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The Wolf in Winter: A Charlie Parker Thriller: 12
 
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The Wolf in Winter: A Charlie Parker Thriller: 12 [Format Kindle]

John Connolly
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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

The Wolf in Winter

CHAPTER

I

The house was studiedly anonymous: not too large or too small, and neither particularly well kept nor in any sense dilapidated. Situated on a small patch of land not far from the outskirts of the city of Newark, Delaware, in the densely populated county of New Castle, the town had taken a hit when Chrysler’s Newark assembly plant closed in 2008, along with the nearby Mopar distribution center. However, it was still the home of the University of Delaware, and twenty thousand students can spend a lot of money if they put their minds to it.

Newark was an unsurprising choice of location for the man we were hunting. It was close to the borders of three states—­Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland—and only two hours from New York City by car. Then again, it was just one of any number of rat’s nests that he had established for himself, acquired over the years by the lawyer who protected him. The only distinguishing feature of this property lay in the degree of power consumption: the utility bills were steeper than for the others we had discovered. This one looked as if it was used regularly. It was more than a storehouse for elements of his collection. It was a base of sorts.

He called himself Kushiel, but we knew him as the Collector. He had killed a friend of ours named Jackie Garner at the end of the previous year. The Collector would have called it an eye for an eye in his version of justice, and it was true that Jackie had made an appalling error—one that resulted in the death of a woman who was close to the Collector. In revenge, the Collector had shot Jackie down without mercy while he was unarmed and on his knees, but he had also made it clear that we were all under his gun now. We might have been hunting the Collector for what he had done to one of ours, but we also knew that it was only a matter of time before he decided we might be less of a threat to him with six feet of earth above our heads. We intended to corner and kill him long before it came to that.

A light burned in one room of the house. The others were all dark. A car stood in the driveway, and its arrival had alerted us to the possibility of the Collector’s presence. We had placed a dual wireless break-beam alert system in the undergrowth halfway up the drive. The system was timer-based, so an alert would be sent to our phones only if the two beams weren’t broken twice within a ten-minute period. In other words, it allowed for deliveries, but a vehicle that entered the property and remained on it for any length of time would trigger the alarm.

Of course, this assumed that the Collector would not arrive on foot, or by cab, but we figured that he had too many enemies to leave his escape routes to chance, and he would keep at least one well-maintained vehicle. A windowless garage stood to the right of the house, but we had not risked breaking into it when we first discovered the existence of the property. Even planting the little wireless infrared transmitters was a calculated gamble, and had been undertaken only after a sweep of the yard revealed no similar alarm system beyond whatever was used to secure the house itself.

“What do you think?” said Louis.

His dark skin caught something of the moonlight, making him seem even more a creature of the night than usual. He wore dark cotton trousers cinched at the ankles, and a black waxed-cotton Belstaff jacket from which all the buckles and buttons had been removed and replaced with non-reflective equivalents. He looked cool, but then he always looked cool.

“My legs are cramping up, is what I think,” said Angel. “If we don’t make a move soon, you’ll have to carry me in there on a sedan chair.”

Angel didn’t care about cool. His clothing was functional and unlabeled. He just preferred things that way. His gray hair was hidden beneath a black beanie. Without the cap, he looked his years. He was older than Louis and me, and had grown quieter and more cautious in recent times. Mortality shadowed him like a falcon mantling its wings over dying prey.

We squatted in the grass by the side of the road, Angel to my left and Louis to my right, each of us armed with a suppressed Glock 9mm loaded with subsonic ammunition. We’d lose something in velocity, but if we found the Collector we’d be working at close range. There were properties to the east and west of the house, and the area was quiet. We didn’t want to bring local law enforcement down on our heads by replicating the sound of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. All three of us also carried Russian-made anti-fog gas masks. They cost less than Louis’s boots, but they hadn’t let us down yet.

“You two take the back,” I said. “I’ll cover the front.”

