Tue
Nov 13 2012 1:00pm

Read & Win: Dick Wolf’s The Intercept

Dick Wolf

The Intercept by Dick WolfAn excerpt from The Intercept by Dick Wolf, the first novel in the Jeremy Fisk series and the debut thriller from the creator of Law & Order (available December 26, 2012).

This sweepstakes has ended.

Days before the July Fourth holiday and the dedication of One World Trade Center at Ground Zero, an incident aboard a commercial jet flying over the Atlantic Ocean reminds everyone that vigilance is not a task to be taken lightly. But for iconoclastic NYPD detective Jeremy Fisk, it may also be a signal that there is much more to this case than the easy answer of it being just the work of another lone terrorist.

Fisk—assigned to the department’s Intelligence Division, a well-funded antiterror unit modeled on the CIA—suspects that the event might also be a warning sign that another, potentially more extraordinary scheme has been set in motion. Fluent in Arabic and the ways of his opponents, Fisk is a rule breaker who follows his gut—even if it means defying those above him in the department’s food chain. So when a passenger from the same plane, a Saudi Arabian national, disappears into the crowds of Manhattan, it’s up to Fisk and his partner Krina Gersten to find him before the celebrations begin.

Watching each new lead fizzle, chasing shadows to dead ends, Fisk and Gersten quickly realize that their opponents are smarter and more agile than any they have ever faced. Extremely clever and seemingly invisible, they are able to exploit any security weakness and anticipate Fisk’s every move . . . and time is running out.

Get a sneak peek of Dick Wolf’s The Intercept with this special excerpt!

Bassam Shah had driven through a day and two nights from Denver, stopping only for gas, eating fried pies, drinking Red Bull, and urinating into a plastic milk jug between gas station fill-ups.

At dawn, in the chaos of merging lanes on the New Jersey side of the George Washington Bridge, orange traffic cones squeezed the cars to the right. Port Authority Police cars blocked the available lanes, routing all visitors to the city to a checkpoint just beyond the tollbooths. Commuter congestion into New York City was building at that early hour, though still not at its heaviest.

Two men in blue Windbreakers and baseball hats waved flashlights up ahead, peering into a car’s rolled down windows. They wore wires in their ears. Shah saw no dogs. For that, he was relieved. He was ten cars back from the search point. He watched the driver, a man traveling alone like him, get out to open his trunk. The searchers—now he saw the words Port Authority Police on the backs of their jackets—shined their lights inside. They lifted the mat off the spare tire, conferred…then let the man drive away.

Shah had to risk it. The decision was not a difficult one. If he fled, they would stop him and search him intimately and rejoice at their success. Instead, he made himself small, exactly as he had been trained to do, settling into the persona of a grateful immigrant.

His story—he was driving into New York to check on his family’s coffee cart—had the benefit of being the truth. It was verifiable. Truth by admission was imperative in a situation such as this one.

He eased the Ford Taurus forward, warm vent air breathing on him, soothing him. It was a muggy early autumn morning. He counted down as each driver was quizzed, each car scrutinized.

When his time came, he lowered his window and faced his interrogators.

“Where are you going?” asked the younger of the two black cops, shining his light in Shah’s face.

“To Queens,” Shah answered. He felt his confidence ebb as the words left him. Something felt wrong here. But to be this close and fail was impossible. He had felt certain the police were watching him in Colorado. But his cross-country drive had been uneventful. He had to push past his self-consciousness.

“You are coming from where?” the cop asked.

“Denver,” answered Shah. “My home. Near there—Aurora.”

All true. No lies.

The cop nodded. Truth or lies, it did not seem to matter much to him. “Step out of the car, please.”

Of course they would make him get out. Shah was an Afghan, twenty-four years old, with caramel skin. His neck beard, hair, and eyebrows were all reddish brown. Physically, Shah fit every little box on their desperately simplistic checklist of profiling characteristics. The embodiment of what many Americans considered a dangerous man.

He clicked open his seat belt obediently, attempted a smile, and emerged before the great bridge in the warm air over the Hudson River.

