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Thursday, January 31, 2013

It had taken at least six months to compile a complete dossier on Sarah Archer...


Excerpt from The Tourist Killer by F.C. Etier


The Tourist Killer

by F.C. Etier




Click cover to go to Amazon.

In his first novel, FCEtier delves into the mindset of a masters candidate and the events that take the student on a career path to the top of a lonely profession. We meet “The Shooter” as a mission is about to conclude and quickly become acquainted with a conflicted individual seeking resolution to inner conflicts as a phenomenal career enters its twilight years. Then another assignment comes up almost immediately.

How does an individual become a target? Who makes the life-ending decision? The cast includes potential victims, security staffs, and several eccentric characters including an aging hippie who speaks only in song lyrics and a former FBI agent with diverse interests. The role of Julian F. Thibaut, the enigmatic billionaire member of the one percent of the one percenters, changes with the winds and adds doubt to the already unstable status quo.

As the action proceeds on several fronts, the shooter battles conscience, hired killers, and burn-out while juggling relationships and attempts at normalcy. In this fast-paced story with political overtones, FCEtier takes readers on a thrilling ride while addressing personal, business, and governmental ethics.

It had taken at least six months to compile a complete dossier on Sarah Archer, referred to by four different newspapers as “The Slasher.”

Six states.

Nine women.

Five years.

She looked little different from most women who walked the streets, attractive enough for men to notice, not pretty enough for them to remember.

Five foot nine.

Muscular.

Agile.

Short, narrow nose.

Dimple on her chin.

Smooth skin.

No make-up.

Tonight, the shooter noted when Sarah Archer walked into the downtown bar, she had accentuated her eyebrows and lashes.

The target may have looked feminine.

She wasn’t.

She had been known to overpower victims much larger than she. Sarah, if the police reports were accurate, would get them intoxicated either with drugs or alcohol before making her move.

In every known previous case, she had rented an apartment and lured her target there.

The shooter had been on her trail since February. It was July now. It was unusual to have to do so much legwork. Most of the assignments were more straightforward. The fee for this job would be well-earned. It was now eleven thirty-seven. From her secluded perch atop the Downtown Inn on Patton street, the shooter had a clear view and a variety of shooting angles. The custom-made suppressor would mute most of the report. If the shot was made from the rooftop, most would think it just another firecracker, or maybe another car backfiring in the night.

When alone, the shooter often spoke out loud, not much more than a whisper, but spoken aloud. It provided an affirmation. It helped with her concentration.

Almost midnight — aha. There they go.

Tonight, the shooter saw through the scope, Sarah was a platinum blonde. She wore a tight-fitting mini-skirt and a white, collared blouse.

Pick-up attire.

Through the scope, the shooter could see that Sarah had unfastened several buttons, revealing perhaps a bit too much of her smallish breasts. As the two women exited Scandals, one of Western Carolina’s more popular gay/lesbian clubs, they walked hand-in-hand down Grove Street.

It was a clear shot.

Squeeze the trigger.

Then vanish.

The shooter had become a master of escape.

Sarah’s companion staggered for a moment — into the line of fire.

Damn.

Sarah helped her date regain her balance and they continued down the street.

Right towards the Slasher’s apartment. I’ll get her on the sidewalk. The shooter adjusted the rifle to reacquire the target now moving towards Patton Avenue.

Sarah’s new friend was an inch or two taller and a few pounds heavier. She, too, was dressed in what the shooter referred to as pick up attire.

Gail Oppenheimer was wearing cut-off jeans and a ragged guinea tee. Her coal black hair cascaded down her back and around her shoulders.

She looks a lot more feminine than Sarah does. The shooter waited. Patience had become an art. Now, I’ve got her.

But as the shooter’s finger tightened against the trigger, Sarah leaned in close to Gail’s ear and whispered. A dark Buick eased up beside them and stopped at the light.

Gail giggled. The shooter relaxed.

Another missed opportunity.

The clock was ticking.

The shooter immediately hurried to the edge of the roof, slipped through an attic window, and ran down two flights of stairs, heading for hotel room three-twenty-six. It had to be a hasty and efficient relocation. No time to spare. The room had a great view — of Sarah’s apartment building. The shooter had made sure of it.

The shooter glanced out the window. Now the women were at the street level door. The shooter knelt and waited for the right time to fire. It wouldn’t be long now.

As the couple approached the sidewalk entrance, the doorman stepped into the cross hairs.

Damn.

The women swept through the big front glass doors and disappeared into the hotel.

The shooter took a deep breath and looked into Sarah Archer’s room. The drapes had been pulled wide, and the shooter had a clear view, waiting quietly for the women to enter the room. In the dim lighting, the shooter could see Sarah Archer moving as one with her victim as they embraced and danced without music. Suddenly, the taller woman pushed back. Something had been said. The shooter’s nerves tightened.

The woman known as “The Slasher” moved in closer and slapped her victim violently with an open hand. Their body language, head movements, and lips signaled an argument. Just as quickly as it had begun, they both relaxed. Sarah moved in close again.

Gail Oppenheimer, the small town girl with the perfect figure, was about to become the tenth victim of an anomaly. Female serial killers were rare. Time was running out. The shooter was running out of chances to save one life by ending another.

The butt of the rifle was comfortable against the shooter’s shoulder. The light was on in Sarah’s apartment, making it easy to acquire the target.

A deep breath.

The shooter, the rifle, the bullet, the target all meshed together into one single entity.

The moment arrived.

Nothing moved except the shooter’s right index finger.

Gail Oppenheimer had been helpless in the arms of a much stronger woman who was slowly bringing a razor to her throat. The blade flashed.

With no warning, it disappeared.

The grip of her attacker loosened.

And she was free.

Gail opened her eyes and gripped the back of a nearby chair. She was able to stand and for a few moments remain conscious. There was blood everywhere and what appeared to be bits of brain tissue and bone fragments on her shoulders and arms. The corpse’s eyes were wide open from shock, and its mouth was twisted in a distorted painful looking grin. The side of the would-be killer’s head was gone.

Gail began to tremble. A cold chill swept across her body. Then darkness swept over her.

The shooter watched through the Zeiss scope as Gail Oppenheimer’s knees buckled and she dropped onto the lifeless body of her attacker.

It had been a clean kill.

One shot, not a moment late, and the life of a serial killer had ended.

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