Exclusive Excerpt: Ben Coes' Thriller 'Coup d'État'

Ed. Note: This is the second part of a two-part excerpt. You can purchase the novel here.

The olive- skinned man with the Afro at the back of the room glanced around nervously. Whoever it was, he had found what he was looking for, and it was Dewey. Dewey recognized that. He saw it in the hatred, in the way the man’s eyes darted about constantly, settling back on him every few moments. Dewey knew when someone had come to kill him.

The killer was young, early twenties. He wore an orange polo shirt with the collar stuck up. He’d marked Dewey, a minute ago, five minutes ago, half an hour ago. He stared, unaware that Dewey could see him in the mirror behind the bar.

Dewey reached behind him and felt the .45 caliber handgun tucked into the small of his back, beneath the windbreaker. He stood up.

Dewey looked quickly at Talbot, who was deep in conversation with the Frenchwoman. He turned and pushed quickly through swarms of people to the door. There, in the glass of the door, he caught a glimpse of the bright orange shirt. The killer was following. Dewey had surprised the killer with his abrupt move.

He stepped outside onto the crowded sidewalk. It was still hot and he felt sweat pouring from his chest, wetting his shirt. He needed to move fast now. He jogged one block, then went left. He moved away from the strip, down empty sidewalks, past small houses. He jogged past car after parked car, beneath the glow of streetlights.

Looking at windshields as he moved, Dewey searched for a reflection, a sign the young killer was following behind. In the driver’s side window of a pickup truck, he caught a glimpse of the orange shirt. The killer, trying to keep up, was running too fast.

Almost sprinting now, Dewey turned the corner. He reached into the small of his back, pulled out the Colt M1911. From his front pocket he grabbed the silencer and screwed it into the Colt’s nozzle. Sweat rained down from his head and chest as he sprinted for his life. In a block, he took a hard right down another street. He crossed the street, then ducked behind a sedan and watched. The killer, following Dewey’s turn, appeared and looked around. His left arm moved up to his face. Dewey heard his panicked voice, words barked into a cell phone.

How many are there?

Dewey took off again, picking up his pace, looking in front of him for others, running as fast as he could down the sidewalk.

Dewey waited, gun cocked. The killer with the orange shirt appeared, running into the road, then down the middle of it toward him. Dewey waited another second, then two, watching the killer come toward him, oblivious to the fact that he was waiting for him in front of the van, hidden behind the back bumper of a pickup.

Dewey steadied his arm, then squeezed the Colt’s trigger, firing a silenced bullet across half a block into the killer’s chest, knocking him backward. The body dropped into the middle of the street. A pool of blood quickly spread onto the black tar as the terrorist was killed.

Dewey turned. He looked around again for others as he listened for the other killer, the one at the rear of the van.

Dewey crouched and waited. He heard the terrorist begin to move along the passenger side of the van. Dewey remained in a crouch, close to the blacktop. He ducked and looked beneath the van. He saw the silhouette of two legs stepping slowly toward the front of the van.

Dewey lunged, grabbing the killer’s weapon just as bullets started to fly from the machine gun’s silencer. Dewey felt the heat of the gun barrel, but held on. A shower of slugs struck a windshield across the street, shattering it. Dewey pulled back sharply and ripped the weapon from the killer’s arms. The hail of bullets ceased as Dewey threw the machine gun to the blacktop. The startled terrorist was frozen in place for a second, then reached for Dewey’s neck. He slammed his knee into Dewey’s abdomen. His fists struck wildly. A fist hit Dewey’s mouth and Dewey tasted blood in his mouth. The killer hit him again, a sharp punch to Dewey’s chest, the blow absorbed by a wall of muscles.

Dewey turned, his back to the killer for just an instant, then wheeled his left foot in a vicious round house kick to the Arab’s stomach. The breaking ribs cracked the quiet air. The terrorist was knocked back a few steps, moaning, clutching his chest. Dewey followed the kick with a fierce swing to the Arab’s face, crushing the killer’s nose, blood exploding out everywhere. Another strike, this time Dewey’s left fi st to now- cracked ribs. The terrorist fell backward onto the sidewalk, and reached inside his pocket, pulling out a cell phone. Dewey reached down and tore the cell from the man’s grip before he could say something. Frisking him, he found a handgun in the killer’s ankle holster and removed it. Incapacitated, the Arab grunted from the pain. He writhed in pain, as blood poured like water from his lips and mouth down his chin. In the pale glow of a distant lamppost, the terrorist’s black, bloodshot eyes looked up at Dewey, helpless.

Dewey reached into the man’s mouth, feeling the molars until one loosened. He tore the fake tooth from the mouth and looked at it quickly. The cyanide pill was the size of a pinhead.

The terrorist was silent.

“Talk and I’ll let you eat the cyanide,” said Dewey. “Don’t talk and I’ll tie you up. The police will find you. You’ll be at Guantánamo in a day or two. They’ll torture more information out of you than you ever thought you knew. Aswan Fortuna will exterminate your family by the end of the week out of revenge.”

Excerpted from Coup D’État by Ben Coes. Copyright 2011 by Ben Coes. Excerpted with permission of St Martin’s Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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