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In Custody Novel

TIRES SCREECHING S CONTROLLED BREATHING BREATHES DEEPLY GUNSHOT GUNSHOT GUNSHOT PEOPLE SCREAMING GUNSHOTS GUNSHOT Move! POLICE RADIO CHATTERING TALKING INDISTINCTLY EMERSON It’s life or death now, James. By that, I mean you’re doing one or the other up in Rockview. This here is District Attorney Rodin. Want to know what he’s wondering Whether you’re gonna walk like a man or cry like a pussy on your way to the death house. See, the D.A. likes the needle, whereas me, I like to see a man like you live a long life.

With all your teeth knocked out. Passed around till a brother can’t tell your fart from a yawn. Now, I don’t know what kind of man you are, which of these two fates you prefer, but Rodin here is a generous fellow. He’s willing to let you take your pick. If you save us and this city a long and costly trial, waive your right to counsel and confess, right now. Sixteen hours. Has to be some kind of record, Detective. What the hell is this Who the hell is Jack Reacher.

Ltigt Jack Reacher,ltigt born Jack, not John, no middle name, is a ghost. No driver’s license, current or expired. No residence, current or former. No credit cards, no credit history. No P.O. box, cell phone, email. Nothing. Can you at least tell me who he is Well, I can tell you who he was. Blood military. ltigt Born and raisedltigt ltigt on bases abroad.ltigt ltigt Mother was a French national,ltigt ltigt father in the Corps.ltigt ltigt His first tripltigt ltigt to the United Statesltigt ltigt was to attend West Point.ltigt ltigt Four years later,ltigt ltigt he ships out for good.ltigt.

Jack Reacher

Ltigt Iraq. Afghanistan.ltigt ltigt The Balkans. You name it.ltigt ltigt Served with distinction.ltigt ltigt Silver Star, Bronze Star,ltigt ltigt Legion of Merit.ltigt Defense Superior Service Medal Had to look that one up. And a Purple Heart. He spent the bulk of his service in the Military Police. By all accounts, a brilliant investigator. Apparently, a troublemaker, too. ltigt Demoted to Captain.ltigt ltigt Worked his way back to Major.ltigt ltigt Then two years ago,ltigt ltigt he musters out.ltigt ltigt After a literal lifetimeltigt ltigt in the military,ltigt ltigt he just up and quits.ltigt ltigt And then,ltigt.

For only the second time in his life, he enters the United States and simply disappears. RODIN ltigt Dead, maybeltigt EMERSON ltigt Not accordingltigt ltigt to Social Securityltigt ltigt and a bank accountltigt ltigt in Virginia.ltigt ltigt His pension isltigt ltigt deposited monthlyltigt ltigt and someone is makingltigt ltigt the occasional withdrawal.ltigt ltigt All wire transfers.ltigt ltigt I can’t find out whereltigt ltigt without a federal warrant.ltigt RODIN ltigt Well, he can’tltigt ltigt drive or fly.ltigt ltigt At least not underltigt ltigt his real name.ltigt ltigt Any warrantsltigt EMERSON ltigt Record’s clean.ltigt.

Oh, come on! A guy this hard to find Gotta be wanted for something. His record is clean. So, how do we find this Reacher Obviously, you don’t find this guy unless he wants to be found. KNOCKING ON DOOR Excuse me, sir. There’s a Jack Reacher here to see you. Can I help you James Barr. So, now you’ve seen him. How do you know him Why wasn’t he in protective custody That was an oversight. More like some Corrections flunky threw him to the wolves. EMERSON ltigt Just as likely.ltigt.

But it’s done and we can’t undo it. So what happens now Well, now he’s in a coma. We’ll try him when he wakes up. If he wakes up. Okay Now it’s your turn, Reacher. Why did he call you as a witness I don’t believe he did. Well, I believe he asked for you by name. Any chance I could look at the evidence No way. Not till you answer some questions. Nice meeting you. Hey. Hey. Hey! Mr. Reacher. Mr. Reacher! Hey, stop! Stop right there! We had a deal.

I take you to Barr, you tell me what you know. I know you say he shot five people, I know he’s in a coma. I know there’s a bus station three miles away and I can walk there in 24 minutes. So you’re just going to walk out on your friend He’s not my friend. RODIN Why’d he ask for you, then Well, same reason he shot five people, he’s crazy. Hey. Hold on. Don’t do that. HELEN Well, this is a new low, even for both of you. Uhoh.

You do not talk to my client without me present. You know that. RODIN We weren’t talking to your client. He’s in a coma, for Christ’s sakes. You’re Barr’s attorney Helen Rodin, Jack Reacher. Jack Reacher Helen Rodin. Yeah, she’s the District Attorney’s daughter. It’s a good story, actually. I’d like to hear it. How’d you find him How’d they find you You can’t be talking to this man. Two strikes in one day. It’s not what it looks like. He came to us. You went to the D.A. Is there a law against that.

None you’re currently breaking. Come on, before this gets awkward. Now, hey. Say, See you in court. For me. Goodbye, Detective. Weird meeting you. Likewise. Let’s go. So. STAMMERS So, you’re Jack Reacher. So you’re the D.A.’s daughter. Oh, Jesus. Please. Is that even legal Fortunately. How does that happen I’ll tell you after deposition. You don’t want to depose me. Oh, well, you’re my only defense witness. I’m not a defense witness. Your friend James thinks you are. He’s not my friend. Why does everyone assume that Well, why else would he ask for you.

And why would you come here to help him I didn’t come here to help him. I came here to bury him. CELL PHONE RINGING Linsky. Who the hell is Jack Reacher HELEN So why are you so hard to find I’m impossible to find. Why is that Well, you could say it started out as an exercise and became an addiction. Are you on the run My bus is leaving. You better hurry, counselor. How do you know James Barr Why are you representing him I’m a lawyer. So is a public defender,.

With just as much chance of clearing Barr. I’m not trying to clear him, I am just trying to keep him off death row. By proving he’s insane Well, that’s one option. And sticking it to your father because. No. Not my father. The Office of the District Attorney. Because the Office of the District Attorney never bought you a pony. D.A. Rodin’s never lost a capital case. You know why Impeccable tailoring. He never picks a fight he can’t win. Worked for the Red Baron. Every murder suspect in this town is given a choice.

