Riptide (FBI Series #5)

Riptide (FBI Series #5)

by Catherine Coulter

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Agents Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock must protect the life of a young political speechwriter in this New York Times bestseller in Catherine Coulter’s FBI Thriller series.

A senior speechwriter for the governor of New York, Becca Matlock is at the top of her professional game when she receives a disturbing phone call that threatens everything: “Stop sleeping with the governor or I’ll kill him.” The thing is, she’s not sleeping with her boss, but that fact doesn’t stop the calls from the man who refers to himself as her “boyfriend.”

When her stalker murders an innocent in New York City and the governor is shot in the neck, Becca comes under suspicion and takes off for the sanctuary of Riptide, an isolated community on the coast of Maine. But she soon finds herself at even greater risk...

FBI special agents Savich and Sherlock are in Riptide to help out an old friend of Savich’s father, and soon become embroiled in Becca’s deadly situation. But as enemies new and old circle closer, time is running out for them all.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780515130966
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/10/2001
Series: FBI Thriller Series , #5
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 55,798
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.80(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Catherine Coulter is the author of the suspense novels The Cove, The Maze, The Target, and The Edge.

Read an Excerpt

New York City

June 15


Becca was watching an afternoon soap opera she’d

seen off and on since she was a kid. She found herself

wondering if she would ever have a child who needed a

heart transplant one month and a new kidney the next, or a

husband who wouldn’t be faithful to her for longer than it

took a new woman to look in his direction.

Then the phone rang.

She jumped to her feet, then stopped dead still and

stared over at the phone. She heard a guy on TV whining

about how life wasn’t fair.

He didn’t know what fair was.

She made no move to answer the phone. She just stood

there and listened, watching it as it rang three more times.

Then, finally, because her mother was lying in a coma in

Lenox Hill Hospital, because she just plain couldn’t stand

the ringing ringing ringing, she watched her hand reach out

and pick up the receiver.

She forced her mouth to form the single word. “Hello?”

“Hi, Rebecca. It’s your boyfriend. I’ve got you so

scared you have to force yourself to pick up the phone.

Isn’t that right?”

She closed her eyes as that hated voice, low and deep,

swept over her, into her, making her so afraid she was

shaking. No hint of an Atlanta drawl, no sharp New York

vowels, no dropped R’s from Boston. A voice that was well

educated, with smooth, clear diction, perhaps even a touch

of the Brit in it. Old? Young? She didn’t know, couldn’t

tell. She had to keep it together. She had to listen carefully,

to remember how he spoke, what he said. You can do it.

Keep it together. Make him talk, make him say something,

you never know what will pop out. That was what the police

psychologist in Albany had told her to do when the

man had first started calling her. Listen carefully. Don’t let

him scare you. Take control. You guide him, not the other

way around. Becca licked her lips, chapped from the hot,

dry air in Manhattan that week, an anomaly, the weather

forecaster had said. And so Becca repeated her litany of

questions, trying to keep her voice calm, cool, in charge,

yes, that was her. “Won’t you tell me who you are? I really

want to know. Maybe we can talk about why you keep calling

me. Can we do that?”

“Can’t you come up with some new questions, Rebecca?

After all, I’ve called you a good dozen times now.

And you always say the same things. Ah, they’re from a

shrink, aren’t they? They told you to ask those questions,

to try to distract me, to get me to spill my guts to you.

Sorry, it won’t work.”

She’d never really thought it would work, that

stratagem. No, this guy knew what he was doing, and he

knew how to do it. She wanted to plead with him to leave

her alone, but she didn’t. Instead, she snapped. She simply

lost it, the long-buried anger cutting through her bonegrinding

fear. She gripped the phone, knuckles white, and

yelled, “Listen to me, you little prick. Stop saying you’re

my boyfriend. You’re nothing but a sick jerk. Now, how

about this for a question? Why don’t you go to hell where

you belong? Why don’t you go kill yourself, you’re sure

not worth anything to the human race. Don’t call me anymore,

you pathetic bastard. The cops are on to you. The

phone is tapped, do you hear me? They’re going to get you

and fry you.”

She’d caught him off guard, she knew it, and an

adrenaline rush sent her sky-high, but only for a moment.

After a slight pause, he recovered. In a calm, reasonable

voice, he said, “Now, Rebecca sweetheart, you know as

well as I do that the cops now don’t believe you’re being

stalked, that some weird guy is calling you at all hours, trying

to scare you. You had the phone tap put in yourself because

you couldn’t get them to do it. And I’ll never talk

long enough for that old, low-tech equipment of yours to

get a trace. Oh yes, Rebecca, because you insulted me,

you’ll have to pay for it, big-time.”

