James Patterson: Kill Me If You Can

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James Patterson Kill Me If You Can
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    Kill Me If You Can
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Kill Me If You Can: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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James Patterson, Marshall Karp

Kill Me If You Can

In memory of my good friend and

partner in crime, Joe Drabyak

— M.K.

Prologue. The Ghost


SOME PEOPLE ARE harder to kill than others. The Ghost was thinking about this as he huddled in the deep, dark shadows of Grand Central Terminal. A man named Walter Zelvas would have to die tonight. But it wouldn’t be easy. Nobody hired the Ghost for the easy jobs.

It was almost 11 p.m, and even though the evening rush was long over, there was still a steady stream of weary travelers.

The Ghost was wearing an efficient killing disguise. His face was lost under a tangle of matted silver-and-white hair and shaggy beard, and his arsenal was hidden under a wine-stained gray poncho. To anyone who even bothered to take notice, he was just another heap of homeless humanity seeking refuge on a quiet bench near Track 109.

He eyed his target. Walter Zelvas. A great hulk of a man with the nerves and reflexes of a snake and a soul to match. Zelvas was a contract killer himself, but unlike the Ghost, Zelvas took pleasure in watching his victims suffer before they died. For years, the ruthless Russian had been an enforcer for the Diamond Syndicate, but apparently he had outlived his usefulness to his employer, and the Ghost had been hired to terminate him.

If he doesn’t kill me first, the Ghost thought. With Zelvas it was definitely a matter of kill or be killed. And this would surely be a duel to the death between them.

So the Ghost watched his opponent closely. The screen on the departures monitor refreshed and Zelvas cursed under his breath. His train was delayed another thirty minutes.

He drained his second cup of Starbucks cappuccino, stood up, and crumpling his empty cup, deposited it in the trash.

No littering, the Ghost thought. That might attract attention, and the last thing Zelvas wanted was attention.

That’s why he was leaving town by train. Train stations aren’t like airports. There’s no baggage check, no metal detector, no security.

Zelvas looked toward the men’s room.

All that coffee will be the death of you, the Ghost thought as Zelvas walked across the marble floor to the bathroom.

A half-comatose porter, mop in hand, was sloshing water on the terminal floor like a zombie tarring a roof. He didn’t see Zelvas coming.

A puddle of brown water came within inches of the big man’s right foot. Zelvas stopped. “You slop any of that scum on my shoes and you’ll be shitting teeth,” he said.

The porter froze. “Sorry. Sorry, sir. Sorry.”

The Ghost watched it all. Another time, another place, and Zelvas might have drowned the man in his own mop water. But tonight he was on his best behavior.

Zelvas continued toward the bathroom.

The Ghost had watched the traffic in and out of the men’s room for the past half hour. It was currently empty. Moment of truth, the Ghost told himself.

Zelvas got to the doorway, stopped, and turned around sharply.

He made me, the Ghost thought at first.

Zelvas looked straight at him. Then left, then right.

He’s a pro. He’s just watching his back.

Satisfied he wasn’t being followed, Zelvas entered the men’s room.

The Ghost stood up and surveyed the terminal. The only uniformed cop in the area was busy giving directions to a young couple fifty feet away.

The men’s room had no door — just an L-shaped opening that allowed the Ghost to enter and still remain out of sight.

From his vantage point he could see the mirrored wall over the sinks. And there was Zelvas, standing in front of a urinal, his back to the mirror.

The Ghost silently reached under his poncho and removed his equally silent Glock from its holster.

The Ghost had a mantra. Three words he said to himself just before every kill. He waited until he heard Zelvas breathe that first sigh of relief as he began to empty his bladder.

I am invincible, the Ghost said in silence.

Then, in a single fluid motion, he entered the bathroom, silently slid up behind Zelvas, aimed the Glock at the base of his skull, and squeezed the trigger.

And missed.

Some people are harder to kill than others.


WALTER ZELVAS NEVER stepped up to a urinal unless the top flush pipe was made of polished chrome.

It’s not a perfect mirror, but it’s enough. Even distorted, everything he needed to see was visible.

Man. Hand. Gun.

Zelvas whirled on the ball of his right foot and dealt a swift knife-hand strike to the Ghost’s wrist just as he pulled the trigger.

The bullet went wide, shattering the mirror behind him.

Zelvas followed up by driving a cinder-block fist into the Ghost’s midsection, sending him crashing through a stall door.

The Glock went skittering across the tile floor.

The Ghost looked up at the enraged colossus who was now reaching for his own gun.

Damn, the Ghost thought. The bastard is still pissing. Glad I wore the poncho.

He rolled under the next stall as Zelvas’s first bullet drilled a hole through the stained tile where his head had just been.

Zelvas darted to the second stall to get off another shot. Still on his back, the Ghost kicked the stall door with both feet.

It flew off its hinges and hit Zelvas square on, sending him crashing into the sinks.

But he held on to his gun.

The Ghost lunged and slammed Zelvas’s gun hand down onto the hard porcelain sink. He was hoping to hear the sound of bone snapping, but all he heard was glass breaking as the mirror behind Zelvas fell to the floor in huge fractured pieces.

Instinctively, the Ghost snatched an eight-inch shard of broken mirror as it fell. Zelvas head-butted him full force, and as their skulls collided, the Ghost jammed the razor-sharp glass into Zelvas’s bovine neck.

Zelvas let out a violent scream, pushed the Ghost off him, and then made one fatal mistake. He yanked the jagged mirror from his neck.

Blood sprayed like a renegade fire hose. Now I’m really glad I wore the poncho, the Ghost thought.

Zelvas ran screaming from the bloody bathroom, one hand pressed to his spurting neck and the other firing wildly behind him. The Ghost dived to the floor under a hail of ricocheting bullets and raining plaster dust. A few deft rolls and he managed to retrieve his Glock.

Jumping to his feet, the Ghost sprinted to the doorway and saw Zelvas running across the terminal, a steady stream of arterial blood pumping out of him. He would bleed out in a minute, but the Ghost didn’t have time to stick around and confirm the kill. He raised the Glock, aimed, and then…

“Police. Drop it.”

The Ghost turned. A uniformed cop, overweight, out of shape, and fumbling to get his own gun, was running toward him. One squeeze of the trigger and the cop would be dead.

There’s a cleaner way to handle this, the Ghost thought. The guy with the mop and every passenger within hearing distance of the gunshots had taken off. The bucket of soapy mop water was still there.

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