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This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental.

Copyright © 2021 by Jackson Ford

Excerpt from The Last Smile in Sunder City copyright © 2020 by Luke Arnold

Excerpt from Tracer copyright © 2015 by Rob Boffard

Cover design by Emily Courdelle and Steve Panton – LBBG

Cover photographs © Shutterstock

Hachette Book Group supports the right to free expression and the value of copyright. The purpose of copyright is to encourage writers and artists to produce the creative works that enrich our culture.

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book without permission is a theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like permission to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), please contact permissions@hbgusa.com. Thank you for your support of the author’s rights.


Hachette Book Group

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New York, NY 10104


First Edition: April 2021

Simultaneously published in Great Britain by Orbit

Orbit is an imprint of Hachette Book Group.

The Orbit name and logo are trademarks of Little, Brown Book Group Limited.

The publisher is not responsible for websites (or their content) that are not owned by the publisher.

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Library of Congress Control Number: 2020949820

ISBNs: 978-0-316-70277-5 (trade paperback), 978-0-316-70272-0 (ebook)




Title Page




One: Teagan

Two: Teagan

Three: Teagan

Four: Teagan

Five: Teagan

Six: Reggie

Seven: Teagan

Eight: Reggie

Nine: Teagan

Ten: Teagan

Eleven: Teagan

Twelve: Teagan

Thirteen: Reggie

Fourteen: Teagan

Fifteen: Teagan

Sixteen: Teagan

Seventeen: Reggie

Eighteen: Teagan

Nineteen: Teagan

Twenty: Teagan

Twenty-One: Teagan

Twenty-Two: Teagan

Twenty-Three: Teagan

Twenty-Four: Reggie

Twenty-Five: Teagan

Twenty-Six: Teagan

Twenty-Seven: Teagan

Twenty-Eight: Teagan

Twenty-Nine: Reggie

Thirty: Teagan

Thirty-One: Teagan

Thirty-Two: Teagan

Thirty-Three: Teagan

Thirty-Four: Teagan

Thirty-Five: Teagan

Thirty-Six: Reggie

Thirty-Seven: Teagan

Thirty-Eight: Teagan

Thirty-Nine: Teagan

Forty: Teagan

Forty-One: Reggie

Forty-Two: Teagan

Forty-Three: Teagan

Forty-Four: Teagan

Forty-Five: Reggie

Forty-Six: Teagan

Forty-Seven: Teagan

Forty-Eight: Teagan

Forty-Nine: Reggie

Fifty: Teagan

Fifty-One: Teagan

Fifty-Two: Teagan

Fifty-Three: Reggie

Fifty-Four: Teagan

Fifty-Five: Teagan

Fifty-Six: Reggie

Fifty-Seven: Reggie

Fifty-Eight: Teagan


Discover More


Meet the Author

A Preview of The Last Smile in Sunder City

A Preview of Tracer

Also by Jackson Ford

Praise for Jackson Ford and the Frost Files

Dedicated to Xzibit, Glendale

and Howlin’ Rays hot chicken

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Tap here to learn more.


Oh please, like you’ve never wanted to drive at high speed down a Los Angeles storm drain.

Although I’m guessing your fantasy doesn’t involve being chased by a gang of outlaw bikers. Who are shooting automatic weapons at you. And I’m a hundred per cent sure you would prefer not to be in a car holding forty pounds of stolen, high-grade methamphetamine.

It doesn’t help that we don’t actually have that much room to manoeuvre. The storm drain is three hundred feet wide, but the – let’s see – six bikes chasing us make it seem a lot smaller. The sides of the drain are steeply sloped – not too steep to drive down, but a bitch to get back up – and there’s a channel of water running right down the middle, too deep to cross.

Heat from the late morning sun bakes off the concrete in shimmering waves as Africa goes foot to floor, swerving to avoid a bike that’s gotten a little too close. I flinch back, white-knuckling the edges of the van’s passenger seat.

“This was a terrible idea!” I shout.

“It was your idea!” Annie Cruz roars from the back seat.

“Bullshit! I just wanted to steal their meth. It was you two who thought it would be fun to drop into the storm drain and— Fuck!”

A bullet takes out the side mirror, inches from me. Africa reaches across and pulls me down, spitting an angry curse in French.

Another bike comes up alongside us, straddled by a thick-necked goon with bad facial tats. He’s carefully aiming a handgun the size of a prime rib roast and clearly hoping to get more than just the wing mirror this time. How the hell does he even stay on the bike with the recoil?

“Buh-bye,” I say, reaching out with my mind and jerking the gun out of his hands.

Didn’t I mention? I can move things with my mind. It’s called psychokinesis – PK for short. The rushing air whips the gun out of sight.

Technically, I’m not supposed to use my ability in public – or in ways that might reveal it to others. My scary government handler doesn’t like it. But what is this biker asshole going to do? No guys, really, she pulled it out of my hands with her mind, I swear! I totally don’t have butterfingers… Why are you laughing? Stop it!

“Teggan,” Africa’s Senegalese-inflected roar fills the car. “There’s too many. Use your dëma powers, huh?”

“I just did! Why do you think we’re not getting shot at more?”

“Stop their motorbikes. Break the engines.”

“Already tried that!”

When they first started chasing us, I used my PK to crunch the engine internals of one of the bikes, and the result was horrifying. The bike didn’t stop neatly, as I’d hoped. Instead, it wobbled and skidded and dumped its driver onto the tarmac at high speed, scraping him to a bloody, comatose pulp. And it’s not like these people stopped to put on helmets.

Sure, I’m a psychokinetic government agent, but I do not like killing people.

“You have to,” Africa snarls. “Otherwise they just chase and chase.”

“How about you drive somewhere they can’t see us, and then we’ll—”

“Watch out!” Annie screams from the back.

There’s a huge, jagged chunk of concrete jutting up from the centre of the channel, resting on a mound of black dirt. Waist-high, more enough to ruin the day for anybody who hits it at speed. The mound of dirt runs down to a long crack, the concrete split and broken, running maybe twenty feet across the storm drain.

Oh yeah. We had an earthquake two months ago. A really big one. Most of the storm drain is fine, but concrete is concrete. Shake it, it cracks.

We only just – just – manage to miss the concrete. Africa’s driving has gotten better over the past few months,

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