She slammed down the receiver. She held it there, hard,

as if trying to stanch the bleeding of a wound, as if holding

it down would keep him from dialing her again, keep

him away from her. Slowly, finally, she backed away from

the phone. She heard a wife on the TV soap plead with her

husband not to leave her for her younger sister. She

walked out onto her small balcony and looked over Central

Park, then turned a bit to the right to look at the

Metropolitan Museum. Hordes of people, most in shorts,

most of them tourists, sat on the steps, reading, laughing,

talking, eating hot dogs from the vendor Teodolpho, some

of them probably smoking dope, picking pockets, and

there were two cops on horseback nearby, their horses’

heads pumping up and down, nervous for some reason.

The sun blazed down. It was only mid-June, yet the unseasonable

heat wave continued unabated. Inside the apartment

it was twenty-five degrees cooler. Too cold, at least

for her, but she couldn’t get the thermostat to move either

up or down.

The phone rang again. She heard it clearly through the

half-closed glass door.

She jerked around and nearly fell over the railing. Not

that it was unexpected. No, never that, it was just so incongruous

set against the normalcy of the scene outside.

She forced herself to look back into her mother’s lovely

pastel living room, to the glass table beside the sofa, at the

white phone that sat atop that table, ringing, ringing.

She let it ring six more times. Then she knew she had to

answer it. It might be about her mother, her very sick

mother, who might be dying. But of course she knew it was

him. It didn’t matter. Did he know why she even had the

phone turned on in the first place? He seemed to know

everything else, but he hadn’t said anything about her

mother. She knew she had no choice at all. She picked it up

on the tenth ring.

“Rebecca, I want you to go out onto your balcony again.

Look to where those cops are sitting on their horses. Do it

now, Rebecca.”

She laid down the receiver and walked back out onto

the balcony, leaving the glass door open behind her. She

looked down at the cops. She kept looking. She knew

something horrible was going to happen, she just knew it,

and there was nothing she could do about it but watch

and wait. She waited for three minutes. Just when she

was beginning to convince herself that the man was trying

new and different ways to terrorize her, there was a

loud explosion.

She watched both horses rear up wildly. One of the cops

went flying. He landed in a bush as thick smoke billowed

up, obscuring the scene.

When the smoke cleared a bit, she saw an old bag lady

lying on the sidewalk, her market cart in twisted pieces

beside her, her few belongings strewn around her. Pieces

of paper fluttered down to the sidewalk, now rutted with

deep pockmarks. A large bottle of ginger ale was broken,

liquid flowing over the old woman’s sneakers. Time

seemed to have stopped, then suddenly there was chaos as

everyone in view exploded into action. Some people

who’d been loitering on the steps of the museum ran

toward the old lady.

The cops got there first; the one who’d been thrown

from his horse was limping as he ran. They were yelling,

waving their arms—at the carnage or the onrushing

people, Becca didn’t know. She saw the horses throwing

their heads from side to side, their eyes rolling at the

smoke, the smell of the explosive. Becca stood there

frozen, watching. The old woman didn’t move.

Becca knew she was dead. Her stalker had detonated a

bomb and killed that poor old woman. Why? Just to terrorize

her more? She was already so terrified she could hardly

function. What did he want now? She’d left Albany, left the

governor’s staff with no warning, had not even called to

check in.

She walked slowly back inside the living room, firmly

closing the glass door behind her. She looked at the phone,

heard him saying her name, over and over. Rebecca, Rebecca.

Very slowly, she hung up. She fell to her knees and

jerked the connector out of the wall jack. The phone in the

bedroom rang, and kept ringing.

She pressed herself close to the wall, her palms

slammed against her ears. She had to do something. She

had to talk to the cops. Again. Surely now that someone

was dead, they would believe that some maniac was terrorizing

her, stalking her, murdering someone to show her he

meant business.

This time they had to believe her.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“This terrific thriller will drag you into its chilling web of terror and not let go until the last paragraph…The perfect beach book—fast-paced twists and turns driven by believable dialogue between a cast of well-developed characters. A ripping good read.”—The San Francisco Examiner

“All the elements of a real spellbinder: glamour, romance…murder, colorful characters, sinister settings and a hidden motive for revenge that goes back decades. The plot twists at every turn…Excellent.”—The San Diego Union-Tribune

“[Riptide] plunges ahead at a breathtaking pace…Coulter's fans will be pleased to see the return of some of the characters from her previous suspense novels. Riptide will be in high demand, and deservedly so.”—Booklist

“[Coulter] successfully layers one mystery atop another, giving away a teaspoon of information at a time.”—The Cincinnati Enquirer

“If there was an award for ‘Thriller of the Year,’ Riptide would win, hands-down.”—The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, FL)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Riptide (FBI Series #5) 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 165 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Some spies prefer to never come out of the cold, but thinking about secret agents would never enter the mind of speechwriter Rebecca Matlock. Espionage belongs in movies and books to her. That changes when her father, who she thought died when she was a child, surfaces with a deadly enemy after him and now her. Working for the Governor of New York, Rebecca begins to receive threatening calls from a person demanding she end her affair with her boss. Not having an affair and a bit frightened, Rebecca turns to the Albany police, who discount her story.

