After World War II and the emergence of the United States as the leading world power, one single man was chosen to create an agency known as The Cellar to police all the other agencies as they formed (CIA, FBI, ATF, DEA, etc.).
With its founder on his deathbed, a new face is commanding the Cellar: Hannah Masterson. Her first task may prove to be the most harrowing of her career.
Deep in the forests of Kentucky, a girl is being held captive.
In Alabama, a young pre-school teacher is murdered in front of her students.
In the panhandle of Florida, a college undergrad is kidnapped from a nightclub.
These seemingly unrelated crimes catch the eye of the Cellar and trigger a most intense and frightening investigation. Cellar operatives Jack Gant and Neeley are chosen to track down those responsible. Enlisting the help of profiler Susan Golden, the three-person team is dragged up and down the Eastern Coast of the US, following a trail of caches into a vicious trap. The men responsible aren't your ordinary criminals. They are highly trained Special Forces Sniper Team, and their crimes ignite an intricate plan of revenge.
But as is always the case with the Cellar, nothing can be taken for granted. Underneath this web of deceit lies an even more shocking crimea conspiracy that men of power will sacrifice their lives and the lives of their families to protect.
|Publisher:||Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC|
|Product dimensions:||4.10(w) x 6.95(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
ROBERT DOHERTY is a pen name for Bob Mayer. He grew up in New York City, graduated from West Point and spent twenty years on active and reserve duty in the Infantry and Green Berets. Mayer has over thirty books published under his own name and four pen names. There are over two million copies of his books in print and he is published in a dozen foreign countries. His Area 51 books have been consistent USA Today Bestsellers. A screenplay based on Area 51 has been written by the same writer who wrote the screenplay for the hit science-fiction movie Alien. Don't Look Down (co-written with Jennifer Crusie) was a New York Times bestseller. He lives in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Read an Excerpt
Emily Cranston was tired. It was the last night of spring break, and even returning to class seemed bearable, as long as she could get some sleep. She watched her friends and wondered again where they got the energy. All three of them were dancing in what appeared to be a huge conga line of pressed bodies. You couldn’t have slid a toothpick between any of the dancers, except the occasional couple of guys who had poorly timed their rush to join, and found themselves without a female buffer. Emily noticed Lisa waving her over, but she pretended not to see. Lisa was sweet, really the best one of her friends, but even she couldn’t inspire Emily now.
The week had been a disappointment, and Emily wasn’t sure of the reason. She had tried hard the last few nights to join in the dancing and drinking, but there was something wrong. She felt separate and alone, even in this crowded room. She watched her friends gyrate with abandon, their slender, tanned bodies and their shiny navel rings proof that they had done their vacation homework. They had endured the months in spin classes, the endless stomach crunches, and the hours sweltering in a tanning bed. At the time, Emily had been too depressed to bother with the fifteen pounds she had gained eating cafeteria food.
It seemed as soon as she left for college, her parents announced that they had been separated for some time, and were getting a divorce. Emily had been shocked. She had always believed they were the happiest of families. Apparently, she had been happy alone. Her mother had even admitted their problems were long-standing, and that they had waited for Emily to leave home before separating. She, the last child of three, had postponed the split by a few years. It was a horrible thought. She tried not to dwell on it, but occasionally the odd memory would pop up, and she would wonder how she could have been so naive.
All the trauma aside, Emily found herself much more accepting of her parental situation. The problem now was that she felt like a huge, pale lump, especially with her three perfect friends. They got asked to dance. They got handed the beers and the promotional T-shirts and key chains. It was hard to be so ignored. Lisa thought she was full of crap and insisted she looked great. That made Emily feel worse, knowing she had to look pretty bad for Lisa to tell her she looked great.
The song was thudding to a finale, and she waited for her friends to join her, hoping that they were ready to go. The extra pounds she was carrying seemed to be just the amount that would hold her back from the fun. What she found perplexing was the question of whether guys were truly affected by those pounds. She suspected it might be the other way around if she waited long enough. She glanced at her watch and noticed it was almost one. She yawned into her cupped hand and waited, as Lisa fought her way through the crowd.
“You can’t be that tired.”
Emily stared at Lisa, noting her sweaty, lank hair and the dark mascara circles around her eyes. “Please, you look a little wiped yourself.”
Lisa licked her finger and tried to wipe the biggest smudges from her eyes. “Okay, I’m tired, but there’s plenty of time for sleep later.”
“I’m not like you guys. I can’t store up sleep and then stay awake for three days.”
Lisa lifted the hair off her neck in a vain attempt to cool down. “Look, the place is closing in an hour; just find a nice, quiet seat and then we’ll go.”
“I can’t wait an hour. I’m taking the car. You guys can take a taxi.” Emily hoped that Lisa was sober enough to see the logic in that.
Lisa shrugged and dropped her hair back onto her sweaty shoulders. “Whatever. Just remember to hide the key.”
The idea made Emily cringe. She hated the thought of hiding the key outside—it kind of defeated the purpose—and she was still pissed that the condo company had issued only one key to four paying guests. “No way. Ring the bell. I’ll wake up.”
