Double Exposure


By Alfred Gough

By Miles Millar

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$34.00 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around March 26, 2019. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

From the creators of Smallville and Into the Badlands comes an action-packed “triple feature” debut thriller about a war veteran and CIA officer in the 1960s swept up into a cat and mouse game with enormous, world-altering consequences where Hitler may still be alive (Brad Meltzer, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Escape Artist and The First Conspiracy).

David Toland, a decorated Korean War veteran, has done all he can to leave a life of combat behind. Now Director of Preservation for the Library of Congress’s National Film Archive, Toland has made it his mission to preserve what he loves most: the Golden Age of American cinema, moving pictures full of romance, adventure and American Dream. That is, until CIA Agent Lana Welles drops in unannounced with a film canister, smuggled over the Berlin Wall at great cost, that may prove WWII never really ended — it just went underground.

David reluctantly agrees to serve his country one last time and help recover the film for Lana and the CIA. But it seems not everyone is as eager as they are to dig up the past. David and Lana’s discovery awakens shadowy forces who will do anything to keep their findings a secret. In search of the truth, David and Lana find themselves intertwined in a global conspiracy.



Winter had come to Berlin. Iron-gray days turned keen and brittle in the quickening dark. For three nights, Tarkovsky took a place among the workers at the wall, masquerading as one of them.

Some of the men whispered, on clouds of frozen breath, of a bricklayer shot on the Friedrichstrasse in the weeks before Tarkovsky arrived—a young husband, separated by unlucky timing from his wife and unborn child. The wife had been visiting friends in the West when the barbed wire sprang up overnight like a thorny hedge, dividing the city in two. The bricklayer finally attempted a jump across the border from the roof of a construction shed. He'd died bleeding a few paces from the wall, still in the East.

The story did nothing to adjust Tarkovsky's aim. After all: The bricklayer's child would be born safely in the West, father or no father. And the Communists had no shortage of bricklayers.

Sergei Tarkovsky had only secrets to trade.

Each night he worked himself raw, moving block after cold heavy block into place as the Volksarmee—the "people's army"—stood guard. Tarkovsky watched the soldiers and learned. When spoken to, he responded in perfect German; when issued a command, he complied. He attracted no attention. He caused no delays. And on the third night, at last, his opportunity arrived.

"Sie da," the young guard said. "Tanken sie da generatoren."

You there. Refuel the generator. The guard was blond and blue-eyed beneath the rim of his helmet, his cold-reddened cheeks hardly in need of a regular shave. He'd been among the first Tarkovsky had noticed—impatient, imprecise, easily distracted. A mirror to his generation.

Tarkovsky snapped a salute and grabbed up the jerrycan, setting off toward the wheel-mounted light tower illuminating the work underway.

While the young guard smoked his cigarette, rifle slung on his shoulder, Tarkovsky sabotaged the generator with a pocket full of sand from the mortar silo.

Half an hour later—just as the season's first dry snowflakes began to swirl in the bright beams of the work lights—the generator coughed, shuddered, and finally died, plunging the wall into darkness.

By the time the young guard shouted to the others, Tarkovsky's boots had already touched ground on the other side. He crouched with the foraging rats in the gritty narrow space between the wall and the outer barrier—a screen of fireboard three meters high, braced with lumber. On the other side of the fireboard: the hedge of barbed wire. On the other side of that: the Americans.

Tarkovsky listened. He waited.

He thought briefly of Nina, and of Moscow. He thought of the bricklayer.

And then he ran.

First Sergeant Morse and PFC Robinson had just lit their Luckies when the Kraut came over the wall.

Half a minute before that, all the lights had gone out on the other side. Robinson—a gangly farm kid from Nebraska, not the brightest of Morse's bunch, but pretty good behind the wheel of an M48 when tasked—shook out his match and said, "Maybe Ulbricht forgot to pay the electric bill."

Morse was about to tell the kid to clam up and look sharp when he saw the dark silhouette appear atop the panel fence fifty yards down the line. He slapped Robinson's shoulder and pointed. "Climber. There."

They tossed their smokes and unslung their rifles as a clamor rose from the other side. Now a spotlight raked along the top of the wall, splashing the climbing figure in a sudden bright pool: not a soldier after all, Morse saw, but a worker making a break for it.

Morse could hear the GDR soldiers shouting; he heard the pounding of boots on brick. He realized that he was holding his breath for the guy coming over. Hoping he'd make it.

Then came the sudden hard crack of rifle fire.

