Kahlil Sharivar strode down the dim quiet street, parka hood over his head, swinging the leash that would support his cover story of a runaway dog. Even at one in the morning, he didn’t expect to be challenged. Residents of the small Montana town lacked the knife-edge of suspicion prevalent in most places he worked. He stopped in front of an old single-story Craftsman bungalow. A porch lamp glimmered, but its illumination didn’t reach the mailbox at the curb.

He checked the block. No approaching headlights, houses dark, safe, and sleeping. From his pocket, he took a postcard and a book-size package and inserted them in the mailbox.

On the side of the house, light from a small bathroom window spilled into the yard.

She was awake. He smiled.

For two patient years he’d waited to see Tawny Lindholm in person. Finally, here was the chance. Dense lilac bushes gave cover as he crept close and crouched in shadows a mere ten feet from the house.

Framed by the bathroom window, she brushed long coppery hair lightly streaked with gray. An oversized, threadbare tee-shirt hung loose on her slender frame. Probably had belonged to her dead husband. High cheekbones and delicate features bespoke the modeling career of her youth. And the lovely wide-set brown eyes he remembered from online photos.

Her shoulders tensed and she turned to look out into the darkness.

His heart quickened, even though he knew she couldn’t see him. She lowered the shade and the light went out.

He left cover and returned to the sidewalk, thrusting his hands into his pockets against the chill, smiling as he turned the corner.

The final stage of his attack on America’s electrical grid had begun.


Instrument of the Devil  is available at Amazon and major online booksellers here.

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