Confess or face death. Against a D.A. who never loses. My firm has reason to believe more than one innocent man has gone down without a fight. Oh, I get it. You’re an idealist. No. I’m a pacifist. It’s a noble crusade. But this is not the fight. Trust me. James Barr’s guilty. You haven’t even seen the evidence. Is this a privileged conversation Of course, it’s a client conference. Nothing you say here can be repeated. There are four types of people who join the military. For some, it’s a family trade.

Others are patriots, eager to serve. Next, you have those who just need a job. Then there’s the kind who want a legal means of killing other people. James Barr was one of those. ltigt He made sniper.ltigt ltigt Trained hard.ltigt ltigt Two thousand rounds a week.ltigt ltigt And with every shot,ltigt ltigt he’s taught to visualizeltigt ltigt the base of a man’s skullltigt ltigt through his reticle.ltigt ltigt The sweet spot whereltigt ltigt the medulla meets the spine.ltigt ltigt Visualize thatltigt ltigt puff of pink mist.ltigt S ltigt Finally,ltigt ltigt he’s deployed to Iraq.ltigt.

Ltigt He’s put on overwatch.ltigt ltigt All day long he staresltigt ltigt through a scope at civilians.ltigt ltigt Women.ltigt ltigt Children.ltigt Day in, day out, for two long years without ever once being cleared to fire a single shot. Then comes the drawdown. For James Barr, the war’s over. ltigt Two thousand rounds a week.ltigt ltigt A quarter million roundsltigt ltigt in his career,ltigt ltigt not one at a human target.ltigt ltigt You’ve been hungry.ltigt ltigt You’ve been horny.ltigt ltigt You’ve had an itchltigt ltigt you can’t scratch.ltigt ltigt Imagine that feeling.ltigt ltigt Days. Weeks. Years.ltigt.

Ltigt Imagine that feelingltigt ltigt times 200,000,ltigt ltigt plus 50,000 more.ltigt ltigt Imagine it’s 130 degreesltigt ltigt on the deckltigt ltigt and tomorrow you’re going homeltigt ltigt and you know if you don’tltigt ltigt scratch that itch now,ltigt ltigt you never will.ltigt ltigt You need a release.ltigt ltigt You need a target.ltigt ltigt And the who of itltigt ltigt never once enters your mind.ltigt FIRING ltigt He covered his tracks well,ltigt just like sane people do. He almost got away with it, too. But I caught him. And he confessed. So why didn’t he go to prison.

What Barr didn’t know that day was the four civilian contractors he’d picked off ltigt just spent the weekendltigt ltigt at what they callltigt ltigt a raperally.ltigt It was 28 women, ages 54 on down to 11. Those were just the ones I could find before the case was shut down. See, the deeper I dug, the uglier it got. And after seven long years of Mission Accomplished, someone in the corporation just wanted the whole thing to end quietly. So they chalked it up to the fog of war, made the murders go away.

This is classified information. And that’s why the privilege. But you were ready to tell this to the D.A. The last time I saw Barr, I made him a promise. And when I saw his name on the news, I came here to keep it. But now I know I don’t have to. How can you be sure You still haven’t seen the evidence. Your father has. And he doesn’t pick a fight he can’t win. Barr’s not getting away with murder again. He might. He suffered a severe brain injury in state custody.

When he wakes up, if he wakes up, he may not remember the event, he may not remember anything at all. And this case won’t be about James Barr’s guilt or innocence. It’ll be about his ability to stand trial. After everything I just told you, you still want to defend him I want to see he gets a fair trial. You said he confessed in Baghdad. He didn’t confess this time. This time he knows better. This time he asked for you. I want to know why. You want to know why. I can see it’s eating you.

And you can’t ask Barr, and the D.A. won’t let you see the evidence. My lead investigator has complete access to the evidence. All of it. So where’s your lead investigator About to catch a bus out of town. Thanks for the coffee, counselor. EXHALES You understand you’re not just asking me to look at the evidence. You’re asking me to look at a coldblooded killer. A man I know to be guilty. A man you want to keep off death row. And you’re asking me to look at him objectively.

Yes, that is what I’m asking. I’ll do it. On one condition. Name it. You have to look at the victims objectively. How do you suggest I do that KNOCKING ON DOOR Yes Mr. Farrior I’m Helen Rodin. We spoke on the phone. Of course. You said you’re defending the man that ki. That man. HELEN ltigt I representltigt ltigt James Barr, yes.ltigt FARRIOR ltigt And you haveltigt ltigt questions about my daughterltigt HELEN ltigt I do.ltigt FARRIOR ltigt What forltigt I was hoping to get a better sense of who the victims were as.

That is to say, who they were as people. As human beings. SCOFFS That’s a bit unusual, considering your position, isn’t it That is true. ltigt Normally someoneltigt ltigt in my positionltigt ltigt would want the juryltigt ltigt to know as littleltigt ltigt as possible about the.ltigt FARRIOR ltigt The peopleltigt ltigt that your client killed.ltigt ltigt In cold blood.ltigt Have you spoken with the other families Yeah, some. The ones who would speak with me. Come in. Thank you. FARRIOR ltigt Chrissie was a nanny.ltigt She had a little girl with her that day.

Yes, I know. Are you gonna go talk with that child No, of course not. I. Why not Well, I think it would be. Insensitive Inappropriate Everything that you want to know about my daughter is right here. The ltigt Gazetteltigt did a nice piece on her. Her obituary does the rest. Thank you. I’ll definitely have a look. You a good attorney, Miss Rodin That’s not really for me to. Just answer the question. Yes, I suppose I am pretty good. Good enough to keep that man off death row.

You know, I think maybe I should go. You stay where you are. That man deserves to die, Miss Rodin. Why would you defend him I can see that I have made a terrible mistake. And I’m very, very sorry and I promise I won’t bother you again. GASPS Hello, Dad. What the hell are you doing What am I. What Is it true You’re talking to the victims’ families You Alone How do you know that How did you find me here I’m the District Attorney. It’s my business to know.

That’s not an answer. Oh. Well, you’re not the only one with crack investigators, Helen. That’s right. I know about Reacher. Your lead investigator is a war veteran who’s been missing for the last two years. How can you vouch for his state of mind How can you trust anything he tells you You don’t know the man. Tell me this, does he know you can’t pay him That your own firm didn’t want this case That nobody wants this case You never even spoke to your client before he wound up in a coma.

