“DIE HARD” (1988) Review

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“DIE HARD” (1988) Review

Almost twenty-six years ago, 20th Century Fox released an action-adventure film that kicked off a movie franchise that has lasted with the addition of four other films and twenty-five years. I am speaking of the 1988 movie called “DIE HARD”. And the ironic thing is that I had no intention of seeing the film when it first hit the movie theaters during that summer of ’88.

Based on Roderick Thorp’s 1979 novel called “Nothing Lasts Forever” (which sounds like a title for a Bond movie), “DIE HARD” was directed by John McTiernan. Many would be surprised to know that the 1979 movie was a sequel to an earlier Thorp novel published in 1966 called “The Detective”, which was adapted into a 1968 movie that starred Frank Sinatra. Thorp had hoped a movie adaptation of the 1979 novel would also star Sinatra. But the singer-actor was not interested in a sequel to his movie. Later, the novel was being considered as a sequel to the Arnold Schwartzenegger 1985 movie, “COMMANDO”. But Schartzenegger was not interested. Oh dear. Finally, the novel became a literary source for “DIE HARD”. However, the Fox studio executives were not thrilled at the idea of Bruce Willis being cast as the movie’s lead, due to his reputation as a comedic television actor. But cast he was . . . and the rest is Hollywood history.

“DIE HARD” told the story of off-duty NYPD detective John McClane, who arrived in Los Angeles to reconciled with his estranged wife, Holly Gennero McClane. Husband and wife had clashed several months earlier when she accepted a job promotion with the Nakatomi Corporation that sent her to Los Angeles. A hired limousine driver named Argyle drives McClane to the Nakatomi Plaza building in Century City for the company’s Christmas party. While, the detective changes clothes, the party is disrupted by the arrival of terrorist Hans Gruber and his armed followers. The latter seize control of the tower and the partygoers as hostages. Only McClane, armed with a pistol, manages to evade capture. Gruber’s intentions are revealed, when he interrogates Nakatomi executive Joseph Takagi for the code to the building’s vault that holds $640 million in bearer bonds. When Takagi refuses to cooperate, Gruber executes him. McClane manages to kill one of Gruber’s men, taking the latter’s weapon and radio. He uses the radio to contact the Los Angeles Police Department during a gunfight with more of Gruber’s men on the roof. The L.A.P.D. eventually sends patrolman Sergeant Al Powell to investigate. When McClane drops one of Gruber’s dead associates on Powell’s patrol car roof, the latter finally summons the police force to respond. The incident also draws the attention of an ambitious local news reporter named Richard Thornburg, who is determined to learn McClane’s identity. Despite the arrival of Deputy Chief Dwayne Robinson, numerous men that include a S.W.A.T. team, and later the F.B.I., McClane and Holly eventually realizes that matters have grown worse for both of them.

Most moviegoers and critics view “DIE HARD” as the best in the franchise. Is it the best? Hmmm . . . I really cannot say. As much as I love the movie, I certainly do not consider it perfect. The movie possesses flaws that I had not noticed during previous viewings and one particular flaw that I have noticed since I first saw it years ago. One aspect about “DIE HARD” that I found particularly annoying was the movie’s pacing. Director John McTiernan did a pretty good job with the movie’s pacing. Unfortunately, two-thirds into the movie, McTiernan began to lose steam and the pacing began to drag. Trimming the story would not have helped. I had no problem with the narrative during this film’s period. But I did have a problem with the director’s pacing. One of Roger Ebert’s complaints about “DIE HARD” was its unflattering portrayal of the Los Angeles Police Department. And if I must be brutally honest, I share his complaint. I am not a great admirer of the L.A.P.D. or any police force. But the police’s incompetency portrayed in the movie struck me as damn near unrealistic. I feel that McTiernan and screenwriters Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart went a bit to the extreme to make John McClane look good. And if I must be brutally frank, the movie does feature some rather cheesy dialogue – especially from the villains. However, my biggest complaint regarding “DIE HARD” – the one flaw I have been aware of since I first saw the film – occurred in the final action scene. Back in the 1980s, it was popular in action or thriller movies to temporarily “resurrect” a villain/villainess before killing him or her for good. This happened with Glenn Close’s character in the 1987 movie, “FATAL ATTRACTION”. This also happened to Alexander Godunov’s character in “DIE HARD”. And you know what? I hate this kind of showy action. I found it stupid and cringe-worthy when I first saw the movie. And I still find it a major blot on this otherwise first-rate movie.

