Quiet architect Paul Farrell kills four people in Paris before committing suicide-by-cop at JFK. When his cousin, an eccentric Russian paleoanthropologist, steals the body from under their noses, Interpol and the NYPD are back on the case. The detectives soon find that nobody is who they seem to be. But Paul Farrell is still dead-isn't he?
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Innsmouth Free Press
Innsmouth Free Press
James 'Jazz' Harper loved the night shift and being in charge of Airport Security; it did, however, occasionally get too dull even for him. So when the call came, it made his night — at first. Paul Michel Farrell, a French citizen wanted for a multiple murders in Paris. Requests for assistance from law enforcement weren't unusual. As soon as the fax with the mug shot came through, Harper called for backup from Port Authority. A SWAT team with a couple of marksmen just seemed like a good precaution. Harper gave the orders for the well-rehearsed sequence of operations, with the repeated message that this was not a drill. By the time Grant reported back to Harper, all entrances and exits to Terminal 1 were closed off, although the average bystander would have noticed nothing unusual.
"AF 008 landed at twenty-one hundred hours exactly, five minutes ahead of schedule," said Harper half to himself as he read over the fax again. "He's already been on the ground forty minutes plus. The booking clerk in Paris told the cops the guy only had carry-on baggage, which means he didn't have to wait at the carousel. He's had enough time to get through Customs. We're probably already too late."
He swore to himself. Even though the delay had been due to some idiot in the Dispatch Center getting the time difference between Paris and New York wrong, his people would be the ones taking the heat if this guy got away.
"Where did the plane come in?" Grant said.
Harper set down the fax and squinted at the monitors. "Gate 9. You got Terminal 1 all closed off now?" Grant nodded. "Good. Replay me the tape from that camera."
Some sleepy businessmen disembarked first, carrying leather briefcases and laptops, followed by a small group of yawning students and two families with small children. Not one of the emerging faces looked toward the surveillance camera until the twentieth passenger––a man in his mid-forties with a lean build and curly hair, wearing a turtleneck sweater and jeans––glanced directly up and at the camera as he passed beneath it.
“That's him!" Harper said. "Run it back. Where's that picture?"
He snatched up the fax with its mug shot as Grant stopped the tape at the frame in which the passenger was looking straight at them. There was no question. It was him.
"That was twenty-one-twenty," said Harper. "It's twenty-one-forty-five now. There is no way we got it shut down before he got out." He sighed and rubbed his eyes. This was going downhill fast.
"There!" Harper pointed at the monitor. He watched intently as the man approached the doors then turned left into the corridor leading back to the main Terminal 1 concourse. "Where the hell's he going? What's the time there?"
"Twenty-one-forty. We got the call at twenty-one-fifty-six and everyone was in place in under three minutes. Christ! He may just still be here!"
Harper straightened up, ready to head out the door. "Put out the alert. Tell everybody he may be in the main concourse. If they see him, tell them to keep him in sight but not approach him unless he tries to leave. Got that?"
Grant nodded, tugging at his headset. "On it." He paused, his jaw dropping open. "Boss! I think I got him!"
The subway ride should have given me some time to think. So much for that. I had a dead guy in my face the whole time. He was eyeballing me from inches away, his face floating just above the left side of my head on the other side of the support pole as I leaned against it. I should have sat down, but I'd have fallen asleep and missed my connection for sure then. I couldn't tell if he would have been taller than me in life, nor did I much care. I couldn't see his feet or lower legs or his midriff. Maybe he was that homeless jumper they'd had out in the Bronx two weeks ago. Just my luck he'd find some unlucky sod who could still see him--like me.