The Bomb Maker

The Bomb Maker

Book - 2018
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"A bomb is more than a weapon. A bomb is an expression of the bomber's thoughts about you, his predictions of your behavior--a performance designed to fool you into making one fatally wrong move. In The Bomb Maker, Edgar Award-winning author Thomas Perry introduces us to the dark corners of a mind intent on transforming a simple machine into an act of murder--and to those committed to preventing that outcome at any cost. A threat is called into the LAPD Bomb Squad, a team dispatched to a house whose owner is away, and a bomb disguised inside photography equipment exploded in the kitchen. But it is a second bomb hidden in the basement that has devastating consequences--half of the entire Bomb Squad is obliterated within seconds. The fragmented unit turns to Dick Stahl, a former Bomb Squad commander who now operates his own private security company. Having just returned from a grueling job in Mexico, Stahl is reluctant to accept the offer, but senior technicians he had trained were among those killed. On his first day back at the head of the squad, Stahl's team is dispatched to a suspected car bomb outside a gas station. It quickly becomes clear to him that they are dealing with the same mastermind behind the weapon that killed fourteen highly trained men and women barely twenty-four hours before--and that the intended target may be the Bomb Squad itself. As the shadowy organization sponsoring this campaign of terror puts increasing pressure on the bomb maker, and Stahl becomes dangerously entangled with a member of his own team, the fuse on this high-stakes plot only burns faster. The Bomb Maker is Thomas Perry's biggest, most unstoppable thriller yet"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York, NY : The Mysterious Press, 2018
Edition: First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition
ISBN: 9780802127488
0802127487
9780802155555
Branch Call Number: FICTION PERRY THOMAS
Characteristics: 372 pages ; 24 cm

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j
jimg2000
Apr 11, 2018

He had used barometer switches designed to close when the bomb was at a specific altitude. He’d made time-delay bomb switches from kitchen timers, timers from lawn sprinkler systems, and alarm clocks. He’d made switches that used motion sensors from outdoor lighting fixtures to close a circuit when a person came near. He’d set bombs off with mousetraps, components from children’s toys and games, a pressure pad that turned on a laughing Halloween witch when a child stepped on it. He’d made a few from toasters and thermostats.
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There could be an electric eye that would set off the initiator if the light beam to its receiver unit was interrupted. There could be a piece of thin wire or transparent fishing line stretched across his path at a level just below the tops of the blades of grass. The trap could be any of a thousand things, or several of them at once, or there could be no trap, and no bomb.

j
jimg2000
Apr 11, 2018

In another half second it came, knocking him off his feet onto the grass, clapboards and two-by-fours striking his back. Then clouds of white dust obscured the world.
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Garza was about six feet three and 240 pounds, and he conveyed the peculiar impression that he was in life as a kind of referee.
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“I’m younger and stronger.”
“Better looking too,” said Stahl. “But I’m older, and I outrank you by so much I can barely see you down there. .. ”
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You’re probably really good at what you do, manufacturing things in places where nobody has money and selling them in places where people do. That’s a great talent, and I wish I had it. But instead, I learned a trade. I can find and extract a kidnapped American businessman.
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The rule of thumb is that a shaped charge can penetrate through steel plate seven times its own diameter.

j
jimg2000
Apr 11, 2018

“Mercury rocker switch.” The switch was resting on the off-white layer of explosive bricks in a handmade wooden frame about six inches long. The frame held a glass tube tilted at a twenty-degree angle.
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Creating a potent blast required knowing the chemical processes he could produce by combining particular substances in specific proportions. He had to know how to coax them to transform from inert lumps of matter into sound, light, heat, and brute force.
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What we’ve got is a vertical tube, ten inches in diameter and over two feet long, filled with more Semtex. The cap on top is epoxied shut. What I think might be under there are a battery and a second mercury switch, placed there just for people like my team, who might be stupid enough to try to remove it.
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Factory-made Semtex had a detonation velocity of twenty-six thousand feet per second and at the explosion’s center produced heat of three thousand degrees.

j
jimg2000
Apr 11, 2018

…learning to be a good LA cop takes longer than training to be a competent bomb tech.
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In Stahl’s experience, men like this bomber never showed any sign whatever that they were mentally ill. They looked like anybody else. They exerted great self-control. They had to obtain substances and devices that were hard to find, hard to buy, and hard to use. They were patient and careful. They had to be the ones who weren’t noticed, weren’t seen, and weren’t remembered.
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“You’re a reassuring presence.”
“I cultivate that for my business,” he said. “I make faces in front of the mirror until I hit on one that will make people think I’m the guy who can solve their problems. It makes them pay my outrageous fees.”
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“It’s a great advantage to have somebody on the team who’s got small hands, thin arms, flexible joints, and a quick brain.”