Flaws or no flaws, “DIE HARD” is without a doubt, a first-rate action thriller that helped defined the genre during the 1980s. While reading the plot for Roderick Thorp’s 1978 novel, I was surprised to discover how much it resembled the 1988 film. There were some changes made in the latter. The main hero acquired a new name and shed at least two decades in age. Instead of a daughter, McClane’s wife ended up as one of the hostages. The franchise’s producers used the daughter character in the fourth film, “LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD”. The German terrorist – renamed Hans Gruber – was more interested in pulling a heist than making a political statement. The Al Powell character is at least fifteen years older. And unlike Thorp’s novel, “DIE HARD” ended on a more optimistic note for the two main characters.

Producers Lawrence Gordon and Joel Silver were lucky to gather such a talented cast and director for this movie. Thanks to the actors and director John McTiernan, “DIE HARD” featured some excellent dramatic moments. My favorite dramatic scenes include the tense quarrel between John and Holly before Gruber’s arrival at the Christmas party, Gruber’s interrogation of Joseph Takagi for the codes to the executive vault, Holly’s tense interactions with Gruber, Takagi employee Harry Ellis’ attempt to convince McClane to surrender to Gruber, McClane’s accidental encounter with Gruber, and the many radio conversations between McClane and Powell. I found the latter especially impressive, considering that Bruce Willis and Reginald VelJohnson spent most of the movie apart.

But “DIE HARD” is, above all, an action film. And thanks to some members of the cast, a group of talented stuntmen and crew, the action sequences featured in the movie proved to be very memorable. If I had to choose those scenes that really impressed me, they would have to be the ones that featured Al Powell’s awareness of the presence of terrorists at the Nakatomi Tower thanks to some gunfire and a dead body that landed on his patrol car, the S.W.A.T. team’s failed assault on the building, and McClane’s retaliation against the terrorists’ massacre of the S.W.A.T. team (using explosives strapped to a chair). I was also impressed by the brief, yet final confrontation between the McClanes and Gruber. But for me, the most spectacular sequence turned out to be the rooftop explosion that claimed the lives of more Gruber men and two F.B.I. agents hovering above in an helicopter. Well-known cinematographer Jan de Bont and the special effects team really outdid themselves in that particular sequence.

As I had earlier pointed out, “DIE HARD” featured some outstanding performances. Bruce Willis was already a television star thanks to the 1980s series, “MOONLIGHTING”. But his superb, yet tough performance as the besieged N.Y.P.D. detective John McClane not only made him an action star, but also a bonafide movie star. I believe that Holly Gennero McClane proved to be one of Bonnie Bedelia’s best roles, thanks to her excellent performance as McClane’s passionate and no-nonsense wife. “DIE HARD” also made a star of Alan Rickman, thanks to his deliciously sardonic performance as the ruthless Hans Gruber. In fact, his Gruber happens to be one of my favorite cinematic villains of all time. Reginald VelJohnson’s career also benefited from his first-rate performance as the compassionate L.A.P.D. officer, Sergeant Al Powell.

There were other performances in “DIE HARD” that caught my attention. Ballet dancer Alexander Godunov gave a very competent performance as Gruber’s right-hand man, Hans, who wants revenge for McClane’s killing of his younger brother. Hart Bochner was very entertaining as Holly’s gauche co-worker, Harry Ellis. However, I must admit that I found the character somewhat one-dimensional. William Atherton was very memorable as the ambitious and slimy news reporter, Richard Thornburg. Clarence Gilyard revealed a talent for comic acting, in his excellent portrayal of Gruber’s sardonic and cold-blooded computer specialist, Theo. Andreas Wisniewski was excellent as Hans’ younger brother, the no-nonsense Karl. Robert Davi and Grand L. Bush (who reunited in the 1989 James Bond movie, “LICENSE TO KILL”) made a great screen team as the arrogant F.B.I. Special Agents Johnson and Johnson. De’voreaux White, someone I have not seen in years, provided his own brand of sharp humor and the movie’s best line as McClane’s limousine driver, Argyle. And finally, the late Paul Gleason proved to be very entertaining as the not-so-bright Deputy Police Chief Dwayne Robinson.

