Read Cloudburst Online

Authors: Ryne Pearson

Tags: #Suspense & Thrillers


BOOK: Cloudburst
13.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
Ryne Douglas Pearson
Schmuck Underwood (2012)
Rating: ★★★★☆
Tags: Suspense Thrillers
Suspense Thrillersttt

***For fans of David Baldacci, Tom Clancy, and Robert Ludlum...***

*** ***

In Los Angeles, the president is killed in a brazen terrorist suicide attack. Halfway across the globe, an American airliner is hijacked by another group of Middle Eastern extremists and forced to make a brief stop in Libya. Events that are first seen as unconnected soon are proven to be part of an interconnected plan to strike at the heart of the United States.

On opposite coasts, FBI Agent Art Jefferson and National Security Adviser Bud DiContino race to manage situations as they spiral toward disaster. With the hijacked airliner racing toward the United States, its cargo hold filled with what intelligence analysts believe is a nuclear weapon, the only hope for the passengers' lives comes in the form of an audacious rescue plan to be executed by the highly secretive Delta Force.

From its pulse-pounding opening to its action-packed climax, *Cloudburst* grabs you and will not let go. Ranging from the violent assassination of the President on the streets of Los Angeles to covert action against terrorist havens in North Africa, from the halls of power in Washington to a highjacked airliner racing toward the heart of the United States, *Cloudburst* takes the reader on a riveting journey as FBI agents and elite counterterrorist units fight a desperate battle to save millions of innocents, and bring those responsible to justice.

### From Publishers Weekly

A gripping blend of techno-thriller and detective story, Pearson's first novel is set in an all-too-convincing near future. The American President is assassinated in L.A. by a terrorist suicide squad. Shortly thereafter, an American 747 is hijacked to Libya, and when it sets off on its return flight home, it is carrying a deadly device, the second step in a plot by Libyan leader Muammar Khadafy, who plans to destroy Washington, D.C., in a nuclear holocaust. As Pearson's carefully structured plot unfolds, the FBI hunts down the terrorists' supporters while Delta Force moves to recapture the plane. Only the cooperation of Fidel Castro can save the aircraft and its passengers. FBI agent Art Jefferson, Delta Force captain Sean Graber, pilot Bart Hendrickson and other players are effectively characterized in economical prose. The suspense runs at a high pitch right up to the tense confrontation between Delta Force and the terrorists--at 20,000 feet over the Atlantic, with no room for error or hesitation. Genre fans will find this a must for midsummer reading.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

### From Kirkus Reviews

Hyperreal whiz-bang first novel by a gifted high-tech specialist. The President is assassinated in L.A. by Libyan terrorists as the first act of a three-act vengeance scenario by Qaddafi, who is dying of leukemia from tainted blood introduced into him during surgery by order of the former CIA head. James ``Bud'' DiContino, named head of the National Security Agency when his boss is killed with the President, leads an immense cast of all variety of specialists whose working methods Pearson knows inside out and relates here with impressive realism. Bud answers directly to the new President as his team sets out to bust up acts two and three of Qaddafi's plot. An American 747 out of Athens is hijacked by a terrorist team, flown to Benghazi, loaded with a thermonuclear device, and then headed toward the States to blow itself up, praise Allah, in a suicide mission over the already mourning Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, we follow various FBI, Secret Service, and CIA teams as they try to fill in backgrounds on the terrorists, and we join an antiterrorist military team out to thwart the hijackers. We also hop all over the globe as enormous force is mobilized both to blow the passenger-laden 747 out of the air, if necessary, and to strike a fantastically big retaliatory atomic attack on Libya. Pearson keeps us alert to the drama aboard the plane and to a rising storm front causing the diversion of the aircraft to Havana, where it's refueled after a disastrous landing that all but disables it. And we also follow the progress of Joe Anderson, who may be able to disarm the nuclear device if by some miracle he can get close enough to it. The widespread plot includes an attempt to pluck out of Libya a high-placed informant who's kept the US up to date on Qaddafi's hideous activities. Newcomer Pearson ranges about smartly indeed with mind- boggling expertise. -- *Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.*


An Art Jefferson Thriller

eBook Edition Copyright © 2011 Ryne Douglas Pearson

First Edition Copyright © 1993 Ryne Douglas Pearson

Published By Schmuck & Underwood

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission from the author, except for brief passages used for review purposes.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Visit the author’s website:

Follow the author on Twitter:


The Art Jefferson Thriller Series


October’s Ghost

Capitol Punishment

Simple Simon


Table Of Contents






















Twenty One

Twenty Two


About The Author





Los Angeles

The calf-high, black leather boots hit the carpet with a muffled thud.

His features were dark, both hair and skin, and in the darkened room his form was specter-like. His eyes surveyed the area. It was devoid of life, as he knew it would be. To his left the slender beams of morning light which pierced the adjustable window shades were glinting off the polished table tops.

