Authors: Dave Zeltserman
Tags: #Mystery & Detective, #Hard-Boiled, #General, #Fiction, #Revenge, #Crime, #Detective and mystery stories, #Ex-convicts, #Mafia
lives in the Boston area with his wife, Judy. He is a die-hard Patriots and Red Sox fan; and when he’s not writing crime fiction he spends his time working on his black belt in Kung Fu. Serpent’s Tail also publishes
is all I know of bliss and lament...bliss at reading a superb novel and lament at knowing that Dave Zeltserman has now raised the bar so high, we’re screwed. This is the perfect pitch of reality, history crime, celebrity, plagiarism, and sheer astounding writing. It needs a whole new genre name... It’s beyond mystery, literature, a socio/economic tract, a scathing insight into the nature of celebrity and in Kyle Nevin, we have the darkest, most alluring noir character ever to come down the South Boston Pike or anywhere else in literature either. I want more of Kyle and more of this superb shotgun blast of a narrative... If every writer has one great book in them, then Dave can rest easy, he has his and it’s to our delight and deepest envy” Ken Bruen
“Mean like bad whiskey and sophisticated like good scotch,
is a rare find and a scorching read. This accomplished novel features a great blend of strong narrative voice and a realistic, multi-layered plot that lays bare the dark soul of South Boston’s underworld. In Kyle Nevin, his main character, Zeltserman has a dark Celine creation that is as literary as he is noir. To my mind this novel provides the final word on the Southie’s demise and does so more artfully than its predecessors. Brimming with historical anecdote, rife with keen sociological insight, Zeltserman invests his novel with a veracity found mostly in non-fiction. However, this is a novel and a damn entertaining one, one that reminds us that reading the book truly is more informing and riveting than seeing the movie” Cortright McMeel
“Zeltserman delves deeply into his specialty, an unorthodox look at the criminal mind – the ‘unlucky’ guy who can fool himself way too long. It kept me turning pages and glancing over my shoulder” Vicki Hendricks
is a superbly crafted tale that takes the best from mid-century noir fiction and drops it expertly into the twenty-first century. Like the very best of modern noir, this is a story told in shades of grey. Immensely subtle, and written with a rare maturity and confidence, the story of troubled ex-con/ex-cop Joe Denton always keeps you guessing. This deserves to be massive. At the very least, it must surely be Dave Zeltserman’s breakthrough novel” Allan Guthrie
“So noir...all the way to a surprisingly bold ending... Fairly zips along”
“Zeltserman creates an intense atmospheric maze for readers to observe Denton’s twisting and turning between his rocks and hard places. Denton is one of the best-realised characters I have read in this genre, and the powerfully noirish, uncompromising plot, which truly keeps one guessing from page to page, culminates with a genuinely astonishing finale”
“Zeltserman’s breakthrough crime novel deserves comparison with the best of James Ellroy”
First published in Great Britain in 2009 by
an imprint of Profile Books Ltd
3A Exmouth House
London EC1R 0JH
This eBook edition first published in 2009
Copyright © Dave Zeltserman, 2009
The moral right of the author has been asserted.
The characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, dead or alive, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
Designed and typeset by Folio
This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author’s and publisher’s rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
There are a lot of people I would like to thank.
Once again, my beautiful wife, Judy, who has always been there for me.
To my editor, John Williams, and my publisher, Pete Ayrton, for all of their help and support, and mostly for believing in me. Without John and Pete, my ‘man out of prison’ trilogy would’ve ended with
. It’s because of them that I ended up writing
To all my early readers and their great feedback: Laurie Pzena, Mike Lombardi, Jeff Michaels, and especially Alan Luedeking, who is my unofficial editor, providing me invaluable line edits before I ever show the book to anyone.
