Edge by Jeffery Deaver

Book: Edge by Jeffery Deaver Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jeffery Deaver
and numbers and I recited them into the phone.
    Ryan was looking around, gripping his gun again.
    Fewer than sixty seconds later, Freddy came back on. He was laughing. “Registered to one Jimmy Chung. Owns a restaurant in Prince William. Hisson’s driving around, dropping off flyers for the restaurant. I got his number and talked to the kid. He said he’s behind a gray SUV—that needs washing, by the way—and it looks like somebody just took his picture, which he’s not too happy about. They have a good menu, Corte. The General Tso’s chicken is a specialty. Was there really a General Tso?”
    â€œThanks, Freddy.”
    I disconnected and noted the passengers were staring at me.
    â€œIt’s safe, there’s no problem. Chinese food delivery.”
    After a moment Maree said, “Let’s order out.”
    A fragment of a laugh from her sister. Ryan seemed not to hear.
    Now that the vehicle had turned out to be harmless, I relaxed somewhat and fell into the rhythm of the road. I enjoyed driving. I never had a car as a teenager. But my father, a lawyer for an insurance company and a good one, made sure I learned to drive safely and well. Once you realized that most of the other people on the road were idiots—he knew this firsthand from his job—and took appropriate precautions you could enjoy the process of tooling around the roads quite a bit.
    He himself drove a Volvo, claiming it was the safest thing on the highway.
    In any event I liked the act of driving. I wasn’t sure why. It certainly wasn’t speed. I was quite a cautious driver. Maybe it was that, as a shepherd, when I was driving, my principals and I were moving targets and therefore, incrementally at least, safer. Though not always, of course. Abe Fallow had been captured by Henry Loving and killed duringa convoy transport. The chicken truck incident in North Carolina.
    I pushed the thought away.
    At the moment we were on a road heading west, dancing in and out of Fairfax and Prince William counties. We moved past the Tudor turrets of strip malls with their assembly-line chain outlets and busy fast food franchises, manned by teen clerks counting down the hours, the glistening humps of used cars in rows, their features touted with exclamation points, doctors’ offices and insurance agencies, the occasional antiques store in a fifty-year-old single-story building, gun shops, ABC stores. A sagging barn or two. Some high-rise wannabes in office parks.
    Northern Virginia could never decide whether it was a suburb of New York or a part of the Confederacy.
    I checked the time. It was a little after 1:30 p.m. We’d been on the road for less than two hours. I’d decided not to go directly to the safe house but to stop at a way station—a nearby motel—to confuse the trail and switch cars. I often moved my principals in stages. We’d stay there for three or four hours, then continue to the safe house. My organization had a list of about a dozen hotels or motels in the area that were secure and out of the way; the one I had in mind was perhaps the best.
    Checking traffic, I hit SPEED DIAL .
    I asked her, “Who are we at the Hillside?”
    We have different covers for the various halfway houses we use. Even if I’m sure I know, I always ask.
    There came the clatter of a keyboard, the jingle of her charm bracelet. The young woman said, “You’re Frank Roberts, sales director of Artesian Computer Design. You were there eight months ago for two days with Pietr Smolitz and his friend.” The last word was delivered frostily; duBois had formed an indelible opinion about the whistle-blower’s condescending mistress, who’d accompanied him. “Roberts, that is, you, was making sales calls in Tysons and Reston, along with your associate from Moscow. The bullet hole in the wall got repaired before they knew about it.”
    â€œThat, I remember.”

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