Morse heard a single shot, followed by half a dozen more. Mists of blood drifted in the spotlight beam as bullets struck the fleeing worker in the back, punching shreds of fabric from the front of his coat as they exited his body. The worker twitched as though stung by wasps. Morse heard a final shot and the worker jerked upright. Then he pitched forward, limp as a rag.

By the time they reached him, the worker's body steamed in the cold, cruelly tangled in the snarl of barbed wire along the base of the panel fence. His open eyes stared at nothing. PFC Robinson said, "I think he's a goner."

"Good observation, Private," Morse said. "Now help me get the poor bastard out of there."

They reslung their rifles and went to work, peeling back the stiff, cold wire as best they could using only their gloves, until Morse finally gave up and radioed for support and a pair of cutters. He was lighting a new smoke when Robinson—still crouched with the body amid the toothy bramble—said, "Whoa. Top, look at this."

Morse looked. Snowflakes had already stopped melting on the worker's blood-spattered face. He thought, At least close the man's eyes, Robinson, for crying out loud.

Then the private pulled some kind of strap from beneath the worker's bullet-tattered coat, stood to his feet, and handed Morse a dented metal disc about the size of a hubcap. "What's this?" he said.

It was a film container, that much Morse could see. With bullet holes in it. And Robinson's bloody thumb prints on the metal.

Along with a crusty, faded filing label bearing a single word: секретный.

Peering at the label over Morse's shoulder, Robinson said, "How's your German, Top?"

"That isn't German," Morse told him, calling upon the few minutes of language training he'd managed to stay awake for back at Bragg. "It's Russian."

"Yeah? What's it say?"

Morse glanced at the body of the worker in the wire as the first growling jeep from checkpoint arrived. He rubbed the label on the battered film can with his thumb and thought: I'll be damned.

"It says classified," he finally answered, though Robinson had already run off toward the jeep, and there was nobody but the dead man to hear him.


Resurrecting the Wolf


Ten minutes into the class period, David W. Toland realized that no matter what he said, no matter how he said it, there was no way on God's green earth he was going to be able to make his job sound interesting to a bunch of fourth graders.

"Have you ever met Marilyn Monroe?" the girl with the braids and the freckles wanted to know. "Is she nice in person?"

Patiently, David explained again that as director of preservation for the National Film Archive at the Library of Congress, he did not himself make movies, and only rarely did he meet the people who did.

A stocky, towheaded boy in the back piped up: "My granddad was in the Air Force with Clark Gable."

This provoked such a reaction from the rest of the class that David wondered if the towheaded boy had some prior record of telling tall tales. The other boys all scoffed or called baloney; even the freckled girl rolled her eyes and said, "Oh, he was not, either."

Through all of this, David couldn't help noticing that the class teacher—one Miss Megan Jenkins, slim and pretty, perhaps five years his junior—didn't exactly seem to be rushing to his rescue. Instead, she leaned against the wall behind her desk, biting back a grin while David sweated bullets near the Christmas tree at the front of her class. He had to do something to right this ship, and quick.

So Toland abandoned the lecture he'd planned about film stock and substrates, the deleterious effects of mold. He said to the towheaded boy, "Clark Gable, that's interesting. What's your name, son?"

"Martin Ellroy," the towheaded boy said.

"Okay, Martin Ellroy, here's something you might not know about Clark Gable." The class settled down a notch, waiting to see what he had up his sleeve. David said, "While he was in the Air Force with your granddad—this would have been during World War II—Gable made recruitment films. That is, short movies designed to attract young men to the war effort. It so happens that my office has restored and archived those particular recruitment films starring Clark Gable. You might think of them as pages in the scrapbook of our nation's history." David spread his hands. "And that's film preservation in a nutshell."

Looking around the room, he could see plainly that nobody—including and perhaps especially Martin Ellroy—seemed as impressed by film preservation in a nutshell as David had hoped they might be. A pale boy with horn rims raised his hand and said, "Did you fight in the war?"

"Not in that one, no," David told him. "I was only around your age then, believe it or not."

"What war did you fight in?"

"Well, I went to a different war in Korea, although that's not what I came to talk…"

"Were you in the Air Force?" Martin Ellroy asked.

"I was in the Marine Corps," David answered, once again struggling to keep things on track. "But as long as we're speaking of war and movies…"

The freckled girl wrinkled her nose. "Marilyn Monroe was in The Misfits with Clark Gable. But my folks wouldn't let me see it."

"Nobody cares, Stacy," Martin Ellroy said.

Stacy replied, "Nobody cares about your grandpa, how about that?"

Then everybody started jabbering at once. David sighed and glanced to his right, where Miss Jenkins—still visibly amused at his expense—appeared ready to bail him out at last.

