The Kill Box (Jamie Sinclair Series #3)

The Kill Box (Jamie Sinclair Series #3)

by Nichole Christoff

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NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY LIBRARY JOURNAL • In an intense thriller that’s perfect for fans of Lee Child or Lisa Gardner, security specialist and PI Jamie Sinclair tackles a cold case that could cost her the one person who means the most to her.
Hardworking Jamie Sinclair can’t wait for the weekend. She plans to be off the clock and on the road to wine country with handsome military police officer Adam Barrett. But when a strung-out soldier takes an innocent woman hostage and forces his way into Jamie’s bedroom, everything changes. Jamie’s never seen the soldier before. But he’s no stranger to Barrett—and with one word he persuades Barrett to pack a duffel and leave Jamie in the lurch.
Jamie cannot fathom why Barrett would abandon her without explanation. But as the consequences of an unsolved crime threaten to catch up with him, a late-night phone call sends Jamie racing to Barrett’s hometown in upstate New York. In a tinderbox of shattered trust and long-buried secrets, Jamie must fight to uncover the truth about what really occurred one terrible night twenty years ago. And the secrets she discovers deep in Barrett’s past not only threaten their future together—they just might get her killed.

Don’t miss any of Nichole Christoff’s white-knuckle Jamie Sinclair thrillers:
Praise for The Kill Box
“An edge-of-the-seat thriller that doesn’t let up until the very last page.”Library Journal
Praise for Nichole Christoff’s Jamie Sinclair novels
“Intelligent and fast-paced, Nichole Christoff’s debut thriller takes off like a rocket and never slows down. I read The Kill List in a single sitting.”New York Times bestselling author Karen Rose
“Thanks to Christoff’s labyrinth-style of intrigue and mystery, the enjoyment is in trying to solve the puzzle. Good luck, because in The Kill Shot, Christoff doesn’t make the adventure a cake walk. She understands how to keep her readers riveted from beginning to end.”USA Today

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781101883020
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 10/20/2015
Series: Jamie Sinclair Series , #3
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 283
Sales rank: 44,769
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Nichole Christoff is the award-winning author of three Jamie Sinclair thrillers: The Kill List, The Kill Shot, and The Kill Box. A writer, broadcaster, and military spouse who has worked on the air and behind the scenes for radio, television news, and the public relations industry, Christoff is a lifetime member of Sisters in Crime and the Jane Austen Society of North America. She also belongs to Private Eye Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, and three of RWA’s local chapters, in which she’s served as an officer and a member of the board.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

“What kind of private investigator wears silk to a sting operation?” Marc Sandoval grumbled.

His fast hands were full of my satiny charmeuse shirt, and I fought to control a shiver as the fabric slipped along my skin. The audio technician at my elbow pressed a palm to the headphones she wore over her pixie cut as if she were listening to a classified communiqué. But she couldn’t fool me. She’d been getting a kick out of the play-by-play between Marc and me all day. And her smug smile said so.

Marc, in the meantime, gave my shirttails another tug. “Damn it, Jamie. You don’t even have room under here for a Kevlar vest.”

“I’ve got room for a listening device,” I reminded him.

And the listening device was all that mattered to me.

Beneath my blouse, taped to my chest, the microphone I wore was so sensitive, it would register my heartbeat if the thing broke away from its adhesive and slipped south along my breastbone. Its chilly wire snaked across my ribs before Marc fished its connector from the hem of my top. He snapped the end of it into a transmitter. And he clipped the transmitter to my trousers’ waistband at the small of my back. But even as the tech fired it up for another sound check, Marc’s hands hesitated like he wasn’t quite ready to let me go.

I tossed my dark ponytail over my shoulder, took a seat on the edge of the porcelain sink behind me, and shot him my best don’t-get-sappy-on-me smile. “Come on. This private investigator is a security specialist. You ordered her to look like a woman with both feet on the corporate ladder. Silk shirts are part of that look. Kevlar isn’t.”

And this was true.

Powerful women in Washington, D.C., wore elegant underpinnings, finely tailored suits, and exquisite accessories at least six days a week. Thanks to my tailored trousers and silk blouse the color of a politician’s blush, I fit perfectly into that crowd. In fact, I fit in so well, Marc had arrested me when he’d met me two weeks ago.
Because Marc Sandoval was a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency.

And at the request of my client, I’d posed as a pharmaceutical corporation’s upper-level grunt—ready, willing, and able to bribe the Food and Drug Administration.