Louis reached into the pocket of his jacket and produced a tear-gas grenade. Angel had a second, and I had two more.

“Try not to get shot before you’ve thrown them,” Angel told me.

“I’ll try not to get shot after I’ve thrown them as well,” I said.

It wasn’t an ideal situation. We’d need to break glass to get the grenades into the house, and hope that we didn’t take fire in the process. If the Collector was cornered and chose to take his chances inside, then Angel and Louis would have to go in and get him, or flush him out to where I would be waiting. Grenade launchers might have been more effective, but your average grenade launcher tended to attract a certain amount of attention in the suburbs, and was hard to hide under a jacket, even one as expensive as Louis’s. The other option might have been to try and break down the doors and come in shooting like gangbusters, but we risked looking kind of stupid—and kind of dead—if the doors were reinforced or booby-trapped in any way. The Collector was very protective of his health.

This was the third of the Collector’s nests that we had targeted, and we were becoming almost accomplished by this point. We went in fast, and hit both sides of the house simultaneously, the panes of three windows shattering as one. The grenades delivered a combination of military-grade pepper spray and tear gas, and could cover a range of more than 20,000 cubic feet in less than a minute. Anyone who was in those rooms when they exploded wouldn’t be staying there for long.

I was edgy before the first grenade went in, but I was doubly so as I prepared to toss the second. If shots were going to come, they would come now, but there was no reaction from inside the house. After a minute, I heard more glass shattering. Angel and Louis were going in through a window, not through the door. It was a calculated risk: expose yourself while climbing in through the busted frame, or try the door and hope that it wasn’t wired. They’d opted for the former. I pulled back from the front of the house and took cover behind the car in the drive. It was a midsize Chevy sedan, the kind that an accountant might drive. The interior was pristine, and the seats were bare.

Nothing happened. There were no shouts, and no gunshots. I could hear doors banging open in the house, but no more than that. After three minutes, my cell phone rang. It was Louis. He was breathing heavily. Behind him I could hear Angel coughing.

“He’s gone,” said Louis.

WE ALLOWED THE GAS to disperse before heading back inside. This house was better furnished than the others we had seen. There were books on the shelves—political biographies and modern histories, for the most part—and an effort had been made to decorate the rooms. The wood floors were partly covered with cheap but tasteful rugs, and abstract prints hung on some of the walls. The kitchen closets contained canned goods, rice, pasta, a couple of jars of instant coffee, and a bottle of Martell XO cognac. A small portable refrigerator hummed on the floor. Inside were candy bars, fresh milk, and a six-pack of diet soda. A TV in the living room was hooked up to a DVD player, but there was no cable connection. A copy of that day’s Washington Post lay on the floor by the single armchair. Beside it was a mug of coffee, still warm. We must have missed him by minutes, seconds.

My eye caught an object hanging from the reading lamp by the chair. It was a bear-claw necklace. The Collector had taken it from Jackie’s truck either before or after he killed him. It had once hung from Jackie’s rearview mirror. It was his good-luck token, but his luck had still run out. In the end, everyone’s luck does.

The Collector always kept souvenirs of his kills. He had not abandoned this one lightly. It was a message for us: a taunt, or perhaps a gesture of recompense, depending upon how one chose to take it.

I stepped carefully to the window and risked a glance at the small back yard. Two houses backed onto this one, and in the distance I saw the lights of Newark. I could feel him out there. He was watching us. He knew that we wouldn’t come after him on foot over unfamiliar ground, and at night. He was waiting to see what we would do next.

“We got more trinkets,” I heard Angel say.

He joined me at the window, his back to the wall. Even in the darkness, he didn’t want to make a target of himself. In his gloved hand he held a gold charm bracelet, a photograph of a young woman in an ornate silver frame, and a baby shoe that had been cast in bronze, each a token of a life taken.

“How did he get out?” I asked.

“Through the back door?”

“It’s still locked from the inside,” I said. “The front door was the same way. And you had to break a window to get in. They only open at the top, and a child could barely fit through the gap.”