I find myself back at that moment in which I pondered over the reputation of “DIE HARD”. Do I still believe it is one of the best action movies ever made? Perhaps. Perhaps not. I have seen my share of action movies that strike me as equally good – including other films in the DIE HARD franchise. And the movie does have its share of flaws. But “DIE HARD” is also a personal favorite of mine, thanks to John McTiernan’s excellent direction, a first-rate adaptation of Roderick Thorp’s novel, superb action-sequences and outstanding performances from a stellar cast led by Bruce Willis. Over twenty-five years have passed since the movie’s initial release. And honestly . . . it has not lost one bit of its magic.

Fox-Plaza1

Fox Plaza Tower in Century City, CA aka the Nakatomi Tower

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“A Family Affair” [PG-13] – 5/8

 

“A FAMILY AFFAIR”

CHAPTER FIVE

Jack McNeill summoned his assistant. “Sophie, I need you to reach Chan Wei Ku for me, please. And transfer the call to me.”

“Yes, Mr. McNeill,” Sophia replied. A minute later, she added, “Mr. Chan is on Line 11.”

After thanking his assistant, Jack picked up the line. “Hello? Wei? How are you? It’s Jack McNeill.”

“Jack! It’s good to hear from you.” Chan Wei Ku happened to be the owner of an herbal shop in Chinatown. Jack had received occasional help from him in the past. Wei’s family had emigrated from Canton to San Francisco, when the Communists took over China in 1949. His Chinese-born friend had been five years old at the time. He and Jack first met at Stanford University during the mid-1960s, when both discovered that the other was a magick practitioner . . . and took martial arts lessons from the same teacher. Unlike Jack, who became a Wiccan witch, Wei became a Taoist priest.

After a brief period of small talk, the two friends began to discuss business. “I had received a message from you,” Jack said. “About the Soma plant. You have some good news for me?”

“I don’t know if this is good news, or not,” Wei replied. “After your trip to that temple in London, I’ve been racking my brains. There is this Hindu archakar I had met in Singapore, three years ago. A priest. His name Sri Amal Sharma and he’s part of this order located in Sri Lanka. Perhaps I can contact him and tell him about your situation.”

Jack replied, “I would greatly appreciate it. One last thing Wei. You remember my daughter’s friend, don’t you? Cole Turner?”

A pause followed before Wei replied, “Oh yes. Belthazor. I remember him. He was most helpful with getting my cousin a job at his firm. Hmmm, I never thought I would be grateful to a daemon.”

“Well, this daemon has an uncle.” Jack paused. “Remember Marbus, from thirty-six years ago?”

A gasp left Wei’s mouth. “He-ya! The daemon that was nearly killed by witches? The one who was framed? He’s Beltha . . . uh, Mr. Turner’s uncle?”

Jack added, “On Cole’s maternal side. Anyway, Cole’s client is Mark Giovanni, who is trying to maintain possession of this property in Oakville. And Marbus is helping him.” Jack went on to explain the situation between Cole’s client and Magan Corporation. “I wouldn’t have brought this up, except that a demonic assassin tried to kill Giovanni, yesterday. And one of Marbus’ associates from his order had been killed, while trying to protect the man.”

“Why send a daemon to kill this Giovanni?” Wei asked. “Why not send a mortal?”

“Good question. My guess is that whoever sent this assassin, knew that Cole was a daemon. And wanted to make sure that she kill Giovanni and escape as quickly as possible. And that means . . .”

Wei finished, “. . . the head of this Magan Corporation is also a daemon. Or someone within the company. Or perhaps the entire corporation is a front for a daemon.” He sighed. “Too many possibilities.”

Jack said, “And that’s why I’m asking you to look into this matter. And to start with Arthur Winslow, the corporation’s CEO.”

“Hmmm, sounds interesting,” Wei replied. “I’ll see what I can find.”

“One last thing, Wei. Please be careful. Like I said, one of Marbus’ associates has already been killed.” Jack paused. “I don’t want the same to happen to you or anyone you know.”

“Don’t worry. I”ll be careful. And I’ll get back to you, as soon as I have some information. See you later, Jack.”

The witch replied, “Bye Wei. Take care.”

And the two friends hung up.

——–

Harry eased his silver Mazda sports car into an empty parking space not far from the Halliwell manor. He switched off the engine, climbed out of the car and made his way to the salmon-colored house. As he paused in front of the door, he glanced up at the sky and inhaled. The heavy, damp air promised rain – either by tonight, or tomorrow. Then he rang the doorbell.

