A murder in Berlin… A kidnapping in the Caribbean… A girl held hostage and forced to reveal vital secrets. The terrorist Malekka has joined forces with a Russian traitor from the upper corridors of power in the former KGB. Together they plot a raid on a military centre in South Africa. It’s the first action of his international plan. His parents died. Now he’s going to kill over 3 million people. Where is the attack to be? The United States? Great Britain? Jim Peregrine and the British intelligence are one step behind and play a deadly game of catch-up. Waiting for the breakthrough. Yet all is not as it seems. Who exactly is who, and what side is being played, and by whom? JP sets out to unravel and defeat the plan. And find the girl. Revenge is sweet. JP means to take it. And so does she.
EXCERPT FROM SPIDER 2-3
Chapter 01 Berlin. The Present
THE ELEVATOR DOORS opened. The night receptionist looked up from her keyboard and glanced at the man. She noticed the light brown coat, the dark shoes, the grey hair. No-one important. She put away her empty smile.
It would be the last smile he’d ever see.
The man walked briskly, the bushy white eyebrows drawn together beneath lines of worry, his darting brown eyes sharpened by months of danger.
He pushed through the revolving doors and stepped out into the Kurfürstendamm, and cursed as there were no cabs in sight. He didn’t have that far to go. He pulled his coat closer around him as the cold air hit, and turned left to walk up the street.
The central reservation split three traffic lanes either side and was filled with cars parked up for the night. The pavement was wide, with rows of square advertising kiosks and mature trees along the kerb that splayed a graceful umbrella of spring foliage. Although Berlin at night was far from deserted there were fewer pedestrians at 2am midweek and those were lovers or prostitutes or drunks who were not interested in him.
He broke into a run.
His legs were tired and his chest heaved from too much smoking for too many years. He crossed one street, and then another, but at Uhlandstrasse a grey Mercedes screeched to a halt as he ran out in front of it.
Two men a hundred yards behind him turned in the direction of the sound, and started a gentle run towards it.
The man from the hotel went further up the Kurfürstendamm. He stopped on the corner of the Café Kranzler to catch some breath, leaning against one of the ornate black lampposts, putting his hands down onto his knees. He was gasping, sweating profusely. He didn’t feel the cold any more.
He ran on. Now he could see the Kaiser Wilhelm Church, the ruin from the Second World War. He crossed the next street, dodging the cars, at the C&A store. A vision flashed into his mind of when he was a young boy shopping with his mother; he saw her loving face, her soft eyes that had started to carry wrinkles but that laughed happily still. That was a different world.
Another couple of hundred yards and he was there, a landmark of imperialistic power destroyed in battle. One side of the light brown stonework had been ripped off by a bomb that had blown the rest of the Church to pieces and taken all of the glass from the huge circle windows and archways with it. What remained eerily bore craters from hundreds of bullet and shrapnel hits. He followed the curve of the building round and ran up the first couple of steps. He leant back against the wall, panting for breath. He was early, he knew, but that was ok.
He saw the feet of the other man first. He looked up and his breathing halted in a gasp. It was the eyes that scared him most. The other man was six feet tall easily, younger than he, strong, fit. He had to get away, and with all his strength he brought his clenched fist up, smashing it into the man’s face. He ran up the steps along the side of the Church, and straight into the second man who had gone around the other side. An easy punch into the solar plexus and the man from the hotel was completely disabled.
The two men picked him up and carried him, one arm each, to the entrance between the two pairs of white statues and slammed his back against the heavy wooden door. The one with the bruised jaw pulled a knife from his hip pocket, flicked it open and plunged the gleaming six inch blade into the man’s chest. He grinned, while the older man looked up at him in amazed disbelief, feeling his strength ebb away as his cut heart stopped, the lips twisting and trembling in shock. The eyes began to empty of life, and his lungs exhaled for the last time.
He was dead before he hit the ground.
One of the younger men knelt and quickly rummaged in his pockets, while the other stood guard. There were a few couples walking hand in hand, a tramp on the other side of the street sifting through waste baskets, two women kissing, cars going back and forth. Nobody stopped, or looked, or called out.
His companion found what he wanted. The two men walked back into the Kurfürstendamm and disappeared into the night.
Berlin. For Dr Philip Keppof, the city of death.
Praise for Spider 2-3
“Breathless, first-rate, gripping… A tense, complex, and cleverly plotted work of international suspense with more than enough heroic gusto for future promised installments” – Kirkus Reviews
“A powerfully moving read that’s hard to put down…If it’s nonstop, staccato action that’s desired, readers should definitely choose Spider 2-3 above others.” – Midwest Book Reviews
“Classic espionage… Vallier crafts a thrilling tale of international intrigue, attractive and headstrong characters, and a diabolical plot.” – The Spectrum [The USA TODAY network]
“An amazing piece of writing” – Laurie Marsh
“Spider 2-3 delivers the freedom… galloping, believable narrative… big boys’ stuff and none the worse for it.” – Michael Wilson
“The Falcon is no Saint, he doesn’t have The Saint’s morals; he’s not a Bond, he doesn’t work for MI6. But if they passed in the street they would know each other well enough to say hello…”
About Robert Vallier
Robert Vallier comes from one of the world’s most distinguished musical families. He spent much of his life in music management, covering international touring, recording and theatre production. He created the Into Space! series of lectures and books (which he published) for his close friend the late Sir Patrick Moore. He raised his 3 children as a single parent.
Vallier holds a private pilot s licence. He was responsible for sending over 5½ tons of books to needy schools in South Africa as catalogued working libraries. They continue today to enhance the lives of over 12,000 children annually.
Surgery that went wrong left Vallier with permanent severe backache. Spider 2-3 is his first novel. There has been considerable interest from Hollywood in turning Spider 2-3 into a major feature film, so much so that Robert is now writing the screenplay, as well as working on its sequel, Decoy 17.