The Perfect Assassin (David Slaton Series #1)

The Perfect Assassin (David Slaton Series #1)

by Ward Larsen


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One perfect shot will change the course of history. Christine Palmer, a young American doctor sailing solo across the Atlantic, makes an incredible discovery - a man narrowly clinging to his life in the frigid waters. But there is much more to this desperate survivor than meets the eye. David Slaton is a Kidon - a highly-trained, highly-precise, and highly-dangerous assassin. The Kidon is both the hunter and the hunted, and he and Christine are in grave danger. Will they win in this race against time?With the precision of a sharpshooter, author Ward Larsen weaves an intricate tale of espionage and intrigue.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781933515151
Publisher: Oceanview Publishing
Publication date: 10/01/2008
Series: David Slaton Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 88,283
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

As a fighter pilot in the US Air Force, award-winning novelist Ward Larsen flew over twenty combat missions in Desert Storm. He has also been a federal law enforcement officer and an aircraft accident investigator. Presently captain for a major airline, he resides with his family in Florida. He is also the author of The Perfect Assassin and Stealing Trinity.

Read an Excerpt

The Perfect Assassin

A Novel

By Ward Larsen

Oceanview Publishing

Copyright © 2006 Ward Larsen
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-933515-15-1


Christine Palmer saw it right on schedule, a waxing three-quarters moon on the horizon. Bright and beautiful in its own right, the moon began lifting up toward the stars for what would certainly be another celestial masterpiece over the eastern Atlantic. She'd always been amazed by the number of stars you could see out here, away from the usual lights and pollution. Gentle swells made a rhythmic, hollow slapping noise against Windsom's fiberglass hull. The only other sounds were those of the boat's rigging, which creaked and groaned in proportion to the strength of the wind.

Christine raised her chin into a crisp southeasterly breeze, finding it remarkable that conditions on the open ocean could vary so greatly. The first night of her trip had been like this one, calm seas and a gentle breeze. The second night had been a singularly miserable experience. A strong weather system had rolled in, pounding Windsom with vicious winds and towering waves. Christine could do no more than keep the boat on course and the sails trimmed, all under a constant lashing of rain and frigid ocean spray. She'd spent most of that night on deck, wet and chilled to the bone. When the storm finally broke, late the next morning, she had collapsed onto her bunk, without even the energy to remove the foul weather gear that had done so little to keep her dry.

That had been four nights ago. Since then, the weather had largely cooperated and Christine convinced herself, perhaps with reaching optimism, that such trying times were necessary to find true appreciation of life's more placid moments. It was a satisfying concept, and one she suspected would be quickly discarded in the next squall.

Sitting at the helm, she twisted her shoulder-length hair into a ponytail and poked it through the back of her baseball cap. The luminescent hands on her watch told her it was five-thirty in the morning. The sun wouldn't be up for an hour. Christine tended to be an early riser, but sailing somehow magnified the trait. In the four days since the storm her routine had taken shape. She went to bed an hour or two after sunset, set the alarm to wake up once at midnight to check the sails, the autopilot, and the weather, then slept again until four or five. Aside from the one wakeup call, it was a natural fit for her body's circadian rhythm. And it allowed her to enjoy her favorite time of day.

Christine went below to the galley. When she crawled out of the bunk each morning, coffee was always the first order of business. It had to be brewing before she could go topside to face the day's other issues, such as whether or not Windsom was still pointed west. She poured her fix into a big ceramic mug, the one her father had given her last Christmas. It was an oddly shaped thing, similar to the Pyrex flasks she'd used so often in chemistry lab, wide at the bottom and tapering to a narrow, round opening at the top. The mug had drawings of famous schooners all around and a rubbery non-skid coating on the base. It was, in fact, the very same cup she had picked out for her father that Christmas. Mom had instantly seen the humor — the two sailors thinking alike again, probably even ordering from the same catalogue.