Nearly two minutes passed before someone opened the door. It was Leo. “Harry,” he declared, looking surprised. “What are you doing here?”

Harry replied, “I came to pick up Paige. Is she ready?”

Leo hesitated. “Pick her up. Are you two . . . dating?”

Suppressing an annoyed sigh, Harry shot back, “No, I’m here to pick her up for a little shopping trip. Is she ready?”

“Uh . . . just a minute.” Leo stepped back and allowed Harry to enter the manor. The witch headed straight for one of the chairs inside the living room. “So,” Leo continued, “what will you two be shopping for?”

“A few things. Uh, do you mind letting her know I’m here?”

The whitelighter’s face turned red from Harry’s quiet rebuke. “Yeah. Sure.” Then Leo turned to face the staircase. “Paige! You have a visitor!” He then smiled at Harry, whose own smile was also strained.

The twenty-six year-old witch and the sixty year-old whitelighter never had an easy relationship. From the moment Harry began practicing witchcraft, some nine years ago, he has rejected Leo’s attempts to form a whitelighter-witch relationship. Harry resented the whitelighters’ assumption that they had every right maintain vigil over witches and enforce their rules and moral code. Unlike Bruce and Olivia – who had eventually rejected whitelighter authority – Harry had never formed a friendship with Leo. The latter found the young witch’s personality too abrasive and slightly ambiguous. And Harry found Leo too self-righteous for his own tastes.

Finally, the youngest Charmed One appeared on the staircase. She shot a quick glance at Harry and quickly made her way downstairs. Her two older sisters materialized from the kitchen. “Harry! Sorry I’m late. I’m running a little behind schedule.”

“That’s okay,” Harry said with a smile. “The store doesn’t close until eleven, anyway.”

Piper frowned. “What store?”

“It’s a store that sells tools and equipment for magick practitioners,” Harry replied. “Great bargain prices.”

A nervous cough left Piper’s throat. “Oh. Uh, Paige? Is it really wise to go there? I mean, what if you meet witches or other people who practice magick? And what if they find out that you’re a Charmed One?”

“C’mon Piper! We’re not exactly a secret anymore,” Paige exclaimed. “Harry’s family knew about us, long before we did. So did a lot of warlocks and demons – including Cole. I mean . . . what’s the big deal?” Harry smiled, while her sisters failed to answer. He could not have said it better, himself. Paige faced him. “Let me get my purse and then we can . . .”

A gasp left Phoebe’s mouth, before her body went stiff. Before Harry could comment, he also gasped. Thanks to his telepathy, he had picked up on Phoebe’s premonition. He saw Marbus and Giovanni inside the latter’s library. And he saw the daemon kill the wine grower with a fireball. Once the vision ended, Harry shook his head. Had he imagined things, or had he also sensed a third presence?

“Oh my God!” Phoebe cried. “It’s Cole’s uncle!”

Piper frowned. “What about him?”

Phoebe continued, “I saw him kill Mark Giovanni! He’s been lying to us, all along!”

“What?” Paige demanded. “Are you sure?”

Recalling the third presence, Harry tried to put matters into perspective. “Wait a minute!” he cried. “There’s something wrong here.”

“What are you talking about?” Phoebe shot back, bristling. “I know what I saw!”

Harry sighed. “Look Phoebe, I saw the same thing. My telepathy had picked up on your vision. But I . . .”

“Then we all know what we have to do,” Piper added grimly. “Vanquish this Marbus. Paige, get the Book of Shadows.”

The youngest Charmed One hesitated. Harry could have kissed her. “Wait a minute,” she said in an uneasy voice. “Is it possible that Phoebe might be mistaken? I mean . . . she didn’t even have to touch anything.”

“Of course I’m not mistaken!” Phoebe protested. “I know what I saw. Besides, my powers might be developing. Look Paige, this isn’t the time to hesitate. A man’s life is in danger and it’s our duty to save him.”

“But if Harry thinks . . .”

Leo spoke up. “Paige, I’m sorry, but if Phoebe saw . . . Marbus kill an innocent, she must have done so for a good reason. This isn’t a time to raise questions.”

Harry shot back, “I think it is! When I saw . . .”

“Excuse me.” Piper gave Harry a cool look. “Harry, if you want to help us, fine. Be my guest. Otherwise, you’re welcomed to leave. We have work to do.” She walked over to the door.

Harry knew a “get out” message, when he heard one. An oath left his mouth, as he stood up. “Look, I think you’re making a big mistake. I felt an . . .”

