True Crime Sebastian Faulks Devil May Care

ISBN 13 : 9780385524285

Devil May Care

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9780385524285: Devil May Care

Book by Faulks Sebastian

Les informations fournies dans la section « Synopsis » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

Extrait :

1. THE WATCHER WATCHED

It was a wet evening in Paris. On the slate roofs of the big boulevards and on the small mansards of the Latin quarter, the rain kept up a ceaseless patter. Outside the Crillon and the George V, the doormen were whistling taxis out of the darkness, then running with umbrellas to hold over the fur-clad guests as they climbed in. The huge open space of the place de la Concorde was glimmering black and silver in the downpour.

In Sarcelles, on the far northern outskirts of the city, Yusuf Hashim was sheltered by the walkway above him. This was not the gracious arch of the Pont Neuf where lovers huddled to keep dry, but a long cantilevered piece of concrete from which cheap doors with many bolts opened into grimy three-room appartements. It overlooked a busy section of the noisy N1 and was attached to an eighteen-storey tower block. Christened L'Arc en Ciel, the Rainbow, by its architect, the block was viewed, even in this infamous district, with apprehension.

After six years of fighting the French in Algeria, Yusuf Hashim had finally cut and run. He had fled to Paris and found a place in L'Arc en Ciel, where he was joined in due course by his three brothers. People said that only those born in the forbidding tower could walk its airborne streets without glancing round, but Hashim feared nobody. He had been fifteen years old when, working for the Algerian nationalist movement, the FLN, he took his first life in a fire-bomb attack on a post office. No one he had ever met, in North Africa or in Paris, placed much value on a single life. The race was to the strong, and time had proved Hashim as strong as any.

He stepped out into the rain, looking rapidly back and forth beneath the sodium light. His face was a greyish brown, pocked and wary, with a large, curved nose jutting out between black brows. He tapped the back pocket of his blue ouvrier's trousers, where, wrapped in a polythene bag, he carried twenty-five thousand new francs. It was the largest amount he had ever had to deal with, and even a man of his experience was right to be apprehensive.

Ducking into the shadows, he glanced down for the fifth or sixth time at his watch. He never knew who he was looking out for because it was never the same man twice. That was part of the excellence of the scheme: the cut-out at each end, the endless supply of new runners. Hashim tried to keep it equally secure when he shipped the goods on. He insisted on different locations and asked for fresh contacts, but it wasn't always possible. Precautions cost money, and although Hashim's buyers were desperate, they knew the street value of what they dealt in. No one in the chain made enough money to be able to act in absolute safety: no one, that is, except some ultimate, all-powerful controller thousands of miles away from the stench of the stairwell where Hashim was now standing.

Sticking a soft blue pack of Gauloises to his mouth, he wrapped his lips round a single cigarette and drew it out. As he fired his cheap disposable lighter, a voice spoke in the darkness. Hashim leaped back into the shadow, angry with himself that he'd allowed someone to observe him. His hand went to the side pocket of his trousers, where it felt the outline of the knife that had been his constant companion since his childhood in the slums of Algiers.

A short figure in an army greatcoat came into the sodium light. The hat he wore looked like an old kepi of the Foreign Legion, and water ran from its peak. Hashim couldn't see the face. The man spoke in English, softly, in a rasping voice. "In Flanders fields," he said, "the poppies blow."
Hashim repeated the syllables he had learned by sound alone, with no idea of what they meant: "Betveen de crosses, row on row."

" Combien?" Even that one word showed that the dealer was not French.

" Vingt-cinq mille."

The runner laid down a brown canvas bag on the bottom step of the stairs and stood back. He had both hands in the pockets of his coat, and Hashim had no doubt that one would be clasping a gun. From the back pocket of his blue trousers, Hashim took out the polythene-wrapped money, then stepped back. This was how it was always done: no touching, and a safe distance maintained. The man bent down and took the money. He didn't pause to count it, merely inclined his head as he stowed the package inside his coat. Then he in turn stood back and waited for Hashim to move.

Hashim bent down to the step and lifted the bag. The weight felt good, heavier than he had known before, but not so heavy as to make him suspect it was bulked out with sand. He shook it up and down once and felt the contents move soundlessly, with the satisfying heft of packed dry powder. The business was concluded, and he waited for the other man to move off. That was the routine: it was safer if the supplier didn't see which way the receiver even started his onward journey, because in ignorance was security.

Reluctant to move first, Hashim faced the other man. He suddenly became aware of the noise around them—the roar of the traffic, the sound of rain dripping from the walkway on to the ground.

Something wasn't right. Hashim began to move along the wall, furtive, like a lizard, edging towards the freedom of the night. In two strides the man was on him, his arm across Hashim's throat. Then the unpainted wall smashed into his face, flattening the curved nose into a formless pulp. Hashim felt himself thrown face down on the concrete floor, and heard the click of a safety catch being released as a gun barrel pressed behind his ear. With his free hand, and with practised dexterity, the man pulled Hashim's arms behind his back and handcuffed them together. Police, thought Hashim. But how could they…

Next, he was on his back, and the man dragged him to the foot of the stairwell, where he propped him up. From his coat pocket, he drew out a wooden wedge, about four inches at its deepest. He smacked it into Hashim's mouth with the heel of his hand, then hammered it home with the stock of his gun, to the sound of breaking teeth. From his coat pocket, he took out a large pair of pliers.

