Authors: Stuart Woods
Tags: #Mystery, #Thriller, #Suspense
SHOOT HIM IF HE RUNS
BOOKS BY STUART WOODS
The Prince of Beverly Hills
The Short Forever
Worst Fears Realized
Swimming to Catalina
Dead in the Water
Santa Fe Rules
New York Dead
Under the Lake
Run Before the Wind
A Romantic’s Guide to the Country Inns of Britain and Ireland (1979)
Blue Water, Green Skipper (1977)
SHOOT HIM IF HE RUNS
G. P. PUTNAM’S SONSNEW YORK
G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
Publishers Since 1838
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, USA Penguin Group (Canada), 90 Eglinton Avenue East, Suite 700, Toronto, Ontario M4P 2Y3, Canada (a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.) Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd) Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia (a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd) Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre, Panchsheel Park, New Delhi–110 017, India Penguin Group (NZ), 67 Apollo Drive, Rosedale, North Shore 0745, Auckland, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd) Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa
Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Copyright © 2007 by Stuart Woods
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions.
Published simultaneously in Canada
“Black Mountain Blues”: Words and music by J. C. Johnson. © 1965 Record Music Publishing Co. c/o Songwriters Guild of America. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Shoot him if he runs / Stuart Woods.
1. Barrington, Stone (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 2. Barker, Holly (Fictitious character)—Fiction. 3. Intelligence officers—Fiction. 4. West Indies—Fiction. I. Title.
PS3573.O642S55 2007 2007017293
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
While the author has made every effort to provide accurate telephone numbers and Internet addresses at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication. Further, the publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
This book is for Barbara Ellen.
Goin’ to Black Mountain
Take my razor and my gun;
Gonna cut him if he stands still
Shoot him if he runs.
“Black Mountain Blues,” by J. C. Johnson
Stone Barrington blew into Elaine’s, later than usual. Dino Bacchetti, his former NYPD partner, sat having dinner.
“Where the hell have you been?” Dino asked.
“Spokane, Washington,” Stone replied. “I told you, remember?”
“I don’t remember anything anymore,” Dino said. “That’s Genevieve’s job, now.” Genevieve James was his new girlfriend, his first regular since his divorce. “What were you doing in Spokane?”
“I’m having the engine ripped off my airplane and replaced with a turbine—that’s a jet engine, turning a propeller.”
A waiter set a Knob Creek on the rocks before him, and he sipped it gratefully.
“But why are you late? Dinner was two hours ago.”
“Because my flight was late.”
“You don’t take the airlines; you have an airplane.”
“Dino, having sex again is addling your brain. I left the airplane in Spokane; the work takes three months. It’s a big job.”
Stone put several letters on the table and began opening them.
“You getting your mail here now?”
“No, I stopped to drop off my bag, and I just grabbed the mail on the way out the door.”
Elaine came over, allowed him to kiss her and sat down. “You getting your mail here? We charge extra for that.”
Stone put down the mail. “No, I brought it with me. Any charge for opening it here?”
“Don’t make a habit of it,” she replied. “People will think you’re living in my back room.”
“You don’t have a back room.”
“That won’t stop them from thinking it.”
“Your logic is unassailable,” Stone said, shoving the mail aside and sipping his drink.
A waiter appeared with a menu.
“Green bean salad, hold the peppers, spaghetti carbonara, half a bottle of the Chianti Classico,” Stone said.
“You look hungry,” Elaine said. “You’re late, too; where you been?”
“Spokane, Washington; Dino will explain it to you.”
“He’s turning his airplane into a jet,” Dino said.
“Sort of,” Stone replied. “A jet with a propeller. It’s called a turboprop.”
“Why are you doing this to your airplane?”
“Faster, quieter, more reliable, climbs faster.”
Elaine had never evinced the slightest interest in his airplane, Stone remembered. He waited for the next, inevitable question.
“Only one engine?” Elaine asked.
“One’s all you need.”
“What if it stops?”
“Extremely unlikely, but I’d find a place to land it.”
Elaine nodded. “Yeah, sure.”
“Where is Genevieve?” Stone asked Dino.
“Late shift; she’ll show soon. She might bring Eliza.”
“Good idea.” Eliza Larkin was an ER doctor Stone had been seeing occasionally since he had been run down by a car and she had treated him.
The two women, on cue, breezed into the place, exchanged kisses with everybody and sat down.
“Bring ’em a menu,” Elaine said to a waiter.
“No, thanks, I had dinner in the cafeteria earlier,” Eliza said.
“Me too,” Genevieve said.
Elaine looked at them incredulously. “You ate food from a hospital cafeteria instead of here?”
“I would have fainted if I hadn’t,” Eliza said. “Maybe I’ll have dessert.”
“Dessert is good,” Elaine said, pointing at a tray of samples and motioning for a waiter to bring it over.
“Cheesecake,” Eliza said.
“Make it two,” Genevieve echoed.
The two women excused themselves and went to the ladies’ room.
Stone turned his attention to the mail again, and a large white envelope caught his attention. He turned it over to read the return address. The White House, Washington, D.C., it read.
Stone opened the envelope.
“You look funny,” Dino said.
“I’ve been invited to dinner at the White House,” Stone said, gulping. “Holly Barker and me.”
“On the same invitation?” Elaine asked, taking it from him.
“Why you and Holly?” Dino asked.
“Yeah, Eliza is gonna want to know the answer to that question, too,” Elaine said.
Stone took the invitation and stuffed it into his pocket. “Let’s not discuss it with her,” he said, “especially since I don’t know the answer to that question.”
His cellphone vibrated on his belt, and he flipped it open. “Hello?”
“It’s Holly.” Holly Barker was his friend and sometime lover, a retired army officer and chief of police in a Florida town, now doing something or other for the CIA.
“Speak of the devil.”
“How was Spokane?”
“Fine. How did you know I was in Spokane?”
“I have a computer program that tracks the flight of any airplane. You went yesterday; I figured you came back today. You’re doing the engine conversion?”