A few words were said to his comrade and then the equipment was passed down, followed by the second man, shorter than his partner. The tall one gathered his things and went to the window, carefully parting the thin metal blinds to scan the area below. The other moved to the center of the room. He put the satchel at his feet and looked up.

The first movement was visible on the street sixty feet below. The tall one let the blinds close with a metallic snap. “It is time.”

The shorter man simply nodded and pulled the loading lever back on his rifle, chambering the first round. Next, he picked up the green tube and extended the two sections. Finally, he said a silent prayer and prepared to ready the last weapon, waiting for the final word from his brother.

*  *  *

After a quarter century of service in the Bureau, Art Jefferson had learned to stay out of the way when the president came to town. If he had to serve as FBI liaison, the best place for him was away from the action, yet close enough to be found if any Secret Service type needed a Bureau man to answer a question. The quiet, shady spot on the north side of the pricey hotel was as far away as he could realistically be, yet it provided what he needed most at the moment: relief from the ninety-five-degree weather, which hadn’t abated in daytime for a week. A few steps behind, inside the Los Angeles Hilton, it was comfortably air-conditioned. But it was also teeming with bureaucratic bodyguards carrying Uzis in black briefcases and wearing tiny earphones at the ends of coiled wires that disappeared beneath their collars.

Art instinctively reached into his side jacket pocket, but the cigarettes weren’t there.

“Shit.” He hated the idea that he
to go without something. It wasn’t in him to admit to mortal frailties like high blood pressure and reduced lung capacity. The doctors—three of them—had told him to drop fifteen pounds and kick the habit, or he might end up like a lot of black men pushing fifty…lying in his backyard next to the lawn mower and clutching his chest.
What the hell do they know?
he thought.

The sun was just about to peak over the baby skyscraper to Art’s right. Even in the building-shaded downtown area the heat was already oppressive in the late morning, and the direct sunlight soon to come would only add to the discomfort. At least Art could be grateful that the hubbub of activity that always accompanied a presidential visit brought with it the disappearance of the normal Sunday traffic. It would have been light for the weekend, but that was a relative term. Light only in comparison to the weekday lines of cars on Wilshire Boulevard, a thoroughfare on the Hilton’s north side that stretched west a number of miles to the beaches of Santa Monica, but east for only another three blocks to its end at the base of the One Wilshire Building. The cars filling the street with noise and exhaust fumes on a normal day of rest would have been, at the least, annoying. On a weekday…

Art left his leaning post, one of the covered drive’s pillars, making sure to put on his mirrored sunglasses. He also nonchalantly ran his right hand up the side of his jacket. It was there. He knew it would be, but checking was a habit developed from a single incident, many years before, that had almost cost him his life. The feel of his gun was reassuring. If he never had to use it again, that was fine; if he did, he was damn sure going to be certain it was there. It was a compulsion, one he was joked about—
Stroked Mr. Smith and Wesson today?
—but so what?

Across Wilshire sat the Secret Service war wagons, identical black Chevy Suburbans, their windows tinted to the point of reflectiveness. In each were five armed-to-the-teeth Service agents, the Counter Assault Teams, who would respond to any call for assistance from the presidential detail leader with authorization to fire as needed to protect the chief executive. The CAT agents would just as eagerly empty their automatics into any perceived threat as they would place themselves between harm and the ‘man.’

Good work by the Secret Service and other agencies had prevented the need for using force to protect the president in the past ten years, but they knew their luck could not hold out. Terrorism had come to the States long ago, though to some it was seen only as a more violent criminal element exposing itself. The truth was more frightening. Violence was not the greatest weapon of the terrorist: Intelligence was. Brains multiplied the effect of bullets by a factor of ten. It was only a matter of time before the Service adage ‘Innocents be damned, save the man’ came to be.

Art rolled up a stick of Big Red, his cigarette surrogate, and pushed it into his mouth, getting an immediate taste of the hot cinnamon flavor. Standing curbside he looked east, to his right. Every building in the vicinity of Seventh and Figueroa, the intersection nearest where the president would exit the hotel, would have a Secret Service counter-sniper team atop or in the structure, some two. Each pair, distinctive in their mottled gray-black-white urban cammies, was a true team: one spotter with his own M-16A2 assault rifle, and one long-rifleman, master of the PSG-1, a highly accurate and hideously expensive German-made .308 sniping weapon. These teams had an extraordinary degree of latitude when it came to ‘fire or forget it’ situations, even more so than the immediate presidential detail, to the point that they alone made the decision to drop a threat. There was no waiting for the proverbial green light as in SWAT-style operations. They did not take the awesome responsibilities of their job lightly. They would do what had to be done, and God be with the bad guy on the wrong side of the cross hairs.

BOOK: Cloudburst
13.22Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

Appointment with Death by Agatha Christie
Stages by Donald Bowie
English Horse by Bonnie Bryant
The Long Run by Leo Furey
Chasing a Dream by Beth Cornelison
The Treatment by Suzanne Young
Annie's Promise by Margaret Graham
Keeping You by Jessie Evans
Crazybone by Bill Pronzini