In KILLER DOUBLE, body parts wash up on shore in Hilton Head, South Carolina. Victim of a shark attack, or something more sinister? Less than a thousand miles away in Indiana, the body count is rising. The prints left behind are puzzling. It matches the prints from the body parts in South Carolina, but there’s a second set of prints…a serial killer’s from twenty-five years ago. Only problem is, the killer has been dead for over twenty years.
A case this bizarre is right up Dagger’s alley, but he isn’t about ready to share it with another detective team. Dagger is very private and Sara’s talents must be kept a secret. Jake is a former FBI agent, a by-the-book detective who will find it difficult to look the other way at Dagger’s tactics. It will be up to Sam and Sara to keep the two men from killing each other before the case is solved.
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Vancouver, British Columbia
The figure slowly stood, removing his Cartier glasses and setting them on the desk. The view of Coal Harbour behind him was postcard perfect, as was the man. Tall and trim, salt and pepper hair, which gave him a hint of distinction, and deep-set eyes most would say were piercingly cold. The hotel suite in Vancouver, British Columbia, was just one of his residences.
He no longer had an assistant. The last one had been with him for years, totally trusted, until he turned. Since then, Jonathan Keyes, the Director of BettaTec, only trusted himself. If someone could get to Fredrik Hensen, he could get to anyone. Keyes wouldn’t take that chance again. Interrogating Fredrik had proved fruitless. Either he was very loyal to his new allegiance or he had not been the traitor. Either way, there was an adversary out there, and until he could figure out who it was, he would handle everything himself.
He watched the man approach. Even in a suit Levitt Crane looked like a research physician. A mild hint of antiseptics seemed to trail the doctor. Working in a lab all these years had added weight to his frame. And when had he developed a balding pate? But the doctor’s smile was disarming, his round face as pink as a baby’s bottom. He stepped forward and reached out a hand to Keyes. “So glad you could see me on such short notice.”
“Has he been wanded?” Keyes’ question was directed at the two dark-suited security guards standing by the door.
“Yes, sir,” they replied in unison.
“Please, sit.” Keyes directed Crane to the conference table as a butler entered and placed a tray on the table. The butler filled two coffee cups as the two men chose chairs across from each other, sparring positions. All that was missing was a chess set between them.
“I wasn’t expecting you.” With a wave of his hand, Keyes dismissed the butler. The two guards opened the doors and the butler stepped into the hallway. The heavy doors closed with a sucking sound. The entire suite was soundproof. The guards remained in front of the doors, barring anyone from entering, or perhaps from leaving.
“Which is why I appreciate your understanding. I didn’t plan to be in town long.”
“Keyes sat back, crossing one leg over the other, and taking a languid pose, a panther waiting for the right moment to attack. His gaze dropped to the Jaeger-Lecoultre watch, and he smiled when it caught the attention of the meek doctor. After all, only Keyes could afford a seven hundred-thousand-dollar gift to himself. Director Jonathan Keyes headed up a shadow network which operated below the radar of every alphabet government agency. He had the best scientists, the best mercenaries, and cutting-edge technology at his fingertips. He didn’t fear the government or outside saboteurs. It was those in his own network he had to guard himself against. Keyes was born suspicious. Anyone as rich and powerful as he was had enemies. He had every reason to distrust the person sitting across from him.
Levitt Crane gave the watch a passing glance, more interested in the furnishings, the artwork on the walls, Persian area rugs, and remote-control blinds. A smile played across his lips.
“Cream?” Keyes raised the cut glass creamer. When Crane declined, Keyes poured some into his own cup. “You are a long way from your lab, Doctor.”
“Come now, Jonathan.” Crane noticed the Director bristle. No one called him by his first name. Actually, no one was certain if Keyes was the Director’s actual name. “We both know the research ship was destroyed. What I can’t understand is why you would destroy your own ship, not to mention all those employees on board. The fact that your handlers allowed me to contact you tells me that you are also curious about my survival.”
“Hate to disappoint you, but I didn’t destroy it. I had important research planned on that vessel, so I was just as shocked as anyone. Unfortunately, I have no proof as to who was responsible.”
“No one knew the location. The ship was camouflaged, wasn’t even detected by radar. The entire Navy fleet could pass by and not see it.”
Keyes eyed the doctor over his coffee cup. Was it his imagination or did Crane still think he was responsible? “Which is why I think it was someone in the Agency, someone with knowledge of the location.”
“And what? Placed a bomb on board, killing himself, too?”
“Whoever it was used one of our own satellites which is why I know it was an inside job. He didn’t have to be on the ship.”
Crane thought about that while he watched Keyes take a longer sip of coffee. “First, you thought Mother was the traitor.”
“Yes, but she’s dead along with those loyal to her.”
“Obviously there were others who weren’t able to escape.”
“Guess it makes sense that you wouldn’t blow up your own ship. I saw what they were making on the fourth floor. Really Jonathan, your lab is responsible for killing over one hundred thousand people a year.”
That steely glare locked onto Crane, but his guest didn’t appear affected. Keyes stole a quick glance at the guards, then leaned across the table. “What we did on that floor brought in millions of dollars a day, Crane. What did yours bring in? I know about your selling of organs. You didn’t think I was aware of the side business you had going for years?”
“I was doing a great service for those needing organs. But the drug business? Really? Carfentanil is one hundred times more potent than fentanyl. Have you no shame?” Crane didn’t hide his disgust. He watched Keyes shove a finger behind the knot of his tie and pull, then loosen the top button of his shirt. “You may look at your product as only profits, but do you have any idea what that drug does to people? First, you feel hot and dizzy, then your chest feels like an elephant is sitting on it.” He lowered his voice and smiled. “Finding it hard to catch your breath, Jonathan?”
The Director’s eyes widened as he looked at his coffee cup, then at Crane.
“It’s in the cream, Jonathan.”
“Guard,” Keyes yelled, but it sounded more like a gasp.
“Don’t bother. They work for me now.”
Even with the muscles stiffening from the drug, Keyes was still able to contort his face into a mask of fury. “How dare you?” He struggled to raise an arm. “Antidote, in my top drawer.”
Crane didn’t move from the table.
“Money?” Keyes tried to remain calm so he could reason with this lunatic, but he was aware of what the drug did. “Ten percent?”
Crane laughed. “And do you think I’d live long enough to see the ink dry on the contract? Besides, I detest drugs as well as the stupid, weak people who use them. I’d give a medal to the traitor who blew up that ship.” Crane finally rose and walked around the table. He lifted the Director’s left arm and removed the watch.
The Director’s eyes widened. “I’m… I’m not…”
“Always loved this watch.”
“You…you were on that ship.” Keyes struggled with each breath. “You should be…”
“Yes, I should be dead.” Leaning close, Crane whispered, “What makes you think I’m not?”