Authors: Donald E. Westlake
Raves For the Work of
“Dark and delicious.”
—The New York Times
“A wonderful read.”
“Westlake is one of the best crime writers in the business... Inventive, suspenseful, muscular, angry, horrific.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Great. [A] book by this guy is cause for happiness.”
“Donald Westlake must be one of the best craftsmen now crafting stories.”
—George F. Will
“The novel’s deeper meditations will keep you thinking long after you’ve closed the book.”
“Marvelous... Nearly half a century into his writing career, Westlake remains superb.”
“A deliciously nasty read... A taut thriller.”
“Brilliant... [Westlake] knows how to freeze the blood.”
—Terrence Rafferty, GQ
“Tantalizing... The action is non-stop.”
—The Wall Street Journal
“A riveting tale of betrayal and escape.”
“Ingeniously twisted plotting.”
—Cleveland Plain Dealer
“Westlake remains in perfect command; there’s not a word... out of place.”
—San Diego Union-Tribune
“Crime fiction stripped down—as it was meant to be... oh, how the pages keep turning.”
Somebody brought the car around from the hotel’s garage. It was an Oldsmobile. Dad always bought Oldsmobiles. But I’d never seen this one before. It was last year’s, black. When I’d been shipped to Germany, he had a two-tone blue.
The suitcases were loaded into the trunk, and Dad took care of the tipping. Then we got in, and pulled away, heading west crosstown on 53rd Street.
I started to roll the window down, and Dad said, “No, leave it up. Watch this.”
I watched. He pressed a button on the dash, and I heard a whirring. Then a little chill breeze hit me in the forehead from a vent just above the door.
“Air conditioner,” Dad said. “Three hundred dollars extra, and worth every penny of it. Changes the air in the car completely every minute.”
“Lawyering does pretty good,” I said.
“Chased a lot of ambulances lately,” he said. He grinned at me, and slapped my knee. I grinned back. I felt good, to be in the states, to be with my father, to be a civilian. Great.
We went up the Henry Hudson Parkway and over the George Washington Bridge. We took the lower level and Dad said, “This is new.”
“This part of the bridge? It looks nutty.”
We went up 9 to 17, and then west on 17 toward Binghamton.
Thirty-eight miles outside New York City, when we had the road to ourselves, a tan-and-cream Chrysler pulled up next to us, and the guy on our side stuck his hand out with a gun in it and started shooting.
Dad looked at me, and his eyes were huge and terrified. He opened his mouth and said, “Cap,” in a high strange voice. Then blood gushed out of his mouth, like red vomit.
He fell staring in my lap, and the car swung off the road into a bridge support...
by Christa Faust
by John Lange
by Robert Bloch
THE MURDERER VINE
by Shepard Rifkin
SOMEBODY OWES ME MONEY
by Donald E. Westlake
NO HOUSE LIMIT
by Steve Fisher
by John Farris
by Ken Bruen and Jason Starr
THE FIRST QUARRY
by Max Allan Collins
by David J. Schow
by Charles Ardai
by Lawrence Block
THE DEAD MAN’S BROTHER
by Roger Zelazny
by Donald E. Westlake
by E. Howard Hunt
by Peter Blauner
by Jason Starr
PASSPORT TO PERIL
by Robert B. Parker
STOP THIS MAN!
by Peter Rabe
LOSERS LIVE LONGER
by Russell Atwood
HONEY IN HIS MOUTH
by Lester Dent
QUARRY IN THE MIDDLE
by Max Allan Collins
THE CORPSE WORE PASTIES
by Jonny Porkpie
A HARD CASE CRIME BOOK
First Hard Case Crime edition: May 2005
A division of Titan Publishing Group Ltd
144 Southwark Street
in collaboration with Winterfall LLC
If you purchased this book without a cover, you should know that it is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”
Copyright © 1962 by Donald E. Westlake
Cover painting copyright © 2005 by R.B. Farrell
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Print edition ISBN 978-0-85768-303-8
E-book ISBN 978-1-78116-101-2
Design direction by Max Phillips
The name “Hard Case Crime” and the Hard Case Crime logo are trademarks of Winterfall LLC. Hard Case Crime books are selected and edited by Charles Ardai.
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To Fred and Joanne and Nedra
.361 (Destruction of life; violent death.) Killing.
ROGET’S THESAURUS OF WORDS AND PHRASES
I got off the plane at Maguire, and sent a telegram to my dad from the terminal before they loaded us into buses. Two days later, the Air Force made me a civilian, and I walked toward the gate in my own clothes, a suitcase in each hand.
I was a mess. A twenty-three-year-old bum with mixed-up German and English in his head, two suitcases full of garbage, no plans. It felt fine.
I was at Manhattan Beach Air Force Station. That’s in Brooklyn, southeast end, not far from Coney Island. Farther than hell from Manhattan.
I went through the gate and the snowtops didn’t look twice, and then I wasn’t in Manhattan Beach Air Force Station any more, I was on Oriental Avenue. Ahead to my left there was an asphalt oval by a field, where the buses turned around. There was a bus standing there, green. I went over and got aboard and asked the driver to let me off by a subway stop, I wanted to go to Manhattan. He said he would, and I sat in the sideways seat right behind him.
There were two airman thirds aboard, toward the back, and a Negro nurse, that’s all. Then another guy with two suitcases came on, and he and I kind of avoided looking at one another. I’d never seen him before, but he was another new civvy. We acted like we’d both just been circumcised, and if we talked to each other everybody would know.
It was a Tuesday afternoon, and July hot. It was only the twelfth, and my discharge date wasn’t till the twenty-third, but the Air Force just gets you back the right month and lets it go at that. Outside, the blacktop was baking. You could see footprints, and in the distance there were rising shimmers. Car chrome gleamed for miles. The field between the bus and the Atlantic Ocean looked like dry brown hair.
After a while, the driver put his
away and started the bus. He swung the rest of the way around the oval, his arms moving as he turned the wheel, and his gray shirt was black with perspiration in circles below his shoulders. When he straightened the bus out and headed into the shimmer, a small breeze came in the open part of the window beside his elbow.