Midasby Russell Andrews
New York's Hamptons are the summer playground for Wall Street big shots, Hollywood starlets, and all species of glitterati in between. But when a Middle Eastern man rigged with explosives walks into a chic restaurant and blows himself up, all that glamour is shattered. And so is the security and safety of the entire United States. Drawn into this case is Justin Westwood, a local East End Harbor cop who is still haunted by the violent deaths of his wife and daughter years before. After meeting a beautiful woman whose hunger for human contact and comfort matches his own, he believes he is finally winning the battle with his old ghosts. Yet just as he is beginning to grasp hold of the new life he's been craving, he is saddled with this new murder investigation-one far more dangerous than any he's ever tackled. Soon after the restaurant explosion-the first suicide bombing ever to hit U.S. shores-a small plane crashes in the middle of East End Harbor. It is initially deemed an accident but after the pilot's body disappears, as do all traces of his identification, Justin realizes he's dealing with sabotage. When more terrorist strikes occur, each more devastating than the last, Justin also begins to understand that they all share an elusive, undeniable link-one that will plunge him into a terrifying journey leading to some of the country's most powerful figures and their darkest, most closely held secrets. If he is to survive, Justin must wend his way through a complicated maze of corruption and confront startling truths about big business and politics and, most of all, about himself. For a long time, Justin Westwood has wondered if he could ever truly be frightened again, or if anything could reclaim his soul. Some part of him hoped it was possible. He is about to get his wish...
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Read an Excerpt
By Russell Andrews
Mysterious PressCopyright © 2005 Peter Gethers
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFrom the Houston Chronicle
Reuters News Service
Environmental Surprise From The Anderson Administration
Led by Vice President Dandridge
A New Direction in Land Preservation
IN A MOVE EQUALLY SURPRISING to both foes and supporters, Stephanie Ingles, the Administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, announced yesterday that over eight million acres in Alaska's National Petroleum Reserve have been designated as a national monument and have thus become permanently off-limits to oil companies that have been pressing the administration to let them begin drilling in the region.
The National Petroleum Reserve is not a name that conjurs a vision of pristine space but it is, in fact, the largest expanse of untouched wilderness left in the United States. In 1923, President Harding established the region as a petroleum reserve, stipulating that the oil fields be drilled only in time of pressing national need. Large and influential oil and energy companies such as EGenco and Halliburton have recently been lobbying the administration to open the fields for exploration, saying that if ever there was a national need the time is now. President Thomas Anderson has, in the past, been sympathetic to the needs of such companies, as has Vice President Phillip Dandridge, and environmentalists had been expecting Ms. Ingles to announce that the administration had bowed to the pressure. However, despite the recent rise in oil prices-yesterday's closing left the price of oil at $44.78 per barrel-Ms. Ingles said that the President was standing firm on this issue. "Despite what is perceived as this administration's close ties to the oil industry," Ms. Ingles stated, "Vice President Dandridge is a committed environmentalist. He is well aware of the wildlife that swims in and roams around the Colville River Watershed, Kasegaluk Lagoon, Teshekpuk Lake and the Utukok Highlands, and he has no intention of allowing the ecological balance within those areas to be disturbed. The Vice President took the lead in this initiative and the President wholeheartedly concurs with the stand that's being taken."
Members of the President and Vice President's party did not offer unanimous support after the announcement. Speaker of the House Lester Swannig said that he was "withholding any final judgment on this decision, but I am dismayed at the potential rise in oil prices it may cause. We have been trying to keep the cost of gasoline down since it affects every American citizen. Shutting off this acreage from drilling will certainly not help that effort and I have to say I don't understand this shift in priorities."
Environmentalists warily applauded the decision. Christine Herr, co-chairperson of the Save the Earth Foundation, said, "I am pleased by the decision although I admit it did rather shock me. Over the past seven years, environmental protection has taken a backseat to just about everything else one could name. However, as everyone knows, Vice President Dandridge is beginning his push to achieve his party's presidential nomination next year and I imagine his advisers are telling him he needs to make some concessions to 'kooks' like us. But even if this decision was made for political reasons, it's a decision I'm glad this administration had the courage to make."
Vice President Dandridge is the presumed presidential nominee for his party in next November's election. Heading into primary season, he has a substantial lead in the polls in nearly every state, with very few opponents within the Republican Party. The Vice President does, however, currently trail both of the men competing for the Democratic nomination, Indiana Senator Martin Vance and Georgia Governor Oren Childress. All of his potential Democratic opponents supported this decision on the National Petroleum Reserve and voiced their hopes that in the last year of President Anderson's final term he will take even more of a lead in protecting the environment.
Excerpted from Midas by Russell Andrews Copyright © 2005 by Peter Gethers. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Russell Andrews is the pseudonym for Peter Gethers, who has written several works of nonfiction. He is a Vice-President Editor-at-Large for Random House Inc. and the head of the newly launched Random House Films. He has edited and published, among many others, Jimmy Carter, Caroline Kennedy, William Diehl, Carl Hiaasen, Lorenzo Carcaterra, Joe Klein, Robert Hughes, and Kitty Kelley. An accomplished screen and television writer, Andrews has incredible media connections and is a phenomenal promoter.
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Classically trained stage actor Patrick Girard Lawlor delivers a flawless reading of this suspenseful shocker. He easily captures the voice of a world weary, yet savvy protagonist as well as the cast of characters who surround him. When a suicide bomber blows himself to bits in an exclusive Long Island restaurant, the assumption is that terrorists are out to murder wealthy denizens of the Hamptons. Not so. More is to come which on the surface appears to be unrelated. There's the shortly after takeoff crash of a private plane, and the announcement that an Alaskan oil field is now off limits to oil companies. Among those killed in the restaurant explosion was the sheriff. It falls to his successor, Justin Westwood, to solve this slaughter as he tries to tie together the other terrorist crimes. Many will remember Westwood from Andrews' last thriller, Aphrodite. The trail grows tougher for Westwood and tension mounts as his investigation leads him to seats of power and corruption. - Gail Cooke
Bordering on the wealthier side of the Hamptons, East End Harbor has become an in spot for the rich. However, the idyllic Long Island beach community is shattered when Bashas Shabaan enters Harper¿s Restaurant during the lunch hour with a briefcase filled with explosives killing everyone inside. Among the dead is Sheriff Jimmy Leggett. His grieving widow Marjorie demands new Sheriff Justin Westwood learn who was really behind what authorities concluded was a suicide bombing............... A small plane departs from East End Airport. Almost immediately the plane crashes killing the pilot. Justin feels quickly out of his element when the pilot has no identification and eerily left no fingerprints on the debris. Although everyone screams vengeance on the Middle East for the Harper¿s tragedy, the new Sheriff sees a weak link between that and the plane, which implies ties to DC. His theory is further fostered when two more restaurants are blown up by suicide bombers made to look conveniently at least to him like foreign terrorists did the deed................. This is a terrific police procedural (unless you are a die hard supporter of Bush¿s corporate state) that at times reads more like a thriller than an investigative tale. The Guantonimo Bay segue is frightening as Russell Andrews paints quite a rendition of what might be happening there. Justin is a fabulous investigator who has a tragic personal history, filled with doubts that he knows what he is doing and becomes unsettled when he bumps up against federal laws that prevent his efforts to learn the truth. Although over the top with its warnings about corporatism conspiracy, fans of action-packed tales will appreciate this exhilarating novel................... Harriet Klausner