Read TailSpin Online

Authors: Catherine Coulter

Tags: #Attempted Murder, #Dementia, #Government Investigators, #Kentucky, #Large Type Books, #Legislators, #Psychiatrists, #Savich; Dillon (Fictitious Character), #Sherlock; Lacey (Fictitious Character), #Suspense Fiction

TailSpin

Table of Contents
 
 
READERS AND CRITICS PRAISE
TAILSPIN
“I just finished reading
TailSpin
. Once again, you did not disappoint. I simply could not put it down. I even gave up watching the Mets game on Friday night. Thank you for the pure enjoyment of reading your books.”—Jim Beach
 
“You’ve done it again. I’ve lost more sleep finishing
TailSpin
. And what wonderful characters to lose sleep over. I love your FBI series immensely. There’s never a dull moment when I read a Catherine Coulter book.”—Patricia Delipper
 
“Well, you have outdone yourself on
TailSpin
. I had the hardest time putting it down. EXCELLENT. I can’t wait for more. You can’t write them fast enough for me.”—Diane Hernandez
 
“[
TailSpin
] is your best FBI thriller yet. From the first few sentences I was hooked. I loved this story, and really enjoyed my imagination picturing all the locations and people’s faces. I want to thank you for this series.”—Lee Shackelford
 
“I just finished reading
TailSpin
and once again I must say I believe you to be probably the best author I have ever read. Let me know when your next ‘masterpiece’ comes out.” —Ernie McLean
 
“I just wanted to let you know
TailSpin
, in my humble opinion, is another blockbuster hit! I couldn’t put it down and read it in two days, which is a minor miracle with my schedule. Awesome work. Please, please do more.”—Steve Bonnell
 

TailSpin
is awesome! You are so incredibly talented. I am a reader that becomes one with my book and I am
there
. Thank you for another wonderful adventure.”—Jean Haws
 
“One of Coulter’s best, delivering her trademark quips and nonstop action.”—
Booklist
 
“Catherine Coulter is one of the best authors of exciting thrillers writing today . . . a work of art.”—
Midwest Book Review
 
“Master of romantic suspense Coulter exposes the cost of obsessive regard for family honor and family shame with her usual flair.”—
Publishers Weekly
Also by Catherine Coulter
The FBI Thrillers
TAILSPIN (2008)
DOUBLE JEOPARDY (2008):
The Target
and
The Edge
DOUBLE TAKE (2007)
THE BEGINNING (2006):
The Cove
and
The Maze
POINT BLANK (2005)
BLOWOUT (2004)
BLINDSIDE (2003)
ELEVENTH HOUR (2002)
HEMLOCK BAY (2001)
RIPTIDE (2000)
THE EDGE (1999)
THE TARGET (1998)
THE MAZE (1997)
THE COVE (1996)
THE BERKLEY PUBLISHING GROUP
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
 
TAILSPIN
 
A Jove Book / published by arrangement with the author
 
 
Copyright © 2008 by Catherine Coulter.
 
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
For information, address: The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
 
eISBN : 978-1-101-10856-7
 
JOVE®
Jove Books are published by The Berkley Publishing Group,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.,
375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014.
JOVE® is a registered trademark of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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To my crackerjack spouse, Anton.
You are beloved.
 
C.C.
To my nephew, David Steffens, M.D., MHS,
Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at
Duke University Medical Center.
Thank you for the compelling suggestion.
I hope I dealt well with it.
ONE
Black Rock Lake
Oranack, Maryland
Friday night
 
 
 
 
 
