Silent Thunder

Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen

St. Martin's Press

PROLOGUE

HELSINKI

SEPTEMBER 21

Kirov!

No, it couldn’t be Kirov, Jennings thought frantically, as he ran down the dock. Kirov was dead. Pavski had given him his word that the stories were all lies. He’d laughed and said that a ghost couldn’t kill.

And the person behind him was no ghost. It didn’t have to be Kirov. Jennings had made a lot of enemies in his life, and any one of them might be the man behind him.

But there was no one behind him now. A quick glance behind him revealed an empty dock. His heart slowed as he drew a deep, relieved breath. He’d lost him. Maybe it had only been a thief. Yes, that was it. It was a lousy section of town, and the man had just targeted his wallet.

Not his life.

He shouldn’t have panicked. But after he’d heard about Lantz’s death, his nerves had been on edge. He’d be glad to be done with this business. His pace slowed as he approached the pier where the sub was moored. The Silent Thunder lay still and lethal as if crouching, waiting for prey, waiting to take another life.

Prey. He tried to suppress the shiver that went through him. He only had to get on the sub and do what Pavski had asked him to do. Nothing was going to happen. It was no more a death ship than Kirov was a ghost.

But, God, he didn’t want to go on that sub, he thought desperately as he reached the end of the block. He should have never listened to Pavski and stayed undercover. No amount of money was worth this—

A leather noose slipped around his neck from behind!

Pain. He struggled wildly to turn his head to see the man who had stepped out of the shadows. He only had an impression of height and broad shoulders as he started to black out. He couldn’t breathe…

The garrote tightened around his neck.

The sub…

He could see the Silent Thunder before him, patiently waiting, ready to take him to hell as it had all the others. His vision was fading, and he could see nothing but that monster of a sub. He was going to die, he realized incredulously. No! He struggled harder.

"Stop it." The order was a soft murmur in his ear. "I don’t want to kill you yet. They say you might still be useful."

Kirov. My God. Damn you, Pavski. Lies. Lies. Lies.

Kill the bastard. His hand closed on the knife holstered on his left arm.

"Well, actually I do want to kill you now," Kirov said. "Thank you for giving me the excuse."

He twisted the garrote, jerked backward, and broke his victim’s neck.

Excerpted from Silent Thunder by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen

Copyright © 2008 by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen

Published in 2008 by St. Martin’s Press

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher