On Friday April 4, 2003, an agent using the code name DR entered La Copa Máxima, an upscale coffee shop and eatery in Heredia, Costa Rica. The location was convenient. The National University campus was nearby. The international airport was a few miles to the southwest, and the metropolis of San José was a few miles to the southeast. It was still early in the evening and the after-work crowd of business professionals, government workers, and college professors had not yet arrived. A guitarist was setting up his gear on one side of the room. The aroma of freshly ground coffee beans permeated the air. DR paid little attention. He walked directly to a secluded corner in the rear of the coffee shop, and met with a distinguished looking man dressed in business attire.
About thirty minutes after leaving the coffee shop, DR arrived at the home of the intended target, and parked the car on the street at a location close to the residence. DR got out of the car and walked toward the residence carrying the shoulder bag containing the empty carton and a small tool kit. The gun was tucked into DR’s waist band.
The residence was a small one-story house placed endwise to the street. A short, paved driveway to the right of the house led from the street to a gated garage. As expected, eight-foot-high security fencing topped with razor wire ran along the sidewalk and then up the left side of the driveway all the way to the garage. Two-thirds of the way up the driveway, a pedestrian gate and a path led to the main entrance on the other side of the house. DR walked to the gate and pressed a button on an intercom mounted next to the gate. No one answered. Then DR walked to the gate protecting the garage and peered in between the bars. No car. Clearly the target was not yet home. DR saw no easy way to get past the locked gates, to say nothing of the doors into the house which would also be locked. Looking around, there was no sign of a security camera on this house, and none were visible nearby.
The sun had set and twilight was fading. With the low humidity, the temperatures were cooling quickly. While walking back down the driveway, and following the sidewalk back to the car, DR was thankful for the warmth of the black long-sleeved top. On the way back, a man walking a dog said, “buenas tardes señora” as he passed. DR responded with a simple hola and nodded politely. The darkness, the disguise, and the lack of a nearby security camera should protect my identity, DR thought. Back in the car, DR patiently watched the residence. A lamp came on at the pedestrian gate and then later, another inside the house shined through the security bars covering the two windows facing the street—probably on timers. The only other light would be from sparsely spaced street lamps.
At 6:35 p.m. a car pulled up the driveway and stopped just short of the garage gate. A middle-aged woman got out and used a key to open the two halves of the security gate. She swung them outward, got back in the car and pulled all the way forward into the garage. As she did this, DR donned a pair of latex gloves, readied the gun, grabbed the shoulder bag, and walked quickly up the driveway to the entry of the garage. The woman reached for her purse, got out of her car, and swung the car door shut. As she turned to walk back toward the garage entrance and shut the gate, she was confronted by her assailant.
“Buenas noches señora.”
She stopped short and looked up. A look of panic spread across her face as she saw the gun and realized it was too late to respond. Still six feet away, DR fired two bullets from the Sig. The first hit her squarely in the chest, and the other hit her in the throat. Blood-spatter landed on the side of the car and on the garage wall to the left. She fell backwards and landed with a thud on the concreate floor. Her purse spilled next to her. She lay motionless. Her white blouse slowly saturated with blood. It was a ghastly sight, but DR watched, suppressing any signs of emotion, until assured that she was dead!
DR remained calm and cool and retrieved the two bullet casings from the floor being careful not to pick up any trace of blood. Then, DR reached into the woman’s purse and pulled out her cluster of keys. To help block any view of the body from the street, DR closed the garage gates and relocated a trash bin between the gate and the body. At the rear of the garage there was an exit door that led toward the house. Rather than risk stumbling over the body, DR walked around the passenger side of the car to the exit door, and then walked from the garage across a covered patio to a sliding glass door that led into the kitchen at the rear of the house. One of the woman’s keys worked and the door slid open.
As soon as DR entered the kitchen an ear-splitting beeping pierced the air, loud enough to awaken the soundest of sleepers. Oh no, a security alarm. Wasn’t I told otherwise? DR looked around, but no security alarm panel was in sight. The cluster of keys were still in DR’s hand. Two remote fobs; only one car. DR pressed the red buttons on each. The beeping stopped! DR breathed a sigh of relief, but hoped that no one had been alerted by the alarm.
In Final Project, Donna Wolf, a seasoned intelligence officer, strives to complete an important mission before the end of her life. Things don’t go as planned. Her mission evolves into a larger covert project involving multiple intelligence operatives. Donna’s daughter is an unwitting participant and deeply affected. She struggles to discover the truth about her own involvement and about her mother’s life and final actions. With the help of others, she reveals a quagmire of deception and uncertainty, affecting careers and personal lives.
Readers of FINAL PROJECT will find the plot captivating with unexpected twists. Many readers will relate to descriptions of activities and situations they themselves have experienced. Others will enjoy speculating on the story’s outcome.
About the Author
Peter Eisenhut is a graduate of Cornell University and the University of Rochester. His career experience includes employment by two multinational organizations, and as an independent consultant. He has expertise in process analysis and planning, as well as information and communication management. He is also an experienced writer and presenter. His mystery novels are inspired by his career experiences and his travels. Final Project follows his second novel, The Boulder Creek Project and his first novel, The Pen Project.
Peter lives in Columbia, Maryland with his wife Jean. You can visit his website and blog at www.petereisenhut-author.com