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Authors: Donald E. Westlake

361

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Raves For the Work of
DONALD E. WESTLAKE!

“Dark and delicious.”

—The New York Times

“A wonderful read.”

—Playboy

“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.”

—Stephen King

“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.”

—USA Today

“Marvelous... Nearly half a century into his writing career, Westlake remains superb.”

—Entertainment Weekly

“A deliciously nasty read... A taut thriller.”

—Publishers Weekly

“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.”

—Chicago Tribune

“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.”

—Philadelphia Inquirer

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...

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by Roger Zelazny

THE CUTIE
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by E. Howard Hunt

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by Peter Blauner

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by Robert B. Parker

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by Peter Rabe

LOSERS LIVE LONGER
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by Jonny Porkpie

361
by
Donald E. Westlake

A HARD CASE CRIME BOOK

(HCC-009)

First Hard Case Crime edition: May 2005

Published by

Titan Books

A division of Titan Publishing Group Ltd

144 Southwark Street

London

SE1 0UP

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

www.maxphillips.net

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.

Printed in the United States of America

Visit us on the web at
www.hardCaseCrime.com

To Fred and Joanne and Nedra

.361 (Destruction of life; violent death.) Killing.

ROGET’S THESAURUS OF WORDS AND PHRASES

Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

One

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
News
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.

BOOK: 361
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