PAPERBACK BOOKS
DOUBLE IMPERATIVE

 When Jenny McCarthy, a research assistant for a Federal   Cabinet Minister is murdered, her husband, Terry, is wrongly imprisoned for the crime.  

Destiny intervenes and Terry escapes. Whilst on the run he tracks down the leader of the prosecution team, Nicole Evans.  

He desperately needs to find a crucial witness who lied at his trial.  

Unbeknown to Terry, there are powerful forces at work behind the scenes … he is a threat that must be eliminated.  

In Store Price: $AU24.95 
Online Price:   $AU23.95

ISBN: 1-9211-1841-5
Format: Paperback
Number of pages: 233
Genre: Fiction

 

 


Author: Herb Hamlet 
Publisher: Zeus Publications
Date Published: 2006
Language: English

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About the Author    

Born in Brisbane on 20th  August 1941, the author lived most of his life in the bayside suburb of Wynnum.  

At the early age of fourteen, he began employment in an iron foundry. At twenty-one, he enlisted in the Regular Army for six years, serving with the Royal Australian Engineers.  

He matriculated and joined the Australian Public Service, rising to a management position.  

Herb Hamlet now lives a quiet life with his wife, Lyn, on Queensland ’s Sunshine Coast . After accepting early retirement, he gained an Honour’s Degree in Political Science at the University of the Sunshine Coast .  

The writing bug then hit him and he has been busy ever since. He now has eight completed manuscripts, ranging from political thrillers to a wartime family saga. Double Imperative is his first published work.

 

CHAPTER 1    

At one-thirty a.m., the twenty-storey building that provided office space for Sydney’s federal parliamentarians was in complete darkness, apart from a solitary torch light moving about within the private office of the Honourable Robert Dunstan, the Federal Minister for Minerals and Energy. An almost full moon illuminated the white interior of the contemporary office setting as a man dressed in dark clothing attempted to break into the powerful politician’s private office safe. At his disposal, the intruder possessed the latest device for cracking even the most sophisticated combinations. He’d done it all so many times before. He smiled with satisfaction when he remembered the time he’d examined the contents of the Indonesian ambassador’s private safe. A number of political decisions were thus made as a direct consequence of his skill.

For the third time his surgical-gloved hand spun the dial, his face breaking out into a smug smile as the safe’s thick metal door clicked open.

Using the torch, the man briefly examined the safe’s contents, selecting certain documents relevant to the matter in which his organisation was vitally interested. After a few moments, he retrieved a miniature camera from his pocket and quickly photographed the documents. Once the task was completed, he carefully returned the documents to the safe, ensuring every page was placed in the same order it was removed.

He was in the process of closing the safe’s metal door when he heard a distinct sound. He felt the hair on the back of his neck rise.

The door to the office had been opened. The light to the Minister’s office was switched on, illuminating the room. He spun around to face the three men who had just entered. A man holding a revolver was well known to the intruder. He was of average height and build, immaculately dressed and groomed. He looked at the intruder contemptuously, then smiled his most charming smile. The gun, however, remained steady in his hand.

‘Higgins.’ The voice was cultured, the tone sarcastic. ‘What a surprise to find you here. I thought all our dedicated staff had gone home.’ He chuckled. ‘But you have two occupations, don’t you?’

The two individuals who accompanied the well-groomed man were both large, thickset, middle-aged men. The bald henchman’s head shone under the fluorescent light. A large crooked nose gave the impression he’d been a fighter at some previous time in his life. The other man was heavily tattooed, with dark greasy hair. A pronounced paunch hung over his belt line.

The trapped intruder looked from one to the other, desperately trying to think of some way out of his predicament. He was well aware of the gravity of his situation, especially where the immaculately dressed man was concerned. This was an unscrupulous individual, presently in a position of power, but who was operating on the fringe of the law. His greasy-haired henchman, who remained near the doorway, removed a cigarette from the packet in his shirt pocket and slowly lit up, while his bald colleague moved further into the room to be closer to the man with the Beretta in his hand.

‘Don’t even think about it, Geoffrey.’ The well-dressed man’s tone was almost friendly. ‘I’d cut you down in a second. But you know that, don’t you?’

Finally, the intruder spoke. ‘What are you going to do, Andrews? Call the police?’

The man called Andrews laughed out loud. ‘I’m sure you’d like that. Then your friends at ASIO could come and get you, couldn’t they?’

Geoffrey Higgins lifted his shoulders in a pronounced shrug. ‘I don’t know what you are talking about.’

‘You don’t? What a load of rubbish,’ Andrews chuckled. ‘What were you looking for in the safe?’

‘Money.’

Again Andrews laughed, which prompted his bald-headed henchman to join in. ‘He thinks we’re fools, boss. We know he wants something else besides money, don’t we?’     

‘Shut up, imbecile,’ Andrews ordered curtly, the rebuke immediately silencing his large offsider.

When Andrews turned back to admonish his assistant, he momentarily removed his eyes from the intruder. This brief interruption provided Higgins with his only chance. Grabbing a heavy glass ashtray from the Minister’s desk, he hurled it in the direction of Andrews who just had time to duck out of harm’s way. The object flew across the room, finally connecting with the bald man’s shoulder. He screamed loudly, gripping his upper arm in pain. Before his opposition had a chance to recover, Higgins shoulder-charged the other thickset henchman, knocking him sideways, off-balance, before sprinting from the Minister’s private enclosure to the outer office. He desperately needed to reach the front entrance to the politician’s suite and, hopefully, the darkness of the building’s interior. This would provide him with temporary shelter. To his dismay, loud footsteps were right behind him, the sharp crack of the Beretta coinciding with the sharp pain of a bullet entering his right thigh.