The other policeman leaned inside the open car door, scouring the front seats with his flashlight as though it were a laser irradiating the floorboards and upholstery in search of clues.

“Mind unzipping that?” the cop said, stabbing his light beam at the Nike gym bag on the backseat.

Shah could have refused. He knew his constitutional rights under U.S. law; indeed, most every Afghan in the States knew these laws by heart. These men had no warrants, but they could “ask” him to accompany them somewhere else for more searching. All they needed was a pretense. Such was the thin thread upon which Shah’s freedom now hung.

He pulled out the bag, feeling the heat of the high candle power flashlight beam upon his tan hands. He opened it, removing a long head wrap, bunching it in his hands. He pulled out two robes thick with a few days’ body odor. He pulled out a half-burned candle and sticks of incense.

In other words, he had exactly what these men expected an Afghan to have.

They peered further inside, touching nothing with their blue-gloved hands. Shah’s laptop case was on the seat next to the bag; he showed it to them, and they were satisfied. They asked him to open the trunk and he complied. They discovered nothing there except the spare tire, a basic tool kit, and some grime.

And then it was over. They nodded to the driver’s seat as a gesture that they were done and looked to the next vehicle. Shah deferred to them without making eye contact, got into the rental car, buckled up, and drove away.

All along the bridge, spangles of light glistened off the morning dew that coated the thick steel cables. Below, the running lights of barges on the Hudson River dimmed as though in awe of the dawning sun.

He felt great exhilaration at having passed the checkpoint, which was meant to discourage interlopers, but in fact seemed to him now like a threshold.

He was inside now. And it had been easy.

At the same time, Shah’s anger began to rise anew. He cursed the deference the bridge trolls forced him to adopt. He was a man who valued his dignity. So he took in the beauty and magnificence of the view with a sneer.

As the city passed across his windshield, Shah’s confidence returned, knowing that the detonators were securely fish­-lined into the passenger-side air-conditioning vent.


In lower Manhattan, on the twenty-third floor of FBI headquarters at 26 Federal Plaza, not far from City Hall, the Joint Terrorism Task Force meeting was already under way. Jeremy Fisk, a detective assigned to the NYPD’s Intelligence Division, arrived late, hobbled by a sprained ankle.

He had missed a layup in his over-thirty league the previous night—he played twice each week at ten p.m., a ridiculous time for an amateur to pursue any sport, but the only time he could reliably make with his schedule—and came down on someone else’s foot and rolled his. He had sat on the court floor gripping his shin just above his hyperextended ankle, waiting for the swelling to begin and cursing himself.

That’s it, he’d thought, for the thousandth time in his life. Enough with the basketball. They said that biology is destiny, and so it was that a formerly tall­ for ­his ­age fourteen-year-old now spent two evenings a week with like­minded desperadoes throwing himself around a basketball court. He loved the game, but never the sheer exhaustion of running up and down the court—an exhaustion that came more easily these days. Fisk had topped out at five­ eleven, never playing college after the JV team at Villanova, riding the bench because everybody else was better and, eventually, taller than he was.

Fisk limped over to the wall. The briefing room was overcrowded with representatives of the various agencies that comprised the JTTF. There were similar task forces in over one hundred cities nationwide, but New York’s was, appropriately, the biggest. Besides the host agency, the FBI, full­time federal participants included the U.S. Marshals Service, the Secret Service, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, the Diplomatic Security Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, the army, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, and more than a dozen others, in addition to state and local law enforcement departments.

Such task forces are often derogatorily referred to as “alphabet soup,” due to the large number of acronyms. To Fisk’s eyes, the JTTF was worse. It was alphabet, minestrone, potato leek, French onion, clam chowder, gumbo, and Scotch broth . . . many great tastes that did not belong on the same menu.

Fisk’s department, the Intelligence Division, was not part of the JTTF. It functioned as a separate intelligence-gathering agency within the New York Police Department. He was here as little more than a courtesy.