She leaves the state capital to stay with her dying mother in the Big Apple where she receives another call. Not long after, someone is killed outside her window. The police treat Rebecca as the suspect.

After her mother passes away, Rebecca goes into hiding using a new identity and changing her looks. She resides in RIPTIDE, Maine, but her stalker follows. So does Adam Carruthers, a security expert who is close to Rebecca¿s father. Her foe kills a woman in RIPTIDE and abducts Rebecca. Everyone involved knows that they must work quickly to stop a rogue deep cover agent from assassinating the Matlocks.

Catherine Coulter¿s suspense thrillers seem to get better and better with each new release. Her latest tale, RIPTIDE, is filled with complex charcaters, who have appeared in previous novels and provide continuity. The heroine is a strong person who is just an everyday individual thrust into extraordinary circumstance outside her normal existence. Her heroic efforts insure Ms. Coulter¿s novel will appeal to fans of suspense, thriller, police procedural, and romance.

Harriet Klausner

Guest More than 1 year ago
Everyone has their own opinion. I personally thought 'Riptide' was pretty good. It was the first Catherine Coulter book I have read. I am planning on reading 'The Cove' next!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The people who actually liked this book should read her 'GOOD' novels. This book seemed to be written out of necessity to fill in before she was ready to submit a real novel. Her characters were not well formed or in-depth. There wasn't much to them to want to know it seemed. Her plot was very amateur/lame that it didn't help to develop the story line. I kept reading hoping she would quit 'fooling around with us' and start to write like herself but it never happened. If was probably an okay read if you have never read one of her real 'novels' like: Target, The Cove, Edge, The Maze, Blind Side, Impulse, Eleventh Hour. Now that is GREAT entertainment and REAL talent. This book unfortunately is not; it's basically amateur writing at best; a real disappointment to her fans: Just like her book Hemlock Bay - DON'T purchase that one either. Everyone has hard times, and those two books were hers, so her stead fast fans will stick it out over her hard times.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Exciting, Love the characters, I have gotten to know, following their lives!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Easy read, good story....interesting twists.
onyx95 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rebecca Matlock new she had to get away so she went to a little out of the way town called Riptide. No matter how many times she told the police that someone was after her, they just wouldn't believe her. There seemed to be only one, Adam Carruthers, that not only knew she was telling the truth, but knew why. Is Adam and his men smart enough to figure out who it is before it is too late.On the back cover of this book, Catherine Coulter challenges you to figure out the puzzle, I have to admit, I figured some but not all of this one out. This is an excellent mystery/thriller but I wasn't as impressed with the charecters as I normally am with her FBI series. While Savich and Sherlock were there, I was disappointed with the interaction between the main characters. It was humorous at times but the chemistry was lacking something, I liked them both but there was just something missing. Still a great book, had trouble putting it down.
magst on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I automatically buy her books whenever I see them. Coulter has never disappointed me. I read until the wee hours of the morning and then couldn't wait to get home to read some more. The characters are warm and interesting. I appreciate her sense of humor.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looking forward to my next book!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. Couldn't read fast enough, had to see what was on the next page. My suspicions were right!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was another good read! I look forward to the next one in the series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent fast paced, high suspense, surprising ending. Definitely recommend this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written and kept me engaged from the first page!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I expected a twisty fast paced thriller but got 150 pages in and this book was just boring, couldnt bring myself to even finish it
Bigedsgirl1 More than 1 year ago
Catherine Coulter delivers a riveting, action packed, suspenseful tale with many a twist and turn that keeps the reader guessing. The heroine is being stalked, but is getting very little help from law enforcement; as a matter of fact local police as well as federal agents are beginning to think she is delusional and in need of pyschiatric treatment. Her tension and frustration is almost palpable from the first page and throughout the book until the surprising confrontation at the end. There are several surprises in store for the reader that will serve to keep you glued to the pages of this novel and on edge during most of the story. Sit down, strap in, and enjoy the ride!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
bmamca36 More than 1 year ago
Just okay
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RJohnson More than 1 year ago
Didn't want it to end. I could not put this book down. Want to know what was going to happen to becca next. Would she escape the man call him her boyfriend? This is the 1st book in the FBI thriler tht I read and can't wait to read the rest of them