“In here,” said Louis from the main bedroom.

We joined him there. Like all the other rooms in the house, it had a low ceiling. A hole for an AC unit had been cut in the wall by the main window, but there was no unit in place, and the hole appeared to have been boarded up. A chair was nearby. Louis stood on it and tested the board. It was hinged at the top, and moved like a pet door with the pressure of his hand. The hole looked small, but then Louis flipped up the frame surrounding it, and suddenly the space was big enough to allow an average-sized man to squeeze through.

“Bet the board on the other side is hinged too,” said Louis. “He crawled out of here like the bug that he is.”

He stepped down from the chair. The night was clear. No clouds obscured the moon.

“He’s out there, isn’t he?” he said.

“Probably.”

“Can’t go on like this. Eventually he’s going to get tired of running.”

“Maybe. Who knows how many of these bolt holes he has. But somewhere there’s one that matters more than the others, more even than this one. That’s where he’s keeping the lawyer.”

The lawyer Eldritch steered the Collector in the direction of those who had, in his eyes, forfeited the right to life—perhaps even the right to their immortal souls. He presented the case for the prosecution, and the Collector took care of the punishment. But Eldritch was injured in the same incident that had killed the woman and brought the Collector down on Jackie, and the Collector had spirited the old lawyer away. Who knew, Eldritch might even be dead. If that was the case, the Collector would be off the leash entirely. If nothing else, Eldritch held his hunting dog in some form of check.

“We going to keep looking for this refuge?” asked Louis.

“He killed Jackie.”

“Maybe Jackie brought it on himself.”

“If you believe that, then we all bring it on ourselves.”

“That might just be true.”

Angel joined us.

“Why hasn’t he hit back? Why hasn’t he tried to take us out?”

I thought that I had the answer.

“Because he believes that he violated his own code when he killed Jackie. Jackie’s life wasn’t his to take, whatever mistakes he might have made. Somewhere in what passes for his conscience, the Collector suspects that we may have earned the right to come after him. It’s like Louis said: maybe we all bring it on ourselves.

“And then, like us, the Collector is just a pawn in a greater game. He might know more about the rules of the game than we do, but he has no idea of the state of play, or how close anyone is to winning or losing. He’s afraid to kill us in case it tips the balance against him, although I don’t know how long that situation will continue.”

“What about us?” said Angel. “If we kill him, will there be blowback?”

“The difference is that we don’t care,” I said.

“Oh,” said Angel. “I must have missed that memo.”

“Basically, it said ‘Fuck ’em if they ain’t on our side,’ ” Louis explained.

“Yeah, I would have remembered seeing that one,” said Angel. “So we keep hunting him until we corner him, or until he just rolls over and dies?”

“We hunt him until he tires, or we tire,” I said. “Then we’ll see how it plays out. You got anything better to do?”

“Not lately. Not ever, to be honest. So what now?”

I looked again into the darkness beyond the house.

“If he’s out there, let’s give him something to watch.”

WHILE ANGEL WENT TO retrieve our car, Louis and I broke into the Chevy and pushed it against the door of the house. I could already smell the gas from the stove in the kitchen as Louis doused the interior of the Chevy with the Collector’s cognac, saving about a third of the liquid. He stuck a kitchen rag into the neck of the bottle and shook it to soak the material. When Angel was sure that the road was clear, he signaled Louis with his headlights, and Louis lit the rag, tossed the bottle into the car, and ran.

The Chevy was already burning as we drove away, but the two explosions—the first from the car, the second from the house itself—came sooner than anticipated and occurred almost simultaneously, catching us by surprise. We didn’t stop to watch the fireball rise above the trees. We just kept driving, taking Telegraph Road into Maryland as far as the intersection with Route 213, then headed north into Pennsylvania. We handed the car over to a woman in Landenberg, took possession of our own vehicles, and separated without another word, Louis and Angel heading for Philly while I drove north to the Turnpike.

ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF Newark, a man in a dark coat watched fire trucks pass. The sleeve of his coat was torn, and he limped slightly as he walked, favoring his right leg. The lights of the trucks briefly illuminated his thin face, his dark, slicked-back hair, and the thin trickle of blood that ran from his scalp. They had come close to catching him this time, so very close. . . .

The Collector lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply as his house burned.

Revue de presse

The finest crime series currently in existence (Independent on Sunday)

Superb . . . this thriller underlines just how fine a writer Connolly has become (Daily Mail)

[What] is so impressive [is] the fact that he's able to work poetic language into the thriller format . . . You may think at times you are reading a literary novel but then Connolly will remind you he's just as adept at the violent strategies of the thriller. Either way you will be left shaken by the experience. (Daily Express)

Connolly's writing is poetic, mystical - and almost impossible to put down (Woman & Home)

Contains Connolly's usual brilliance with plot, dialogue, setting, humour and writing that is at times poetic (Independent on Sunday)

Skilful at humour and building suspense, Connolly's writing is also poignant and at times downright beautiful (Sunday Business Post)

Few thriller writers can create a sense of menace and evil as deftly as Connolly does. Compelling. (Irish Independent)

The finest crime series currently in existence (Independent on Sunday)

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 657 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 433 pages
  • Editeur : Hodder & Stoughton (10 avril 2014)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00GIUGRYE
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Word Wise: Non activé
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (2 commentaires client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°45.685 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Parfaitement satisfait 22 décembre 2014
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Probablement un des meilleurs romans de John Connolly. J'ai adoré. Charlie Parker est au mieux de sa forme, et ses anges gardiens sont parfaits.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 fabulous 27 août 2014
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I love the Charlie Parker series. John Connolly is my favourite writer, he surprises me again and again with his knowledge.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 étoiles sur 5  201 commentaires
36 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The Best series out there. No doubt. 10 avril 2014
Par Liz Wilkins - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle
Thank you kindly to Ellie Cheele for arranging the copy via Netgalley. You are now one of my favourite people!

The community of Prosperous, Maine has always thrived when others have suffered. Its inhabitants are wealthy, its children’s future secure. It shuns outsiders. It guards its own. And at the heart of the Prosperous lie the ruins of an ancient church, transported stone by stone from England centuries earlier by the founders of the town . . .
Charlie Parker has been marked to die so that Prosperous may survive.

First things first – if you have not yet started this series then LOOK AWAY NOW there may be minor spoilers ahead for previous novels (very minor but still!) and also – on top of that – if you HAVENT read them then why the heck not? Off you go. Every Dead Thing is where you start..

So we come to “The Wolf in Winter”. At the end of the previous book the murky relationship between Charlie and The Collector hit dangerous territory..and life for all my favourite characters was about to get more interesting. And deadly. As we open, the aftershocks of previous events resonate and thats before our Mr Parker comes to the notice of the inhabitants of a town called Prosperous…

I find these books quite difficult to review if I’m honest. When I review Stephen King I often want to shout “JUST READ IT its brilliant what else do you need to know?” And I could easily apply that to all the works of Mr Connolly, most especially this particular series. And this instalment has left me traumatised, desperate for more, completely out of breath and absolutely in awe. Of the writing, of the depth of the mythology he has created here, at the sheer stunning emotional resonance of the people that inhabit that world. I have rarely come across such depth of character – so deep that you really do feel you know them all. I often have the feeling, that should somebody evil do something nasty to me, that Charlie, Louis and Angel would track them to the ends of the earth. That is how real they become during the reading…

Prosperous is a scary place indeed. And once more Charlie and co will encounter the worst that the world has to offer and will not look away. It may be my favourite one yet for pure adrenalin rush – but to get into the plot too deeply is to spoil it indeed and I’m not going to do that. And some of you have a long way to go before you get here..

