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High Noon

High Noon

Titel: High Noon
Autoren: Nora Roberts
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    Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
    Copyright © 2007 by Nora Roberts
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Purchase only authorized editions. Published simultaneously in Canada
    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
    Roberts, Nora.
High noon / Nora Roberts.
p.           cm.
ISBN: 1-101-14719-9
1. Hostage negotiations—Fiction. I. Title.
PS3568.0243H54           2007           2007001054
813'.54—dc22
    This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
    While the author has made every effort to provide accurate telephone numbers and Internet addresses at the time of publication, neither the publisher nor the author assumes any responsibility for errors, or for changes that occur after publication. Further, the publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

For Amy Berkower,
the negotiator

INITIAL PHASE
    Do not forsake me, oh, my darlin’.
    —“ HIGH NOON ”

1
    Jumping to your death was a crappy way to spend St. Patrick’s Day. Being called in on your day off to talk someone out of jumping to his death on St. Patrick’s Day wasn’t exactly green beer and bagpipes.
    Phoebe weaved and dodged her way through the crowds of Savannahians and tourists thronging streets and sidewalks in celebration. Captain David Mc Vee thought ahead, she noted. Even with a badge, it would’ve taken precious time and miserable effort to get through the barricades and mobs of people in her car. But a couple blocks east of Jones, the revelry thinned, and the booming music was only a throb and echo.
    The uniformed officer waited as ordered. His gaze skimmed over her face, down to the badge she’d hooked on the pocket of her khakis. Cropped pants, sandals, shamrock-green T-shirt under a linen jacket, Phoebe thought. Not the professional look she worked to foster on the job.
    But what could you do? She was supposed to be standing on the terrace of Mac Namara House, with her family, drinking lemonade and watching the parade.
    “Lieutenant Mac Namara?”
    “That’s right. Let’s move.” She slid in, flipping out her phone with one hand, dragging the seat belt on with the other. “Captain, I’m en route. Fill me in.”
    The siren screamed as the driver punched the gas. Phoebe yanked out her notebook, taking cursory notes.
    Joseph (Joe) Ryder, suicidal. Jumper with gun. Twenty-seven, white, married/ separated. Bartender/fired. No known religious affiliation. No family on scene.
    WHY? Wife left, fired from job (sports bar), gambling debts.
    No criminal, no previous suicide attempt on record.
    Subject alternately weepy/belligerent. No shots fired.
    “Okay.” Phoebe let out a breath. She’d get to know Joe much better very soon. “Who’s talking to him?”
    “He’s got his cell phone on him. The first on scene wasn’t able to engage. Guy just kept clicking off. We’ve got his employer here—former employer, who’s also his landlord. The subject’s been talking to him off and on, but there’s no progress.”
    “You?”
    “I’d

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