The pain returned as Christine thought of her father. It had been three months since Dad had died, and the hurt still came, only not as often, and it dissipated more readily. Being on Windsom seemed the best tonic. It had been a place of great happiness for their entire family this last year. She and Dad had crossed east to Europe last summer. On arriving in England, Christine flew back to Maine to finish her third year of medical residency. Then Dad had somehow coaxed Mom to England to spend a month cruising Europe and the Mediterranean. This was a terrific coup, since Mom normally kept herself a great distance from all large bodies of water. Christine had no idea what persuasions her father might have used to get Mom aboard until the answer slowly presented itself — a constant stream of postcards from the ports of Europe. It was a second honeymoon, Christine thought, much deserved after having spent twenty-eight years raising a family.

Christine smiled as the pain subsided. Making this westbound return was a catharsis of sorts. It was the first time she'd ever tried the crossing alone, her two previous runs having been with him. She had been trying to talk Dad into it only weeks before the stroke — a solo retrieval of Windsom from France during her winter break. He hadn't gone for the idea, and initially Christine was angry, thinking his reservations had to do with her sailing ability. That didn't wash, though. Christine had been sailing since she was a kid, and they'd both spent countless hours on Windsom. She decided he was only disappointed that she hadn't invited him along. Or perhaps he saw it as a final sign that his fledglings were all truly gone from the nest. Christine was the oldest, but her two younger sisters had recently ventured off on their own, one to college and one to the altar. Yet even after they were gone, Ben Palmer continued to dote on his girls. The fact that "little Christi" had been out of the house for nine years, and was more often addressed as Dr. Palmer, didn't diminish that she was still his girl. And only now did Dr. Palmer realize how much she'd actually liked it.

Christine went back up top, making sure to reconnect the safety line to her harness. It was a fast rule to never be on deck without it. Even the most sure-footed sailors could be sent overboard by a snapped line or a freak wave, and it was a sealed fate for a solo driver to go over in the open ocean without being attached to the boat.

She estimated her speed at four knots, about right for the untended graveyard shift. Now that she could keep watch on things, though, Christine let out more sail and was soon making closer to six. She clambered around the perimeter of the boat, checking Windsom's rigging up close. A halyard needed adjusting on the mainsail. A tie-down was loose on the eight-foot fiberglass dinghy that lay overturned and lashed to the portside deck. Her only other discovery was a small flying fish that had come aboard — recently, judging by the fact that its gills were still laboring slowly. Christine gently picked up the fish and dropped him back into his element, trying to see if he swam off under his own power. She couldn't tell.

It took half an hour for Christine to finish her morning rounds. Afterwards, she settled into the cockpit with her second cup of coffee. She held it close with both hands, not wanting to let any of the heat escape. It would still be a couple of weeks before the latitude and trade winds took the chill from the air. She looked to the horizon astern, brushing away strands of hair the breeze had swept across her face. Christine could just make out the subtle glow that announced the entrance of a new day. She watched, mesmerized, as the eastern sky slowly fell awash in rays of light. Then Windsom shuddered along its entire length.

Coffee went flying as Christine's hand shot instinctively to the tiller. "Christ!" she sputtered. The boat had hit something. Something big. Christine stood and looked ahead, but there was only ocean. A heavy scraping sound drew her attention to the port side, close in, where a huge timber slid by. It was half the length of her boat and as big around as a telephone pole. With another hollow clunk, it fell behind, rolling heavily in Windsom's wake.

Christine disengaged the autopilot and turned into the wind. The sails flapped loosely as she scanned all around. There was more flotsam. An empty gallon jug and some smaller bits of wood, but nothing like the first monster she'd hit. She eased the boat back on course and pulled in much of the sail to keep her speed down.

Reaching into the cabin, Christine found the binoculars. The sun broke the horizon to provide light as she scanned the surrounding seas, giving particular attention to what lay ahead. She spotted more debris, but nothing worrisome. It had probably come from one of the big ships, either thrown off as trash, or washed over in a storm. In any event, she'd keep her speed down for awhile until she was sure it was all behind.

