Suddenly death is running in Westport, Connecticut-one in a nationwide network of secret "halfway towns" where the country's most dangerous former agents have been "retired." At war with powerful elements within his own government-a war not of his making-Bannerman has been lured here to this place of yard sales, mini-vans, commuter trains, and murder. The plan is for Bannerman and those he ran to die here, quietly. But Bannerman has other plans.
"Suspense that never lets up."( -- Denver Rocky Mountain News)
"Top-drawer entertainment." ( Kirkus Reviews )
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
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Lesko hated four o'clock in the morning.
Lying in bed. Thinking too much. Having those crazy dreams. He didn't mind the regular kind of dreams. He never remembered them anyway. And nightmares never bothered him because with a nightmare, he always figured, you're more or less along for the ride. You're also fully asleep. What he hated were the dreams where you lie there, not quite awake and not quite asleep. You're getting all upset about something, usually something dumb, and you know it probably isn't real but you can't quite wake up enough to shake it off.
He heard a police psychiatrist say something once. About four in the morning. About the thoughts and dreams that come then. He said that four o'clock in the morning is when most people find out what it's like to be insane.
Lesko could believe it.
Up until the time David Katz got killed, most of Lesko's four-in-the-morning dreams were just plain stupid. There was one time he stewed for what must have been an hour over a tree that fell on his car during a hurricane. It would take forever to cut it up because all he had was this little hacksaw out in his kitchen drawer. The thing was, there wasn't any tree and there wasn't any hurricane. He didn't even own a car.
Another time he laid there convinced that his exwife had shown up asking to move back in with him. But she didn't want to be a bother so, she said, she'd just sleep on the floor of his hall closet. All he could think of was how she'd crush his shoes if she did that, but he didn't want to hurt her feelings by saying so.
Lying fully awake at four in the morning wasn't It any bargain,either. Not that Lesko was what you'd call a worrier. And nothing much scared him anymore. Not after twenty-six years as a street cop. He always figured: Something bothers you, you fix it fast and forget it. But that doesn't work at four in the morning. You lie there, feeling lonely, feeling sad, remembering old hurts. Sometimes you feel afraid. You don't know why or of what.
If anything was going to scare him at that hour, you'd think it would be the ghosts. There were two or three of them over the years. People he knew. At four in the morning you can find yourself talking to dead people and forgetting they're dead. He'd had dreams like that about his father a few times. They'd have conversations. Nothing weird. Ordinary stuff. His father would be sitting in that chair talking about the Knicks or the Yankees. One time, his father was up by the ceiling looking for a short in the fight fixture and he asked Lesko to pass him the pliers. Lesko thrashed all over his bed looking for them until he woke himself up. He felt like crying. Like a kid. But he didn't.
The funny thing was, come to think of it, his father died getting shot in the head, just like Katz. But that's where the resemblance ended. He didn't mind the dreams where his father came. Katz was another matter.
Katz started coming the day after he died, Or Lesko started dreaming he did. Katz, who didn't have hardly any face left the last time Lesko saw him in daylight, comes strolling in the next morning, like nothing happened, to pick him up for roll call. He's carrying, like always, a deli bag with either two bagels or two Danish, slamming kitchen cupboards, bitching that he can't ever find a clean cup in this place, you're such a slob, and come on, get your ass out of bed. That happened five mornings straight, in the beginning. At first, Lesko would wake himself up yelling that he was going to take Katz's face off all over again, but by the fifth time Lesko wouldn't even lift his head when Katz walked in. Not that Lesko believed in ghosts, but Katz did stop coming, or Lesko did stop dreaming about him, as soon as Lesko squared things for him. But now lately Katz was starting in again.
Lesko had pretty much learned to ignore him. But it seemed that the longer Katz was dead, the better he learned to be aggravating. This time, this morning, he walks in, already chewing on a buttered bagel, and says the same stuff about let's get down to roll call and this place stinks. Except this time he also walks over to the chair where Lesko tossed his clothes the night before. He picks up the jacket or the pants and holds them out with two fingers and he says it's not bad enough your clothes are ugly but they smell like a zookeeper's shoe. He says if Lesko is going to keep buying his clothes at Goodwill Industries he should at least pick out something from after the Second World War.
