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Excerpted from BAD TWIN by Gary Troup. Copyright © 2006 Gary Troup. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.


Paul Artisan did not expect to need his gun that day, but you never knew. Sometimes things got very personal very quickly.
   People reacted strangely when they were caught in squalid little lies. Sometimes their posture drooped and their faces slackened, and they seemed almost relieved to be found out, to have their cheesy deceptions discovered and ended. Other times people seemed almost proud of themselves for being recognized as liars, cheats, adulterers, and frauds; confronted with their sins, they couldnít quite squeeze back sick and twisted hints of smiles, nasty twinkles in narrowed eyes. Look at me. Iím hell-bait!
   But sometimes people did get violent. Like cornered animals, they soon ran out of subtle options. If they couldnít slink away and hide, they saw no other possibility but to stand and fight, to the death if necessary. It was better to take the gun.
   The problem was how. This was an incognito job. A country-club job. The disguise was tennis clothes. There was no room to stick a 9 mm pistol in a pair of tennis shorts; there was no place to hide a holster underneath a natty, cabled tennis vest. Artisan decided to stash the gun in the zippered bag that held his racquets. This was not idealóit would take time and a bizarre ruse to free the weapon from a tennis bagóbut it would have to do. He called down to the garage to liberate his car, took his cell phone off the charger and stuck it in his pocket, and locked up his tiny office.
   It was August, and an excellent day to get out of Manhattan. The air had an unwholesome brownish-orange tinge; a deep breath felt grainy in the nose. The softened asphalt of Tenth Avenue seemed to suck at the tires of Artisanís old Volvo. Heading uptown toward the George Washington Bridge, he used red lights as opportunities to review the small folder that held a photo and some background information on his intended target.
   Her name was Sally Handler. Age forty-eight. Occupation: House≠wife and investor. Divorced from a midlevel executive in the telecom business. Two grown children. She did not look like a criminal, a would-be perpetrator of a multi-million-dollar fraud. She looked like a lady from Teaneck. Hair a fraudulent blonde, though if that were a crime, the jails would be as crowded as Calcutta. Friendly seeming eyes with some moderate wrinkling at the corners. A bit of thickening beneath the chin. A woman you might meet in any supermarket in America, especially in the aisle where they sold the low-carb crap. Not a crook. Artisan gave his head a small involuntary shake. With human beings you just never knew.

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