Backfire by Catherine Coulter

Book: Backfire by Catherine Coulter Read Free Book Online
Authors: Catherine Coulter
Tags: Fiction, Mystery
cans of soda scattered across the table. SAC Cheney Stone swallowed the last of his Hawaiian pineapple pizza slice and waved to them. “Come on in. Help yourselves, lots of pizza left, and probably still warm. Savich, there’s a couple of slices of veggie pizza for you if this crew hasn’t scarfed them all down. Tell us how you made out with the Cahills.”
    Savich looked over at Marshal Maynard as he sat down. “Deputy Barbieri did an excellent job, sir, rattled them good. She got Cindy Cahill so angry she spit out a name—Sue. We’re thinking she might be the operative who was the Cahills’ handler.”
    “Sue?” Maynard said. “Sue is a foreign operative?”
    Savich nodded at Eve as he picked up one of the three slices of Veggie Heaven pizza.
    Eve said, “Well, Cindy implied she had a close—maybe an intimate—relationship with her, before she tried to deny that Sue exists.”
    Savich said, “Harry, you’ve been looking for their contact for months, haven’t you?”
    Harry said, “We thought there had to be someone working closely with them. Their backgrounds didn’t fit high-level espionage. They’ve been talented grifters, that’s all, who’ve been busy rolling drunks and using Cindy’s charms to cheat some lonely men out of their money. This was way out of their league.”
    Savich nodded. “So now this Sue is our best bet for the one who made contact with the Cahills, maybe recruited them.”
    Cheney asked, “So this woman might be the shooter? You think the CIA knows about this and they didn’t bother to tell us?”
    “We can ask the CIA if they have a file on her,” Harry said. “But so far the CIA hasn’t even told us what it was the Cahills managed to steal. Only that it was in the area of cyber-security, quote/unquote. Maybe now we have something to trade them.”
    There were smiles around the table.
    Eve said, “We might have gotten more out of them, but their survival instinct kicked in and they backpedaled like crazy and hollered for their lawyer.” She sighed. “It was my fault, I handled it wrong, pushed them too hard.”
    Savich said, “You did good, Eve, lots better than Harry would have done. He’d have scared the crap out of them. This is good pizza, guys.”
    Sherlock, a slice of pepperoni pizza halfway to her mouth, said, “No last name? Only Sue, and Cindy Cahill just spit it out?”
    Eve nodded.
    Harry turned to Eve, his eyes narrowed. “What did you do? Swing your blond ponytail in Cindy’s direction and watch her explode?”
    “Close,” Savich said.
    Harry said, “Maybe she was making up the name Sue, playing you.”
    Eve could see he wasn’t happy about having this sprung on him. He’d worked this case for more than a year, and he’d never gotten a name out of them.
    Deal with it, Harry.
    Eve took a big bite of her pizza slice. “Tell you what, Harry, you can listen to our recording of the interview, make up your own mind. Sorry there’s no video showing my ponytail.”
    Cheney asked, “Harry, your team never came across this name Sue in your investigation?”
    “No, and believe me, our agents”—he nodded to several agents across from him—“we checked through their known associates for months, in and out of jail. Clive Cahill isn’t stupid. He’s always used prepaid cell phones we can’t trace to him, for example. If he was making contact with some foreign corporation or government or intelligence service, whatever, we have no record of it.”
    Ten-year veteran Agent Burt Seng said, “The whole operation was skillfully done until the Cahills screwed up and ended up with a dead body on their hands, and got caught. To get any of the confidential information off Mark Lindy’s encrypted computer, somebody in the operation had to know a good deal about the information security system Lindy used to access the project he was working on. Not just his user IDs and passcodes, but enough about the access algorithms and the project itself to know what was

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