Christine re-engaged the autopilot, figuring she'd better go up front to check for damage. She moved forward along the port rail, still scanning the waves ahead suspiciously. Nearing the bow she spotted something, bright red and squarish, bobbing in the distance to starboard. It looked like a big plastic cooler, and there was something lying over the top of it. She brought up the binoculars, focused, and was stunned by what she saw. It was an arm hooked over the cooler. There was actually someone out there!

Christine dropped the binoculars, but kept her eyes locked on the cooler as she backed toward the cockpit. She averted her gaze just long enough to open the hatch to the engine controls and start Windsom's small diesel. It sprang to life and Christine swung the boat straight at the bobbing red dot — she knew how hard it was to find something out here once you lost sight of it. Looking again with the binoculars, she could make out a head and shoulders above the water. Once she was closer, and certain she couldn't lose contact, Christine pulled in the sails to better maneuver.

As Windsom closed in she saw the person, a man, turn his head and wave weakly. Christine slowed the boat to a crawl, idling the engine ten yards away. She wouldn't venture any closer in the small but rolling seas.

"I'll throw a line and pull you in!" she shouted.

The man waved again.

Christine coiled a rope and heaved it across the divide, but the line fell away as he snatched at it. She gathered it in and tried again, this time laying the line right across his shoulder. He grabbed on and was barely able to wrap it once around his wrist. Christine pulled the man slowly toward Windsom's stern, but halfway there he lost his grip — first went the cooler, then the rope. He disappeared underwater, but came right back up. Without the cooler for support, the man seemed barely able to tread water. When he went under a second time, Christine had no choice. She checked that her harness was secure and dove in.

The shock of the cold was piercing. The man resurfaced as she swam over, and Christine approached him from the rear. "I'm behind you!" she shouted. "Just relax and let me pull you in!"

He went limp so suddenly that Christine wondered if he was even still conscious. She threw an arm across his chest and started pulling herself back toward Windsom by the line, praying he was alert and strong enough to get up the boarding ladder. She approached it with care, as the stern rose and fell heavily on the waves. Christine grabbed the bottom rung and was relieved to see him do the same.

"Okay, you first. Try to get a foot on the bottom step," she said. It dawned on her that the man might not speak a word of English. He got a leg on and she tried to shove him upward, but then he lost his grip. The man tumbled back in a graceless flop and disappeared. Christine lunged out, snatching with her hand, and was rewarded with a fistful of shirt. Pulling with all her strength, she got him back up, coughing and spewing.

Christine had only been in the icy water for a few frantic minutes but she already felt her strength beginning to ebb. She wasn't strong enough to pull him up from above. It was such a damned simple problem!

They both latched onto the ladder again and she yelled, "This time when the boat falls with the swell, try to get both feet on the ladder and stand. Let it pull you out as it rises, okay?" She pointed to the bottom of the ladder and the man gave a nod as if he understood.

With all the leverage she could manage, Christine pushed him up as the stern fell. He stood on the ladder and rose with the next upward swing. The wave crested, and at the high-point he wobbled for a moment, like a child's top losing its spin, then tumbled forward into Windsom's cockpit. "Yes!" she shrieked, right before getting slapped in the face by a breaker.

Putting a leg on the ladder, she came out with the next swell and crumpled to the floor of the cockpit next to him, frozen and completely out of breath. She could only imagine how he must feel. The man lay still as Christine collected herself. She knelt next to him, checking his pulse. It was weak, too slow for all the exertion. His skin was deathly pale, almost white. Then she noticed the blood stain on his shirt. She unbuttoned it far enough to reveal a four-inch gash running between the bottom two left ribs. He'd obviously lost some blood. Christine wondered how long he'd been out here. With that kind of injury, and with the water so cold, it couldn't have been long.

