This is a work of fiction.

All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed
in this novel are either products of the authors’ imaginations or are used fictitiously.
Copyright © 2013 by Byron L. Dorgan and David Hagberg
All rights reserved.
A Forge Book
Published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
175 Fift h Avenue
New York, NY 10010
Forge® is a registered trademark of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Dorgan, Byron L.
Gridlock / Byron L. Dorgan and David Hagberg.—First Edition.
p. cm.
“A Tom Doherty Associates book.”
ISBN 978- 0-7653-2738-3 (hardcover)
ISBN 978-1-4299-4942-2 (e-book)
1. Energy security—United States—Fiction. 2. Energy industries—Political
aspects—United States—Fiction. 3. Energy industries—Government policy—
United States—Fiction. 4. Terrorism—Prevention—United States—Fiction.
I. Hagberg, David. II. Title.
PS3604.O7365G75 2013
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First Edition: July 2013
Printed in the United States of America


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5/3/13 6:59 AM



INNEAPOLIS WAS COLD, snow still on the ground, the

trees bare. Like Moscow, no spring buds here yet. Former
Spetsnaz Captain Yuri Makarov, a nephew of Nikolai Makarov who
designed the 9mm pistol that had been universally used in the
Soviet military, got off the Delta flight from New York’s LaGuardia
a few minutes before eleven in the morning, nodding to the two
first-class attendants, and headed down the Jetway into the Lindbergh Terminal. A man in no apparent hurry.
Traveling under a British passport with the work name Thomas
Parks, he’d brought only a small leather carry-on bag which he
slung over his shoulder and turned left at the gate and headed to
the main terminal. It was a weekday and the airport was busy
mostly with business travelers, and no one paid any particular
attention to him.
He was fairly short, under six feet, slender, with dark hair, wide
dark eyes, glasses, a pleasant demeanor, and an easy almost shy
smile, and at thirty-five he’d often been mistaken for a soccer

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player, or former soccer player for some British team. His accent
was as impeccable as was his grooming and dress—lightweight
tailored blue blazer, open collar shirt, and gray slacks. He carried
a Burberry over his arm, and wore Italian handmade half boots.
Parks appeared to be a gentleman, perhaps in banking, probably old family credentials. In fact he was a contract killer, whose
real name and actual background were known to only a few people inside Russia, and even they had no idea where he had disappeared to almost eight years ago. But he could be reached by the
right people, mostly people working at fairly high levels for some
government intelligence ser vice, who had need of skills such as
his. And who had access to a great deal of money. Makarov never
failed and that expertise came at a heft y price.
He followed the signs to the car rental desks on the second level
and stopped at the Hertz counter, the line fairly short. When it was
his turn he presented his British driving license and American
Express platinum card. “Thomas Parks.”
“Good morning, Mr. Parks,” the attractive young clerk said,
smiling. “Good flight?”
She brought up his reservation on her computer screen. “I have
you for a Chevrolet Impala, but I can upgrade you—”
“The Chevy will be just fine.”
She nodded, ran his credit card and driver’s license through the
system, which spit out a rental agreement, which Makarov signed
and five minutes later he was in the car and heading away from the
For this assignment, which was almost ridiculously simple by
his standards, he’d been contacted the usual way through a secure
e-mail account that was routed through several remailers, ending
with a large but discrete ser vice in New Delhi. He’d met with his
client at a booth in the back of a small pub just off Trafalgar