“Good night, Harry.” Piper opened the door. Realizing that he had no choice but to leave, Harry stomped out of the house without uttering a word.

Once outside, he quickly rushed to his car and retrieved his cell phone from his jacket. Then Harry dialed the number to Cole’s office. No answer. Apparently, the half-daemon had left. Then he tried Cole’s penthouse. Again, no answer. A frustrated sigh left Harry’s mouth. Where in the hell was Cole? The young witch climbed into his car and quickly drove away.

———

“This is interesting,” Piper commented, as she perused the Book of Shadows. “The vanquishing method for Marbus is similar to Belthazor’s. Gee, I wonder why.”

A dismayed looking Leo asked, “You mean you have to go through the whole preparation, again? The potion and getting a piece of Marbus’ flesh?”

Phoebe spoke up. “Not exactly. Why don’t we use some of the potion we had prepared for Cole? I know it’s been nearly three years, but I think there’s still some left.”

Leo frowned. “Would it work?”

“Why not? Don’t forget I had used some on a member of the Thorn Brotherhood. I mean if it had worked on a ‘blood brother’ of Cole’s, it’s bound to work on his uncle, who’s an actual blood relative.”

“Are you sure?” It was now Piper’s turn to look dubious. “I thought it had all been used, after Leo and I . . .” She stopped and immediately closed her mouth.

Paige, who had been observing her family with dismay, stared at Piper. “When you and Leo had . . . what?”

“Never mind. Phoebe, why don’t you check the fridge?”

Phoebe left the attic and raced downstairs. Paige, Piper and Leo immediately followed. By the time they had caught up with the middle Halliwell inside the kitchen, Phoebe was waving a small bottle of liquid in triumph. “Eureka! Here’s one. There are two bottles left.”

“Okay,” Piper said, “let’s go.”

Paige hesitated. “Wait a minute! Are you sure? I mean . . . what if Phoebe’s premonition is wrong? She didn’t touch anything, when she got it. And what was Harry trying to tell us?”

A frustrated sigh escaped from Piper’s mouth. “Paige, this has got to stop. You have to decide . . . right now, on whether you’re with us or not.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

Piper shot back, “It means . . . that we haven’t felt like the Power of Three, lately. You’re so wrapped up in the McNeills that you tend to hang on to everything they say. Especially Olivia. And I’m beginning to wonder if you realize which family you actually belong to.”

Phoebe added in a warning voice, “Piper . . .”

“Oh, c’mon Pheebs! Why deny it? You feel the same as I do! In fact, you’ve been complaining about it, for the past several months.”

Resentment and anger surged within Paige. She hated her sisters’ demand that she follow every move they made. And she resented that they seemed incapable of accepting her as a competent witch – even after two years. How could she not help but prefer the McNeills’ more steadfast support of her growth as a witch? At least they did not treat her as an amateur. However, Paige did not want to endanger what she had spent the past two years doing – namely becoming a member of her family. So, she heaved a morose sigh and murmured, “Yeah, okay. Let’s get on with this.”

“Good.” Piper took Paige’s hand. “Phoebe?” The middle sister took Paige’s other hand. “Leo, don’t forget to keep an eye on Wyatt. Okay, let’s go.” And Paige orbed them out of the house . . . with great reluctance.

———–

Upon reaching an intersection, Harry reached inside his glove compartment for a slim leather book. His address and phone. He turned the page, until he came upon the information on one Cole Turner. At the bottom of the page was the half-daemon’s cell phone number. The witch sighed with relief and dialed the number.

A few rings followed until Cole’s voice answered, “Hello?”

Harry cried, “Cole? Where are you?”

“I’m on my way home. I had to do a little shopping,” the half-daemon answered. “What’s wrong?”

“I need you to get over to Mark Giovanni’s home right away!” Harry replied. “And stop them!”

Cole hesitated. “Stop who?”

“Paige and the others! Phoebe got a vision of your uncle killing Giovanni. Because I’m telepathic, I was able to accidentally see her vision, also!”

Cole practically shouted, “Wait a minute! Marbus is going to kill my client?”

“No!” Harry took a deep breath. “No, you misunderstand me. When I had read Phoebe’s vision, I felt the presence of someone else. As if someone had deliberately planted the vision in her mind!”