At the sight of her gathering herself, David felt compelled to go down swinging. For Pete's sake, he'd survived combat—was he going to let a gang of freckle-faced schoolkids get the better of him? In his most authoritative tone, he said, "Okay, troops, listen up."

The din of high voices squelched. David squared his shoulders, nodded, and surveyed the room like MacArthur at Inchon.

"Let's cut to it," he said. "Who likes war stories?"

Martin Ellroy shot up his hand. The other boys in the class followed suit.

"That's what I thought. Now, who likes to laugh? Don't be shy."

The boys looked at each other and kept their hands in the air; one or two at a time, the girls gradually joined them.

"Perfect," David said, removing a film can from his battered leather satchel. "Then you're all in for a treat."

He gestured to the teacher as he moved toward the projector at the center of the room. While David pried open his can, Miss Jenkins pulled the classroom's rollaway screen down over the dusty blackboard.

"My office also recently completed the restoration of this film," David said, loading the projector while he talked. "Which makes it possible for me to show it to you today. It starts during the war that happened just before the one Martin's granddad and Clark Gable were in together. It's very funny. And," he added, winking directly at Stacy, "you might find it interesting to note that the son of this film's star once dated Marilyn Monroe. Enjoy."

With that, David fired up the projector. Miss Jenkins moved toward the door and turned out the lights. Within moments, Charlie Chaplin's The Great Dictator flickered to life on the screen.

Soon after that, the fourth graders of George Washington Elementary had given over to regular bursts of laughter as Chaplin pratfalled his way across the canvas. Standing with Miss Jenkins at the back of the room, David Toland finally breathed a sigh of relief. He felt like he'd been through a wringer.

"Clearly, nine-year-olds are not my forte."

"I'm not so sure about that," Miss Jenkins whispered. "Personally, I was impressed."

She really did have a very pretty smile. "I think we have to give Chaplin the credit," he whispered back.

Without turning her eyes from the screen, Miss Jenkins leaned an inch closer and said, very quietly, "You know, you look a little bit like Clark Gable. Without the mustache."

At first David wasn't completely sure he'd heard her correctly. Then he caught the way her eyes twinkled in the flickering dark, and he thought: This day might be improving. Matching her volume, he said, "Is that a good thing or a bad thing?"

"I don't like them, myself. Mustaches."

David studied her profile and found himself at a loss. He said, "Miss Jenkins, I'm afraid you may be toying with me."

There was that smile again.

"Call me Meg."

When class was over, after the students had filed out for the day and he'd gathered up his things, David worked up his nerve, took a chance, and asked Meg Jenkins if she'd care to join him for a piece of pie and a cup of coffee at the diner around the corner. She said she'd like that, then added, "It's right on the way to my apartment, actually."

"Oh," he said. "Perfect."

She blinked her lashes at him. "How so?"

David faltered. "I…no, of course, I only meant…"

She laughed. "I'm sorry, I've got to stop teasing you. You should see your face."

"I don't need to see it," he said. "I can feel it."

"That's okay," she said. "You're cute when you're embarrassed. I guess that must be why I keep teasing you."

While he'd never been particularly smooth with the ladies, it occurred to David that spending most of his days alone in a film lab, hunched over damaged Kodachrome with a magnifying loupe, hadn't made him any smoother. "I'm afraid you're matching wits with an unarmed man."

"Nonsense." She put on her scarf and coat. "You're doing fine."

Meg Jenkins unplugged the Christmas tree at the back of the room and they left together, David with his heavy satchel slung over his shoulder, Meg with her folder full of class homework in her arms. The halls were decked with ropes of garland and colorful snowflakes cut from construction paper. David couldn't help thinking back to his own fourth-grade days at D. W. Griffith Elementary in Burbank, California, where he supposed he'd probably been the Martin Ellroy of his class. His own parents really had known Clark Gable. They'd known D. W. Griffith, for that matter. Wallace and Evelyn Toland had known everyone in their day.

David, on the other hand, couldn't recall ever having had a teacher quite as appealing as Meg Jenkins. As they pushed open the doors and emerged into the crisp, overcast December afternoon, she said, "I can truthfully say that I've never met a film preservationist before. Tell me, how on earth does an ex-Marine become interested in such a unique line of work?"

"At a young age," he said. "My folks were in the business."

"The movie business? Really?" Her whole face brightened with curiosity as they descended the stone steps outside the building. "Were they actors?"

"My mother tried very hard to be," he said. "She was a studio player at MGM for a short time in her twenties, but she never quite made it. My father was a composer. He worked with Busby Berkeley a time or two. Though his favorite claim to fame was getting in a fistfight with Otto Preminger over a card game."