That’s how Marc and I came to be holed up in a closed-but-crowded ladies’ restroom in the middle of Reagan National Airport on a Tuesday afternoon in late October. His six-man tactical team, dressed head-to-toe in riot gear, knelt on the floor’s dull and dingy tiles to check over their weapons. And his communications crew fiddled with a bank of portable monitors blocking the bathroom’s row of hand-dryers. Those monitors would give us a bird’s-eye view of our approaching target: a bent FDA official named Stan Liedecker.

Before the advent of the FDA, anyone could make a profit by adding anything to food, drink, or medicine and selling it to the unsuspecting public. And I do mean they could add anything. Opium and arsenic, cocaine and copper turned up in products from cosmetics to children’s cough syrup.

But the Food and Drug Administration put a stop to all that.

Now drugs are manufactured and marketed under the FDA’s uncompromising eye. Safety has become big business. And no business is bigger than today’s pharmaceutical industry.

Case in point: Hudson Paul, my client and the chief operating officer of a firm called Pharmathon, had money to burn. Located in Tysons Corner on the edge of D.C.’s infamous Beltway, Pharmathon was one of the best and brightest drug companies in the USA. But, as Hudson explained, sitting in a guest chair in my Georgetown office, Pharmathon was also one of the top-grossing pharmaceutical companies in the entire world—with both its thumbs buried deep in the industry’s $300-billion pie.

Money that large can make people do stupid things. And Hudson had come to me because one of his top employees had done something very stupid indeed. A frustrated vice president had tried to bribe Liedecker to allow a problematic Alzheimer’s drug to bypass clinical trials—and hit the market untested—just so the competition couldn’t claim all the profits that would be up for grabs while Pharmathon worked out the kinks in its formula.

Hudson found out and fired the guy before any money changed hands. Or any patients stroked out from taking Pharmathon’s unproven pills. But that didn’t stop the situation from going from bad to worse.

One night, Liedecker, pissed that he never got his payoff, cornered Hudson in Pharmathon’s parking lot—with his hand open and itching. In no uncertain terms, he invited Hudson to pay up so he’d hush up. And if my client didn’t meet the blackmail demand, Liedecker promised to use his FDA clout to shut down Pharmathon in its entirety—and see Hudson Paul charged as the brain behind the vice president’s attempted bribery.

I took Hudson’s case and posed as his most trusted employee. Near a hamburger stand on the National Mall, I met with Stan Liedecker to talk terms. But unbeknownst to me, Marc Sandoval had the man under surveillance.
And Marc was damn good at his job.

So he arrested me before I reached my parking spot.

When Marc learned I was a PI, he’d thundered like a fallen angel. But after he’d read me the riot act, it dawned on him: Stan Liedecker believed I would buy him off. So if Marc allowed me to give Liedecker his cash, Marc could arrest the bastard with dirt on his hands.

Marc’s own hands were quick and strong. I’d found that out when he announced he’d wire me up himself. With the self-assurance of a neurosurgeon, he’d loosened the impeccable knot in his ruby-red tie, rolled up the sleeves of his made-to-measure dress shirt, and ordered me to unbutton my clothes. But despite Marc’s overabundance of confidence, I didn’t miss the crease of concern marring his forehead. Or the way he kept muttering about me and Kevlar.

“Relax,” I told him. “I don’t need Kevlar. Liedecker’s harmless, and I’ve got you and your team to back me up.”

“Just don’t test that theory, all right?”

Marc sent the sound tech on her way, snatched my charcoal-gray suit coat from a hook on the tiled wall, and handled it with all the finesse of a bullfighter. When he helped me into it, his fingertips lingered on my lapels. And if I didn’t know better, I’d have said the evening star sparkled in his obsidian eye.

“Be careful, Jamie.”

“I’m always careful,” I replied.

And I meant it.

Marc opened his mouth to say something more. But an agent manning a monitor interrupted him. “Time to boogie.”

Marc and I turned. And there, on one of the electronic screens, was Stan Liedecker, strutting through the parking structure like he’d just won the lottery. I shoved my nerdy, square-rimmed glasses up the bridge of my nose, grabbed the handle of the ordinary leatherette briefcase Marc had had filled for me, and strode out to meet him.
Reagan National Airport is a long string of terminals, linked one to another like beads on a bracelet. Sandwich shops and newspaper stands hug the curving walls, trying to tempt travelers into spending their cash before boarding their planes. In front of an establishment called Capitol Coffee, I found Liedecker sitting at a little bistro table, sipping something steamy from a paper cup.

