Readers first met Claudia Barry in the debut novel of FCEtier, The Tourist Killer.
She was introduced in the Prologue as “The Shooter.”
The Tourist Killer is divided into seven parts and each begins with a flashback. The following is the opening flashback in which her name and sex are revealed:
It had been in the spring of 1976, May actually. Claudia Barry earned her master’s degree at LSU in group dynamics. She had met a six foot, overweight man with a thick black mane in a dark, quiet bar on Highland Road that was now nameless in her mind. The conversation and the catfish po’ boys were unforgettable.
“Perhaps, if I need a label, you could refer to me as ‘the recruiter,’” he said. “You’ll never see nor hear from me again. In reality, I don’t exist. I’m not the assigner. I don’t select the missions. I actually don’t know for sure what you are agreeing to do for the party that will compensate you for your services. That entity will find you when they require your services. There exists a labyrinth of layers and contacts complicated enough to assure mutual anonymity. With the exception of ‘The Agreement’ we discussed earlier, you’re under no obligation to accept any assignment—but if you do, results will be required within the specified time allotted. From our meeting last year, it is my understanding that the assigner understands and has agreed to your stipulations. Would it be an appropriate deduction for me to make that you’ve kept your skills sharp?”
“You know my history and accomplishments. Not many shooters—regardless of sex—have the resume I’ve acquired. My vision is remarkable for any human. When I chose this career, it was obvious that I would never be in the limelight. I’ll be happy to be just as anonymous as you.” Claudia had resigned herself to anonymity even before the choice of professions. She had taken herself out of the fight for women’s rights with the selection of careers. She couldn’t attract attention to herself with public advocacy of any issue and then hope to reach the upper echelons of her craft. She could, and did, find ways to make financial contributions to the cause. After her first few jobs, she had stashed away enough funds to live happily ever after—when and—if she ever retired.
After their meeting, over thirty years ago, he had disappeared forever. The Recruiter had excused himself and gone into the men’s room. He had not come out. A five-foot-eight bald man who was skinny as a rail walked out alone and departed while attracting absolutely no attention whatsoever.
Next: The story behind the title.