Fisk shifted his weight off his hurt ankle, leaning against the wall behind a liaison from the Postal Inspection Service. At the head of the room, Cal Dunphy, the current top FBI special agent assigned to the JTTF, was bald by choice, his broad jaw forming his head into a perfect oval. His eyes briefly flashed on Fisk when he entered, but nothing was said. Dunphy pulled notes from a file and consulted them through the lenses of his rimless eyeglasses.

“We’re in his car and on his phone. We’re in his laptop. Mr. Shah is moving with full confidence, and yet has no idea that we’ve got a flashing beacon on his back, bright and strong.”

The FBI and Intel had had many operational differences of opin­ion in the past. The chief source of friction was their shared jurisdic­tion: a good old-­fashioned turf battle. Two well­-financed ops groups with similar but not identical agendas, going toe-­to­-toe in the great­est and most targeted city in the world. And neither side had either margin or tolerance for error.

They did not work well together. Recently, and too often, they had stepped on each other’s toes, compromising the other’s investi­gation. Various attempts had been made at improving communica­tion and coordination, but nothing altered the fact that they were two dogs fighting over the same piece of meat.

So each agency kept the other at arm’s length. The FBI had Shah all to itself in Denver. Now Shah was in the Big Apple, on Intel’s ter­rain. They had learned enough from the mistakes of the past to es­tablish a baseline of coordination, resulting in Fisk’s presence at this briefing. But that didn’t mean they were suddenly on the same page.

As Dunphy went on, it was clear to Fisk that the FBI was merely going through the motions. They were sharing the results of their surveillance info but not the sources. They wanted point on Shah. They certainly didn’t want Intel tracking him independently.

A couple of different liaisons asked questions that were intended to make them appear smart and involved, but without any true in­terest in moving the issue forward. Groupthink. Fisk saw Dunphy glance his way. Dunphy, to his credit, knew Fisk wasn’t going to let this ride.

Fisk stuck out his hand, as though hailing this train that was going around in circles. “This whole thing makes me itchy,” he said. “I don’t like it. He’s here now. Right in the city. We know what he’s got. We know what he’s here for. I think letting him dangle like this is too goddamn risky. You say you’re confident of his timeline—”

“We’ve got three days, Fisk.”

“Having a GPS tag on a fox who’s already in the henhouse doesn’t reassure me much.”

Dunphy all but sighed. “Nothing would reassure you, Fisk.”

“Grabbing him now would.”

“And give up three critical days of intelligence gathering? Who knows what we can get from this guy? This is crux time. Invaluable. This is the fruit at the bottom, Fisk. The sweet stuff. I understand your skittishness, but we’re holding a strong hand here—”

“It’s not skittishness; it’s common sense. You’re telling me this guy is on a controlled burn. I’ve seen those things get out of hand many times. All it takes is a sudden shift in the wind.”

Dunphy smiled. Fisk knew what that smile meant. He saw par­ents use it on their kids in the park. “We’ve got the best meteorolo­gists in the business.”

“Predicting the weather is not the same as making it rain,” said Fisk.

The FBI had conducted various undercover terror stings since the dawn of domestic terrorism. For every terror plot that arose organically, which is to say without domestic law enforcement interference—the underwear bomber in a jetliner over Detroit, or the planned attack on Fort Dix, New Jersey—two others originated with the prodding of undercover federal agents. Not unlike actual terror cell leaders, they radicalized vulnerable Muslim suspects by fomenting anti-­American dissent and supplying the conspirators with dummy materials, such as fake C­4 explosive or harmless blast­ing caps. These paper conspiracies were then passed off as major law enforcement victories, vanquished threats to homeland security. But it was no exaggeration to say that the FBI had instigated more terror plots in the United States since 9/11 than Al­ Qaeda.

Fisk continued, “My concern is that everyone is on board with your plan—except the terrorist himself.”

“Noted,” said Dunphy, pissed off now, and finished with Fisk. “Anybody else?”

