The Death Trust

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 2009-01-27
  • Publisher: Bantam
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Praised by Nelson DeMille for its strong characters, nonstop action, and superb suspense, this international bestseller sends Special Agent Vin Cooper to the lethal streets of Baghdad--and into the center of a scandal so explosive that even Cooper may not defuse it in time.

Author Biography

David Rollins is a former advertising creative director who lives in Sydney, Australia. He is the author of The Death Trust and Knife Edge, both international bestsellers. Bantam Books will publish Knife Edge in 2008.

From the Hardcover edition.


Chapter One


I had no idea what woke me up early, until I caught a whiff of my own breath. Then my tooth began to ache and I thought it could be that. But it could also have been a premonition of sleepus interruptus, because no sooner did my eyes overcome the crust gluing them together than the doorbell chimed, and then chimed again. I got to it on the fourth intonation, when whoever was on the other side of the door decided a bar of "Greensleeves" didn't perhaps convey the proper desired authority and began underlining the urgency with their fist.

"Vin, c'mon, man. I know you're in there," said Major Arlen Wayne, solving the day's first mystery—namely, who was making all the goddamn noise assaulting my alcohol-poisoned gray matter. Arlen was practically my only friend left on the planet—when my ex-wife moved out, she took most of them with her. Arlen and I had been out on the town drinking, celebrating my divorce coming through as well as the conviction for murder handed down on a case I'd been working on. Arlen knew I was "in there" on account of him being the person who brought me home the previous night. I think.

I opened the door to a sliver of light and he pushed his way in. "Go away," I said as Arlen threw back the curtains and let in the day. I'm not a morning person. I've been known to punch people for waking me before a reasonable hour, which varies according to the time I went to sleep the night before and the condition I was in when my head hit the pillow.

My name is Vincent Cooper, Major Vin Cooper, Special Agent in the United States Air Force Office of Special Investigations—the OSI. I work major crime. Homicides, mainly. I'm thirty-four, look twenty-eight, so I tell myself, and occasionally act eighteen, so my ex says.

I shuffled past Arlen, keeping to the protection of the shadows, and lay down on my bed, burying my head under the pillow.

"C'mon, Vin," he said.

"You already said that," I told him, my voice muffled by the pillow.

"The big cheese wants you in her office. ASAP. So get your shit together. And I'd bring my passport if I were you."

"Am I going somewhere?"

"Germany, I think."

I groaned.

The big cheese is the OSI's second-in-command. She's one tough old boot, a major general. Her name is Winifred Gruyere, which explains why we call her the big cheese. But not, of course, to her face. She's probably the most terrifying person I've ever met: short, built like a Buick, eyes that don't blink, and large pores that remind me of the way a pancake looks when it's cooking. She's fifty-five, I think (it's hard to tell—she could be a hundred and fifty), and is the real power running OSI rather than the four-star general who spends most of his time on the golf course getting his handicap below embarrassing. "What's it about?" I asked, taking the pillow off my head.

"When you turn on your cell phone, you're going to hear a few heated messages. You know it's against the rules to turn it off."

I shrugged. "Battery ran low." That wasn't true. The real reason was that I hate the damn things.

"What about your pager?"

"It got wet."

Arlen shook his head and changed the subject. "You heard of a General Scott?"

"No. Should I have?"

"He was the CO of Ramstein Air Base. A four-star heavy hitter, married to the daughter of the Vice President of our fair land."

Like most people, I'm a bit slow on the uptake after a night on the suds, but I'm not stupid. "I'm assuming the past tense you're using is significant."

"Yeah. Did you get who he was married to?"

"I got it." Ramstein AB is a vast NATO facility in Germany, shared by a bunch of o

Excerpted from The Death Trust by David Rollins
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