Ex cop Jack Talbot exists on the fringes of the south London criminal underworld, working for local villain Eddie Falcon. When Falcon offers him a job driving a diamond courier across the city, little does Talbot know the extent his life will be affected. When the courier is murdered, Talbot is plunged into a dangerous game of cat and mouse, unwittingly drawn further into an escalating web of violence that not only threatens him, but those closest to him. Implicated in the murder of the courier and pursued by the police, Talbot will need all his latent skills, not just to survive, but to uncover the extent of the ruthless game in which he has become a player. From the crime-ridden streets of London to the vibrant city of Antwerp, this high-octane thriller hurtles at break-neck speed from its violent beginning to final, bloody conclusion.
The man was on edge. The final moments before he made an exchange were tense. He had done it many times before. Yet always he experienced the same feelings; his stomach turning to liquid, the constant fear that customs or the police would suddenly burst out of the darkness. He knew it was unlikely, because those he worked for were well organised and it was a small matter to pay off the right people to ensure they looked the other way at the right moment.
This time though, the feelings were multiplied threefold. For this was a rogue deal, one that would net him close to a million dollars and ten times that for the buyers when the drugs were cut if he succeeded; and he had taken every precaution to ensure he did. It would mean his life if it went sour. It was a gamble, and he knew the risks were extreme, but the reward was more than he could hope to earn in several lifetimes. As soon as the exchange was made and the money was in his hands, he had made plans to leave Europe and start a new life with a new face where no-one would recognise him, beyond the reach of those who would inevitably try and track him.
The merchandise was in a briefcase by his feet as he leant against the door of the building, hidden by shadows. He was deep in the forest, several miles outside the city. He looked at his watch; the buyer was a few minutes late. Nothing out of the ordinary, but this situation was far from ordinary. He tensed as he heard the car approaching along the dirt road, the dimmed lights filtering through the small gaps in the trees. He waited silently until the car came into view, a black Mercedes with darkened windows. He was unable to see inside. The car wheels crunched on the gravel as it slowly moved forward, eventually coming to a halt a few yards from where the man remained hidden. He finally stepped out of the shadows and took up a position to the side of the vehicle, making sure he wasn’t blinded by the headlights.
He stared at the rear window, trying to penetrate the dark glass and see who was inside. It was then that he sensed slight movement behind him, but he had no time to react, no time for fear. A strong hand gripped him under his chin and lifted him off balance. He barely registered the sharp pain in his back at first, but the serrated edge of the blade bit deep. He tried to cry out, but his head was held in a vice-like grip and he couldn’t open his mouth. Soon he felt nothing, the waves of oblivion rolling over him.
The killer let his victim drop to the floor, stepped back and wiped the knife’s blade on a small black cloth before placing it in a specially designed inside jacket pocket. Only then did the rear door of the Mercedes open. The man who stepped out was immaculately dressed, his shoes shined to perfection. He walked over to the body, his face impassive.
“Leave him for the scavengers”
The killer nodded.