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Square at noon fifteen days ago. Both of them carried the day’s
edition of Le Figaro. And twenty-four hours earlier Makarov had
gone around to the back of the building to make sure that it had a
rear door in case something went wrong.
“Good afternoon,” he said, laying his newspaper on the table
and sitting down.
The man across from him was older, perhaps in his mid to late
fifties, with steel-gray short cropped hair, a square almost Teutonic
face, and broad shoulders and thick chest that strained against the
light jacket he was wearing. He was not smiling, and Makarov got
the impression that he never smiled.
“What do I call you?”
“For the moment, Mr. Schmidt will do,” Makarov said, a slight
German accent to his voice. “You contacted me and I’m here. What
do you want?”
“Do you want to know who I am?”
“You’re Colonel Luis Delgado, SEBIN. What does Venezuelan
intelligence want with me?”
Delgado’s left eyebrow rose. “A small job of work at first.”
Makarov said nothing.
“In western North Dakota, it’s in the upper Midwest of the
United States.”
Delgado told him what the job involved. “We’ll book your air,
hotel, and car reservations, as well as provide you the proper equipment—“
Makarov raised a hand to stop the man. “I’ll make my own arrangements. But there must be a better way of striking back after
Balboa.” The operation shortly after Christmas had been a U.S.
strike on five of Venezuela’s forward air force bases—the most important to Chavez. And the remark got to the colonel, because he
was suddenly curt.

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“Do you want the job or not?”
Makarov handed him a business card that contained only two
series of numbers, one with nine digits which was a bank router
and the second of ten which was his account number. “Five hundred thousand euros now and an additional five hundred thousand when the job is completed to your satisfaction.”
The colonel nodded. “Time is of the essence,” he said, but Makarov
had already gotten to his feet and was heading for the door.
The half million had shown up in his Channel Islands’ account
twenty-four hours later and he’d spent the last eight days arranging with the Russian Mafia in New York for his equipment to be
purchased and put in place, his British documents and credit card
secured, and the first-class flight reservations from Heathrow to
New York and from there to Minneapolis arranged. He would fly to
Paris under a different set of documents when he was finished here.
He picked up Interstate 494 west which was part of the ring highway system around the Twin Cities and seven miles later turned off
at one of the exits for the suburb of Bloomington, where he pulled
in at an E-Z Self Storage facility. He entered the four-digit code and
the gate swung inward so he could drive back to a small unit in the
last row.
No one was around at this hour, and Makarov unlocked the
roll-up door with the key that had been left for him at LaGuardia
taped under seat 2A aboard his Delta flight. Inside, a duffle bag
was propped up against the rear wall of the unit. Making sure that
no one was coming, he opened the bag and expertly checked the
partially disassembled American-made model 90 Barrett sniper
rifle, making certain that the firing pin was intact. Also included
as per his orders were the Leupold & Stevens x10 scope, and one
eleven-round detachable box magazine loaded with .50 in Browning ammunition. The 1,000-grain big-caliber bullet was 100 per-

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cent deadly from nearly a mile out, and could even penetrate the
engine blocks of military vehicles, and aircraft.
Something blocked the sun and Makarov turned as one of the
largest men he’d ever encountered stepped inside. At nearly seven
feet the man had to weigh more than three hundred pounds and
yet with tree trunk legs, an impossibly broad chest, huge neck, and
massive shoulders, his baby face was disproportionately small. He
was grinning like an idiot.
“Who are you?” Makarov asked mildly.
“Don Toivo. I own this place.”
“Well, you scared the hell out of me, mate. Do you always go
around sneaking up on people?”
“Only when I find something interesting in the units they rent
from me,” Toivo said and he glanced at the duffle bag. “And what’s
in there is definitely very interesting. Illegal.”
“It’s for sport. Target practice. I’m in a competition the day after
“Not with full-grain hollow points. That is a weapon for killing
“How would you know something like that?” Makarov asked,
measuring distances and angles. The big man had been injured
sometime in the past because he favored his left leg.
“I make it my business.”
“Very well. What comes next?”
“You have two choices: leave the rifle, drive away, and never
come back, or pay me what I think I can get for it on the open
market. I know some guys.”
Makarov smiled. “You weren’t a footballer, too big. I suspect
that you could never move fast enough. Weight lifter, shot putter?”
“WWF,” Toivo said.
Makarov shook his head.

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“World Wrestling Federation. Television.”
“I see,” Makarov said. “Actually neither choice will work. I can’t
leave my things here, nor am I willing to pay you anything.”
Toivo’s grin broadened. “I hoped you’d say something like that,
because there is a third choice.”
“Which is?”
“I fucking break you in two and take the gun anyway. How
about that choice?”

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