Meg's breath frosted in the air when she laughed. "Is that really true?"

"As far as I know."

"Incredible! Who won?"

"The fight, or the card game?"


"I imagine that probably depended on who was telling the story."

They turned up the sidewalk, lined on both sides with bare trees. A light snow fell, fuzzy flakes drifting gently all around them. A group of kids ran past, bundled up against the cold, weaving in and out of lampposts wrapped in red ribbon for the holidays. Meg Jenkins looked around, inhaled through her nose, and said, "Well. Isn't this lovely?"

"A good day for coffee and pie," he said, offering his arm.

She smiled and hooked her mittened hand in the crook of his elbow. "Play your cards right, soldier," she said, "and I might let you walk me to my apartment afterward. It's on the way, you know."

David was still trying to think of an appropriate response to that when he noticed the black sedan trolling along on the street half a block behind them. Meg caught him glancing over his shoulder and asked, "Is that car following us?"

"I wouldn't think so," he said.

"Those are government plates," she said. "You're not wanted, are you?"

"Not to my knowledge. Are you?"

She grinned, wrapping in a little closer with her arm. "If we were in a movie," she said, "you'd be a secret agent, and that car would be from the CIA. What would they want with you?"

"I can't imagine."

"Oh, come on," she said. "Play along."

"Lady, I don't write the movies. I only fix 'em and put 'em on the shelf."

She made a face as she reached out to press the crosswalk button. "Party pooper."

Just then the government sedan sped abruptly and rounded the corner, braking to a quick stop in the crosswalk, directly in their path. Two men in dark suits got out, both wearing sunglasses despite the cloudy day. One took up a post near the front bumper, hands folded in front of him. The other came around and opened the rear passenger door.

From the back seat came a dark high-heeled shoe, followed by a shapely calf, followed by an extremely attractive brunette in a belted black overcoat. In the spy movie Meg Jenkins had just attempted to postulate, David thought, Meg herself was the adorable, coffee-and-pie, young Judy Garland type; this woman from the government sedan was more snowflake-melting Sophia Loren. No sunglasses for her. She said, "Captain Toland?"

David felt as though he'd stepped into a hallucination. "I…yes. I'm David Toland," he said. "And you are…"

"CIA Special Agent Lana Welles," the woman said. She produced an identification badge. "Your government needs your immediate assistance."

He glanced at Meg Jenkins, who stood open-jawed, her eyes as big around as the film canister tucked away in his satchel. He said, "I'm sure I don't understand."

"I'll fill you in on the way, Captain Toland."

"Stop calling me Captain. I'm a librarian."

"Yes." CIA Special Agent Lana Welles nodded sharply. "We've requested your services through your office via the chief of staff."

"My services?"

"We really are on quite a tight schedule, David," Agent Welles said. "If you'll come with us, I'll explain everything."

One of the agents in sunglasses approached. He nodded politely to Meg, then offered to take David's satchel. David said, "Thanks, I'll hang on to it."

The agent nodded, stood aside, and gestured toward the car.

David looked again at Meg Jenkins. For the first time since he'd met her, she appeared to be at a loss for words. "I really have no idea what to say, either," he told her.

She said, "Looks like no pie today."

"You have no idea how disappointing to me that is."

"Another time." She shrugged and patted his shoulder. "It seems your government needs you."

Three minutes later, sitting next to Agent Welles in the back seat of the warm dark sedan, clutching his satchel awkwardly in his lap, David watched Miss Megan Jenkins through tinted glass. She stood alone on the sidewalk as they pulled away from the curb, snow falling around her, shaking her head as though she couldn't believe what had just happened.

David knew how she felt.

"Wow," Agent Welles said. "That was quite a look she gave me back there. I think she really wanted that pie."

Up front, Sunglasses #1 and Sunglasses #2 shared a quiet chuckle. Irritated, David turned from the window. "Do any of you know the last time I had a date?"

Agent Welles smiled. "You've got one now."


They'd finished the new CIA headquarters in May—a big, broad-shouldered, H-shaped building situated on a wooded parcel on the Virginia side of the Potomac, some ten miles from George Washington Public Elementary. The facility would consolidate, for the first time, operations from a scatter of antiquated offices around Foggy Bottom and the National Mall. President Kennedy had dedicated the new building only a few weeks ago; David had watched the ceremony on television. But he'd never seen the joint in person before now.

"What do you think?" Agent Welles asked, leading him through the soaring foyer, her heels clicking along the polished floor.

