Luther Ewing is looking forward to an easy chill-just busting local meth heads in the malls. But one night someone plugs him in the parking lot of his condo-someone who's careful not to kill him. Is it a warning? Then sexy DEA agent Francesca Russo joins Ewing in a dangerous sting that's pulled off with incredible ease. So easy that it sparks Ewing's suspicions. Soon it becomes clear that someone's out to put the bite on Ewing. But who? Why? And how far will they go? As alliances shift, Ewing realizes he has no one left to trust but himself.
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Michael Crow is the pseudonym of a prize-winning, critically acclaimed literary novelist whose works have been translated and published in nine languages.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
1. Call it a little love tap from God. Or whomever you figure runs things.
A heavy steel sledgehammer slams into my back, high on the left. I'm seeing matte black asphalt coming up to meet me before I hear the blast. By power factor, a .357 mag, minimum. But the deep boom says .45 hardballer. I can't feel a thing below the neck, just a sharp stinging as my face skids along that asphalt. I'm splayed helpless on my own parking lot, not believing this can be happening. But my face burns, ripped raw, in a spreading puddle of something warm and thick. It's not from the road rash.
Somebody I never saw just popped a cap on Luther Ewing. Something is very, very wrong here. Very, very nasty. Something's flipped. It's supposed to be the other way around.
Now, taken down hard, I'm thinking I'm going to learn the transcendent mystery I've unveiled to maybe a few too many people. And I'm thinking I don't want to learn it, don't want to find out exactly what it's like to have your brains blown out. Do you feel anything at all? Is there this great sudden flash of brilliant white light on impact? You read things like that. But it has to be imagined, because anybody who really knew could never write it, never tell it.
Dead people have serious communication problems.
It'll happen any second now. I'm scared. But I can't move. I hear the shooter take two deliberate steps toward me. The shit is wearing some kind of shoes with very squeaky rubber soles.
Gonna be now. Fuck. I cannot move.
Then I hear a crisp metallic snick. Like he thumbed on the safety lever of a cocked semiauto. My own piss begins to soak my jeans anyway. I hear Squeaky Soles take two deliberate steps back, then squeak quickly off, out of hearing range.
I'm lying there on that asphalt, all wet and messy as the thick warm pool spreads. Some's reached my mouth now, some's seeping into my nose. Maybe I'm not going to learn that great secret after all, not going to find out if you see some blinding bolt of light the instant a bullet splits your skull wide open and blasts splintered bone and gray brain tissue down your face. I'm going to die anyway, though. Just a slow fade, crumpled like a puppet with my strings all cut.
But it's in a nice suburban neighborhood, my parking lot. People who live in the condos around it punch 911 when they hear a gunshot. In the city, nobody calls anybody. They just check to see that none of their kids is lying in a blood pool, taken down by a stray bullet that crashed through a window. Bullets have such perfectly cold indifference; they don't give a damn where they wind up.
I'm about half-here, half-rational, images and thoughts racing randomly, when what must be an EMS wagon wails up and squeals to a stop. My attention is tenuous, slipping in, sliding off. I hear a lot of voices. Sounds like EMS guys, talking their way, and cops, talking another. That's cool. If it's real. It's cool if they're all doing what they usually do. Calmly but quickly taking care of business. Seen it, done it, stood around talking cop talk myself at scenes like this often enough.
There's some kind of sudden jump cut. A piece of time vanishes without a trace. Then, lying on something wet but much softer than grainy asphalt, I do see a brilliant radiance, strobing: surgical greens flickering all around, many hands heaving me off a gurney and onto a table, shifting me around, others sticking me with sharp things. Intravenous tubes dancing, some red, some clear. I'm naked, freezing. Trauma room. A hand puts a mask over my mouth and nose. When the anesthetic kicks in, I'll be sucked into that black hole, the one that's so tight you can't even squeeze in a dream for company.
Couple of nanoseconds, just time for some synapses to flash one last message: No problem, Luther. You've taken this trip before, remember?
Only thing is, you never know if your ticket's round-trip or one-way.
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Book Description Onyx, 2004. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0451410939
Book Description Onyx, 2004. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0451410939
Book Description Onyx, 2004. Mass Market Paperback. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110451410939
Book Description Onyx. MASS MARKET PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 0451410939 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.1104450