by James Force

Published: 2015-09-29
Paperback : 432 pages
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BEST SELLER ON AMAZON (Top 50 Best Sellers Rank)
"Points for its shock value...a guilty pleasure." --Kirkus Reviews

"Thoroughly engaging suspenseful read." --Indie Reader, Awarded 5 Stars

A book that will forever change the way you look at current events.

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BEST SELLER ON AMAZON (Top 50 Best Sellers Rank)

"Points for its shock value...a guilty pleasure." --Kirkus Reviews

"Thoroughly engaging suspenseful read." --Indie Reader, Awarded 5 Stars

A book that will forever change the way you look at current events.


Excel in his job as a phone clerk at the Chicago Board of Trade.

Climb the ladder to pit broker.

Take his place next to the moneyed and powerful.

Then someone tries to kill him, and he realizes his job might not be as pedestrian as he thought. As he investigates the circumstances surrounding the attempt on his life, it becomes obvious that his unwitting connection to a trading scheme has made him a target.

Desperate to get his life back, Christian enlists the help of Strong and Associates, a shadow group with ties to more than one government intelligence agency. Together they work to unravel the mysterious people behind the illegal trade and to neutralize the threat against Christian's life.

But when their investigation leads them to some of the world's most powerful bankers and politicians, they discover the threat is greater than they first believed. Now they must battle a secret alliance determined to execute a terrorist attack that will rock the world -- and hand them far-reaching control of the White House and beyond.

"An exciting new storyteller for readers of Lee Child, Trevor Scott, and Vince Flynn." --Thriller Aficionado

"Smartly plotted, suspenseful story...high-concept political intrigue...addictive story that is fun to read. A thriller you can't put down." --Book Journal

"A truly captivating thriller..." --Suspense Reader

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.


Chapter 16

11:30 pm. The FBI protection detail for Jack Thompson

was not yet in place. It had been just a few hours since

they learned of the plot, and they were evaluating how seriously

to take it. Politicians received threats every day, most

of them harmless.

Strong and Associates were busy keeping close tabs on

Mr. Slick, Mr. Elevator, and Vince Fleming, all of whom were

nowhere near candidate Thompson.

Mr. Thompson and his top aide exited the elevator on

the nineteenth floor of the Peninsula Hotel, a five-star

hotel located on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. They had

just left another fundraiser, a dinner gala, one of three this

week. They proceeded down the hall to their hotel rooms,

which were across the hall and two rooms apart from each


The couple in the hallway had just exited a room, or so

Mr. Thompson and his aide thought. The man and woman

were now walking together toward the elevators, but also

toward Mr. Thompson and his aide. In fact, these two professionals

did not have a room at the Peninsula. They had

just stood in the hall and waited for Mr. Thompson to get

off the elevator. An accomplice had radioed them when Mr.

Thompson was on his way.

The woman was somewhat attractive, about fifty years

old. The man she was with appeared to be about the same

age. Both were fit and athletic looking. He was wearing a suit

and the woman a cocktail dress. The well-dressed couple in a

nice hotel would not draw any suspicion.

The couple walked toward Mr. Thompson and his aide.

They slowed their pace to allow for Mr. Thompson and his

aide to split off as they approached their respective rooms.

As Mr. Thompson approached his hotel room door, his aide

had already swiped the room key to his door a short distance

away. The aide was opening his door when the commotion


The woman brought her left hand up and cupped it over

her mouth, in some state of shock. With her right hand, she

pointed at Mr. Thompson and walked toward him saying,

“You…you are that politician! You…You voted for the Iraq


She slapped Thompson hard with her right hand on the

left side of his face and neck. He put his own hand up to the

left side of his face. It was stinging from the slap and also


The man escorting the woman restrained her and guided

her back away from Mr. Thompson. “I am sorry, sir. Please

forgive this. She lost her son in Iraq. She doesn’t know what

to do. Very distraught.”

Thompson’s aide was still standing at his hotel room

about twenty feet away. His hand was on his door, and

the door was open. He had almost started toward Mr.

Thompson after he heard the slap, but the situation had

defused. The matter appeared to be over. The man seemed

to have the woman under control, and the woman, now

sobbing with her head on the man’s shoulder, did not seem

to be a threat. The man was already escorting her toward

the elevators.

Mr. Thompson was shocked and caught off guard. He

did not feel pain in his neck and face right away. Rather, he

felt empathy—intense pain for a woman who had lost her


Thompson said, “Very…very sorry about your son,

ma’am.” He thought about explaining that he never voted

for the Iraq War, or any war for that matter. He wasn’t in

Congress. He was, thus far, a former governor and a current

candidate for president. But what was the point of trying to

explain all that to a woman grieving the loss of her son? To

her, all politicians were the same. Maybe, he thought, she

recognized him from the news coverage of his campaign.

He just added, “Very sorry, ma’am—sorry about your

son, ma’am,” as the man and woman walked off.

With the couple now almost to the elevator, Mr.

Thompson and his aide looked at each other from in front of

their hotel room doors. Mr. Thompson shrugged his shoulders,

raised his eyebrows, and tilted his head to the side as if

to say, “Oh well.”

His aide took this as a sign that everything was okay

and shook his head in return. Both Mr. Thompson and his

aide nodded good night to each other and entered their


Before the couple got to the elevator, the man brought

a zip lock sandwich bag out of his pocket, and the woman

placed her right hand in it. She then placed her hand, with

the plastic zip lock bag over it, down into her purse and held

her purse close to her chest. She would keep her fingers in

the bag and in the purse until they were in the car.

The couple looked down as they entered the elevator,

concealing their faces from the security camera that was

mounted in the top corner. The woman appeared to be crying,

with her head down in the man’s chest. He had his head

down over her, comforting her. They stood at the front of

the elevator, facing the doors, keeping their heads down and

their backs to the camera.

Very professional. No one would get a good ID from

the security cameras. And if they did, so what? The man

and woman both had elaborate disguises on—the woman

a curly wig and the man thick plastic eyeglasses and a


Inside his room, Mr. Thompson removed his jacket and

tie and started to unbutton his shirt. He looked in the bathroom

mirror because he could still feel where the woman

had slapped him. He was surprised to see three deep fingernail

gouges running along his neck, from just in front of his

left ear to the corner of his jawbone. The scratches weren’t

dripping blood down his neck, but they were red and pooling

blood. He rinsed the scratches with cold water to clean them

and to stop the blood from oozing. He thought about asking

his aide for some Band-Aids or ointment but decided against

it. They all needed to get some sleep. His neck would be fine.

As soon as the couple got into their car, the woman held

out her hand, with the bag still on it. He pulled out a small,

sterile metal nail file. While leaving her fingers in the zip

lock bag, he reached inside the plastic bag and scraped the

nail file under each of her fingernails, scraping out some material

and capturing it all in the bag.

“Nice,” he said. “I think you got some real good ones

here.” view abbreviated excerpt only...

Discussion Questions

1) How did you feel about the characters? Whom did you like/dislike and why?

2) Did you enjoy reading? Did the story pull you in or did you have to force yourself to read it?

3) In a movie version, who would play what parts?

4) Did any parts evoke a strong emotion in you? Which parts and what emotion?

5) Describe what you liked/disliked about writer’s style.

6) Name your favorite/least favorite thing overall about the book.

7) How do characters change or evolve throughout the story? What events trigger such changes?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

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