Capital Crimes (Random House Large Print)

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9780375435379: Capital Crimes (Random House Large Print)
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Internationally bestselling husband and wife Jonathan and Faye Kellerman team up for a powerful one-two punch with Capital Crimes, a gripping pair of original crime thrillers.

MY SISTER’S KEEPER: BERKELEY
Some of progressive state representative Davida Grayson’s views have made her unpopular. Although her foes are numerous no one suspects that any buttons Davida might push could evoke deadly force.
But now Davida lies brutally murdered in her office, and Berkeley homicide detectives Will Barnes and Amanda Isis must unravel Davida’s complex, before the killer pulls off a repeat performance.

MUSIC CITY BREAKDOWN: NASHVILLE
Baker Southerby was a child prodigy performer. But something leads him to become a Nashville cop. His partner, Lamar Van Gundy, is a would-be studio bassist who earned himself a detective’s badge. As part of Nashville PD's elite Murder Squad, they catch a homicide that’s high-profile even for a city where musical celebrity is routine.
Capital Crimes is page-turning, psychologically resonant suspense–just what we’ve come to expect from two of the world’s most successful crime writers.

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About the Author:

About the Authors

Jonathan Kellerman has brought his expertise as a clinical psychologist to numerous New York Times bestselling tales of suspense, including the Alex Delaware novels. His most recent novel, Gone, was a #1 New York Times bestseller. He has won the Goldwyn, Edgar, and Anthony awards, and has been nominated for a Shamus Award.

Faye Kellerman is the New York Times bestselling author of the Peter Decker/Rina Lazarus novels, as well as the historical thrillers The Quality of Mercy and Straight Into Darkness and the short-story anthology The Garden of Eden. She has won the Macavity Award and has been nominated for a Shamus.

Visit the authors’ websites at www.jonathankellerman.com and www.fayekellerman.net

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

1

The club was from another age. So was Mother.

The Woman’s Association of Northern California, Conquistadores Chapter Number XVI, was housed in a sumptuous turn-of-the-century, Beaux-Arts-touched-by-Gothic castle topped by crenellations and turrets, and constructed of massive blocks of mauve-gray Deer Isle granite from a long-dead quarry in Maine. The interior was predictable: somber and dark save for stained-glass windows featuring historical Gold Rush scenes that blew jeweled patches on the walls when the sun shone through. Antique Persian rugs softened well-worn walnut floors, the staircase banister gleamed from decades of polish, thirty-foot ceilings were coffered and rimmed with gold. The ground floor of the building held all the public rooms, the two floors above contained sleeping chambers for the members.

Mother had been a member of the Association for more than fifty years and sometimes slept over in a room far too modest for her. But the fees were nominal, and nostalgia was worth something. Her dinners at the club were frequent. They made her feel special.

They made Davida feel like a freak but she gritted her teeth and indulged Mother’s preferences because the woman was a not-too-healthy eighty.

Most dinners meant Mother and various selections of dear friends, each one of them more than a step out of time. The entire concept of the Association with its genteel Gatsby pretensions would have been anachronistic anywhere. Nowhere was it more absurd than here in Berkeley.

A stroll from the club was the People’s Park, originally conceived as a monument to free speech but reduced to a square block of homeless encampments and ad hoc soup kitchens. Good intentions in the abstract, but the brown rectangle reeked of unwashed bodies and decaying food and on hot days anyone not blessed by nasal congestion kept a wide berth.

Not far from the park was the Gourmet Ghetto, the foodie mecca that typified Berkeley’s mix of hedonism and idealism. And dominating it all, the UC. It was these contrasts that gave the city a unique character, with everything blanketed by a definite Point of View.

Davida loved the city with all its strengths and its foibles. Leftist and proud, she was now part of the system, duly elected state representative from District 14. She loved her district and she loved her constituents. She loved the energy and the electricity of a town stoked by people who cared about issues. So different from her hometown, Sacramento, where dishing dirt was respectable recreation.

And yet, here she was commuting back to the capital.

All for a good cause.

Tonight the dome-roofed, hush-hush dining room was dense with tables dressed with starched linen and sparkling silver and crystal, but shy on diners. Members were dying off and very few women elected to follow in their mothers’ footsteps. Davida had joined the Association a few years back because it was politically smart to do so. She knew most of the members as friends of her mother and they enjoyed the attention she paid them. Their monetary contributions were stingy compared to their assets, but at least they gave—more than Davida could say about a lot of her own allegedly altruistic pals.

Tonight, it was just Davida and Mother. Their server handed them menus and Davida and her mother silently scanned tonight’s choices. The entrées, once biased toward steaks and chops, had conceded to present-day realities with more chicken and fish. The food was excellent, Davida had to grant that. In Berkeley, bad food was almost as serious an iniquity as being a Republican.

Mother insisted on flirting with the waiter, an elfin-looking man

in his thirties named Tony who was undoubtedly gay. Mother damn well knew he was gay but she batted her lashes like a moony adolescent.

