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Sudden Prey

Sudden Prey

Titel: Sudden Prey
Autoren: John Sandford
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    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, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
     
    SUDDEN PREY
     
    A Berkley Book / published by arrangement with the author
     
     
Copyright © 1996 by John Sandford.
     
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    eISBN : 978-1-101-05129-0
     
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1
    THROUGH THE SPEAKERS above his head, little children sang in sweet voices, O holy night, the stars are brightly shining, it is the night of the dear Savior’s birth . . .
    The man who might kill Candy LaChaise stood in the cold and watched her through the glass doors. Sometimes he could see only the top of her head, and sometimes not even that, but he never lost track of her.
    Candy, unaware, browsed through the lingerie, moving slowly from rack to rack. She wasn’t really interested in underwear: her attention was fixed on the back of the store, the appliance department. She stopped, pulled out a black bustier, held it up, cocked her head like women do. Put it back, turned toward the doors.
    The man who might kill her stepped back, out of sight.
    A minivan pulled to the curb and a chunky woman in an orange parka hopped out and pushed back the van’s side door. An avalanche of dumplinglike children spilled onto the sidewalk. They were of both sexes, all blond, and of annual sizes: maybe four, five, six, seven, eight and nine years old. The van headed for a parking space, while the woman herded the kids toward the doors.
    The man took a bottle from his pocket, stuck his tongue into the neck, tipped it up and faked a swallow or two. The woman hustled the kids past him, shielding them with her body, into the store and out of sight. That was what he wanted; he put the bottle away, and looked back through the doors.
     
     
     
    THERE SHE WAS , still in lingerie. He looked around, and cursed the season: the Christmas decorations, the dirty piles of hard, frozen snow along the streets, the wind that cut through his woolen gloves. His face was thin, unshaven, the skin stretched like parchment on a tambourine. Nicotine had stained his teeth as yellow as old ivory. He lit a Camel, and when he put the cigarette to his lips, his hands trembled with the cold. When he exhaled, the wind snatched away the smoke and the steam of his breath, and made him feel even colder than he was.
     
     
     
    AN OILY BARITONE, a man who’d never be Bing Crosby: . . . Let nothing you dismaaay, Remember Christ our Sa-ay-vior was born on Christmas Day . . .
    He thought, “Christ,

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