The supernatural elements aside, there is always more to these than meets the eye, they are terrifically well constructed novels that MUST be read in order to fully appreciate the Russian Doll quality of the the progression…one piece of information leading to the next, past acts echoing through present events..and always right at the heart and soul of it sits Private Detective Charlie Parker. Both his light and his darkness, his morality and his struggle with it. A truly amazing creation surrounded by other truly amazing creations, all making up a truly magnificent reading experience.

I have always said that Stephen King is the best writer out there (for me) and I tag myself as a SK fanatic. Because I am. The Wolf in Winter however means that I am now, officially, a John Connolly fanatic also. No doubt. Does he have an end game in mind for Mr Parker? I don’t want to know lest it destroy me…

Read it. Live it. Love it.
4 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The 12th Charlie Parker novel (4.5 stars) 10 novembre 2014
Par TChris - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
A girl named Annie is being held captive in an unfriendly town called Prosperous. Suspecting that his daughter is in trouble but finding himself unwelcome in Prosperous, Annie's homeless father hopes to get help from Charlie Parker. The father is found swinging from a rope before they have a chance to talk.

Prosperous, notable for its old English church that once hosted a now defunct religion, is one of the creepy, incestuous towns that writers of horror and crime novels like to create. The residents of Prosperous share a secret and are hostile to outsiders who might learn its dirty business. John Connolly provides enough background to the town and its people to make it believable but not so much as to slow the story with needless detail.

Connolly weaves the history of the mystic religious sect into a plot that takes Parker to Prosperous as he follows the trail of the homeless man's missing daughter. About halfway into the novel, the story takes a supernatural turn, as Parker novels usually do. The supernatural elements are the least interesting aspect of the story but The Wolf in Winter does have the creepy feeling of a good X-Files episode.

An extended section of the book takes place while Parker is out of action, giving series regulars Ronald Straydeer and the killer couple Louis and Angel a chance to be in the limelight. They are strong characters who easily carry the story. The Collector, a recurring villain in the series, makes an appearance, advancing an ongoing subplot while altering the mission that has recently motivated Louis and Angel.

Connolly writes with unusual sensitivity and compassion about the homeless. They are, in fact, some of the best characters in the book. The bad guys are also described in convincing detail. Some residents of Prosperous are just playing the hands they were dealt while the town's rulers are the embodiment of evil when they aren't behaving like ordinary folk.

Connolly's commentary adds personality to the characters and amusement to the story. A character's reference to readers who take "reading books very seriously without ever understanding how the act could be enjoyable as well" and his flaming condemnation of Look Homeward, Angel were among my favorites. I take reading seriously but if I'm not enjoying a book, I don't finish it. The Wolf in Winter was easy to finish. If I could, I would give it 4 1/2 stars.
3 internautes sur 3 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 How do you feed a hungry god? 17 novembre 2014
Par Paper or Kindle - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This is the twelfth in the Charlie Parker series. It's part mystery, part thriller, and part fantasy, and all the parts work together beautifully. Unlike most series featuring a single hero (or anti-hero), one never knows if Parker will survive any story. He is very close to Something Beyond, and this has been developed since the first novel. I think this is the best book so far, for the chilling story and the underlying premise. I read them out of order and would like to point out that some of the characters are not clearly defined for someone who hasn't encountered them before, like Believers and Principal Backers. One might liken Parker to the wolf of the title, but the wolf can't escape his fate, while Parker has the ability to choose within limited parameters. The plot starts out simply enough, with a homeless man seeking his homeless daughter, who has vanished after telling someone that she was offered a job. He winds up hanged in a deserted building and the police are willing to consider it suicide - until a friend of the deceased contacts Parker. The detective, who is motivated less by money and more by a burning need to see justice done, makes some inquiries and is led to Prosperous, an insulated community whose fortunes have somehow escaped the current economy. Their young men don't die while serving in the armed forces, there are no homeless in the streets, and there are no outsiders dwelling among the descendants of old English settlers. Those settlers brought over their little church, stone by stone, and though they all worship with more conventional Protestant denominations, everyone seems strangely devoted to the Chapel of Adam Before Eve and Eve Before Adam. So devoted, in fact, that no one who leaves the town ever discusses it. Read it for the chilling reason, and see what Parker decides.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 As advertised 16 juin 2014
Par Mark Fitzgerald - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
Being a fan of the Charlie Parker series I always expected to enjoy this and wasn't let down. Connolly's writing style has improved with each novel and this is a slick confident offering from an author comfortable with his genre & characters. As a standalone novel TWIW is nothing exceptional and doesn't particularly progress the background story that frame all the Parker novels but it gives just enough hints and glimpses of future storylines to have us counting the days to the next installment.
3 internautes sur 4 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Another Terrific Entry In The Parker Canon 28 octobre 2014
Par Michael Patrick Hicks - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
[This review is based on an advanced readers copy obtained from the publisher via NetGalley.]

