Authors: Dan Mayland
ALSO BY DAN MAYLAND
The Colonel’s Mistake
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Text copyright © 2014 by Dan Mayland
All maps by XNR Productions
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher.
Published by Thomas & Mercer, Seattle
Cover design by The Book Designers
Library of Congress Control Number: 2013911339
For Kirsten and William
, you’ll find extras that might be helpful or interesting to have when reading
Spy for Hire
or other novels in the Mark Sava series—maps that may be downloaded or printed, my own photos of places featured in the novels, lists of characters, an annotated bibliography, and a glossary.
CENTRAL ASIA, SOUTH ASIA, and the MIDDLE EAST
Former CIA station chief Mark Sava opened the door to his two-bedroom condominium, hung his black nylon windbreaker on a coatrack, and cast a disapproving glance at the outdoor balcony off his living room.
His condo was upscale for Bishkek—oak floors, new Chinese appliances, tile countertops—and in a safe part of the city, on a treelined street near several foreign embassies. But the balcony was a sad affair, barely three feet wide by eight feet long. The metal balusters were rusting. The concrete floor was cracked. And positioned as it was on the second floor of a three-story building, it was too close to the street to provide any real privacy.
Mark was in a good mood, because he’d just beaten a Kyrgyz friend at narde, a backgammon-like game he’d grown addicted to of late. But that lousy balcony was a constant irritation.
It was one o’clock in the afternoon on November seventh. The leaves on the trees were beginning to fall. The roadside pumpkin vendors had packed up and left weeks earlier. Soon there would be snow.
For a brief moment, Mark longed to be back in Baku, Azerbaijan—his home until seven months ago, when the Azeris had kicked him out because of an intelligence operation gone bad. In Baku, the balcony of his eighth-floor apartment had been a spacious affair, with more than enough room for a few plastic lawn chairs, a little table, and his collection of tomato plants.