James LePore: An excerpt from The Fifth Man

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The Fifth Man coverThis passage offers a glimpse into Chris Massi’s new career and new life. His house and yacht in Pireaus, his connection to someone named Max, who trains people in Arizona, and the mysterious Costa Vasiliou. It’s obvious Chris now has great power. How did he get it? What will he do with it?


“Max,” Chris said after lifting the receiver and placing it against his left ear.

“Yes, c’est moi.

“Where are you?”


“Doing what?”

“Helping with some training.”

“I need you to go to New York. Can you?”


“Now. As soon as possible.”

“What’s up?”

“I think our Russian friends have made contact.”

“With Matt?”


“Anybody we know?”

“The Nico Pugach kid.”


“Yes. Call me when you land. I’ll fill you in.”

“Just me?”

“For now. But we have friends there.”

“I’m on my way.”

Chris hung up and used the same phone to call Eleftheria’s captain.

“Send the launch, Costa,” he said when the captain answered. “We leave tonight.”


“She can fly to Skiathos on the small jet. I’ll arrange it.”

“Anything else?”

“Yes Costa, your friends at the Café Eleni, ask them if there’s any talk of diamonds gone missing.”

“Do you suspect someone?”

“No, but they’re on offer, ten million dollars worth.”

“It will be done.”

Chris took his custom-made German binoculars from a nearby shelf, but before putting them to his eyes he looked for a moment at his reflection in the window in front of him. He would turn fifty tomorrow, which was why, ostensibly, Tess was coming over. He didn’t look fifty. His hair, which he wore longer than he did ten years ago when he was fighting to save his law license, and his life, was still a lustrous black; his face, except for the pale lightning-bolt shaped scar on the bridge of his nose, had not changed much. Despite the dim outline of crows feet that were beginning to spread east and west from the corners of his eyes, it was still a young man’s face. But his eyes were not young. They had seen too much real life in the last ten years to stay young and happy looking. His father chopped up in a mob slaying, his mother dead of a broken heart, his drug-addict brother killed in the one act of bravery in his short life. He looked at his eyes, and then out to the Aegean, both dark and somber, both having seen their share, as Matthew Arnold put it, of the turbid ebb and flow of human misery. Then, dismissing Arnold’s deep pessimism, which he shared, he put the glasses to his face and focused on EleftheriaFreedom– where the launch was being lowered by the ship’s first, and only, mate, Costa Vasiliou’s twenty-six-year-old son, Elias.

The Russians, Chris thought, they won’t go away.


LePore Author Photo


James LePore is The Story Plant’s February Author of the Month, which means we are offering sensational deals on his work – including the digital edition of Sons and Princes (the prequel to The Fifth Man) for only $.99. You can read more about the program here.

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On February 12, 2013
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