The man stirred and looked around blankly, a dazed expression on his face. He tried to sit up, but Windsom took a wave broadside and the jolt sent him back down to the deck, grimacing. Adding insult, both were doused with a sheet of salty spray.

Christine looked across the water and wondered if there could be any others. If so, would he even know?

"Do you speak English?" she asked.

The man didn't respond. His eyes drifted shut, and Christine knew what had to be next. She pulled her best drill sergeant's tone — he might not understand the words but at least she'd get his attention. "We've got to get you down below, into a bunk!" His eyes cracked open and she motioned to the cabin. He seemed to comprehend.

She helped him stand, and he leaned on her heavily, in obvious pain. They made their way to the steps, which he negotiated with the wobbling precision of a drunkard, Christine doing her best to stabilize his wandering inertia. Once in Windsom's main cabin, he collapsed onto the bunk. She propped his head on a pillow and figured the wet clothes were next. Gently, she pulled off the tattered shirt. His upper body was lean and muscular, and judging by the number of scars, Christine decided he must have found himself in the company of strange doctors on a regular basis. There was one particularly nasty-looking scar near the fresh wound on his ribcage. She took a good look at the new damage, hoping it was superficial.

"Any pain when you breathe?"

Again, no response. His eyes were closed and he was still pale, but at least the man's respiration had slowed now that he was lying down. To top it all off, he had what looked like a terrible sunburn, his face and arms blistered from exposure to the elements. She dug out her first-aid kit and dressed the wound, then checked for other injuries — any cuts, swelling or bruises. Christine gently palpated his rib cage and abdomen, finding no obvious complications. He wore no shoes, but she noticed when she took off his wet socks that the bottom cuffs of his pants were bound tightly around the ankles, tied with shoelaces. How strange, she thought. Christine untied them and removed his sodden trousers, leaving the man in his briefs. Next she got a towel, dried him off, and finally covered her patient with two heavy blankets. He stirred for a moment and his eyes opened, but they were void any semblance of coherence.

Christine went to the galley and poured a glass of water. She pressed it gently to his lips, "Try to drink. You must be dehydrated."

He managed a few swallows, but then coughed roughly.

"Take your time."

His eyes focused more clearly and he scanned the cabin, obviously trying to comprehend his surroundings. He finished the water, then drifted off again.

Christine was weighing what else she could do for the man when it dawned on her. Damn! She had never checked Windsom for damage. She wouldn't be much help to anyone if the boat was sinking.


