THE FOG OF WAR HIDES MANY SECRETS, BUT RARELY A GOOD ONE. The Fourth Rule tells the story of one secret born when a Green Beret returns from Vietnam and disappears. Two decades later, the CIA approaches the soldier’s younger brother, Matthew Grant, to uncover what happened. Matthew denies knowing anything, but the CIA doesnt believe him, and thus begins an intense struggle between the CIA, hell-bent on protecting its own and continuing its illicit clandestine activities, and a not-so-ordinary citizen, who has to risk it all to protect his secret and right a terrible wrong from the past.
The Fourth Rule
It happened twenty years ago. Twenty-two, to be exact, but being exact isn’t the point. The point is that Matthew has spent half his life keeping the secret. At twenty-two, he began. By twenty-seven, he’d worked five years covering his tracks, burying the secret so no one could find it. By thirty-one, he’d diligently built a maze around its grave. But after tonight’s visit, he knows the dormant days are over; the search has begun. “The game is on.”
The doorbell rings. Matthew, half asleep on the family room couch, jerks up. The open paperback slides off his chest, his place lost for the moment. He isn’t expecting anyone and his daughter is out for the evening with friends, not due back until her ten o’clock curfew. He swings his legs off the couch, jams his feet in his loafers, runs his fingers through his hair, and goes to answer the front door.
Stooping to peer through the peephole, he sees two strangers standing under the porch light, men in their mid-forties, suits too stylishly cut and shiny for corporate attire, more appropriate for nightclub managers. Big men, size forty-eight huskies since middle school, but now their waists are in an all-out race with their chest sizes.
Matthew opens the door. “Gentlemen?”
“Mr. Grant, I’m Chris DeAngelo and this is Mike Hogan, we’re from Backchannel Security.” The men hold open their black leather identification wallets.
DeAngelo must shave three times a day, but Hogan is bone white. God, in today’s world there’s a legitimate job even for thugs. Too small for the NFL and too slow for the NHL, they go into security.
“What’s this about?”
“We’d like to ask you some questions about your brother, Mark. May we come in?”
Matthew tips his head to the side, stretching a kink from his neck, and he opens the door wider, inviting them in. For twenty-two years he has known this day would come, but why now, after decades of silence? He glances at his wristwatch as he pushes the door closed behind the men. 2100 hours.