An explosive series debut that mirrors global headlines and will have listeners frantically clamoring for more
Raisa "Rae" Jordan, an agent for the United States Diplomatic Security Service, isn't in Israel for more than a day before her predecessor is gunned down in a Tel Aviv square by a sniper. 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 United States, and the Palestinian territories to uncover a conspiracy years in the making.
About 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. Dark Waters is her first thriller.
Assaf Cohen is an AudioFile Earphones Award-winning narrator. He has appeared in various plays, short films, and television shows. He grew up in Palo Alto and attended UC Berkeley where he earned a bachelor's degree in integrative biology. He continued his classical training by earning a master of fine arts in acting from the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University under the instruction of legendary acting instructor William Esper.
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 worldwithout 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.
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 routineheading 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 placesand teenagersand 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.”
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 contentsa 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Bullets fly, while a very ill young girl and her father witness two murders in an exchange gone wrong, drawing in two fierce women warriors who must band together in a battle against time in this fascinating novel of conspiracy, murder, politics, hidden agendas and terrorism that smacks of reality.