Excerpted from The Perfect Assassin by Ward Larsen. Copyright © 2006 Ward Larsen. Excerpted by permission of Oceanview Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Perfect Assassin 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
eagle3tx More than 1 year ago
I expect a lot from a spy-thriller – and found it all. In fact, I was surprised how thoroughly I enjoyed this book. The characters are engaging, the plot very involved, the action fast and sometimes harrowing, the villains believable, the threats real, and the lead character skilled and ingenious. I had difficulty putting the book down from the very beginning -- a young woman sailing solo across the Atlantic comes across a ship-wreck victim. He turns out to be a highly-enterprising man on a mission -- eventually taking command of her boat with the intent to spare her involvement. He has foreign plots to disrupt and limited resources. The relationship between the two main characters was well-done. As the intrigue portion of the book winds down, the reader is left hoping the ending will meet the build-up – you will not be disappointed. I sincerely hope the author continues this character and genre as well as this.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Perfect Assassin blew mw away! I totally got caught up in the characters and the action. As the plot climaxed I had no idea how Ward Larsen was going to finish it, then came the delicious twist at the end. I have enjoyed all of Clancy's, Ludlum's, and Flynn's books, and I enjoyed Perfect Assassin as well as any of the masters'. I hope Ward follows up with more of this quality.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My first by him, but it won't be my last.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the characters; the story was well-paced and intense, and the writing much better than your typical spy saga This one will make a great film - lots of 'fly-by-your seat' special effects and plenty of intense gun play
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good read but jumpimg from one place to another in the middle of a paragraph is unforgivable.
Drvalu More than 1 year ago
Details make the story more believable and engrossing. Real world contemporary conflict in the mideast also adds a layer of depth to what is fiction but could be based on facts evolving now. Fast paced and identification with lead characters makes for an enjoyable summer read. Recommended.....
Anonymous 29 days ago
Jarratt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"The Perfect Assassin" wasn't bad. It just wasn't great. It's a book about one or two "lost" nuclear weapons and a corrupt Israeli faction. The foundation of the book had a lot of promise, it just didn't generate a sense of urgency until close to the end. And that's the biggest problem.Israeli assassin David Slaton is rescued from a shipwreck by American physician Christine Palmer. The ship carried two South African nukes that were being turned over to Israeli care--a gesture Israel wants to keep very secret. Once recovered, Slaton commandeers her boat, then bails out in a remote area of the English seaside leaving Palmer to drift ashore elsewhere. Once she reports what happens, however, Slaton realizes she knows something that can put her in danger (he told her about the nukes for some reason) and kidnaps her again. The rest of the book shows David tromping through England, evading the authorities, and mapping out a plan. We also see how the leaders in Israel lose their positions because of the loss of the weapons, how others rise up to take power.I really liked the dialogue Larsen uses and I liked how Slaton--evading British authorities--uses his wits and cunning to bring those he believes are responsible for scuttling the ship and steeling the nukes to justice. He's also in pursuit for personal reasons.Again, the book was well written, the dialogue very believable, and the characters well-rounded. But the lack of urgency was the biggest flaw.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not usually my type of book but I did not put this down until the last page.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very believable secret agent yarn.. I just bought the other two
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ToddSimpson More than 1 year ago
Simply Superb. Ward Larsen certainly knows how to write an incredible Action Thriller. This was such an easy book to read, and very well written. I happy to see that the Author has continued on with David Slaton as a character into a series, as he will definitely be worth following. With South Africa’s society breaking down very quickly, and looking like civil war might break out, General Van Ruut thought it was a good idea to get the last two nuclear weapons out of the country. Since Israel had a helping hand in making the two bombs, he approached them to help him. They managed to get the nukes out of the country on a ship called the Polaris Venture, before they fell into the wrong hands. Now with the Polaris having disappeared off the radar, the Israel’s are very keen to find it. Dr Christine Palmer was quite happy sailing along when she came across what looked like some wreckage from a ship, and it didn’t take her long to spot a man floating on a piece of it. She managed to save David Slaton’s life, but it only took him a day to recover well enough to take over the boat. Christine didn’t have a choice when this strange man advised her of a course change to England. David doesn’t quite understand why the Polaris he was on was destroyed, and he wonders if someone on the inside has betrayed them. When he arrives in England to find his best friend and co-worker dead, he knows he needs to lay low and get to the bottom of why this has happened. It doesn’t take him long to realise that Christine could be in danger, and that he will need to protect her. There is no doubt there will be other agents looking for her, to find out what she knows about David, and the Polaris. After reading this book you can see why so many other readers have given the Author 5 stars for his stories, thoroughly deserving. This really is an enjoyable book from start to finish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best spy stories I have ever read! Highly recommend it to anyone!
BruceMH More than 1 year ago
Fast paced and engaging book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
T his book reads at a very nice pace . It's got the Bron Identity thing going. But that appeals to me . I didn't know it was #2 in a series. So I liked the fact that I was able to read this book as a stand alone . I do wish your books didn't cost quite so much .
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very enjoyable, worth evey minute. Likeable characters, great plot. Have fun with it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not put it down
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You will love David.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very good read, action packed and true to form. I'll be ordering all of Mr. LARSENS BOOKS as soon as possible. .....RADAR.....01-28-2016.....
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