John Connolly is one of my favorite authors, and I always relish each new entry in his Charlie Parker series. Every time I start in on one of these books, I’m immediately flooded with a sense of warmth, regardless of how chilling a plot he’s crafting. For me, the Parker books are a perfect comfort read, imbued with all of the basic genre hooks I love: the lone-wolf PI, a band of killers, a splash of the supernatural, a rich mythology running through the spine of the story, a haunting suggestion of one’s own dark soul, and explorations of the struggle between good and evil. Connolly himself is such a skilled and gifted storyteller that I always feel like I’m in good hands for the few hours I get to spend in his world.

Twelve Parker books deep, and Connolly is still at the top of his game. While The Wolf In Winter may be too soaked in the rich overarching mythology of the series for newcomers, long-term fans should find quite a lot to be happy about. And if, for whatever mysterious reason, you haven’t read any of this series yet, do yourself a favor and get a copy of Every Dead Thing and subsequent volumes until you’re all caught up!

This novel’s initial draw revolves around the murder of a homeless man and his daughter, and the dangerous Maine community of Prosperous, initially feels a bit too familiar, particularly for mystery genre readers and Parker fans. A massive mid-book game-changer upends any sense of familiarity or safety in the proceedings, and Connolly plunges us into the depths of conspiracy that has been a constant thru-line in the world that Parker and his allies inhabit. Among his new lethal enemies in Prosperous are returning staples, such as The Collector, who is being hunted by the detective following the conclusion of The Wrath of Angels, and organizations like The Believers and The Backers, and a number of familiar faces from previous entries. Louis and Angel, of course, return as well, with their eyes rightly centered on vengeance.

If I can draw a cue from The X-Files or Millennium, The Wolf In Winter would be considered a very heavy addition to the series mytharc, and reader’s enjoyment will depend on how heavily invested they are in the ongoing conspiracy and the rivalries of various factions concerned with the supernatural corners of Parker’s world. As a decade-plus long Connolly fan, I find myself even more intrigued with the underworld black-market activity that each book has helped to flesh out and shape into an ethereal, dangerous, sometimes omnipresent force overshadowing Maine and its surrounding locales. The cultish Familist activities of those in Prosperous and their devotion to the Green Man make for a fine addition to the series cannon, and prove to be remarkably interesting in their expansion and divisiveness of the darker corners of this series. Connolly takes some serious steps in giving the series, and its readers, a vicious jolt, the aftermath of which provides some of the most taut and tense drama in a long while.

As with other entries in the Parker series, my only complaint is that I’ll have to wait at least another year for the next one! Beyond that, The Wolf In Winter is ripe with Connolly’s customary humor, wry observations, and witty repartee, and provides some delirious escapist entertainment into the world of killers and old gods, and the ramifications of this particular entry should ripple out to disrupt Parker’s future and his role to play in the overlapping ancient conspiracy and prophesy for a good long while. This a perfect fall release, one to curl up with beside the fireplace to rightly savor, and is highly recommended for Parker devotees.
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