printed copy

No Time To Die: A Novel

Kira Peikoff

ISBN 9780786034895
Publish Date 9/2/2014
Format Paperback
Categories Thriller/Suspense, Medical, Pinnacle

"Breathless thrills and pace."--Lee Child

"An exciting tour de force."--Michael Palmer

"Fans of Michael Crichton will love this heart-pounding thriller." --Joseph Finder

In a Washington, D.C. research lab, a brilliant scientist is attacked by his own test subjects. At Columbia University, a talented biochemist is lured out of her apartment and never seen again. In the Justice Department's new Bioethics Committee, agent Les Mahler sees a sinister pattern emerging. . .

Zoe Kincaid is a petite college student whose rare genetic makeup may hold the key to a powerful medical breakthrough. When she is kidnapped, the very thing mankind has wanted since the dawn of time threatens to unleash our final destruction.

"A crackling good read. . .terrific and totally unexpected."--Michael Palmer

"A twisting, suspenseful thriller." --William Landay

Prologue
Washington, D.C.
Thursday, March 7

The echo down the hallway didn’t surprise him. Not at first. The old industrial warehouse creaked whenever Eli stayed late to work in his lab. His lab: he could say that finally, after two decades of toiling away in this windowless steel complex, where his most important colleagues were the half dozen chimpanzees in cages lining the side wall. They were the first to try whatever new multimillion-dollar drug was being developed for human use by the research team at Panex Pharmaceuticals—the team that was now officially led by Eli himself.

He was peering through his microscope, reveling in his recent promotion, when the faint echo down the hall assumed the distinctive pattern of footsteps. Usually the researchers wore sneakers, so their movements were announced by squeaks of rubber against the floor. But now the rhythmic slap of a man’s dress shoes struck the ground, drawing closer.

Eli glanced up with a frown. He’d thought he was alone—it was 10:15 P.M. on a Thursday after all. Everyone else had left hours ago. Even the security guard went home at ten o’clock.

“Hello?” he called. Across the room most of the chimps were sleeping, but an elder one with a crown of silvery fur perked up with a grunt, curling his massive finger around the wire of his cage.

“Not you, Jerry,” Eli muttered. He had affectionate names for all the chimps—Jerry and Elaine shared a cage, next to George and Kramer, Larry and Newman— even though he knew theoretically not to get attached to animals who sometimes had to suffer and die for the sake of the research.

The footsteps were louder now, nearly encroaching on the lab.

Eli slid off the stool and nervously tore off his latex gloves.

“Who’s there?” he called.

A lean older man crossed into the doorway. He wore wire-rimmed spectacles and an elegant gray suit that matched the color of his thinning hair. His alert eyes lit up at Eli as if in recognition, though Eli was sure he’d never seen him before. His face was all edges: a pointy nose, jutting chin, bony cheeks. A leather briefcase hung off his left shoulder, and he was double-fisting crystal champagne flutes, each one filled with bubbly golden liquid. One glance at his sharp looks told Eli that this man was shrewd, dignified, respected. He was someone.

Eli felt himself relax as his curiosity piqued. Any brief worry about a trespasser vanished. In any case, Eli cut an imposing six-foot-three figure, albeit more bulk than brawn. He could take care of himself. The man smiled at him.

“Dr. Eliot Shipley?”

He nodded. “Just Eli. And you’re . . . ?”

“Mr. G. I’m on the board at Panex. We’re all very excited that you’ve been promoted to head of R&D.” He walked toward Eli and extended the champagne flute in his right hand. “At our dinner earlier tonight, the board agreed you deserve to be congratulated in person, so I came to surprise you with a little toast on their behalf. We heard you usually stay late.”

Eli took the fancy glass, grinning. He ran a hand through what remained of his sparse blond hair—which, at age sixty-seven, wasn’t much. It was about time the corporate bigwigs sat up and took notice of him, after years of his toiling in practical obscurity to help put the cheapest, most effective drugs on the market for their bottom line. Sometimes too cheaply produced, in Eli’s opinion, though to the execs there was no such thing, so he did as he was told.

“Wow,” he said. “I’m flattered. You didn’t have to—”

The man lifted his own champagne. “Please. The pleasure is mine. Cheers.”

They clinked glasses and drank. Eli recognized the sweet, smooth flavor. It was the good stuff, Dom Pérignon, the kind he bought his wife last year for their thirtieth anniversary.

“Delicious.” He took a few more hearty sips to show his appreciation.

A strangely satisfied smile tugged at the man’s lips.

“You’ve done so much, it’s only fitting that you finish on top.”

“Oh, I’m not planning to retire anytime soon.”

The man was still smiling that same odd way, in almost ironic glee.

A vague uneasiness settled over Eli. “In fact,” he added, “I’d rather die than ever retire.”

The man’s smile widened ever so slightly. “I’m glad to hear that.”

There was nothing unfriendly about the way he said it, yet Eli felt a chill of hostility as sure as if he’d delivered a blow.

Eli lifted his leg to take a step back—and that’s when he noticed the sudden heaviness in his foot. Moving it was like trying to uproot a tree. He uttered a little gasp; fear shot through him.

“What’s happening?” he demanded. Then, as if without permission, his fingers loosened around his glass. It slid through his grip and shattered at his feet, splashing the remaining drops of champagne on his white coat. He stared from his weakening hand to the man, terrified. “Who are you?”

“I told you,” the man said calmly. “You can call me Mr. G.”

He racked his brain trying to remember the names of the company’s board members—was there anyone whose last name started with G?—but Panex had been acquired by a major conglomerate, and the management at the highest levels had never interacted with him before.

About Kira Peikoff:

Kira Peikoff is a graduate of New York University with a degree in journalism. Currently, she is pursuing a Master of Science degree in bioethics at Columbia University. She is also working on her next novel, teaching creative writing to children and teens through a non-profit organization, and tutoring literature to students across the globe. She is a member of International Thriller Writers and Mystery Writers of America.

Photo Credit: Matt Jacob


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