Oh, now listen to me! Listen. Listen, I’m speaking as your father. Whatever our differences have been in the past, you gotta listen to me now. You’re making a terrible mistake. You cannot win this case. You’re going to ruin your career. Why For what To hurt me To change me Helen. Don’t touch me! REACHER Thanks for letting me take a look. Hey. We love it when friends of the accused try to tear our work to shreds. He’s not my friend. So you keep saying. Find any holes Well, you didn’t have to put him in the hospital.

Other than that, damn fine police work. It’s open and shut. What can I say The scene was a gold mine. Come on. Now we both know gold’s only as good as the man digging. Yeah, well, anytime you want to come back, take a look at this stuff. No, thanks. Don’t need to. You never took any notes. Oh, I don’t need to. CHUCKLING So you were some real hot shit in the Army, huh I did all right. So what does an Army cop do mostly Break up bar fights.

I did what you do pretty much, with one minor difference. What’s that Every suspect was a trained killer. Thanks again. Why do you think he paid for parking Pardon He’s about to fire six shots into a crowd of strangers. And he’s worried about the meter maid Simple loony won’t do it for you I like to have at least one alternate theory. Huh. Habit. Muscle memory. I don’t think he knew he was doing it. Like I said, it’s damn fine work. Hey, Army. What’s the serial number on the rifle.

What’s the date on the quarter 1968. Forest for the trees, Detective. Forest for the trees. MUSIC PLAYING INDISTINCT CONVERSATIONS Mind if I share your table I’m Sandy. So was I. Last week. On a beach, in Florida. What’s your name Jimmie Reese. You don’t look like a Jimmie. What do I look like I don’t know. But not a Jimmie. Hmm. So you’re new in town Usually. It’s kind of loud in here. Do you want to maybe go someplace quieter I have a car. You’re old enough to drive.

I’m old enough to do a lot of things. I’m on a budget, Sandy. What I can’t afford you. I’m not a hooker. Oh, then I really can’t afford you. Seriously, I work at the auto parts store. What I mean is, the cheapest woman tends to be the one you pay for. I am not a hooker! No. A hooker would get the joke. MAN What’s this He called me a whore. Is that true Well, nobody said whore. She inferred hooker, but I meant slut. Hey. That’s our sister.

Is she a good kisser Hey. Outside. Pay your check first. I’ll pay later. You won’t be able to. You think All the time. You should try it. It’s a great joke, but I’m going to beat your ass. Do you want to do that here or outside Outside. Stay here, Sandy. I don’t mind the sight of blood. When it means you’re not pregnant, anyway. You still think you’re funny now, creep Shut your mouth, Sandy! No one is talking to you. It’s your last chance to walk away. Are you kidding It’s five against one.

It’s three against one. How do you figure Well, once I take out the leader, which is you, I’ll have to contend with one or two enthusiastic wingmen. The last two guys, they always run. Oh, you, uh, you’ve done this before Yeah. It’s getting late. Remember, you wanted this. GRUNTING It’s okay. You’re okay. Get up. GROANS LOUDLY Okay. Now we know who’s who. Let’s get this done. GRUNTING GROANING Really GROANING LOUDLY POLICE SIREN WAILING Shit! On the ground! That’s a pretty impressive response time, fellas. COP 1 Do it!.

COP 2 Hands behind your back. Who hired you COP 2 Let’s go. Hey, Helen. HELEN Am I wearing too much perfume Breathing too sternly. Detective Emerson. Somebody dead And if someone is Then they died of shame. ‘Cause I was being gentle. I’m starting to understand why you move around a lot, Reacher. REACHER So no one’s dead. One guy likely won’t ever walk right again. REACHER You want to charge me. EMERSON Very much. But no one’s pressing. Sadly, no. Am I free to go Hey, Emerson. 4862681. What’s that.

It’s the serial number on Barr’s rifle. You’re working for me, do you understand that So everything you do is a reflection on my firm. On me. I was set up. You’re talking to a lawyer. There was this girl. She came onto me. Picked a fight. Which never happens in a bar. She was thrown when I told her my name. She was expecting Mike Tyson She wasn’t expecting Jimmie Reese. Yankees second baseman. Why did you say you were a Yankees second baseman I always use Yankees second basemen.

I didn’t say I was a Yankees second baseman, I just said. Look, the point is, she was expecting to hear Jack Reacher. She knew who I was. And the cops were rolling before the fight even started. And those five guys are her brothers Come on. Someone sent those boys to put me down. Who HELEN If someone followed you at the river today, it was probably a cop. And I highly doubt. There are three things cops never do. They don’t vote Democrat, they don’t drive Cadillacs, and they never use personal vehicles.

It’s not a cop. A P.I., then, or the D.A.’s office. You think your father’s office would set me up Why would anyone set you up How was your day It went exactly the way I think you hoped it would. You okay Mmmhmm. What’d you learn HELEN ltigt Chrissie Farrior was 22.ltigt ltigt A nanny caringltigt ltigt for the sixyearold daughterltigt ltigt of family friends.ltigt She’d finally saved enough money for a trip to China, in fact, she should have left the week before. ltigt But the girl she cared forltigt ltigt wanted Chrissie to stayltigt ltigt for her 7th birthday.ltigt.

Ltigt They’d gone downtown that dayltigt ltigt to shop for a party dress.ltigt ltigt Rita Coronado workedltigt ltigt as a cleaning ladyltigt ltigt at the River Cross Plaza.ltigt She was usually late for work, but she had a good reason. ltigt Since her son Marcoltigt ltigt was nine years oldltigt ltigt she had to personally drop him at school to make sure he actually went.ltigt ltigt But her dedicationltigt ltigt had paid off.ltigt ltigt Marco was nowltigt ltigt an honor student.ltigt ltigt As a reward forltigt ltigt all his hard work,ltigt.

Ltigt Rita was taking himltigt ltigt to his first baseball game.ltigt ltigt And she was on her wayltigt ltigt to pick up the ticketsltigt ltigt that very afternoon.ltigt ltigt Nancy Holt’s last wordsltigt ltigt to her husband were a lie.ltigt I love you, babe. See you! Bye. She told him she was taking her car to be serviced, but in fact, she was headed downtown. It’s perfect. ltigt She told the clerk she didn’tltigt ltigt want the purchase showing upltigt ltigt on her credit card.ltigt ltigt She wanted toltigt ltigt surprise her husbandltigt ltigt for their 10th anniversaryltigt.

