A story of fear and terrorism.
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Joe Prentis Website
Joe Prentis' Website
In Memphis, investigative reporter Thomas Allard is pursuing the story of a lifetime when he is brutally murdered.
In Rome, someone attempts to kill Ron Cable, the son of the owner of Cable Incorporated, the leading company in the field of industrial automation.
In Chechnya, a terrorist catches a plane to America after receiving a phone call.
The Antaeus Factor takes the reader from the lavish homes of Italy’s most powerful citizens, to the police department in Memphis where homicide detective Lori Turner is trying to fit these events into some coherent pattern. From the first page, this novel races forward at a mad pace. Gripping and exciting, the plot unfolds, revealing the frightening specter of cyber terrorism in a world where technology can easily spin out of control.
When the traffic light turned green, Thomas Allard tromped hard on the gas, then shoved the shift forward with a quick, practiced flick of his wrist. The tires yelped as he whipped the car into the right lane and pulled rapidly ahead of a clattering utility truck. He glanced at the glowing numerals on the radio but couldn’t remember if the time was right. She had insisted on a nine o’clock meeting and he didn’t want to screw it up by being late. This was the break he had been searching for since his first days as a news reporter. A story like this didn’t come along more than once in a century.
Allard threw his headlights on high beam and scanned the street, his attention divided between the laboring engine and the signs at each street crossing. When he reached Winchester Avenue he turned left and searched the darkened storefronts for a street number. He rolled through the next intersection and saw that the neighborhood had improved slightly. Scattered houses gave way to small businesses with empty parking lots. In the distance he could see a sign visible over the top of a well-trimmed hedge.
EL CANTINA CLUB
He touched the brake and then accelerated up the ramp with the tires hammering across the speed bump. There were a dozen or more cars nosed up to a wide rear door. He coasted to a stop two car lengths behind a white Ford. Almost immediately the rear door of the club opened and a swaying figure materialized in the darkness. He caught a flash of white legs underneath an abbreviated skirt. He clicked the door locks as she rounded the bumper toward the passenger side. There was a brief glimpse of her face as she opened the door and was suddenly beside him.
“Tommy! Oh, Tommy, It seems like an eternity since I’ve seen you.”
Her voice was low, the same whispery quality he remembered. A groping hand found his in the darkness.
“Easy now,” he began, but her arms had already encircled his neck, her unfettered breasts pressed tightly against his chest. He could smell the faint aroma of an exotic perfume as her mouth found his. He closed his hands around her forearms and jerked them down. She gave a little yelp of surprise, and her eyes widened in the dim light.
“Tommy, please! Don’t shove me away. I love you!”
His eyes had adjusted to the darkness, and although he could not make out her features clearly, he could see her well enough to tell that she had been crying. She whispered his name again, her voice muffled through the cracks between her fingers. He ran his eyes down the length of her body, from where the hem of her skirt exposed a rounded knee, to the soft leather boots that encased her shapely legs.
“Easy now,” he said softly. “Are you okay?”
She lowered her hands and took a trembling breath.
“I’m fine,” she said, her voice suddenly devoid of any emotion. He drew back and looked into her eyes as she tried to avoid his.
“Over the phone you told me you were in trouble.”
The quick movement of her head stopped him as a figure loomed up in the window. Behind him the door latch clicked. He froze with his eyes locked on her face.
Strong hands gripped the back of his neck as the door creaked open. There was a revolver in the glove box but it was beyond his reach. His fingers slid along the surface of the steering wheel toward the horn. He jerked his hand away when the grip tightened painfully on his neck. She leaned toward him. The tips of her fingers caressed his cheek.
“I love you, Tommy,” she said softly. “I’ve always loved you.”
Her mouth came down on his while her head revolved slowly on the slim column of her neck. And then with a quick movement of her legs she swung away, leaving her door ajar.
The man behind him grabbed his hair and twisted him backward in the seat. The blade of a hunting knife glinted in the murky light. The rear door of the club was no more than thirty feet away. The loud thumping of the music sounded over the clamor of the air conditioner.
“No!” he managed to cry as he pushed his hands at the stinging blade. A hand clamped tightly over his mouth cut off the scream building in the back of his throat.