As Higgins stumbled to the floor, he grabbed his upper leg, writhing in agony. Looking up, he watched helplessly as Andrews and his two burly companions slowly walked towards him.

‘Naughty naughty, Geoffrey.’ The tone was again sarcastically friendly. ‘All that blood messing up our floor. What will Mr Dunstan say?’

‘Fuck Mr Dunstan,’ was all Higgins could think to say as the realisation hit home that he was finished.

‘Not nice, Geoff, not nice.’ John Andrews was enjoying himself. ‘Now we wish to ask you a few questions.’

Higgins remained quiet.

‘What’s the matter, the naughty cat got your tongue?’ Andrews gave a short explosive laugh, before his tone became deadly serious. ‘Right, the first thing we want to know is how ASIO came to know all about our little project?’

‘You think I’ll tell you?’ was the defiant reply.

‘I thought someone like you might prove difficult so I brought along some truth serum to help you.’ Andrews removed a hypodermic syringe from his pocket. ‘Hold him tight.’

The two henchmen descended on the defenceless man, removing his black leather jacket before tearing the sleeve from his shirt.

‘Careful, boys, not too rough now.’ Andrews feigned concern.

As he knelt down, Andrews pointed the syringe towards a prominent vein in the captured man’s arm.

‘How the bloody hell did you know about me?’ Higgins’ voice was incredulous.

Andrews examined the furrows of pain on the brow of his captive. ‘And I thought we’d be doing the questioning.’ He took a deep breath. ‘Oh, I don’t think it will do any harm to tell you. After all, you won’t be telling any of your friends, will you?’ He gave another small laugh. ‘All right, I’ll be frank, our contact at ASIO told me.’

‘Shit,’ he exploded, ‘Birch was right.’

‘So they now know we have a spy in the organisation, do they?’ Andrews raised his eyebrows. ‘How perceptive of them. Funny, isn’t it, money will buy almost anything, which doesn’t say much for society as a whole, does it?’ The smirk left his face. ‘Now to the business at hand.’ Andrews carefully inserted the needle in the vein and gently squeezed. After several moments, Higgins’ head began to droop. ‘Just a little longer, boys. Then we’ll start.’

Two minutes later, Andrews checked his watch and nodded, before kneeling beside his victim. ‘How did ASIO come to find out about our little project?’ he asked softly.

‘Ju … just through luck.’ The voice was slurred. ‘F … for security reasons, we … we often eavesdrop on the conversations of our politicians. It was … just luck that we chose to monitor one of Dunstan’s calls on … that particular day.’

‘Who was he speaking to?’ Andrews asked evenly.

‘The … French Ambassador.’

‘I see.’ Andrews paused. ‘What did he say?’

‘The Minister was … negotiating … a price for pure-grade uranium. An extraordinarily large quantity. The Ambassador was acting as a … go-between for a French energy conglomerate.’

‘He’s the Minister, he can do that.’

‘Dunstan was talking about … something on a massive scale. Something way beyond Australia ’s … present capacity to produce. And the government … as a whole did not appear to be  involved.’ Higgins’ voice became clearer as he continued. ‘We suspected that something major was being contemplated and subsequently monitored all the Minister’s calls … During the next few weeks, we discovered that Sir Phillip Applegate was also involved in the project. But we couldn’t find out … where the uranium ore was to be mined or how the Minister would obtain the support of his political colleagues. Unfortunately … we lost our facility to discover any further information. Obviously through his ASIO contact, the Minister became aware of our continued surveillance. As a consequence, he installed safe phones which led to ASIO planting me here …’

‘And your credentials were perfect, Geoffrey. Are you sure that this is all ASIO knows?’ Andrews asked calmly.

‘Yes. I was photographing more information tonight.’

This response brought a smug smile to Andrews’ face. ‘I’m sorry to say that the information in the safe, which you photographed tonight, was just bullshit, to use the colloquial. Not worth a cracker, I’m afraid, old chap.’ Andrews silently took hold of the hypodermic syringe, inserting it into another vial he retrieved from a pocket in his jacket. He then held it up to the light and squeezed out a small amount of yellow liquid through the needle.

‘Right, hold him again,’ he ordered his henchmen.

In his hazy state, Higgins still knew what was coming. He drew in a sharp breath of fear. When the two large individuals again descended upon him, he desperately tried to fight them off, but he was too weak to mount any challenge. He watched helplessly, almost in a dream, as Andrews plunged the syringe into his arm. He looked into Andrews’ face, a face which showed no emotion as he watched the life-force slowly ebb from the body of another human being. After a few moments, Higgins lost his sight. In its place, there was just a dim light. Then there was just blackness as he slipped into his eternal sleep. After a further minute, Andrews felt Higgins’ neck, searching for a pulse. There was nothing.

‘He’s dead.’ Andrews’ tone was matter-of-fact. ‘Right, you pair get the tarpaulin from the car and wrap him up. Then you can dump him in the harbour.’

 

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