To my crack team at Serpent’s Tail and Profile Books: Ruth Petrie, Emily Berry and Niamh Murray for their superb efforts in copy editing, proofing, and getting the book out there. Also to Jamie Keenan for creating one of the best book covers I’ve seen. And in advance to Rebecca Gray and Meryl Zegarek, who’ve both been tireless in their previous efforts in promoting
, and I’m sure will be doing an equally great job with
. I’d also like to thank David Kanell at Kingdom Books, Alex Green at Back Page Books, Patrick Millikin at Poisoned Pen Bookstore and David Thompson at Murder by the Book for all the support they’ve given me and my books in the past.
to ed gorman
“What if I gave them Salvatore Lombard?”
That gets my lawyer’s attention. It would have to, me offering up Boston’s top crime boss. Up until that moment he’d only been going through the motions, halfheartedly suggesting that he might be able to cut me a deal for thirty years, but using a tone which indicated he didn’t really believe that. I can’t blame him. I’ve already seen the same videotapes and wire tap transcripts that he has. The state has me dead to rights for a long laundry list of crimes including extortion, a shitload of Mann Act violations and attempted murder. My busting up an undercover cop’s skull with a crowbar was only icing on the cake as far as they were concerned.
“You’re sure about this?” he asks.
I nod. This wasn’t a spur of the moment decision on my part. It was something I’d been mulling over for weeks, ever since I realized someone in Lombard’s organization must’ve given up the operation. This was the reason I fired the lawyer Lombard had cherry-picked for me, and had my wife, Jenny, find me a virgin one, someone not connected. I’m forty-eight, and maybe betraying Lombard means I’m never going to see forty-nine, but I’ll be fucked if I’m going to be buried in a prison cell for the next thirty years.
“And you can tie him to all this?”
“That might change things,” he admits. “Let me see what I can do.”
His face is flushed now. He stands up abruptly and knocks on the small square Plexiglas window embedded in the locked door, and two guards come into the room to escort me to my cell. Less than an hour later I’m brought back to the same room. My lawyer’s waiting for me, his face still flushed, maybe even a bit shiny at this point. I take the chair opposite him, and we both wait patiently until the guards leave the room and close the door behind them.
“If you can really deliver Salvatore Lombard—”
“Then I can get you fourteen years,” he says. “This is a gift given what they have on you.”
“I need better than that.”
He stares at me, his eyes widening as if I’m crazy. “Leonard, let me try to impress on you how generous their offer is. I know the DA must be salivating over the prospect of nailing Lombard, but fourteen years is the best he can give you without inciting a riot within the police department after what you did to that officer, not to mention those other people. I wouldn’t have a prayer of doing better than that if this went to trial—”
“I can do the fourteen years. That’s not what I’m saying.”
I shift in my seat, my gaze wandering past him. “If I give up Lombard he’ll tie me to other felonies. I need immunity from those. Fourteen years is all I do regardless of what else I confess to.”
“What else did you do?”
I shake my head. “When we have a deal in place I’ll give the rest to the DA.”
My lawyer gives me a funny look, but he gets up again and signals through the Plexiglas window. The guards let him out, but this time they don’t bother taking me back to my cell. I sit alone for no more than fifteen minutes before my lawyer is let back in. His eyes are hard on mine as he nods.
“As long as there’s no crimes involving children, no child porn, and no sex crimes, the DA’s willing to give you a free pass on everything else if what you give them can be verified and is enough for a conviction.”
“We’ve got a deal then,” I tell him.
My lawyer and I meet with the DA. After I’m given the paperwork for the deal my lawyer has worked out, I give the DA what he needs. It takes them three weeks to check it out, but once they have Lombard charged, we all meet again so I can outline the rest of my crimes, the ones I’m going to be given immunity for. It takes a while. There are so many of them. When I go over the twenty-eight murders that I did for Salvatore Lombard, the DA’s face turns ashen. Involuntarily, my lawyer’s lips twist into a sick smile, almost as if I’m pulling something over on him too.
I breathe easier after that. Ever since I fired Lombard’s chosen lawyer, I was expecting Lombard to either find a way to kill me or to leak my involvement with those killings to make sure I couldn’t cut any deal. I guess he couldn’t figure out a way of doing either of them without screwing himself. Anyway, a hell of a weight off my chest...