Ltigt just a few days away.ltigt Thank you. ltigt Oline Archer never liked her husband’s construction business,ltigt ltigt even after helping himltigt ltigt become one of the largestltigt ltigt contractors in the county.ltigt ltigt So it came as a relief when his failing health and a costly lawsuitltigt ltigt were forcing themltigt ltigt to sell to the competition.ltigt Rob Help! Help! ltigt Her husband had givenltigt ltigt his life for the company.ltigt ltigt But now that it was hers,ltigt ltigt she couldn’tltigt ltigt bring herself to let it go.ltigt ltigt She was on her wayltigt ltigt to secure a loan that dayltigt.

Ltigt so she could keep theltigt ltigt business she’d always hated.ltigt ltigt Darren Sawyer wasltigt ltigt an investment brokerltigt ltigt in the same buildingltigt ltigt where Rita worked.ltigt ltigt His wife said he’d grownltigt ltigt increasingly distant of late.ltigt ltigt She can’t remember theirltigt ltigt last words to one another,ltigt ltigt but they weren’t kind.ltigt ltigt Darren’s body was found beside a fresh bouquet of roses he’d bought that morningltigt ltigt and his wife takes comfortltigt ltigt in the fact that,ltigt ltigt in his last moments,ltigt ltigt he was most likelyltigt ltigt thinking of her.ltigt.

We’re gonna be okay. We’re gonna be okay. We’re gonna be okay. We’re gonna be okay, we’re gonna be okay, we’re gonna be okay, we’re gonna be okay. GASPS REACHER So what’d you learn You want me to say you were right. You want me to say that this isn’t the fight. James Barr should die. Maybe he should. I meant, what did you learn about the victims. What more do you want They were five innocent people senselessly murdered. I’m sorry. Could you please put a shirt on This is my shirt.

You lose your luggage I don’t have any luggage. Uh, what was I saying Five innocent people. Murdered at random, yes. EXHALES DEEPLY You know how many people die in this country every year Two and a half million. That means every day, roughly 7,000 average Americans wake up for the last time. Last Friday, five of them converged on a single spot and died together. Is that random What else would you call it Well, take Darren and Nancy. Odds are they were having an affair. Excuse me You don’t buy roses for your wife on the way to work.

Ltigt You buy them on the way home.ltigt ltigt And you don’t worryltigt ltigt about a chargeltigt showing up on your credit card when your anniversary is that weekend. ltigt Unless it’s the giftltigt ltigt you’re hiding.ltigt And that’s why she kept walking while everyone else ran. You can’t prove that. How hard would it be Cell phones, emails. All it takes is someone willing to dig. What’s your point exactly My point is that two of the victims weren’t there strictly by chance. I need a list of Barr’s known associates.

There isn’t one. He didn’t have any. He’s a classic loner. He didn’t even talk to his neighbors. He was a quiet man. Never bothered anyone. Yeah, exactly. You have his credit card statement I can get it. Why I need the list of all the places he hung out. Bars, bowling alleys, strip clubs, gun ranges. Anywhere someone would remember him. What do we hope to find I need some sleep. You, too. You don’t really think I’m gonna. Be back to pick me up at 700. Yep. Absolutely. Who’s with you.

What happened Oh, that’s him, isn’t it I ain’t seeing you, man! Relax. What happened Barr’s attorney hired an investigator. Name of Reacher. Some sort of topshelf Army cop. He was in Baghdad the same time as Barr. So So Barr asked for this soldier by name. Then he shows up at the river today. Then up on the highway. Almost like he knew something. And you said we don’t like people asking questions. No, we sure don’t. So I took steps. You took steps. Local people. My guys. And it blew back on you.

I figured five guys would do it. Mmm. This franchise was yours to manage. That’s all. Maintenance is our thing, you understand Yeah, I understand. I couldn’t reach you! Well, that’s how this works. Well, I had to make a decision! These locals, I want their names. It’s in the file. Any of them know who you are Just one, but I took care of it. You. SIGHS Where’s the body It’s distributed. SCOFFS Relax! No one’s gonna find it. Suppose we want it found, yeah Why the hell would you want it found.

‘Cause we got a way of doing things so they stay done. Clean! A missing person isn’t clean. Christ’s sakes, man. You only had to kill one goddamn person. You tapped five! You call that clean I call it done. They’re looking at the shooter, not the target. Jesus. We make it messy now so it won’t get messy later. And we don’t leave questions unanswered ever. Okay, all right. Okay. I can fix this. MAN Open your eyes. No, I ain’t seeing you! MAN It makes no difference now. SIGHS.

I made a mistake. I mean, you can still use me, just tell me how to fix. To survive. Don’t say fix it, because you can’t. We covered up the one mess. You made another. All right. You’re right. You’re right. You’re absolutely right. I’m sorry. Just tell me what I have to do. I was in prison in Siberia. I spent my first winter wearing a dead man’s coat. A hole in one pocket. I chewed these fingers off before the frostbite could turn to gangrene. These I gave up to avoid working in the sulfur mine.

That is how I survived when so many others did not. A man this rare can always be of use. So show me. Show me you are rare. Show me you’ll do anything to survive. I don’t understand. The fingers from your left hand. SCOFFS Have you. Have you got a knife Did I have a knife in Siberia CHUCKLES No. Come on, you’ve got to be kidding. You can do it. Show me. GROANS EXCLAIMING IN PAIN Christ! Can’t! I can’t. Always the bullet. I can’t! I don’t understand. What do we do about the soldier.

What we always do. Barr’s credit card statement. Eyewitness testimonies. Coffee. You take it black, right Yeah. What can I say I take my work home. Afraid Barr’s credit card statement’s a dead end. No bars, no strip joints, nothing. Pretty much just gas and groceries. I need you to look for gun ranges between 100 and 150 miles from here. Limit your search to ranges longer than 300 yards. Sure, if you tell me why. Barr consistently filled his tank on Saturday, and again on Sunday. He took a long drive almost every weekend.

He could be going anywhere. Yes. And if it’s bars, bowling alleys or strip clubs, we’ll never find it. But a Matchlevel gun range There might be two. And he made his own bullets. That means he shot a lot. I’m guessing every Saturday. Maybe with a friend. Why is it so important you talk to his friends Assuming he had any. Drop me at the auto parts store. I. Wait. Which one I don’t know. She just said the auto parts store. She Who Reacher, can you be a little more specific.

