly away from the cops until I'd sorted things out.

I went back and got her and checked the front of the house again for movement. She seemed to be finding it hard to walk. I had to grip Kev's coat by the collar, half-dragging her toward the car.

I put her in the front passenger seat and smiled. "There you go; that's nice and warm. Better look after your dad's coat for him. Keep it nice for when you see him."

Then I threw the trash bag in the back, settled into the diver's seat, put my seat belt on, and turned on the ignition. We drove off at a really sensible pace, nothing outrageous, nothing likely to be noticed.

We'd gone only a few hundred yards when I thought of something; I looked across at her and said, "Kelly, put your seat belt ojn. Do you know how to do that?"

She didn't move, didn't even look at me. I had to do it for her.

I TRIED TO make small talk. "It's a nice day today, isn't it? Yep, you'll stay wit me a while; we'll get everything sorted out."


My mind switched back to the matter in hand. What was I going to do? Whatever I decided, I knew it was no good where we were at the moment. We needed to lose ourselves in a crowd. I headed for Tyson's Corner. I turned to Kelly and smiled, trying to be the happy-go-lucky Uncle Nick, but it just wasn't happening. She was staring anxiously out the window as if she was being wrenched away from all her familiar landmarks and seeking them for the last time.

"It's OK, Kelly." I tried to stroke her hari.

She jerked her head away.

Fuck it, just let her get on with it; with luck I'd be able to drop her off somewhere before too long.

What People are Saying About This

Stephen Coonts
McNab is the best suspense thriller writer to put pen to paper since Alistair MacLean.
—(Stephen Coonts, author of Flight of the Intruder)
John Case
Action—packed and authentic in every detail, it gives us a hero who's at least as scary as the villains. Andy McNab is the real deal and a rare commodity—a hard guy who knows how to write.
—(John Case, author of The Genesis Code)

Meet the Author

A former member of the crack elite force the Special Air Service, Andy McNab has seen action on five continents. Now, in his explosive fiction debut, he has drawn on his seventeen years of experience of active service to create a thriller of high-stakes intrigue and unstoppable action.

In January 1991, McNab commanded the eight-man SAS squad that went behind Iraqi lines to destroy Saddam's scuds. He eventually became the British Army's most highly decorated serving soldier, and remains closely involved with the intelligence communities on both sides of the Atlantic.

Because of the highly sensitive and clandestine nature of his work with the SAS, he is wanted by a number of the world's terrorist groups. His whereabouts, therefore, cannot be disclosed.  

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