“A roiling plot, insightful characters, clear, intelligent writing. What more could you ask for in a novel?” --Steve Berry
Charlie Giles is at the top of his game. An electronics superstar, he’s sold his startup to a giant Boston firm, where he’s now senior director. He’s treated like a VIP everywhere he goes…. Until everything in Charlie’s neatly ordered world starts to go terrifyingly wrong.
“Hits all the right notes. Terrific stuff.” --John T. Lescroart
Charlie’s prestigious job and his inventions are wrenched away from him. His family is targeted, and his former employers are dying gruesomely, picked off one by one. Every shred of evidence points to Charlie as a cold-blooded killer. And soon he is unable to tell whether he’s succumbed to the pressures of work and become the architect of his own destruction…or whether he’s the victim of a relentless, diabolical attack. Now he must save his own life—all the while realizing that nothing can be trusted, least of all his own fractured mind…
“A high-speed thrill ride, filled with shocks and mind-bending twists.” --Tess Gerritsen
"Not just a great thriller debut, but a great thriller, period."
--Lee Child Prologue
Eddie rode the 28-19th Avenue bus to the bridge. He carried with
him enough change for a one-way fare. He had no identification.
It wouldn’t matter if his death was properly recorded. Nobody would
care about it, anyway. Through the wispy morning fog he strolled
upon the walkway that linked San Francisco with Marin County. The
bridge had opened to foot traffic two hours prior, and few pedestrians
were out. The thruway, however, was a logjam of cars. He spent a
few minutes watching the commuters as they went about their
morning rituals—sipping coffee, talking on their cell phones, or fiddling
with their radios. He burned their images into his mind and savored
the voyeurism with the passion a dying man gives his last meal.
He walked to his spot. He knew it well. It was at the 109th light
pole. He would face east, toward the city. Few jumped west, as most
everyone wanted their final view to be something beautiful, like the
elegant curves and hilly rise of the San Francisco skyline.
The fall, he knew, would last no more than four seconds. It was
265 feet down from where he would jump, gravity pulling him down
at over seventy-five miles per hour. The water below would be as forgiving
as cement. Perhaps a nanosecond of pain, then nothing. He always
found it calming to know details. He was all about facts and
logic. It was what made him a world-class software engineer. In
preparation for the jump he had studied the stories of many of those
who had gone before him. He had hundreds of sad tales to choose
from. The stories were now his own. He would soon be part of the
legacy of death that had been the Golden Gate Bridge since 1937,
when WWI vet Harold Wobber said to a stranger, “This is as far as I
go”—and then jumped.
At his mark, Eddie hoisted himself over the four-foot security barrier
and lowered his body onto a wide beam he knew from research
was called “the chord.” There he paused and stared out at the
seabirds catching drafts of warming air off the cool, choppy waters
below and took stock of what little life he had left. Lifting his feet
ever so slightly, until he was standing on his toes, Eddie began to
push against the rail to hoist himself up and over the chord.
He closed his eyes tightly. Thirty-two years of his life darted past
his mind’s eye, so vivid that they felt real—vignettes played in rapid
The pony ride at his fifth birthday party. Weeping beside the
graves of his parents. Seven years old, still in shock, sitting at the trial
next to the sheriff who had apprehended the drunk driver. The orphanage,
then the endless chain of foster homes. Studying, alone in
his room, so much reading. Then college. His graduation. How he
wished his parents had been there to see him. The business. A startup.
The energy and hours. The first sale. The euphoria was fleeting;
the sting from his partner’s betrayal would never subside.
He took a deep breath and lifted himself even higher. A part of
him, the most secret and hidden part, was awash in a terrible, heavy
sadness. It was overwhelmingly disappointing to him that he hadn’t
had the courage to do what needed to be done. It would be his dying
With an assuredness that seemed born of much practice, he
pushed himself up and over the thin railing that ran the length of the
chord. The moment his feet left the bridge, Eddie regretted the
jump. He hovered for an instant in midair, as though he were suspended
above the water by strings. The depth seemed infinite. Sun
glinted off the rippling water, shining like thousands of tiny daggers.
His eyes widened in horror. Was there still time to turn around and
grab hold? He twisted his body hard to the right. And then he fell.
The acceleration took Eddie’s breath away. The pit of his stomach
knotted with a sickening combination of gravity and fear. His light
wind jacket flapped with the whipping sound of a sail catching a new
breeze. The instinct for self-preservation was as powerful as it was futile.
His eyes closed, unwilling to bear witness to his death.
Pitching forward, his arms flailed above his head, clawing for
something to grab. His legs pumped against the air. Two seconds
into the fall. Two more to go. He could no longer see color, shapes,
light, or shadow. Mother, please forgive me, he thought. A barge he
had seen in the distance before the jump faded from view. The sun
vanished, casting everything around him into blackness. He could
hear his own terrified scream, and nothing else. Time passed.
Two . . . then ...one ...
His body tensed as he hit, his feet connecting first, then his backside,
and last his head. The agony was greater than he had imagined
it could be. The sounds of his bones cracking reverberated in his
ears. He felt his organs loosen and shift about as though they had
been ripped from the cartilage that held them in place. Pain exploded
For a moment he had never felt more alive.
Water shot up his nose, cold and numbing. He gagged on it as it
filled his throat. A violent cough to expel the seawater set off more
jolts of agony from his broken ribs.
Facedown, he lay motionless as he began to sink. From the blackness
below something glowed brightly, shimmering in the abyss. He
couldn’t see it clearly but wanted to swim to it. It rose to meet him.
It was his parents. They smiled up at him, beaming with ghostly
white eyes and beckoning for him to join them.