In a maroon sweater, worsted wool pants, and penny loafers, he was dressed like every other late-middle-aged Washington stuffed shirt on his day off. He’d brought an overnight bag with him. It rested on the chrome chair beside him. I supposed he had his toothbrush in it—and his bankbook for his offshore account, too. I could make out his round-trip ticket to the Cayman Islands protruding from the bag’s end pocket like a feather in a hat.
But I had what Stan Liedecker really wanted.

He grinned like a fat cat who’d swallowed too much cream when he caught sight of me approaching his table.
I slid into the seat across from him, stood the briefcase upright on my lap.

“I’d buy you a cup of coffee,” he said, “but I’m about to board my plane.”

“That’s all right.” I patted the side of the leatherette case. “I’ve brought you a parting gift.”

Marc had made sure the case was full of the well-worn fifty-dollar bills Liedecker had demanded. Altogether they weighed close to twenty pounds. And were worth half a million dollars.

“Payment in full,” I said, though I knew guys like Liedecker always came back for another touch. “You’ll stick to your end of the bargain?”

“Of course.” He nodded. And he smiled.

But I needed him to spell it out. I needed him to say I was buying his influence at the FDA with this money. And I needed him to admit he was willfully breaking the law so the wire I wore could transmit his confession to the authorities.

Instead, Stan Liedecker slid a little plastic baggie across the table to me. “This is for you.”

A baker’s dozen of waxy pink-and-white capsules gleamed inside the bag.

“What are they?”

“Just a recreational indulgence someone at another company cooked up.”

I didn’t touch the packet.

Liedecker chuckled. “Don’t worry. They’re on the house. I can get you more if you like. And tell your boss I’m still willing to fix his clinical trial problem. For another half mill, of course.”

Liedecker grinned at me. I wanted to slam the heel of my hand into his nose and feel the satisfying crunch of his splintered cartilage beneath my pulse, but I made nice and smiled at him in return. After all, he’d just said the words that would sound so good in front of a federal judge.

“Well,” he said, glancing at his Rolex. “Mustn’t be late.”

He rose from his seat, reached for the briefcase.

I stood and gladly offered it to him. Because the second the man’s liver-spotted hand curled around the handle, Marc would move in. He’d arrest Liedecker. The scumbag would face jail time for illegally lining his pockets. And for offering to approve untested drugs that could kill people.

But things didn’t happen that way.

A lady with a tight perm and a loose cardigan paused as she passed our table. She let out an ear-piercing squeal, dropped her orange plastic Capitol Coffee tray as if it had bitten her. Hot liquid splashed everywhere. Liedecker and I looked down to see fat drops of coffee bead on his shiny shoes. We looked up and followed the woman’s pointing finger.

Halfway across the open expanse of the terminal, Marc was on the move, closing in like a bird of prey. His helmeted agents zoomed toward us like a swarm of hornets. Their flat-black assault rifles were nocked to their shoulders—and each one aimed at Liedecker.

“Guns!” the woman shrieked.

Heads turned. Travelers screamed. Men and women ran every which way. Some cowered on the floor. Panicked parents dragged their children behind the cover of trash cans or concrete planters full of ficus—just in case bullets began to fly.

But none of this fazed Stan Liedecker.

With a snarl, he shoved the briefcase into my chest. My arms locked around it as the impact knocked me back a step. That’s when Liedecker grabbed me by the shoulders.

“You sold me out!”

I gritted my teeth, twisted up and out, and slammed the edge of the briefcase into Liedecker’s wrist. But I couldn’t break his grip. He jerked me to him, spun me around—and wedged his arm across my throat in a fierce headlock.
Marc’s eyes locked with mine. His hand dove beneath his suit coat. It came up with his service weapon.

“Stand back!” Liedecker shouted at him. “Everyone just stand back or I’ll break this woman’s neck!”

He’d do it, too. I knew he would. Especially when his groping hand plunged beneath my jacket. It closed over the transmitter clipped to my trousers. Liedecker ripped it free of its wire, threw the thing to shatter on the floor.
At my back, his body quivered with rage. And the pressure he applied to the point of my chin strained the muscles in my neck. I was certain he’d carry out his threat.

I was certain he’d snap my spine.

Marc and his agents were certain, too. They froze where they stood. But they didn’t lower their weapons.
Adrenaline shivered through me like a sickness. But so did fear. And I refused to give in to it.

