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Riptide Broché – 29 mars 2001

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"Bonjour Rebecca, je suis ton petit ami. Tu vas cesser de coucher avec le gouverneur Bedsoe, sinon je tuerai..." Voilà en substance ce que dit un mystérieux corbeau qui harcèle au téléphone Becca Matlock, laquelle écrit certes les discours du gouverneur de New York mais n'a jamais flirté avec lui. Et le corbeau met ses menaces à exécution en commençant à tuer... Rebecca tente de se cacher à Riptide, une petite ville côtière du Maine, mais le tueur la retrouve. Entrent alors en scène plusieurs personnages dont un de ses anciens camarades de lycée que tout le monde soupçonne d'avoir tué sa femme, un squelette que Rebecca retrouve dans sa cave, et une sorte d'ange-gardien prénommé Adam qui semble veiller sur la jeune femme mais refuse de décliner son identité. Rebecca va découvrir qu'elle est très surveillée en haut lieu et que la raison d'État est toujours la plus forte...

Catherine Coulter a vendu 32 millions d'exemplaires de la version originale de ce livre... Un best-seller absolu donc, qui tente de concilier thriller et roman d'espionnage. Une mécanique bien huilée côté suspens et construction, avec des coups de théâtre à la fin de chaque chapitre ou presque. La vraisemblance, elle, fait souvent défaut et le lien entre les intrigues est parfois distendu. Les amateurs d'émotions fortes et les nombreux fans de Catherine Coulter devraient néanmoins se régaler. --Bruno Ménard

Extrait

New York City

June 15

Present

Becca was watching an afternoon soap opera she’d

seen off and on since she was a kid. She found herself

wondering if she would ever have a child who needed a

heart transplant one month and a new kidney the next, or a

husband who wouldn’t be faithful to her for longer than it

took a new woman to look in his direction.

Then the phone rang.

She jumped to her feet, then stopped dead still and

stared over at the phone. She heard a guy on TV whining

about how life wasn’t fair.

He didn’t know what fair was.

She made no move to answer the phone. She just stood

there and listened, watching it as it rang three more times.

Then, finally, because her mother was lying in a coma in

Lenox Hill Hospital, because she just plain couldn’t stand

the ringing ringing ringing, she watched her hand reach out

and pick up the receiver.

She forced her mouth to form the single word. “Hello?”

“Hi, Rebecca. It’s your boyfriend. I’ve got you so

scared you have to force yourself to pick up the phone.

Isn’t that right?”

She closed her eyes as that hated voice, low and deep,

swept over her, into her, making her so afraid she was

shaking. No hint of an Atlanta drawl, no sharp New York

vowels, no dropped R’s from Boston. A voice that was well

educated, with smooth, clear diction, perhaps even a touch

of the Brit in it. Old? Young? She didn’t know, couldn’t

tell. She had to keep it together. She had to listen carefully,

to remember how he spoke, what he said. You can do it.

Keep it together. Make him talk, make him say something,

you never know what will pop out. That was what the police

psychologist in Albany had told her to do when the

man had first started calling her. Listen carefully. Don’t let

him scare you. Take control. You guide him, not the other

way around. Becca licked her lips, chapped from the hot,

dry air in Manhattan that week, an anomaly, the weather

forecaster had said. And so Becca repeated her litany of

questions, trying to keep her voice calm, cool, in charge,

yes, that was her. “Won’t you tell me who you are? I really

want to know. Maybe we can talk about why you keep calling

me. Can we do that?”

“Can’t you come up with some new questions, Rebecca?

After all, I’ve called you a good dozen times now.

And you always say the same things. Ah, they’re from a

shrink, aren’t they? They told you to ask those questions,

to try to distract me, to get me to spill my guts to you.

Sorry, it won’t work.”

She’d never really thought it would work, that

stratagem. No, this guy knew what he was doing, and he

knew how to do it. She wanted to plead with him to leave

her alone, but she didn’t. Instead, she snapped. She simply

lost it, the long-buried anger cutting through her bonegrinding

fear. She gripped the phone, knuckles white, and

yelled, “Listen to me, you little prick. Stop saying you’re

my boyfriend. You’re nothing but a sick jerk. Now, how

about this for a question? Why don’t you go to hell where

you belong? Why don’t you go kill yourself, you’re sure

not worth anything to the human race. Don’t call me anymore,

you pathetic bastard. The cops are on to you. The

phone is tapped, do you hear me? They’re going to get you

and fry you.”

