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Judas Horse: An FBI Special Agent Ana Grey Mysteryby April Smith
Synopses & Reviews
I am standing in the middle of nowhere, eating an oatmeal cookie, when the word comes down the hallway like an ill wind that SAC Robert Galloway wants to see everyone in his office. I glance at the TV monitors--no airplane crashes--and figure this would be Galloway announcing with his usual gloomy hysteria that some honcho is coming from FBI headquarters, or maybe, because of budget cuts, we all have to bring our own copy paper.
The boss is waiting behind his desk, eyes downcast, fingertips tapping the blotter, and he does not speak or look up until the office is jammed with agents in shirtsleeves and wide-eyed administrative assistants. Cautious silence settles in.
Another blow, he says, because there are all kinds of blows, all day long.
The silence twists tighter.
Special Agent Steve Crawford is dead.
A collective gasp of shock. Some of us clutch, as if kicked in the gut.
We have a positive ID on his remains.
How? someone finally asks.
Galloway clears his throat. Everybody knows Steve Crawford was his golden boy and heir apparent.
A hiker found a piece of jaw with a couple of teeth in a stream close to where Steve disappeared. He takes a breath. The forensic dentist matched the root furcation on the X-rays.
Cause of death?
Galloway rubs his forehead. He was an experienced hiker. A fall? Hypothermia? We don't know. He was hiking alone. It's a remote location. You have big animals, little animals; they're dragging pieces hither and yon. The coroner says the manner of death is a very difficult call, based on the evidence and the length of time Steve was out there.
It is like losing Steve all over again. Like those stomach-churning hours thrashing through the soaking undergrowth up in Oregon just days after I'd come back from administrative leave. I get sick just thinking about the empty yelping of those dogs.
When Steve had failed to call his wife, Tina, from a solo hiking vacation in the Cascades, his abandoned SUV was discovered at a trailhead. Four hundred volunteers scoured the national park, casting a net of inquiry from Eugene to Bend. Everyone from the Los Angeles field office went up on their own time to knock on doors. Worse, indescribably worse, were the visits to Steve and Tina's house down here in Gardena--a dining table of foil-covered casseroles, two dazed grandmas from out of town, a couple of sisters, the scent of baby powder from the children's room.
Standing now in Galloway's superheated office, I do not want to hear the aren't-I-smart questions. What does it matter if the molars have fillings or not? After weeks of uncertainty, there is no doubt. Steve is dead; at least his family has something to bury.
Seven months before, a crazed detective on a suicide mission tried to drag me into his car, and I shot him.
When you are involved in a shooting incident, they take away your weapon and credentials. You are no longer identified as a federal agent, no different from any bozo who cannot get past the metal detectors. There is an investigation by the Office of Professional Responsibility and what we call critical incident training, psychoanalyzing with
Recently returned to the job after an emotionally traumatic shooting incident, maverick FBI agent Ana Gray is tapped for an undercover operation in which she is assigned to infiltrate a "family" of domestic terrorists led by the unstable and charismatic Julius Emerson Phelps and discovers that Phelps is really a rogue former agent. 50,000 first printing.
April Smith, the author of North of Montana, Be the One, and Good Morning, Killer, is also an Emmy-nominated television writer and producer. She lives in Los Angeles.
About the Author
April Smith is the author of North of Montana, Be the One, and Good Morning, Killer. She is also a television screenwriter and producer. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband and children.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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