I didn’t say an auto parts store. Which one stands out in your mind as the auto parts store HELEN You want me to wait No, I’ll meet you back at the office later. HELEN How will you get there I’ll hitch a ride. RINGING Can I help you Sandy work here What’s this about So she does, thanks. I need to speak with her. It’s a personal matter. She’s on the clock. Legal personal matter. What are you, a cop Call her out, Gary. I’m gonna need to see some I.D.

Go get Sandy. Well, I need to see something. How about the inside of an ambulance Okay, I’m calling the police. I don’t think Sandy wants the police involved. Hello .but let’s ask. Hey! You ca. Hello I need some help. Hello Hey! You! No. You are not allowed back in here, man! Shit. You know this guy Tell him. Give us a few, Gary. Listen, I wasn’t. I didn’t know. I didn’t know that was going to happen! It was Jeb. The big guy. Jeb Oliver. He told me you were a predator.

You were supposed to start groping me. Just don’t hurt me. Sandy, sit down. Where can I find Jeb I don’t know. He didn’t come to work today. So he works here. Yeah. It’s bullshit, though. He cooks crystal. His address, write it down. I’m really sorry, mister. You were supposed to be a pervert. And it was an easy 100 bucks. That’s all When Jeb asks, you do what he says. Am I in trouble Not if you lend me your car. I don’t have a car. Well, sure you do. It’s outside.

I’m guessing you’re the Camaro. That whimsy little pickup has Gary written all over it. Keys I can’t. It’s Jeb’s car! Well, won’t he be surprised when I drive it home for him. Who are you, mister Really I’m just a guy who wants to be left alone. I get off work at six! Maybe we could. Sandy, listen. Now, you seem like a sweet girl. You’re pretty. You’re obviously sharp, doing Gary’s books for him. You don’t have to let these guys use you. It’s just what girls like me do.

You got money A little. Get out of town for a couple of days. Why Get out of town, Sandy. CAR ENGINE STARTING Is Jeb home I have a warrant to search the premises. I see. Well, if you don’t mind. MEN TALKING ON TV GRUNTS MAN Get him! Get him! Get him! MEN GRUNTING I got this! Okay, okay. All right. SCREAMING PANTING Don’t move. I’ll tell you what. When I move, you pull the trigger. Aah! Aah! Where’s Jeb He’s not here. Where can I find him Jesus! My hand!.

Well, you shouldn’t play with guns. Where can I find him You’re the one driving his car. You tell. CRIES OUT The last I saw him, we was all leaving jail. He said he had to see a guy. What guy Who I don’t know. I don’t know, I swear. Next I know, his mom woke up from a bender and his shit’s all gone. Is he the sort to light out like that No, no, man. He’d never leave his moms alone. Shit ain’t right. Got a car It’s outside.

Keys. My hand, man. They’re in my pock. Aah! Okay, okay. Now look at your friends. Now look at my face. Do you ever want to see me again No way. Am I stealing your car Use it as long as you like. You’re very kind. Ah! REACHER ltigt I thinkltigt ltigt Jeb Oliver’s dead.ltigt Who’s Jeb Oliver He was the guy from the bar. Jesus, how hard did you hit him What No, not me. No, he was murdered. And someone tried to make it look like he left town.

Well, maybe he just left town. You pack your shower curtain when you travel Is this what you base your conclusions on What is that on your head Uh. You don’t want to know. You said on the phone you wanted to submit your findings. James Barr was a sniper. Not the best, not the worst. But he trained nonstop for two years. What does training like that do What does any training do Skills become reflex. Muscle memory. You do without thinking. It also makes people who aren’t necessarily smart seem smart.

By beating some tactical awareness into them. Now, 99 of the evidence your father has against Barr didn’t exist in Baghdad, not because Barr was smart, but because he was trained. ltigt See, from that garage,ltigt ltigt the shooter hadltigt ltigt the sun in his eyes.ltigt ltigt Targets were movingltigt ltigt left and right.ltigt ltigt It’s difficult conditionsltigt ltigt for any sniper.ltigt But Baghdad, you said Barr was in a parking garage then. REACHER Because in Baghdad, the sun’s behind him. ltigt Targets coming straight ahead,ltigt ltigt single file.ltigt Ideal conditions for even an average shooter.

And the exact same conditions ltigt he would’ve hadltigt ltigt up on that highway bridge.ltigt ltigt Up there, he would never evenltigt ltigt have to get out of the van.ltigt ltigt No parking meter.ltigt ltigt No camera.ltigt ltigt No trace evidence left behind.ltigt ltigt And his escape is assured.ltigt Now, I’m not saying that he couldn’t have killed those people at the river, but he wouldn’t have. Not that way. So you’re saying he’s crazy. No. Well, what exactly are you saying Any single piece of evidence I’d buy. But all of it.

Fibers, fingerprints, stray brass, I mean. And who the hell pays for parking Sane or crazy, that just doesn’t make sense. Okay. So Barr, he wanted to get caught and he wanted you to catch him. That would not explain how Barr, an average shooter firing in poor conditions, never missed. He did miss. He did. A pristine bullet, ltigt conveniently trappedltigt ltigt by a liquid backstop.ltigt The same bullet that tied Barr’s gun to the killings. And arguably the prosecution’s single most important piece of evidence. If Barr wanted to get caught, he didn’t miss.

Either way, it doesn’t make sense. If he wanted to get away with it, he likely would have and if he wanted to get caught, Barr was incapable of such perfection. Or maybe he just got lucky, six shots out of six. That’s what I was willing to accept, then those guys took a run at me. Whoever sent them made a mistake. It was just a bar fight. Maybe. Or maybe someone got nervous, tried to run me off. Or put me in a coma, right next to their patsy.

Patsy It was such a great crime scene. No one stopped to think it might be too great. ltigt Not Emerson.ltigt ltigt Not your father.ltigt ltigt Not even Barr’s ownltigt ltigt defense attorney.ltigt ltigt But Barr knew I would,ltigt no matter how much I wanted it to be true. That’s why he asked for me. Wait. Are you suggesting. James Barr is innocent. You can see what this is, can’t you You’ve got a case in your hands that may be the last case you’ll ever have and you’ll do anything not to hit the bottom of it.