He leaned over Hashim, and his yellowish face became momentarily visible. "This," he said, in his bad French, "is what we do to people who talk."

He thrust the pliers into Hashim's mouth, and clamped them on his tongue.

***

René Mathis was having dinner with his mistress in a small restaurant near the place de Vosges. The net curtains on their brass rail obscured the lower half of the view from the window, but through the upper light Mathis could see a corner of the square with its red brick above the colonnades, and the rain still running from the eaves.

It was Friday, and he was following a much-loved routine. After leaving work at the Deuxième, he took the Metro to St. Paul and made for his mistress's small apartment in the Marais. He walked past the kosher butchers and the bookshops with their scriptures and seven-branched candelabra, till he came to a battered blue porte-cochère where, after instinctively checking that he had not been followed, he tugged the ancient bell-pull.

How easy it was for a secret agent to be a successful adulterer, he reflected happily as he glanced up and down the street. He heard footsteps on the other side of the door. Madame Bouin, the stocky concierge, opened up and let him in. Behind her thick glasses, her eyes gave their usual mixed signal of conspiracy and distaste. It was time he gave her another box of those violet-scented chocolates, thought Mathis, as he crossed the courtyard and climbed to Sylvie's door.

Sylvie took his wet coat and shook it out. She had prepared, as usual, a bottle of Ricard, two glasses, a carafe of water and a plate of small toasts from a packet spread with tinned foie gras. First, they made love in her bedroom, a hot bower of floral curtains, floral cushion-covers and flower prints on the walls. Sylvie was a good-looking widow in her forties, with dyed blond hair, who had kept her figure well. In the bedroom, she was skilful and accommodating, a real poule de luxe, as Mathis sometimes affectionately called her. Next—following the bathroom, a change of clothes for her and the apéritif for him—it was out to dinner.

It always amused Mathis that so soon after the abandon of the bedroom, Sylvie liked a proper conversation, about her family in Clermont-Ferrand, her sons and daughter, or about President de Gaulle, whom she idolized. Dinner was almost over, and Sylvie was finishing a fruity clafoutis, when Pierre, the slim head waiter, came regretfully to the table.

"Monsieur, I'm sorry to disturb you. The telephone."

Mathis always left numbers at his office, but people knew that Friday nights were, if possible, sacrosanct. He wiped his mouth and apologized to Sylvie, then crossed the crowded restaurant to the wooden bar and the little lobby beyond, next to the door marked WC. The phone was off the hook.

"Yes." His eyes travelled up and down over the printed notice concerning public drunkenness. Répression de l'Ivresse Publique. Protection des Mineurs.

No names were exchanged in the course of the conversation, but Mathis recognized the voice as that of the deputy section head.

"A killing in the banlieue," he said.

"What are the police for?" said Mathis.

"I know. But there are some…worrying aspects."

"Are the police there?"

"Yes. They're concerned. There's been a spate of these killings."

"I know."

"You're going to have to take a look."

"Now?"

"Yes. I'm sending a car."

"Tell the driver to come to the St. Paul Métro."

Oh, well, thought Mathis, as he gathered his damp raincoat and hat from the hook, i...

Présentation de l'éditeur :

Bond is back. With a vengeance.

Devil May Care is a masterful continuation of the James Bond legacy–an electrifying new chapter in the life of the most iconic spy of literature and film, written to celebrate the centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth on May 28, 1908.

An Algerian drug runner is savagely executed in the desolate outskirts of Paris. This seemingly isolated event leads to the recall of Agent 007 from his sabbatical in Rome and his return to the world of intrigue and danger where he is most at home. The head of MI6, M, assigns him to shadow the mysterious Dr. Julius Gorner, a power-crazed pharmaceutical magnate, whose wealth is exceeded only by his greed. Gorner has lately taken a disquieting interest in opiate derivatives, both legal and illegal, and this urgently bears looking into.

Bond finds a willing accomplice in the shape of a glamorous Parisian named Scarlett Papava. He will need her help in a life-and-death struggle with his most dangerous adversary yet, as a chain of events threaten to lead to global catastrophe. A British airliner goes missing over Iraq. The thunder of a coming war echoes in the Middle East. And a tide of lethal narcotics threatens to engulf a Great Britain in the throes of the social upheavals of the late sixties.

Picking up where Fleming left off, Sebastian Faulks takes Bond back to the height of the Cold War in a story of almost unbearable pace and tension. Devil May Care not only captures the very essence of Fleming’s original novels but also shows Bond facing dangers with a powerful relevance to our own times.

Les informations fournies dans la section « A propos du livre » peuvent faire référence à une autre édition de ce titre.

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