Lisa laughed. “Yeah, right. I’ve seen you sleep.” Her voice took on a more plaintive tone. “Come on, just another hour?”
Emily shook her head. “Sorry, I gotta get out of here.”
Lisa realized her friend meant what she said and knew further discussion was pointless. A small part of her was mildly put out. Emily wasn’t one to suck it up. “You better be at that door as soon as I start banging.”
Emily felt a wave of relief. She could take off and she didn’t have to hide the key for some nut to find. “Thanks. I’ll be a lot better tomorrow if I can get some sleep.”
The look on Lisa’s face made Emily realize that it was time to shut up.
She watched as Lisa, obviously the one chosen to deal with her, ran back to their friends.
As she dug around in her purse feeling for the car keys, she thought of sleep. She knew Lisa was upset, and, by extension, so was everyone else. Screw it. They were all supposed to be adults. And someone had to be awake enough to begin the drive back to college later in the day.
The parking lot was still packed, and as she wandered across the crushed shells that served as gravel, she thought of the traffic jam to come. It really was best to get the car out of here now, and let them take a taxi. She edged her way to the side of the narrow lane as she heard a car coming up behind her. It was moving slowly, but she decided it was time to cut across the lot instead of remaining a target for some drunk. There were two rows of cars parked head-to-head off to the left, and, as she turned, the big SUV passed by her on the right.
She never even noticed the van. She did hear the door start to open, but by then she was right next to it. The man didn’t even bother stepping out. He grabbed her neck, and yanked her into the van so suddenly, she didn’t have time to scream. Like a tiny ripple on a still pond, the van slowly pulled away and left no trace of Emily Cranston. All that remained were two slips of paper the man slid out the driver’s window, floating to the ground like the first two leaves of fall.
Copyright © 2007 by Bob Mayer. All rights reserved.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Easy read, but not a real grabber
I'm a writer as well as an avid reader and I am not easily impressed. This book impressed the heck out of me. I have been eagerly awaiting the release of LOST GIRLS, a follow up to Doherty's excellent BODYGUARD OF LIES, for so long that I was beginning to worry it would never live up to my expectations. This book goes so far above and beyond what I was hoping for, I am almost speechless. Almost. This book could as easily have been titled 'Lost Men,' as it is, in part, a story of men who were lost -- betrayed and abandoned by their government to endure the physical torture and mental anguish of captivity, and who lost themselves and a part of their humanity as a result. The plot is complicated, with some twists that even I didn't see coming, and I almost always see them coming. Yet it is not so complex as to be incomprehensible -- a common flaw of other, less brilliantly conceived offerings in this genre -- because there is such logic and clarity in the writing. The characters are at once incredible and believable. They are portrayed with an understated confident authority that comes from first-hand knowledge, something that is evident throughout this book. Doherty conveys a deep understanding of the complexities of human nature and the psychology of both perpetrator and victim. From plot to character to everything else that goes into a book -- dialog, pacing, conflict, escalation of tension -- Doherty gets all of it right while telling a fascinating story that is as entertaining and compelling as it is thought-provoking a story that will stay with you long after you've read it. Quite simply, LOST GIRLS is one of the best books, of any genre, that I have ever read. And I've read a lot of books. Robert Doherty (aka Bob Mayer, who collaborated with Jenny Crusie on the recently released and also superb AGNES & THE HITMAN) is one of those select few writers whose talent is such that his name on the cover, either name, is all you need to know. It's rare to find an author who is an 'auto buy' -- don't miss out on this one.
The bad guys may have a righteous beef, but they go so far that they grab the attention of The Cellar, a supersecret organization that keeps its hand on government agents who go over the boundaries, or over the edge, or just over, period. The Cellar has the most interesting cast of personnel I've ever seen. The constant attack-repel action, and the tension of worrying about the innocents sucked into the fray kept me engrossed from page one right through to the end. I hope this is the start of a series, because the characters of Neely, Gant, Mr. Nero and Hannah are some I'd like to read more about.
This writer is incapable of delivering a dull or predictable tale, and LOST GIRLS is no exception. The weaponry and tactics are amazing and authoritative--and scary. The layers of deceit and betrayal kept me guessing, and I even felt bad for the bad guys. Well, the bad guys that caused the whole nasty, secret business to come to light. In LOST GIRLS Doherty has really found his power as a wordsmith as well as a storyteller. The writing is smooth and precise and enjoyable on a second read. 'First read is all about the story, and it rocks.' Yeehah! And, jolly good read.
Lost Girls is probably the best book I've read all year. Every character in this book, from the good guys, to the bad guys, to the victims, leap off the page. You feel what they feel. You think what they think. There were moments I found my heart racing, near panic. Other times I was holding my breath. Followed by a moment where I had to take in a deep breath as my jaw it the floor and I thought, 'wow, what is going to happen next'. Bob Mayer has proven he is a master of developing deep, three-dimensional characters that draws the reader in and never lets go. The characters and their stories are more than interesting, they are compelling. Add a series of plot twist and turns and you have a thriller that will take you a ride, never giving you the opportunity to be disappointed. The story is as strong as it's characters. That is a unbeatable combination. Kick-ass would be a better world for it