Helen. You know, you never should have retired. Just, look. Listen. For all I know, you were standing at an intersection with a cardboard sign three days ago. And I hired you. Jesus, my father was right. Helen. Helen. It makes total sense now. It’s the way you live, the way you move around. You’re just not cut out for the real world, are you Are you afraid you’ll end up like Barr Helen. Is that what this is Look out the window. No, I have work to do. And you need to leave.

Just humor me. Okay. Let. Let go of me. Would you tell me what you see I see the same things I see every day. Well, imagine you’ve never seen it. Imagine you’ve spent your whole life in other parts of the world being told every day you’re defending freedom. And finally you decide you’ve had enough. Time to see what you’ve given up your whole life for. Maybe get some of that freedom for yourself. Look at the people. Now tell me which ones are free. Free from debt. Anxiety.

Stress. Fear. Failure. Indignity. Betrayal. How many wish they were born knowing what they know now Ask yourself how many would do things the same way all over again And how many would live their lives like me Now look at the silver Audi across the street, the one that’s been following me all day. What does that prove Here’s the tag number. How long would it take you to run it At this time of night I don’t know. An hour Do it. Do it, and then I’ll leave. CELL PHONE VIBRATES.

When No, this is my problem now. I’ll handle it. CELL PHONE RINGS Yeah You’re blown. The lawyer’s running the license plates. MUMBLING IN RUSSIAN Yeah. So do it Done. Go to this address. HELEN All right, let’s just say that Barr didn’t do it. Or did it ’cause someone put him up to it. Either way, what have you got Conspiracy. Yeah, conspiracy to kill five random people There’s no motive. It’s ridiculous, right It’s grassy knoll ludicrous. No point looking any further. Exactly. Exactly. What’s this The motive. Just hold onto it.

What are we playing, ltigt Clueltigt PHONE RINGS Yeah Give it to me. Thank you. You sure that car was following you all day As soon as you picked me up. Why It’s registered to a company called Lebendauer Enterprises. A conspiracy to kill five random people That’s ridiculous. Four. Four random people. To hide one specific target. REACHER Someone needed Oline Archer’s construction business. ltigt And Oline wouldn’t let it go.ltigt It’s a convincing theory. But it’s just a theory. The first round is the least accurate. The snipers call it a cold shot.

Meanwhile, your eyewitness described a pause ltigt between the firstltigt ltigt and second rounds.ltigt ltigt The one shot where the killerltigt ltigt took his time.ltigt HELEN ltigt And Oline Archerltigt ltigt was the second victim.ltigt The one shot that mattered. But it’s just a theory. This frame was custom made for Barr. Whoever chose him knew about Baghdad and the only one who could have told him about Baghdad was Barr himself. He has at least one friend. A very close one. Now, you find that friend, you’ll find the real shooter.

Find the real shooter Reacher, my job is to present the jury with reasonable doubt. Period. What about catching the guys who really did this Oh, catching the guys who did this Bringing them to justice No, I can’t take this to court. Exposing the truth. Even if I believed Barr is innocent, it’s not my job. I am just a lawyer. I’m not a cop. And frankly, neither are you. I can’t do this anymore. Thanks for the coffee, counselor. Sandy Wait, it is Sandy, isn’t it Do I know you.

Charlie. Jeb’s friend Oh, come on, don’t break my heart. I’m sorry, I don’t remember. Well, we were both pretty wasted. Oh. BOTH Yeah. CHUCKLES What, you live here Just up there. No shit. I just moved in around the back! How crazy is that It’s wild. Yeah. Wow! You, uh. You look great. Thanks. Well, look, you know, I don’t want to keep you, so. Maybe we can grab a drink sometime. Yeah, maybe. Hey, how about tonight I’m meeting some people. Okay. Well, some other time, then. Some other time.

Do it here. What SHUSHING HELEN Reacher! There’s a gun range in Ohio, targets out to 700 yards. The only range that matches your requirements. You should sleep. You have a long drive tomorrow, and I need to go to city hall and pull up Oline’s legal history. I wouldn’t do that. Not till I get back. If I’m right, someone killed four random people so no one would look directly at Oline. And if I’m right, just saying her name could get you killed. You saying I should be scared.

Well, are you smart Obviously. Then don’t be scared. POLICE RADIO CHATTERING What exactly am I looking for Someone who could kill that girl with one punch. Oh, you want the guy in 1109. Ernie Johnson. You’ll see. Out of the car! CAR HORN HONKING That’s our suspect! Move, move! SIREN WAILING Suspect is headed north on State Route 65. I need backup and air support. TIRES SCREECHING HORNS HONKING SIREN WAILING PANTING TRYING TO START ENGINE TRYING TO START ENGINE HELICOPTER APPROACHING Hold up! All clear! Oh, God, I just don’t believe it. I don’t believe it!.

I issued the warrant an hour ago. According to the victim’s boss, Reacher was seen at her place of work this morning. Where he threatened her boss. The car he was driving tonight belonged to a friend of Jeb Oliver’s. The man he assaulted. No, those guys assaulted Reacher. Reacher put three more men in the hospital this afternoon at Jeb Oliver’s place. After arriving in Jeb Oliver’s car. And Jeb hasn’t been seen since he left the hospital. Helen, if you know where Reacher is, you need to tell us.

I don’t know where he is. I have not seen him since he left my office a few hours ago. I think she’s telling the truth. Oh, you think, Dad Fuck you! Hey, I told you not to go near him. You come into my home and you treat me like I’m an accessory! SCOFFS Please! You know. All right. All right. Come on. Enough. Look, let me handle it. I’m not done. You’re both done. Just get out. PHONE RINGING This is Helen. REACHER ltigt I’m guessingltigt ltigt the police are thereltigt.

Yep. ltigt By your response I’m guessingltigt ltigt I have about 30 secondsltigt ltigt before you hand themltigt ltigt the phone.ltigt If that. ltigt If you believe someoneltigt ltigt could frame Barr,ltigt ltigt you have to believeltigt ltigt they could do the same to me.ltigt I suppose that’s possible. She was a sweet kid, Helen. And they killed her because of me. They want me to run. But I won’t. ltigt I’m going to finish this.ltigt No, that’s not a good idea. ltigt Listen.ltigt Two things. One, I, uh. I stole your car.