I swallowed against the pressure at my throat, dredged up all the authority I could muster, and made my voice strong with it. “Think it through, Stan. You hurt me, I fall. And all those agents get a clear shot at your center mass.”

“Then you’re coming with me,” he snapped, “because I’m getting on that plane. And you’re holding my bankroll.”

He was right.

I still cradled the briefcase to my chest.

He jerked me backward, forced me to keep in step with him. We weren’t far from his gate. Or from his plane.

“You’ll never get on board,” I warned.

“Who’s going to stop me? The TSA?”

“No. I will.”

Liedecker snorted and his arm drew tighter. “That’s big talk for one of Pharmathon’s pretty little technocrats. What are you really? A federal marshal?”

“I’m mad as hell,” I lied, “so be smart and let me go.”

But Liedecker had other ideas. He shoved my chin high and hard. Pain lanced my brain box—and my fingers flicked the clasps on the top of the briefcase.

The lid of the little valise dropped open.

And all of Stan Liedecker’s glorious cash slipped from inside.

Stan gasped as an avalanche of fifty-dollar bills tumbled to his feet and streamed across the floor. Like the greedy bastard he was, he let go of me to grab them. And when he bent to rake at his money, I didn’t hesitate.
I slammed the blade of my hand into the base of his skull. Muscle and bone met the soft spot at the top of his neck. Stan Liedecker gurgled. He dropped to his knees. And when he fell face-first onto the floor, his head went thump against the hard surface—just like a rotten melon.

Of course, from where I stood, it sounded rather like justice.