Tony played his part by smiling and batting back. His lashes outclassed Mother’s—thicker and darker than any man’s deserved to be.

Davida knew Mother was worried, trying to mask it with a false cheer. Still dwelling on the incident.

Though it had seemed like a big deal last week—and certainly demeaning —Davida now had the perspective to see it for what it had been: a stupid prank executed by stupid people.

Eggs. Sticky, repellent, but not dangerous.

Still, Mother brooded as she forked her shrimp cocktail. Davida’s minestrone soup remained untouched because dealing with Mother tightened up her esophagus. If the wall of silence didn’t come down, both of them would end up with indigestion and Davida would leave the club in need of . . . something.

Davida loved her mother, but Lucille Grayson was a supreme pain in the ass. Lucille called Mr. Eyelash over, asked for a refill of Chardonnay and drained it quickly. Maybe alcohol would settle her down.

Tony returned and announced the specials. Mother ordered the blackened Chilean sea bass and Davida opted for the linguini with chicken in vodka and sun-dried tomato sauce. Tony gave a dancer’s bow and sailed away.

“You look good,” said Davida. Not a lie. Lucille maintained clear blue eyes, a sharp nose, prominent chin and strong teeth. Thick, luxuriant hair for an old woman, once auburn, now a gray one shade darker than the club’s granite walls. Davida hoped she’d age as well. Decent odds; she bore an uncanny resemblance to Mother and at forty- three, her own auburn waves lacked a single silver strand.

Mother didn’t answer.

“Your skin looks great,” said Davida.

“It’s the facials,” Mother responded. “When—and if—you go to the spa, ask for Marty.”

“I’ll go.”

“So you say. How long has it been, Davida, since you’ve taken care of your skin?”

“I’ve had other things on my mind.”

“I bought you a certificate.”

“It was a terrific gift, thank you, Mother.”

“It’s a stupid gift if you don’t use it.”

“Mother, it doesn’t have an expiration date. Don’t worry. It’ll get used. If not by me, I’m sure Minette will be happy to indulge.”

Mother’s jaw set. She forced a smile. “No doubt she would be. However, she isn’t my daughter.” She picked up her wineglass and sipped, trying for nonchalance but a trembling lip betrayed her. “You have a little bruise . . . on the apple of your right cheek.”

Davida nodded. “The cover-up must have come off. How bad does it look?”

“Well, darling, you wouldn’t want to face your public like that.”

“True.” Davida smiled. “They might think that you were beating up on me.”

Mother didn’t appreciate the humor. Her eyes misted. “Bastards!”

“I agree.” Davida took the old woman’s hand, the skin nearly translucent, traced with delicate veins the color of a misty sky. “I’m fine. Please don’t worry.”

“Any idea yet who did it?”

“Stupid kids.”

“That’s ambiguous and elusive and I’m not the press, Davida. Have the police made any arrests?”

“Not yet. I’ll let you know when it happens.”

“When, not if?”

Davida didn’t answer. A Latino busboy murmured something polite and removed appetizer dishes. Moments later, he returned with the entrées. Davida wondered why, in fine restaurants, the busboys always served the meal. What were the waiters? Food Transport Consultants?

She thanked him in Spanish and swirled a forkful of pasta. “Delicious. How’s your food, Mother?”

“Fine.” Again blue eyes clouded. Lucille looked close to tears.

“What is it, Mother?”

“It could have been bullets.”

“Luckily, it wasn’t. So let’s just enjoy this meal and being together.” Which was an oxymoron because whenever they were together conflict was inevitable.

Mother harrumphed, and then abruptly plastered a smile across her face as she waved across the room to two women who’d just entered.

Darlene MacIntyre and Eunice Meyerhoff. The duo hobbled over to the table, tongues clucking in unison. Darlene was short and pudgy, Eunice tall and severe with impossibly black hair drawn back in a Dragon Lady bun.

Lucille blew air kisses.

“Darling!” Eunice gushed. “How are you?”

“Fabulous, what else? Enjoying a dinner with my busy daughter.”

Eunice turned her eyes to Davida. “Are you all right, honey?”

“I’m fine. Thanks for asking.”

“That was just terrible!”

Lucille said, “Not to mention frightening.”

Darlene said, “Motherfuckers!”

Davida broke into laughter, but was grateful that the room was empty. “I couldn’t have said it better, Mrs. MacIntyre.” She took a sip of her wine. “Would you two like to join us?”

“We wouldn’t dream of intruding,” Eunice said. “Your mother rarely sees you.”

“Is that what she tells you?”

“All the time, dear.”

Davida shot a mock-stern look at Mother then focused her gaze back to the two old women. “Well, then, it’s lovely to see you both. Enjoy your evening.”

“You, too,” Darlene answered. “And don’t let those assholes get you down.”

When they’d toddled off, Davida said, “I hardly see you?”

Mother reddened slightly. “Eunice is a troublemaker . . . I don’t complain about you chronically, Davida. That battleaxe is smitten with jealousy because her Jane detests her.”

“...

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