Ltigt If you want to end this,ltigt just hang up the phone and report it missing. And I’ll understand. And anything else I thought I’d be pushing it if I mentioned this earlier. Now I guess all bets are off. You need to watch what you say to Emerson and your father. ltigt I think one of themltigt ltigt is in on it.ltigt All right. Thanks for calling. I have to go. ltigt Wait. I’ve been followedltigt ltigt from day one.ltigt Only three people knew I was here. ltigt Emerson, your father and you.ltigt.

Ltigt You need to ask yourself,ltigt ltigt who has the most to loseltigt ltigt if we clear Barrltigt ltigt Who tried to warn you off meltigt ltigt Of course, I could be wrong.ltigt ltigt If you think I am,ltigt ltigt just hand over the phone.ltigt There’s no sense getting any deeper. Who’s that you’re talking to The office. Are we done Helen, listen. We need to ta. Good night. EXHALES SIREN WAILING You got some fine shooters here. Fine as frog’s hair. Rarer, too. ‘Cause most of them fellas out there.

Can’t shoot worth a damn. CHUCKLES You ask them to put three rounds in the black, well, they’ll suck it. I’m looking for the owner. That’d be me. Martin Cash. Aaron Ward. What can I do you for, Mr. Ward Ward Yeah. I’m looking for a friend of mine. We served in Iraq. The guy just dropped off the grid, you know It happens. Yep. Yeah. Yeah. Anyway, he was a shooter. Last I heard, he lived around here somewhere and I. When did he get out of the Army Well, I didn’t say the Army.

Well, you said you served with him. You’re no jarhead. Man on a flying horse could see that. Well, my father was in the Corps, if that helps. Well, CHUCKLES that makes you half human. Your friend got a name Yeah. James Barr. James Barr. Never heard of him. I think you have. I think you’ve been dreading the moment some cop comes in here asking after him. Because it’s for sure some soccer mom around here is more worried about your range than she is about the pool in her backyard.

Or the drain cleaner under her sink. Wouldn’t matter to her if Barr did his killing 100 miles away, only that he came here to rehearse. She’d have a case to shut you down and nothing better to do. What do you want I want to know who Barr’s friends were. Those boys out there, they’re mighty touchy when it comes to their constitutional rights. Suppose I tell them a cop is in here asking after my members I’m not a cop. What are you I work for Barr’s attorney. We have reason to believe he’s innocent.

The hell you say. Be that as it may, I’m the only one who’s bothered to track him this far. You help me out, I’ll be in your debt. And if I don’t Maybe you can coach soccer. You put three in the center and maybe we’ll talk. Huh Can I have a few to warm up ALARM SOUNDING Six inches right. That’s your mulligan, Mr. Ward. Play ball! Let’s go. You’re a little rusty, Mr. Reacher. I saw a man by that name shoot for the Wimbledon Cup, what, ten years ago.

And I’m pretty sure you never played second base for the Yankees in 1925. Now, I’ll answer one question. Who’s your best shooter James Barr. I pulled all these down as soon as I heard about the shooting. That’s the best shot I ever seen this side of civilian life. Suppose I told you Barr wasn’t this good on his best day in the Army. I handed out those targets myself. That’s my scrawl on every one. Do you hang them downrange, too What, are you serious I’m saying it’s possible that Barr had a friend.

One who switched the targets on the range. Maybe Barr let him. Made him feel like King Shit having his name up on your wall. I never saw one real shooter who would do that for his own mother. Unless he was framing his mother for multiple murder and using your range to do it. Barr didn’t come alone, did he You know, one of these nuts is likely to kill you, they find that camera, there. Hell, the camera’s there ’cause one of these nuts is likely to kill me.

There’s Barr. I always liked him. Always liked him. There. Him. That son of a bitch. RINGING Helen Rodin speaking. REACHER ltigt Got a candidateltigt ltigt for our shooter.ltigt Picture, possible prints and one pissedoff eyewitness. I can’t talk right now. Just give me three hours to get back. ltigt And don’t talk to anyoneltigt ltigt until I get there.ltigt I’ll look into that, thanks. This is just what I could pull this morning. Tax records, city and state permit applications, contract bids. Shell corporation in Georgia. That’s the one next to Russia, not Florida.

They work one city at a time, acquiring a local construction concern just ahead of major civic redevelopment. They build bridges no one needs. Highways no one uses. They’re like a cancer. A cell that won’t stop growing. They moved 12 times in 15 years. Atlanta, Albuquerque, Austin, Oklahoma City, Sacramento. Always amidst allegations of corruption including millions of dollars in missing public funds. And yet never an investigation. Never even an inquiry. It’s as if Lebendauer Enterprises were above reproach. SIGHS Well, maybe that’s because the allegations come from the competition.

Outbid. Bitter. Like Oline Archer. Or maybe Lebendauer has the cooperation of key officials. And maybe when that cooperation isn’t enough, they kill people who won’t be bought off. Like Oline Archer. Helen, how much of this do you honestly believe It doesn’t matter how much I believe. It doesn’t even matter how much I can prove. It only matters how much is true. Do you know how delusional you sound What happened to you Are you really so set on putting this man to death that you’d ignore. I pulled all of this paper under my own name.

If Jack Reacher’s right, my life, your daughter’s life, is in danger now. Whatever happens to me next is on your head, whether you’re involved or not. You are the District Attorney and I’ve given you compelling evidence to investigate Lebendauer Enterprises. Your next move will tell me which side you’re on. Oh. I see. It’s a test. CHUCKLES Well, this may be hard for you to believe, but I do love you. And obviously I’m not going to turn a blind eye, no matter how absurd I find all of this.

SIGHS So, if you really believe that you’re in danger, if you believe that, then the next order of business, is to put you in protective custody right now. And how safe will I be if you’re part of it Jesus, Helen. FLOOR BUFFER STOPS DINGS Oh. Hey. Business meeting or personal Hard to tell them apart. I’ll bet. BELL RINGS TASER CRACKLING SCREAMING INDISTINCT CONVERSATIONS CELL PHONE RINGING Helen CHARLIE ltigt No.ltigt Sorry, wrong number. ltigt Is this Reacherltigt Who is this Is this Reacher It’s you. The guy from the car.

It’s your boyfriend. Reacher, is it you Helen, are you hurt Well, she’s gonna be if you’re not here in one hour. Do I have to tell you how this works You’ll bounce me around to make sure I’m not followed, then walk me into an ambush and kill me. ltigt Aw, you ruined my surprise.ltigt Well, I can do one better. I went down to the gun range at Hinge Creek. ltigt I got the picture, prints,ltigt ltigt and I’m going to the Feds.ltigt The lawyer’s all yours. Get the Zec.