 
S
he thought she swallowed because her throat burned hot, as if splashed with sharp acid, but she wasn’t sure because she couldn’t think clearly. Her mind felt dark, as heavy and thick as chains, and she knew to her soul there was violence just beyond it. She smelled something rancid, oil with a layer of rot and decay. What was that smell? What did it mean? Her brain wasn’t clear enough yet to figure it out. But she knew she had to, had to fight it or—what?
I’ll die, that’s what. I’ve got to get myself together, I’ve got to wake up, or I’ll die.
The smell grew stronger, and she wanted to vomit. She knew she had to be awake or she’d choke to death. She had to move, to wake up.
She swallowed again, nearly heaved when the acid in her throat mixed with that rancid smell. She tried to breathe lightly, concentrated all her energy on opening her eyes, on feeling her body, on tearing herself out of the black shroud where she was unable to move or speak. Her head felt heavy, her throat burned, and her mind—where was her mind? There, gnawing at the edges of her brain, were sharp hits of pain and fear, sweeping away the confusion, coming closer, breaking through the numbness.
She heard voices. Mr. Cullifer’s voice? She didn’t think so; his voice was very distinctive, like wet gravel underfoot. But she couldn’t make out who they were or what they were saying, if they were male or female. But she knew that what the voices were saying was bad. For her.
The smell was so strong it burned her eyes and her nose.
Suck it in, suck it in, get yourself together.
She breathed in deeply, ignored the nausea, and at last she felt her brain jitter, felt edges of consciousness spear up, tear through the black.
It was dead fish she smelled, overwhelming now, and the smell of boats, of diesel fumes overlaying wet.
They were picking her up—who were they?—carrying her, her feet, her arms, and she breathed in the fetid odor.
Keep breathing, keep breathing.
She heard wooden planks creak, heard night sounds—crickets, an owl, the lapping of water.
Her eyes flew open when she went airborne. She hit the water hard on her back. The slap of pain snapped her back into her brain and her body. Instinct made her draw in a big breath before the water splashed over her face, closed over her head, before she was slowly dragged to the bottom.
Move, move.
But she couldn’t. Though her hands weren’t tied, a rope was wrapped around her chest to hold her arms at her sides. Her feet were tied and tethered to something heavy—a block of cement, she knew that instinctively. Too many Mafia movies. They didn’t just want her to drown, they wanted her to disappear forever, like she’d never existed, never come into their lives.
She didn’t want to die.
I’m not going to die.
She was tied to the cement with the same thick rope that bound her ankles tightly together. She could do this, she could. She quickly shimmied away the rope around her chest, then her fingers went to work. They were clumsy, but it didn’t matter, she didn’t want to die, and she worked frantically. Surprisingly, she could see in the water, knew it wasn’t all that deep because she sensed the moonlight above, and it was enough. She dug her fingernails under the knot and patiently, so patiently, worked it loose. Her chest began to burn. She ignored it, concentrated on the knots.
Because she’d been the captain of her swim team in college, because she knew how to control her breathing to maximum effect, she knew her time was running out. The drug she’d ingested hadn’t helped. She knew she couldn’t last much longer. It was so hard to keep her mouth shut, to keep from breathing. Her eyes were blurring, the water shimmering, the pressure in her chest building and building until it nearly burst her open.
I’m going to drown, I’m going to drown.
The knot came loose. She kicked off the cement block and shot to the surface. When her head cleared, she wanted to haul in a huge gulp of air, but forced herself to take short, quiet breaths through her nose. She had to hold very still, trying not to ripple the water for fear they were still there, staring down at where they’d thrown her in, watching for bubbles, waiting, waiting until they knew she couldn’t still be alive. They’d wait, oh yes, they’d wait to make sure they’d erased her.
Her brain was in full gear again. She heard the light lapping of water against the pilings of a wooden pier. They’d walked out onto the pier and thrown her out into the water, believing it deep enough. She eased back under the water and swam under the pier to hide behind the pilings.
She surfaced very slowly, very quietly, wanting to suck in so much air she’d never run out again, but she only let her face clear the surface. She forced herself to take calm, light breaths. She was alive. Slowly, her breaths became deeper and deeper. She filled her lungs. It felt wonderful.
She heard voices again, but couldn’t understand any words because they were moving away now. Men? Women? She couldn’t tell, she only knew there were two of them. She heard feet clomping on the wooden pier, heard a car engine, heard the car drive away. She swam out from under the pier and saw the taillights of a car in the distance.
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