Customer Reviews

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The Kill Box (Jamie Sinclair Series #3) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed all three in the series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy reading and entertaining up to a point. Unfortunately, it's not believable and is very predictable. by aj west
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Truly a great read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed these very much. I hope there will be more adventures for Jamie and Barrett.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looking forward to the next one!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this series and can not get enough of it. I hope she continues with more stories.
BasingstoneBook More than 1 year ago
Relationships can lead you into many strange situations and PI Jamie Sinclair is no exception. A crazed ex serviceman breaks into her house demanding her boyfriend Adam goes with him to their boyhood hometown and help Eric their mutual friend. It must come with being a PI that after a long silence by Adam she has to go and investigate. She did not reckon on being dragged into years of deceit, murder and organised crime. This an excellent novel which moves along at fairly swift pace and holds your interest the whole way through, not giving away too many clues except where necessary. My only small criticism is some of the science setting is to elaborate and not required as the strength of the story would hold up on its own. Recommended
booklover- More than 1 year ago
Third in a series (KILL SHOT, KILL LIST), this book reunited Private Investigator Jamie Sinclair and Marc Sandoval, DEA Agent, and Lieutenant Colonel Adam Barrett. While this one was okay as a stand-alone, I found myself wishing I had read the series from the beginning. There are tidbits here and there and I really want to know what I've missed.... mainly in learning how the three protagonists met and came together. Jamie and Adam are mutually attracted to each other until a man breaks into her house, orders Adam to come with him, and Adam leaves, telling Jamie this was a friend who needed help. When a call comes from Adam's grandmother asking for help, Jamie is on her way. This is Romantic Suspense at its best. The suspense surrounds the DEA's being in the same small town because it is rumored that drugs are being shipped in and them out to the larger cities surrounding. Throw in a couple of murders trying to pass off as suicides and local law enforcement who seem bent on buying the lies and the action just goes on and on. And when Adam tells Jamie, it's over between them, she only has one ally .. Marc. I liked all the characters, especially Adam's grandmother. It's exactly how I would picture my own. There's lot of mutual attraction, flirting, a kiss here and there, and of course, a broken heart. That's the extent of the romance. I am definitely going to get my hands on the first two books in the series and then re-read this one. This was a very enjoyable read for me. My thanks to NetGalley / Random House Publishing Group - Alibi for the opportunity to read in exchange for an honest opinion.
Splashesintobooks1 More than 1 year ago
This is the third book in the series and I’ve been lucky enough to read and review the earlier two. Whilst this book may be read as a standalone, I suspect that readers will benefit from having read the earlier two novels as so many things are continuing from events, relationships and actions occurring in them. Once more this is a superbly written story which keeps the reader on the edge of their seat from the very beginning, a real page turner that keeps the reader enthralled with revelations happening throughout but the most critical being saved to towards the end! Again, there are murders, double dealing, secrets to be revealed and it is filled with suspense. A roller coaster ride with plenty of surprises en route - keep your eyes open, you’re never quite certain what will happen next! A superb example of romantic suspense written by a true master of the genre and a story and series I have no hesitation in highly recommending to anyone who likes suspense filled thrillers with a hint of romance. Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley, too, for letting me read an ARC of this book in exchange for this, an honest review.
jayfwms More than 1 year ago
A new Jamie Sinclair novel that stands on its own, this story follows a template for thrillers with a heart, but does it with brilliant writing and true to life characters. I lost a day of my life because I was not able to set the book down until I had finished it. Jamie's relationship with LT Col Adam Barrett comes into question when a visitor from his past causes Adam to go AWOL and return to the small town where he grew up. Nothing and no one in the town is what they seem, and an unsolved crime from Adam's past triggers a repeat performance as the entire town becomes a kill box. Be sure to set aside the reading time if you start this book.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
This was a pretty good book. Towards the end, I think the author was seriously running out of people to kill though. Seemed like people were being murdered everywhere. I'm exaggerating, but it did seem that way. HA! One thing I did not get was the fact that this Adam guy had just spent the last seven months recuperating at Jamie's house in Washington, D.C. Then he's visited in the middle of the night by this Vance guy and told that Eric needs him. Then he's like "Jamie who?". The only time he really notices the fact she's around is when someone else is hitting on her. The writing and action in the book was good, but I couldn't stand the way this guy treated her and she kept hanging around. Apparently since this was book 3 in the series and he was a veteran he must have had some brain damage doing his duty. That's the only reason I could think why this woman would let this man treat her this way. I'm sure I would have enjoyed the book a whole lot more if I hadn't spent most of it want to slap this dude. I tried to overlook him and the story got a lot better for me. It actually was a very good story. I knew Hayley's downfall was borrowing Jamie's coat. Of course, as well as many murders, there were many suspects. There was even a 20 year old cold case that gets solved as well. There was definitely a lot of action going on and it definitely kept me interested. Several times, I had to yell and tell this Jamie girl "no, don't go there". Of course, she didn't listen. HA! I do recommend this book if you can over that eejit Adam. Thanks Alibi and Net Galley for the free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Nichole Christoff in her new book, “The Kill Box” Book Three in the Jamie Sinclair series published by Alibi gives us another adventure with Jamie Sinclair. From the back cover: In an intense thriller that’s perfect for fans of Lee Child or Lisa Gardner, security specialist and PI Jamie Sinclair tackles a cold case that could cost her the one person who means the most to her. Hardworking Jamie Sinclair can’t wait for the weekend. She plans to be off the clock and on the road to wine country with handsome military police officer Adam Barrett. But when a strung-out soldier takes an innocent woman hostage and forces his way into Jamie’s bedroom, everything changes. Jamie’s never seen the soldier before. But he’s no stranger to Barrett—and with one word he persuades Barrett to pack a duffel and leave Jamie in the lurch. Jamie cannot fathom why Barrett would abandon her without explanation. But as the consequences of an unsolved crime threaten to catch up with him, a late-night phone call sends Jamie racing to Barrett’s hometown in upstate New York. In a tinderbox of shattered trust and long-buried secrets, Jamie must fight to uncover the truth about what really occurred one terrible night twenty years ago. And the secrets she discovers deep in Barrett’s past not only threaten their future together—they just might get her killed. I have always liked the idea of solving a cold case. I suppose, to my mind, that it brings about a sense of closure and justice. This time around Jamie gets involved, among other things, with a twenty year old cold case. People are getting murdered and there are those that will go to great lengths to keep this case unsolved. Then there is also the search for the drug dealers and their supply of drugs in the big cities. “The Kill Box” will keep you guessing as to what is going on. There is plenty of action, suspense and a fair amount of thrills within these pages. What I recommend is you take the phone off the hook, go to the bathroom, then make a big bucket of popcorn to hold you because you will want to finish this book in one reading. I like Jamie Sinclair and I am so looking forward to her next adventure. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Enchanted Book Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Linda__ More than 1 year ago
This is the first book I've read by this author, but it won't be the last. I have added her to my must read authors'list. This is a well crafted mystery/thriller with a bit of romance. Jamie goes from doing a favor for a friend to suddenly finding herself in the middle of a murder non-investigation. She seems to be the only one who cares about what's happening, while struggling to deal with her feelings for Adam while a hunky DEA agent circles in the background. This is a must read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago