The Banker’s Wife | Christina Alger | Extract
Read an exclusive extract from THE BANKER'S WIFE - the addictive new thriller that's soon to be adapted into a TV show starring Rosamund Pike.
Posted on January 24, 2019 in Extract
Tags: Extract, crime fiction, crime thriller, psychological thriller, thriller
Read an exclusive extract from The Banker’s Wife – the new addictive thriller that’s soon to be adapted into a TV series starring Rosamund Pike!
At London RAF Northolt airport, very few planes were cleared for takeoff. The crosswinds were strong; the downpour of sleet reduced visibility to nil. There was only one runway at Northolt, and a congestion of private jets looking to use it. It was six a.m. The crowd of passengers in the waiting area was small but impatient. Most were businessmen who had morning meetings in Paris, Luxembourg, Berlin. Some were booked on flights chartered by their corporations; a few owned their jets outright. These were not men who liked to wait.
A Russian named Popov was making a scene. He yelled alternately at the woman behind the front desk and at someone on the other end of his phone. Neither person was giving him the answer that he was looking for, so he toggled between them, the volume of his voice rising until he could be heard clear across the terminal. His female companion, a bored, willowy blonde in a fox-fur coat and sneakers, stared at her phone. She seemed accustomed to his rages. Everyone else was looking at Popov. Papers lowered; passengers turned to stare. At six feet four and at least 280 pounds, Alexei Popov was hard to miss, particularly when he was angry.
“I understand, sir,” the woman at the front desk said again, trying to remain professional in the face of his verbal barrage. “And I’m sorry for the inconvenience. But for safety reasons, we must advise—”
Popov cursed in Russian and threw his phone. The woman behind the desk ducked; two security guards walked briskly over to see about the fuss. Even the blonde was paying attention now. She took Popov by the arm and whispered something in his ear, attempting to calm him.
Thomas Jensen sat in the corner of the terminal, watched the scene with mild interest from behind a fresh copy of the Financial Times. Like the other passengers present that morning, Jensen wore a well-tailored suit and carried a briefcase. With his neatly combed silver hair and expensive loafers, Jensen looked like what he was: an Oxford graduate with a background in finance and a robust bank account. Unlike most of the other passengers, however, Jensen was not a financier or captain of industry. Though he was at Northolt on business, it was of a very different sort. He worked for a government agency in a capacity that few people knew existed. The only external indication that Jensen’s work was not a desk job but rather a dangerous and occasionally violent enterprise was the distinctive crook in his nose from where it had once been badly broken. Though he had suffered worse injuries, Jensen’s nose still gave him trouble. For that reason, he always kept a monogrammed handkerchief in his pocket. He removed it now and wiped his nose with it, while keeping a discreet eye on the other passengers in the waiting area.
Because of the fuss over Popov, Jensen was the only person who noticed when a man and woman crossed the terminal quickly and slipped out the exit door onto the tarmac. Jensen stood, put his handkerchief back into his pocket, and ambled over to the window. He watched as the pair boarded a Gulfstream G450. He studied the woman’s slight figure, her shoulders hunched against the wind, her hair wrapped up, Jackie Onassis–like, in a black scarf that protected it from the rain. The man was well built and a head taller than the woman. When the man turned, Jensen noted his tortoise-shell glasses and salt-and-pepper hair. The man put his hand protectively on the woman’s shoulder as they boarded the plane. Theirs was the biggest and most expensive plane at Northolt on that particular morning. The news would later report that it was being flown by an exceptional pilot. Omar Khoury had spent a decade in the Royal Saudi Air Force before going into private employ. He was a true, seasoned professional, unlikely to be phased by the suboptimal flying conditions. Almost as soon as the plane’s doors had shut, it was cleared for takeoff. Popov was still yelling about the delay when the G450 taxied down the runway and disappeared into the sky.
Once the plane was in the air, Jensen folded his paper in half and tucked it beneath his arm. He walked past Popov, past the front desk, and out of the terminal. A town car was waiting for him at the curb
His phone rang as soon as the car turned onto the A40 toward London.
“It’s done,” Jensen said. “Only one flight departed and they were on it.” He hung up, unfolded his paper, and read it in silence for the duration of the ride.
Less than one hour later, the G450 lost contact. Somewhere over the French Alps, it simply fell off the radar, as though it had never existed at all.