This annoyed Lesko because although it was true he got sloppy and careless for a while, he was dressing much better now because his daughter started making him go shopping with her. And not at Bond's, either. At Barney's. It also annoyed him that Katz thought he knew so much about fashion because what Katz dressed like was a Hollywood pimp. Hollywood, as it happened, was where Katz got his ideas about clothes in the first place when they flew out there a few years back to pick up a fugitive. All of a sudden Katz starts wearing these flashy sport jackets, turtleneck shirts, gold chains, loafers with tassels, a tan from a tanning machine, and ...The Bannerman Solution. Copyright � by John Maxim. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I¿m ashamed to admit this, but I¿ve purchased two of John R. Maxim¿s novels (HAVEN & MOSAIC) over the last five years that I never read. In fact, the books sat on my shelf for several months before I finally passed them on to friends. When I ran across THE BANNERMAN SOLUTION a few weeks ago, its premise of a group of government assassins retiring to a small Connecticut town and trying to live in peace sounded rather intriguing. I read the reviews on it and then made the decision to give Mr. Maxim a much fairer chance at demonstrating his talent as a writer. I¿m very happy to say that I found myself hooked in the first couple of pages and that the novel proved to be one of the most original and best spy thrillers that I¿ve read during the past year. The story begins by introducing the reader to retired NYPD cop, Raymond Lesko, who¿s being visited in his dreams by the ghost of his former partner (David Katz). It seems that Katz was ripping off a certain group of drug dealers and was later murdered by them to set an example. Lesko, perhaps the toughest cop on the NYC police force, got revenge by shooting the two men who killed his partner while they were at a meeting with Elena, a beautiful, aristocratic woman who ordered the actual hit on Katz. For some strange reason that Lesko couldn¿t explain, even to himself, he allowed Elena to live. It wasn¿t long before rumors started to spread that it was Lesko who took out the two drug dealers and that he allowed Elena to walk away because she bought him off. The rumors eventually forced Lesko to seek an early retirement and to take a job as a security consultant for a local hotel firm. Now, what does all of this have to do with Paul Bannerman and his group of retired government operatives? Well, when Lesko¿s daughter, Susan, who happens to be a newspaper reporter, decides to investigate the unusually high number of deaths in Westport, Connecticut, she comes to the attention of Bannerman while visiting the town. Since his people are behind most of the deaths that have occurred, he makes it a point to meet Susan Lesko in order to find out exactly how much she knows. One thing gradually leads to another, and the two of them begin what will soon become a very serious relationship, much to the dismay of Paul¿s friends. This wouldn¿t be so bad, except that when Bannerman refuses to work for Palmer Reid, a high-ranking member of the CIA, it¿s decided that Bannerman and his people are too dangerous to be left alive. Once Reid discovers that Bannerman is involved with Lesko¿s daughter, he sees a connection that could tie Bannerman to Elena and the South American drug cartel, giving him the excuse needed to take everyone out. Bannerman and his highly skilled team of operatives aren¿t going to be easy to kill, especially when Lesko joins them in an attempt to keep his daughter alive, but Palmer Reid has the resources of the Agency behind him and is a very determined man. THE BANNERMAN SOLUTION is definitely an original masterpiece in the ¿spy¿ genre. Filled with drama, action, and a mixture of humor, it explores an area that has seldom been touched on in fiction. What does happen to government assassins when they reach the retirement age? Does the DIA and the CIA take care of its own, or do they try to eliminate the men and women who have served their country so well? What would happen if a small group of top operatives decided it was time to quit and wanted to live the rest of their lives in relative peace, but our government wouldn¿t let them? John R. Maxim¿s novel delves into these areas and what it would be like for these bringers of death to try and settle down into a normal life. I found the novel to not only be suspenseful, packed with action, and fun to read, but also fascinating in its concept. Bannerman, as well as each of his team members, were carefully drawn with their own unique personality and area of expertise. These characters came alive for me in ways I would never have expected
This one is just the opening salvo...to introduce the characters. The story is ok but the main premise is meeting the characters are the interaction between them. It just gets better.