j
jimg2000
Apr 11, 2018

“You’ve got a good perimeter set up and everybody out of the way. I assume you made a Code Five Edward call to clear the airspace?”
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The robot’s top speed was three and a half miles an hour, about the normal walking speed of a man.
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The robot was equipped with a two-thousand-foot cable, but they were using the remote control for the moment.
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There was a bright flash as the bomb tore itself apart and fired hundreds of projectiles in all directions, blowing the glass front into the building and sending a shock wave toward Stahl. A half second later the sharp bang slapped his ears and collided with his body, a flat, hard force that felt to him like something solid pounding his chest and stomach.
At the same time, he saw the robot thrown outward from the building into the parking lot. It flew about fifty feet—not lifted but swatted—spinning and hitting on its side. Then it slid across the pavement to a stop.

j
jimg2000
Apr 11, 2018

“Go back down to the lobby. Stay near the elevators, but not in front of the doors. If I screw up they’ll blow outward. But guard the buttons. Don’t let anybody get near them. We don’t have proof yet that the bomber has left the building.”
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“…You were going to get laid if dinner had been sharing a can of tuna,” she said.
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A normal LAPD shift is twelve hours, three days a week.
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But this is a city that’s essentially eighty miles east to west and sixty north to south, and some of it is more densely populated than New York. The term ‘rush hour’ isn’t used here anymore, because the roads are packed every hour of every day and night.
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In a week he could be dead, and what they needed to trust wasn’t a boss. They needed to rely on their training and each other.
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He had placed a plastic container of white phosphorus inside so any application of high heat would melt the plastic and allow the phosphorus to burn everything in the safe, and probably injure the safecracker.

j
jimg2000
Apr 11, 2018

Tannerite was the substance used in exploding targets. It was harmless and inert until a high-velocity projectile hit it, at which point it would explode.
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There’s been growing talk in the city council that we aren’t prepared for terrorism, and we have a mayor with ears like a rabbit.
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Poor kids knew that even small mistakes destroyed people, because they’d seen it happen. Lawyers and doctors and second chances were things rich people had, but help was never on the way for people like the ones they knew.
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Every living EOD man’s failure rate in the field was zero.
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While he was at work, his hours ran as smoothly as a line reeling off a spool.
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Their relationship was still like a date that never ended, just got interrupted every day during their shift, and then resumed at night.

j
jimg2000
Apr 11, 2018

The job never changed, and when she realized that all she was doing was trading her share of sunlight for money, she quit and drove to Los Angeles.
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She was a believer in incidental exercise. She never took an elevator if she could use the stairs, never sat when she could stand, never drove when she could walk.
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She was a believer in incidental exercise. She never took an elevator if she could use the stairs, never sat when she could stand, never drove when she could walk.
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“Gentlemen,” she said. “Go to the waiting room down the hall, and do what its name implies. Wait.”
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But what we have to worry about isn’t today. What if, five years from now, you’ve broken up, and she’s been passed over for promotions, or disciplined, or even fired? She won’t love the police force then. There are statutes of limitations on most of the injuries she could sue for, but under the continuing violation theory, her attorneys could get around those limitations.

j
jimg2000
Apr 11, 2018

It was death all day and life at night with you.
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They’re the only guns I’m selling, not the only guns I have.
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They were all young, tan-skinned males who could be from a wide variety of places, and they spoke with practically no accent. They never spoke a language to each other besides English, or addressed any of their companions by name. There was no Jose, no Raj, no Ahmed, no Singh, no Zog, no Chou, no Pepe.
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The fuze had a set of exterior threads that fitted into a threaded receptacle on the bomb. The original fuze had two ball bearings embedded in the thread. In the original, when the fuze was screwed in, the bearings slipped into two recesses, making it impossible to unscrew.
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They were smiling, but it was the same kind of smile he expected to see if they were about to kill someone in a particularly cruel way.

j
jimg2000
Apr 11, 2018

It had been like riding a runaway horse. She was not in charge at all, rather clinging to the horse and trying not to fall.
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A man who was planning to die for a cause might be crazy or deluded, but he wasn’t cowardly or selfish. The bomb maker acknowledged himself to be both.
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There have been fire officials who set fires, either to expand their reputations or to create a need for their services. And, of course, there have been police officers who committed crimes and pretended to solve them.
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The Los Angeles police had automatic license plate readers mounted on patrol cars. The main purpose was to spot cars that had been reported stolen or had outstanding warrants. But there was a computerized record of every plate scanned. He was sure that by now, the homicide detectives would be looking at the numbers scanned near the times and places of his bombings. If two or three of them matched his car’s plate, they might take him in.

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j
jimg2000
Apr 11, 2018

Good enough Perry thriller novel, a page turner on the insider expertise of a villain who made bombs from scratch and that of a Bomb Squad captain who intent to neutralize them. The finale made a great explosive scene although not too convincing in how it came about.

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