David looked at his feet as they crossed an enormous Central Intelligence Agency seal set into the granite tile. "Impressive," he said. "And empty."

"Yes, well. We're still moving in."

"It always takes longer than you think."

"Based on your file, I understand that this could have been your workplace as well," she said. "If you'd wanted it."

"I suppose that's true."

"Tell me. How does a decorated war hero with his choice of appointments end up in a library basement?"

David couldn't help wondering what Meg Jenkins was doing at that moment. "Do you know that you're the second woman in an hour to ask me that same question?"

"What did you tell the first one?"

"I was right in the middle of that when you showed up," David said. "And you still haven't told me why I'm here."

"Of course I did," she said. "You're here to provide emergency consultation on a matter relating directly to national security."

"I don't believe I've ever run across a film preservation emergency, Agent Welles. Certainly not one that relates to national security. Directly or indirectly."

"No," she conceded. "I don't suppose you have."

"So you haven't really told me anything."

"Call me old-fashioned," she said, "but I prefer showing."

Agent Welles pushed through a tall glass door and led him into a maze of interior hallways. Glass, steel, and granite gave way to carpet and soft, indirect light. David marveled at how eerily quiet the heart of this building seemed; he heard no voices, no telephones, no typewriters or mimeographs or fancy new Xerox machines—no evidence of human activity anywhere within earshot. At one point, a man in a sport coat pushed a potted tree past them on a handcart; the man nodded to them, said nothing, then rounded a corner and disappeared. Just like that, they were alone again.

Agent Welles stopped before a set of unmarked doors. She pulled the doors open and ushered David into a conference room paneled in honey-colored wood. A long, burnished oval table surrounded by office chairs dominated the space. In one of the chairs sat a man in a charcoal suit reading from a stack of papers—mid-fifties, handsome, graying hair neatly trimmed. A film canister rested on the table in front of him.

"Mr. Toland, welcome," the man said as they entered. He stood and removed his eyeglasses. "Roger Ford, Assistant Deputy Director. Thank you for coming."

David shook the man's hand. "Pleased to meet you. I remain confused as to why I'm here."

"Of course." Roger Ford gestured to the chairs. "Can I offer you anything? Coffee or a soft drink? Something stronger?"

"I'm fine, thank you."

"Then let me explain why we've hijacked your day." They all sat, Ford on one side of the table, David and Agent Welles on the other. Ford pushed the film canister an inch toward David. "We have something of a restoration project on our hands. We need an expert."

David looked at the can. Except for the dents, bullet holes, and rust-colored stains marking its surface, the canister resembled the one in David's satchel. He said, "I think it's only fair to tell you, Deputy Director, my projects don't normally involve bloodstains."


  • "Take your favorite classic film that's filled with adventure and romance, translate it to the page, add a side order of lean, flexing prose, and you'll end up with Alfred Gough and Miles Millar's debut novel. This one's got history, exotic locales, and plenty of twists -- DOUBLE EXPOSURE is a triple feature."—Brad Meltzer, #1 New York Times bestselling author of THE ESCAPE ARTIST and THE FIRST CONSPIRACY
  • "DOUBLE EXPOSURE should come with a warning label: Once you start reading you'll do nothing else until it ends. It's everything anyone could want in a thriller--a protagonist fleeing his heroic past, a female CIA agent with inexplicable skills, a desperate globe-spanning chase, and the ultimate villain. More, please!"—Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author ofJUDGMENT
  • "Gough and Millar bring their world-class storytelling chops to a rocket of a first novel. With a premise worthy of Hitchcock, DOUBLE EXPOSURE is a globetrotting adventure, a what-if pretzel of a historical tale, and a twisty piece of fine suspense. Hang on tight or this one will buck you right off the ride."—Gregg Hurwitz, New York Times bestselling author of the Orphan X series

On Sale
Mar 26, 2019
Page Count
336 pages

Alfred Gough

About the Author

Miles Millar & Alfred Gough are prolific screenwriters. They met at USC film school and sold their first script in their last semester. The duo has been writing together ever since. Among their many credits is the iconic television series Smallville, which they created, the acclaimed AMC show Into the Badlands, as well as the classic Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson film Shanghai Noon and Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 2. Double Exposure is their first novel.

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Miles Millar

About the Author

Miles Millar and Alfred Gough are the creators of SMALLVILLE, the #1 show in the history of the history of the CW network, and co-wrote the story for SPIDER-MAN 2, one of the highest-grossing films of all time upon its release. They are currently the show runners of the acclaimed AMC show INTO THE BADLANDS.

Learn more about this author