She’d caught him off guard, she knew it, and an

adrenaline rush sent her sky-high, but only for a moment.

After a slight pause, he recovered. In a calm, reasonable

voice, he said, “Now, Rebecca sweetheart, you know as

well as I do that the cops now don’t believe you’re being

stalked, that some weird guy is calling you at all hours, trying

to scare you. You had the phone tap put in yourself because

you couldn’t get them to do it. And I’ll never talk

long enough for that old, low-tech equipment of yours to

get a trace. Oh yes, Rebecca, because you insulted me,

you’ll have to pay for it, big-time.”

She slammed down the receiver. She held it there, hard,

as if trying to stanch the bleeding of a wound, as if holding

it down would keep him from dialing her again, keep

him away from her. Slowly, finally, she backed away from

the phone. She heard a wife on the TV soap plead with her

husband not to leave her for her younger sister. She

walked out onto her small balcony and looked over Central

Park, then turned a bit to the right to look at the

Metropolitan Museum. Hordes of people, most in shorts,

most of them tourists, sat on the steps, reading, laughing,

talking, eating hot dogs from the vendor Teodolpho, some

of them probably smoking dope, picking pockets, and

there were two cops on horseback nearby, their horses’

heads pumping up and down, nervous for some reason.

The sun blazed down. It was only mid-June, yet the unseasonable

heat wave continued unabated. Inside the apartment

it was twenty-five degrees cooler. Too cold, at least

for her, but she couldn’t get the thermostat to move either

up or down.

The phone rang again. She heard it clearly through the

half-closed glass door.

She jerked around and nearly fell over the railing. Not

that it was unexpected. No, never that, it was just so incongruous

set against the normalcy of the scene outside.

She forced herself to look back into her mother’s lovely

pastel living room, to the glass table beside the sofa, at the

white phone that sat atop that table, ringing, ringing.

She let it ring six more times. Then she knew she had to

answer it. It might be about her mother, her very sick

mother, who might be dying. But of course she knew it was

him. It didn’t matter. Did he know why she even had the

phone turned on in the first place? He seemed to know

everything else, but he hadn’t said anything about her

mother. She knew she had no choice at all. She picked it up

on the tenth ring.

“Rebecca, I want you to go out onto your balcony again.

Look to where those cops are sitting on their horses. Do it

now, Rebecca.”

She laid down the receiver and walked back out onto

the balcony, leaving the glass door open behind her. She

looked down at the cops. She kept looking. She knew

something horrible was going to happen, she just knew it,

and there was nothing she could do about it but watch

and wait. She waited for three minutes. Just when she

was beginning to convince herself that the man was trying

new and different ways to terrorize her, there was a

loud explosion.

She watched both horses rear up wildly. One of the cops

went flying. He landed in a bush as thick smoke billowed

up, obscuring the scene.

When the smoke cleared a bit, she saw an old bag lady

lying on the sidewalk, her market cart in twisted pieces

beside her, her few belongings strewn around her. Pieces

of paper fluttered down to the sidewalk, now rutted with

deep pockmarks. A large bottle of ginger ale was broken,

liquid flowing over the old woman’s sneakers. Time

seemed to have stopped, then suddenly there was chaos as

everyone in view exploded into action. Some people

who’d been loitering on the steps of the museum ran

toward the old lady.

The cops got there first; the one who’d been thrown

from his horse was limping as he ran. They were yelling,

waving their arms—at the carnage or the onrushing

people, Becca didn’t know. She saw the horses throwing

their heads from side to side, their eyes rolling at the

smoke, the smell of the explosive. Becca stood there

frozen, watching. The old woman didn’t move.

Becca knew she was dead. Her stalker had detonated a

bomb and killed that poor old woman. Why? Just to terrorize

her more? She was already so terrified she could hardly

function. What did he want now? She’d left Albany, left the

governor’s staff with no warning, had not even called to

check in.

She walked slowly back inside the living room, firmly

closing the glass door behind her. She looked at the phone,

heard him saying her name, over and over. Rebecca, Rebecca.

Very slowly, she hung up. She fell to her knees and

jerked the connector out of the wall jack. The phone in the

bedroom rang, and kept ringing.

She pressed herself close to the wall, her palms

slammed against her ears. She had to do something. She

had to talk to the cops. Again. Surely now that someone

was dead, they would believe that some maniac was terrorizing

her, stalking her, murdering someone to show her he

meant business.

This time they had to believe her.

--Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.

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