CELL PHONE RINGS On second thought, I’d like to kill you. ltigt Let’s say winner take all.ltigt Listen to me, you prick. I will kill this bitch if you’re not here in one. Shit! CELL PHONE RINGS ltigt You think I’m a heroltigt I am not a hero. I’m a drifter with nothing to lose. You killed that girl to put me in a frame. I mean to beat you to death and drink your blood from a boot. ltigt Now, this is howltigt ltigt it’s going to work.ltigt ltigt You’re gonnaltigt ltigt give me the addressltigt.

And I’ll be along when I am damn good and ready. If she doesn’t answer the phone when I call this number, if I even think you’ve hurt her, I disappear. And if you’re smart, that scares you, because I’m in your blind spot and I have nothing better to do. You got a pen Don’t need one. KNOCK ON DOOR VEHICLE APPROACHING If I had a dollar for every time the Army called the Corps for help. You have something for me Yeah. Here. You’re kidding, right Just because I saw you shoot ten years ago.

Doesn’t mean I’ll let you kill some asshole with my gun. I told you how serious this was. And I showed up, didn’t I So let’s get to it. ltigt Now, your shooter will beltigt right up there behind those lights. Okay He can cover both roads coming and going. And kill you just as soon as you stand up. Well, can you take him out What, to dinner you mean CHUCKLES Look, I don’t know the type of people you normally associate with, Reacher. But I’m not in the habit of driving out to the boonies at the drop of a hat.

And just picking off some total strangers, all right Anyway, I can’t see anything, not with them lights up. So shoot them out. Yeah, sure. And then he knows right where I am. I might as well set myself on fire. No, sir. I’ll start shooting when he does. And how do you propose we get him started Well, you could always start running. CHUCKLES What’s wrong with your eye I’m saving my night vision. Hey, Gunny, you mind if I ask you kind of a personal question What, you don’t think I can shoot anymore.

It is a perishable skill. Yeah, well, the sun will be up in an hour. Let’s get going. I heard them call you the Zec. That means prisoner. Yes Tell me, killing all those people, I have to believe the money you’re making can’t possibly be enough to just. Enough There is no such thing. We take what can be taken. This is what we do. And you This one I think I understand, but you Why’d you do it You make it sound like I had a choice. Oh, didn’t you.

You’ll see. You should know I’ve taken steps, that if anything happens. If anything happens to you, it will happen in front of your father while he begs for your life. You should never have involved him. Now you will have to convince him to forget, for your sake and for his. You say nothing, but I see defiance in your eyes. That is a look I have seen many, many times. When the soldier comes, when you watch how he dies, it will change you. You will want to forget me then.

CELL PHONE RINGING Reacher REACHER ltigt Are you okayltigt They’re ready for you. They’d like to think so. Don’t do this. Please don’t do this. Not for me. ltigt Listen, Helen,ltigt ltigt they’re not gonnaltigt hurt you until they have me. And that’s never going to happen. ltigt You hear meltigt You just hang in there. ‘Cause I’m coming to get you. Now say you believe me. I believe you. CAR APPROACHING This was a bad idea. Any time now, Gunny. Shit. Where the hell are you, Gunny GROANS LAUGHS Suck it!.

You should go. Toss it. GRUNTING GROANS SCREAMING REACHER I know you’re in there, Emerson. It was staring me right in the face. The one piece that just didn’t fit. The quarter. Nobody would have thought to dump that meter. Not even me. GASPS You were wrong about my father. I wouldn’t make a big thing of it. Who is he That’s John Doe Number Two. The man on the grassy knoll. The thing under the bed. They call him the Zec. Zec Prisoner. What’s your real name I was born in October.

When I get to my birthday, I’m gonna pull the trigger. One. Two. Chelovek. Zec Chelovek. Chelovek Chelovek Human. Prisoner Human Being. That’s your real name That is all I remember. Call the police. Were you really going to shoot him I knew I wouldn’t have to. One look at this guy and you know he’ll do anything to survive. One look at me and you know I’m not bluffing. HELEN Yes, I have an emergency at. Yes, I’ll hold. We’re in no hurry. With a name like yours, you’re gonna feel right at home.

Prison In America A retirement home. If I go to prison at all. You think you’re gonna walk You are a homeless drifter wanted for murder. Meanwhile, I am an old man in the wrong place at the wrong time. Thanks to you, who is left to say otherwise Who HELEN Yes, hello Yes, there’s. Uh, I have an emergency. We’ll see which one of us goes to prison. There are maybe three, four people dead. Okay. My bet Neither one. What did you do What’s it look like What about the truth.

What about getting the guys who really did this What about bringing him to justice I just did. HELEN What about clearing Barr What about clearing you REACHER I have faith you’ll sort it out. And I hear you have an in with the local D.A. HELEN But what happens to you in the meantime I keep moving. Same as always. Wait, is that my car DOOR CLOSES This the lady Helen Rodin, Martin Cash. A pleasure. You look like hell there, Army. You asked if I was afraid I’d end up like Barr. I’m not.

I’m afraid I’ll end up like this guy. There’s a lot of dead bodies out here. So let’s get to it. We should probably go. Wait. That’s it It’s just over You’ll be all right, counselor. No. What if I need you How will I find you Oh, you don’t need me. Not anymore. DISTANT SIREN WAILING Get her number. Let’s go! I’m Helen Rodin, your attorney. This conversation is protected by attorneyclient privilege. You understand what that means Yeah. Now, the police didn’t talk to you, did they They’re not allowed to do that without me here.

How bad was it How many did I. You don’t remember anything about the incident No. But I could hear the nurses talking to those cops out there. SOBBING I don’t even remember wanting to do it! Look, I’m not gonna fight this. If they say I done it, then I did. I done things before. I did something bad. Real bad. A long time ago. And I got away with it. James, how well do you know this place Pretty well. And how do you think you would have done it.

I guess I would have parked up on the highway. The sun would be at my back that time of day. I got a van. Set up in back. Wouldn’t have to worry about my brass. Get away real clean, too. SNIFFLING TEARFULLY That sound about right Sounds as if you know your stuff. I forget your name. It’s Helen. Helen Rodin. BARR SOBBING You’re going to be okay, James. I am gonna take care of you. You can’t protect me. No one can. From what From who There’s this guy.

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