Edge of Apocalypse: pages 168-171 (Chapter Thirty)
In this chapter we meet with Roger French, who, if we remember from Chapter 29, is Rocky Bridger’s son-in-law. I’ve kind of given away the point of this review in the section title, but you’ll quickly see that the sole purpose of introducing this guy was as a throwaway character to allow for some “collateral damage” as Zimler zeroes in on Joshua Jordan.
“The phone was ringing in the office of Consolidated Insurance Brokers in the downtown section of Philadelphia. It was bad timing. Everyone had left except for Roger French. He was now hesitating, torn between the guilt of leaving early and the benefit of avoiding rush hour traffic. He’d already been visualizing the route–over to JFK Boulevard and then from there onto the expressway. That would be the fastest way to make it to his daughter’s basketball game on time.
Roger’s hand reached down, hovering over the network panel button for the office phone system. Murphy’s Law told him he ought to let it go to voicemail. But a strong work ethic urged him to pick it up.
As he reached for his briefcase he punched the button on the panel that read Roger–Earpiece.
The man on the other end spoke in a crisp British accent. ‘Oh, so glad to hear someone is still there. I urgently need to acquire commercial insurance for an international company I represent.'”
Roger tries to back out, saying he needs to make his daughter’s game, but the British guy’s very insistent and says he just needs five minutes to get the paperwork done before he flies home.
By about now, you all might be remembering a rather unfortunate person who got suckered: Yergi Banica, who fell for the oldest trick in the book so Atta Zimler could sneak up behind him and kill him.
Sure enough, Zimler was the “British” guy.
“Atta Zimler, hair dyed red, wearing an expensive pinstriped suit, and carrying a briefcase, walked toward the offices of Consolidated Insurance Brokers five minutes after finishing his call to Roger. Zimler considered this an irritating side trip. But necessary. The dossier that Dr. Banica had furnished him was superficial at best. The Russian agents who had compiled it had only skimmed the surface of the RTS system. And there was zero personal information about Joshua Jordan that would enable Zimler to track him down to his most vulnerable point. Not that he couldn’t do it. He would. And Roger the insurance man was going to help him.”
And now, Zimler makes very quick work of the situation. No preliminaries like with Banica:
“After Zimler entered the building’s main lobby, skillfully moving his face away from the video surveillance cameras, he went up to the fifth floor. He rang the buzzer for Consolidated Insurance. Roger opened the door, looking a little distracted, but flashed a quick smile to his customer. Zimler took his hand and shook it firmly. While he greeted Roger, he sized him up.
When Roger turned his back to gather a large manila file, Zimler swung his arm around with lightning speed and delivered a karate blow to the back of Roger’s neck.”
Zimler “preps” Roger for a… shall we say, enhanced interrogation, and then waits for him to wake up.
“Atta Zimler waved a document in front of his victim. A copy of Roger’s email that he had posted to an antinuclear blog.
‘So nice of you, Roger, to defend Joshua Jordan in this web posting; let’s see, how did you say it?–oh yes–‘a personal friend of my father-in-law, who is a former Pentagon general.’ So, I have some questions for you, Roger French. Questions about Joshua Jordan. He is a difficult man to reach, and it is very clear from this email that your father-in-law, General Bridger, may have confided certain information about Jordan to you. So you will tell me everything you know about him and his business, his family, everything.'”
At that point, Zimler demands information about Josh Jordan’s family.
Short chapter, but this sets the stage for a fairly crucial plot arc later in the book, since Zimler now knows Jordan’s weaknesses in his family structure. The only question is – will he go after Abigail, Deborah, or Cal?
We’ll see later on. Next chapter, we’ll be back to Washington, DC.