Fisk had heard enough. One of the pleasures of not being be­holden to the JTTF was the ability to walk out of a meeting—or hobble, which was just what Fisk did.


Copyright © 2012 by Dick Wolf

 

This sweepstakes has ended.

TIP: Since only comments from registered users will be tabulated, if your user name appears in red above your comment—STOP—go log in, then try commenting again. If your user name appears in black above your comment, You’re In!

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia, who are 18 or older. To enter, fill out entry at http://www.criminalelement.com/stories/2012/11/read-and-win-dick-wolf-the-intercept-detective-thriller-excerpt-nypd-terrorism beginning at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) November 13, 2012. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 a.m. ET on November 20, 2012 (the “Promotion Period”). Void outside of the 50 US and DC and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules at http://www.criminalelement.com/page/official-rules-the-intercept-comment-sweepstakes. Sponsor: Macmillan, 175 Fifth Ave., New York, NY 10010.


Writer, producer, and creator Dick Wolf is the architect of one of the longest-running scripted shows and most successful brands in the history of television: NBC’s Law & Order. Wolf has won numerous awards, including Emmys for Outstanding Drama Series (Law & Order) and Outstanding Made-for-Television Movie (Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee), a Grammy, and an Edgar. This is his literary debut and the first in a series featuring NYPD detective Jeremy Fisk. He lives in Southern California.

Fan of Fisk? HarperCollins is offering a chance to be a character in the next Jeremy Fisk thriller!

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72 comments
Barbara Bibel
1. bbibel
If the book is as good as his Law & Order TV shows, it will be a fun read. I look forward to it.
Susan Meek
2. smeek1958
Oh, this sounds very good. I'd love to win a copy, please!
Cindi Hoppes
4. CindiHoppes
One of my favorite authors and the excerpt sounds
very intriguing!
Many thanks to you...
Cindi
jchoppeshotmailcom
6. DragonReader
Looks interesting. I was a big fan of Lwa and Order and would definitely be interested in this one.
Anne Muller
7. anne38
It's going to be interesting to read this and compare it to his tv shows for similarities.
Johanna Bouchard
8. JMB89
Sounds great, would love to win this! :)
Sharon Haas
9. kazul
Definitly going on my read list! Thanks!
Gary Anderson
11. gwander
I preordered this one at my favorite independent book store and can't wait to read it --probably will read it that first night! Thanks for the exceprt.
12. Woody
I'm looking forward to reading this. It would be even nicer if I won an advance copy! Thanks.
Anita Nowak
13. sirdustin
I love Dick Wolf's Law and Order shows, and am looking forward to reading this new thriller
14. sonjajoy
Wonderful read. Can't wait for the book. Would make a great TV production.
Marian Petrides
15. Woody
Looks like I wasn't logged in the last time I tried to post my comment, so here it is again...

