My second book, Assassins of the Turquoise Palace, will be released on September 6 by Grove/Atlantic. The book is a retelling of the Mykonos Assassinations, when Iranian-Kurdish opposition leaders were killed at the Mykonos restaurant in Berlin, Germany. You can read about it on its Facebook page, read the blurb and summary on the attached flyer, pre-order it on Amazon and keep posted on all of my activities on my website, royahakakian.com.
Berlin, Germany, September 17, 1992. After nearly an hour prowling Prager Street, surveying the restaurant in its cul-de-sac, two hulking, bearded ﬁgures rolled their collars up to their eyes and burst inside. A third man stood guard at the entrance. It was 10:47 p.m. They darted through the main dining hall, past a lonely customer nursing a last drink. Through an archway, they entered the back room, where a party of eight sat at a corner table. The taller of the two intruders stationed himself behind one of the diners, facing the eldest among them—a bald, bespectacled man in a gray suit who was addressing everyone.
No one was yet aware of their arrival. The speaker, suddenly meeting the intruder’s dark gaze, froze in midspeech. Another guest asked what was wrong with him. The answer came from the intruder.
“You sons of whores!”
He thrust his gloved hand into the sports bag that hung on his shoulder. Then, a click.
A shout came from the table. “Friends, it’s an assassi—”
The trail of his call faded in the roaring sound that followed. In the dimly lit air, sparks of ﬁre ﬂashed at the intruder’s hip. Bullets pierced the side of the bag, riddled the guests.
After two rounds—twenty-six bullets—the barrage ceased. The air was thick with the smell of gunpowder. Of the eight guests, everyone had stooped or fallen, except one. The eldest guest was still in his chair, head slumped, blood tinting his white shirt, blending with the busy pattern of his tie. Another victim was doubled over, breathing noisily, gasping for air. His face was smashed into a mug of beer. The golden liquid was slowly darkening.
The second shooter walked up to the table, tucked his bare hand under his belt, and drew out a gun. No one stirred. He aimed at the eldest man and ﬁred three bullets into his head. Then he turned to one of the bodies on the ﬂoor, a young, slender man dressed in what, until moments before, had been a crisp white shirt. Pointing his gun at the back of the man’s head, he ﬁred a single shot. Then he turned to the next body and aimed once more. But before he pulled the trigger, his accomplice motioned him to leave.
They bolted out of the restaurant. The guard joined them at the door. They ran toward a sky-blue BMW that was idling at the intersection across the cul-de-sac. The lead shooter reached it first. He grabbed the handles and swung both front and back passenger doors open. As he jammed himself beside the driver, he threw the bag behind him. The other two shoved themselves in the backseat. The driver stomped on the accelerator, nearly running over a pedestrian as he took off. Across the intersection, the engine of a black Mercedes roared, and it, too, took off and swerved onto a side street.
In their wake, everything was once again as it had been on so many nights before. The breeze blew gently. A light drizzle fell softly. But lights had come on in the few windows overlooking the restaurant. A handful of neighbor had awakened. On the fourth ﬂoor balcony of the building next to the restaurant, a young woman clutched the railing, leaning downward. Her auburn hair ﬂowed over her white uniform, her skin still warm from the bike ride home. She peered intently at the sidewalk below, looking for the source of the blast that had shaken the floor of her living room. She was a curious bystander then, soon a witness to detail her account of the tremor beneath her feet, the tremor that would ripple through the continent in the months to come.
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