Summer page-turner: David Baldacci's 'Deliver Us From Evil'

"It is fine. It's merely the effects of the pill."

"But I can't feel my body. And my tongue—"

"It feels large? My goodness. The pill must be working on your tongue and not on your other part. I will have to register a complaint with the manufacturer."

The old man gurgled loudly. He tried to point to his mouth but his limbs wouldn't work anymore. "Push the but—"

She moved the call device farther away and pulled her robe tight, cinching it up. She settled next to him. "Now, here are the pictures I want you to see."

She turned on the camera. On the small screen an old black-and- white photo of a face appeared.

"This young boy was David Rosenberg," she explained, pointing to the youthful but gaunt face on the screen; the hollow cheeks and glassy eyes indicated that death was not far away. "He never made it to his bar mitzvah. Did you know that before you ordered his death, Herr Colonel Huber? He was already past thirteen, but of course in the camps Jewish rites of passage were not observed."

The old man continued to quietly gurgle, his terrified gaze still on the photo.

Barbara pressed a button and a young woman's face appeared on the camera screen. She said, "This is Frau Helen Koch. She was killed by a rifle bullet to the belly fired by you before your first cigarette of the morning. By all accounts she only suffered for a mere three hours before expiring while your men kept back all attempts at aid by her fellow Jews. In fact, you killed two people that morning, since Frau Koch was pregnant."

While the rest of his body remained immobile, the old man's fin- gers started to claw the covers. His gaze was on the call device, but though it was only two feet away, he couldn't reach it. She tilted his chin back and held it there so he had to gaze at the screen.

"You have to focus, Colonel. You remember Frau Koch, don't you? Don't you? And David Rosenberg? Don't you!"

He finally blinked his assent.

"I would show you the pictures of the other people you con- demned to death, but since there are over a hundred thousand of them, we don't have time." She pulled a photo from the pocket of her robe. "I took this from the frame on the piano in your beautiful library." She held the picture in front of his face. "We found your son and daughter and your grandchildren and your great-grand- children. All these innocent people. You see their faces. Just like David Rosenberg and Helen Koch and all the others. If I had time I'd tell you in exact detail how each will die tonight. In fact, seven of them already have been butchered simply because of their con- nection to you. You see, Herr Colonel, we wanted to make certain that there were no monsters left to reproduce."

He started to cry, his mouth making little mewing sounds.

"Good, good, tears of joy, Herr Colonel, I'm sure. Maybe they will think our sex is so good you cry. Now it's time to go to sleep, but keep your eyes on the picture. Don't look away. It is your fam- ily after all." When he closed his eyes, she slapped his face, forcing his eyes open. She leaned down and whispered into his ear in an- other language.

His eyes widened.

"Do you recognize it, Herr Huber? It's Yiddish. You heard that phrase often in the camps, I'm sure. But in case you never knew the translation, it means, 'Rot in hell.'"

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