- Author: Jeffery Deaver
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ALSO BY JEFFERY DEAVER
NOVELS The Colter Shaw Series
The Goodbye Man
The Never Game The Lincoln Rhyme Series
The Cutting Edge
The Burial Hour
The Steel Kiss
The Skin Collector
The Kill Room
The Burning Wire
The Broken Window
The Cold Moon
The Twelfth Card
The Vanished Man
The Stone Monkey
The Empty Chair
The Coffin Dancer
The Bone Collector The Kathryn Dance Series
The Sleeping Doll The Rune Series
Death of a Blue Movie Star
Manhattan Is My Beat The John Pellam Series
Bloody River Blues
Shallow Graves Stand-Alones
The October List
No Rest for the Dead (Contributor)
Carte Blanche (A James Bond Novel)
The Bodies Left Behind
Garden of Beasts
The Blue Nowhere
Speaking in Tongues
The Devil’s Teardrop
A Maiden’s Grave
Praying for Sleep
The Lesson of Her Death
Mistress of Justice
Trouble in Mind
Nothing Good Happens After Midnight (Editor and Contributor)
A Hot and Sultry Night for Crime (Editor and Contributor)
Ice Cold (Editor and Contributor)
Books to Die For (Contributor)
The Best American Mystery Stories 2009 (Editor)
The Second Hostage
Ninth and Nowhere
The Victims’ Club
A Textbook Case
G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Publishers Since 1838
An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Copyright © 2021 by Gunner Publications, LLC
Excerpt from The Midnight Lock copyright © 2021 by Gunner Publications, LLC
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Hardcover ISBN: 9780525539131
Ebook ISBN: 9780525539155
Book design by Laura K. Corless, adapted for ebook by Maggie Hunt
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, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
Cover design: Tal Goretsky
Cover image: Jonathan Arias / iStock / Getty Images Plus
To the Sunday Afternoon Crew: Joan, Cleve, Kay, Ralph, Gail
Also by Jeffery Deaver
Part One: June 24 | The Mission
Part Two: June 25 | The Great Earthquake
Part Three: June 26 | The Man Who Would Be King
Part Four: June 27 | Flame
Part Five: July 3 | Ash
Excerpt from The Midnight Lock
About the Author
For the powerful, crimes are those that others commit.
Colter Shaw draws his gun. He starts silently down the stairs, descending into the old building’s massive, pungent basement, redolent of mold and heating oil.
Basement, he reflects. Recalling the last time he was in one. And what happened to him there.
Above him, music pounds, feet dance. The bass is a runner’s heartbeat. But up there and down here are separate universes.
At the foot of the stairs he studies where he is. Orientation . . . Always, orientation. The basement is half built out. To the right of the stairs is a large empty space. To the left are rooms off a long corridor—fifty feet or so in length.
Scanning the empty space to the right, he sees no threat nor anything that would help him. He turns left and navigates toward the corridor past the boilers and stores of supplies: large packs of toilet paper, cans of Hormel chili, plastic water bottles, paper towels, Dixie paper plates, plastic utensils. A brick of nine-millimeter ammunition.
Shaw moves slowly into the corridor. The first room on the right, the door open, is illuminated by cold overhead light and warmer flickering light. Remaining in shadows, he peers in quickly. An office. File cabinets, computers, a printer.
Two bulky men sit at a table, watching a baseball game on a monitor. One leans back and takes the last beer from the six-pack sitting on a third chair. Shaw knows they’re armed because he knows their profession, and such men are always armed.
Shaw is not invisible but the basement is dark, no overheads, and he’s in a black jacket, jeans and—since he’s been motorcycling—boots. They’re not as quiet as the Eccos he usually wears but the beat bleeding from the dance floor overhead dampens his footsteps. He supposes it would even drown out gunshots.
The men watch the game and talk and joke. There are five empty bottles. This might be helpful: the alcohol consumed. The reaction-time issue. The accuracy issue.
If it comes to that.
He thinks: Disarm them now?
No. It could go bad. Seventy-five percent chance of success, at best.
He hears his father’s voice: Never be blunt when subtle will do.
Besides, he isn’t sure what he’ll find here. If nothing, he’ll slip out the way he came, with them none the wiser.
He eases past the doorway, unseen, then pauses to give his eyes, momentarily dulled by the office lights, a chance to acclimate to the darkness.
Then he moves on, checking each room. Most of the doors are open; most of the rooms are dark.
The music, the pounding of the dancing feet are a two-edged sword. No one can hear him approach, but he’s just as deaf. Someone could be in an empty room, having spotted him, waiting with a weapon.
Thirty feet, forty.
Empty room, empty room. He’s approaching the end, where a second hallway jogs right. There’ll be other rooms to search. How many more?
The last room. This door is closed. Locked.
He withdraws his locking-blade knife and uses the edge near the tip to ease the deadbolt back into the tumbler. He pulls on the