“Shit!” Cole paused, before he added. “All right. Look, I’m almost at my building. I’ll park my car and get over to Giovanni’s home. Go on ahead to Olivia’s apartment and tell her everything. I’ll see you soon.”

“Right.” As he hung up, Harry hoped like hell that Cole would be able to reach his uncle in time.

———-

The Charmed Ones orbed into the middle of Mark Giovanni’s foyer. Hearing footsteps, they immediately rushed into the nearest empty room – namely the library. Phoebe glanced around. “I think this is the room where I saw Marbus kill Giovanni,” she whispered.

Seconds later, the footsteps grew nearer. The sisters hid behind a large sofa, as two men entered. They were Mark Giovanni, and Cole’s uncle, Marbus. “. . . you like to have a drink?” Giovanni was saying. “After an hour or two in my wife’s company, I’m sure that you need one.”

Marbus responded with an embarrassed chuckle. “Yes, uh, a shot of whiskey would be fine.”

As Giovanni turned his back on the demon, Phoebe hissed, “Now Piper!” The oldest Charmed One shot up from behind the sofa and with her hands, froze the mortal.

“What the hell?” Marbus demanded.

Phoebe and Paige joined Piper. “Excuse us,” the latter said in a cold voice, before she raised her arm to throw the potion at the demon. Before she could, Cole suddenly appeared. “What the hell?”

The half-daemon telekinetically snatched the bottle of potion from Piper’s hand, causing the latter to gasp. The bottle then disappeared in a ball of flames. “Cole!” Phoebe cried. “What are you doing?” He then waved a hand and the three sisters found themselves back inside their living room.

“Son-of-a-bitch!” Piper growled. “Harry must have told him. Paige! Take us back!”

“Huh?” The youngest Charmed One seemed frozen in a state of confusion.

Piper cried, “Paige! Now!”

“Wait a minute!” Phoebe demanded. “We need another bottle!” She rushed toward the kitchen, and within a minute returned. “Okay.”

Paige stared at her. “Okay what? I think we’ve lost the momentum!”

Glaring at the younger woman, Piper demanded, “Paige, will you please send us back?”

“But . . .”

“I thought you said that you were with us?”

Sighing, Paige took hold of her sisters’ hands. They orbed out of the manor. Instead of returning to Giovanni’s home, they ended up on the sidewalk, outside the three-story mansion – on their rear ends.

“Shit!” Piper cried once more. “He’s blocked us from orbing into that house!”

Phoebe struggled to her feet. “What do we do now?”

“How about we return home?” Paige suggested. Piper glared at her.

Ruefully, Phoebe agreed with her younger sister. “Looks like we have no choice, Piper.” The Charmed Ones linked hands and Paige orbed them back to the manor.

Upon their arrival, they found Leo rushing downstairs. “What happened? I thought I heard your voices.” When the sisters failed to answer, he added, “Did you get him?”

“No!” Piper replied sharply. “Cole got there in time to save Marbus. And now, Paige can’t orb us back into Giovanni’s house.

Anxiety flitted across Leo’s face. “My god! Do you think that Giovanni is still alive?”

Paige sighed. “Of course he is. Cole’s there.”

“Speaking of Mr. Turner,” Piper coldly added, “he has a lot explaining to do. Both him and Harry.” She glared at Paige once more. Phoebe watched, as the youngest sister looked away.

——-

“What the bloody hell just happened?” Marbus demanded. Uncle and nephew faced each other, inside Giovanni’s library.

Cole sighed. “Phoebe and her sisters. Apparently, she had a premonition of you killing Mark.”

“Wha . . . a premonition?” Marbus’ eyes widened with disbelief. “And why would I want to kill your client?”

“I don’t know. You got me. But Harry, who had warned me about their attack, told me that when Phoebe’s vision appeared, he had felt another presence.” Cole paused. “Harry’s a telepath.”

Marbus’ mouth formed a grim line. “Hmmm, sounds like another telepath has been messing with your wife’s . . .”

“Ex-wife,” Cole corrected.

“. . . messing with her mind.” The older daemon sighed. “Now what are we going to do? I have three powerful witches after me, and we can’t leave your frozen client unprotected.”

Cole replied grimly, “Don’t worry about Phoebe and her sisters. I’ll take care of them. I’ve already placed a shield around the house, making it impossible for them to return.”

Marbus frowned. “You’re not going to harm them, are you?”

“I’ll try not to.” And Cole disappeared.

END OF CHAPTER 5