COLONEL GEOFFREY SHAFER loved his new life in Salvador, Brazil's
third-largest city and some would say its most intriguing. It was
definitely the most fun.
He had rented a plush six-bedroom villa directly across from
Guarajuba Beach, where he spent his days drinking sweet caipirinhas
and ice-cold Brahma beers, or sometimes playing tennis at the club.
At night, Colonel Shafer --- the psychopathic killer better known
as the Weasel --- was up to his old tricks, hunting on the dark,
narrow, winding streets of the Old City. He had lost count of his
kills in Brazil, and nobody in Salvador seemed to care, or even
keep count. There hadn't been a single newspaper story about the
disappearance of young prostitutes. Not one. Maybe it was true what
they said of the people here --- when they weren't actually
partying, they were already rehearsing for the next one.
At a few ticks past two in the morning, Shafer returned to the
villa with a young and beautiful streetwalker who called herself
Maria. What a gorgeous face the girl had, and a stunning brown
body, especially for someone so young. Maria said she was only
The Weasel picked a fat banana from one of several plants in his
yard. At this time of year he had his choice of coconut, guava,
mango, and pinha, which was sugar apple. As he plucked the fresh
fruit he had the thought that there was always something ripe for
the taking in Salvador. It was paradise. Or maybe it's hell and
I'm the Devil, Shafer thought, and chuckled to himself.
"For you, Maria," he said, handing her the banana. "We'll put it to
The girl smiled knowingly, and the Weasel noticed her eyes --- what
perfect brown eyes. And all mine now --- eyes, lips,
Just then, he spotted a small Brazilian monkey called a mico trying
to work its way through a window screen and into his house. "Get
out of here, you thieving little bastard!" he yelled. "G'wan! Beat
There came a quick movement from out of the bushes, then three men
jumped him. The police, he was certain, probably
Americans. Alex Cross?
The cops were all over him, powerful arms and legs everywhere. He
was struck down by a bat, or a lead pipe, yanked back up by his
full head of hair, then beaten unconscious.
"We caught him. We caught the Weasel, first try. That wasn't very
hard," said one of the men. "Bring him inside."
Then he looked at the beautiful young girl, who was clearly afraid,
rightly so. "You did a good job, Maria. You brought him to us." He
turned to one of his men. "Kill her."
A single gunshot ruptured the silence in the front yard. No one
seemed to notice or care in Salvador.