I'm looking forward to reading this. It would be even nicer if I won an advance copy! Thanks.
Peter W. Horton Jr.
16. mosaix
I loved the excerpt. I want the book!
17. Carolee888
This book sounds so exciting, I really want to read it.
19. Pam H
The book sounds great
Lisa Kaiser
20. lisakaiser
Loved all the Law & Order franchises from Dick Wolf (really loved the short-lived Law &Order UK). So would really like to see his works as a novelist
21. jjg90278
Pretty cool stuff. He sets the hooks pretty much like the TV series, so you want to see what happens next.
Joanne Mielczarski
22. jtmswim
He's one of my favorite authors, so I am looking forward to reading the rest of this book - please!
Jim Belcher
23. librarypops
“Predicting the weather is not the same as making it rain,” Great line! I know I will like this one.
25. gale hathcock
Dick Wolf's credentials as writer and creator of Law & Order have made him an iconic figure in television.
I'm very interested to see him branch out into novels. With his talent and background, I'm sure he will bring a lot to this new creative endeavor. I would like to have a copy of his debut novel, The Intercept.
Sally Kohlenberg
27. SallyK
sounds really good would love to read
Walt Buchanan
28. waltb555
I'm a big fan of Mr. Wolf's TV work. I can't wait to read the rest of this.
Larisa LaBrant
31. MsGodiva1
This looks like the perfect thriller to get me through the holidays.
Kim Adsit
32. barkergirl33
I know I'll love this book, I'm a huge fan of his! Great giveaway-thank you!
Jean Sagarese
33. hockeyqueen
I so want to read this book - thank you for giving it away
JAMES LYNAM
34. jpl123456
GREAT READ FOR A COLD WINTER NIGHT WITH A
LARGE IRISH COFFEE.
37. Benno
Sounds interesting. I'm ready to give it a shot.
Jackie Wisherd
38. JackieW
Would love to read this book.I've added it to my wish list of books to read.
Andrew Beck
39. queerbec
Dick Wolf has given us so many interesting stories through his multitude of Law and Order series--I'm curious to find out what he has up his sleeve this time!
Sally Winkleblech
40. sallyw
The excerpt has me anxious to read this book. Hope I am lucky and win a copy. Thanks!
Donald Hornbaker
41. Donaldthe
I definitely want to read this book soon!
Heather Martin
42. CrystalMirror
As a fan of his shows, when I saw the book was coming out, I was thrilled. I can not wait to read this. It was promtly added to my Goodreads list.
43. retired teacher
Love it when a book graps me right away. The excerpt did just that. Now for the rest of the story.
45. Nichole Anne
I love reading these kinds of books! Keep'em coming!!
Margot Core
46. AnnaZed
This is so exciting! Dick Wolf is just marvelous.
Ellen
47. Neroon
As a long time fan of Law & Order I think this will be an interesting read.
48. QueenGlassHalfFull
It's always nice to find a new author to read.
Betty Breier
49. BLB
I always like to read the first book in a new series that sounds interesting.
50. pnf
Always ready to try a new author
Andrew Kuligowski
53. KuligowskiAndrew
I've enjoyed Dick's television work, so I suspect I will enjoy his novels, as well. (Steven Cannell, you started a trend!)
P.S. How's he going to manage to get that "Choing Choing" noise in written form?
Deb Mosora
54. debmsra
Love Law & Order. I'm sure his book will be just as good! I can't wait to read it.
55. patrekee
Reminds me of a DeMille novel. Intrigued and ready to read more.
Kathleen Macknicki
56. kmacknicki
I love Law & Order so I'd also love a chance to read this book!
Phoenix Vie
58. Phoenix
Very interested to see what Dick Wolf's done with this.
thelma straw
59. tjs
This book sounds like right up my alley and I'd LOVE to read it!
Joanne Mielczarski
61. jtmswim
Great author and so far these pages have me hooked - get me the rest of the book!
peter greene
62. shanachie
Dick Wolf's knowledge of the NYPD always lends
a great deal of authenticity.
Avonna Kershey
63. agkersh
Since attending Bouchercon2012, I have been reading mysteries and thrillers nonstop. This looks like another exciting addition to my TBR list even if I don't win. Congrats on your publishing success! And hope to read this soon.
kent w. smith
64. bodacious
What will we do if Law and Order goes off-air? There will always be repeats. I haven't read any of his books so Thank You.
Jerrilynn Atherton
66. jerrilynn
As a confirmed Law and Order addict...please let me win!!!
Gary Anderson
68. gwander
I'm getting excited about Mr. Wolf writing a series. I ordered a copy at my favorite independent mystery book store and look forward to picking it up the day after Christmas!
katie spina
69. kanderspina
I'd be interested in seeing how Mr. Wolf's tv writing chops translate to long form novels. Should be a good read, but you never know :)
70. Michelle b
This sounds like a really great start to a wonderful book. I'm sure this is going to be the beginning of something wonderful as his preceeding work with Law and Order. I hope I can win a copy!
Alice
71. aliceactor
Amazing to see Wolf in real life outside of L&O. Would love to win a copy - Thanks!
72. Bernadette Thomas
I don't often check online reviews, I'm glad I did this time because I'm intrigued...........bring it on.
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