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The Fifth Floorby Michael Harvey
Synopses & Reviews
CHAPTER 1 I can't read this, she said, and lifted her head.
That's because it's in Latin, I said. Why don't you take off the sunglasses?
Why don't you translate for me?
Take off the glasses.
The woman slid the dark frames up and off her face. Her left eye was brown and watering. Her right was black and swollen shut. The cheekbone below it offered a study in shades of purple, blue, and yellow.
You get the picture? she said.
The poem is by Catullus. First line reads Odi et amo, Translates as I hate and I love.
And this is my life?
People say it's a love poem, but they're wrong. It's about abuse, about not being able to get out, even when the door is wide open and the whole world is yelling that very thing in your ear.
I can't just leave. It's not that simple.
It never is. Let me ask you something. How do you think this ends?
The woman dropped her eyes back to her lap.
You're a smart woman, Janet. You can figure it out. You wind up hurt real bad. Maybe dead. Or . . .
She raised her head again. Or what?
Or he winds up dead. Either way, it's not good.
She thinned her lips and set a hard edge at the corners of her mouth. There'd never been anything soft about Janet Woods' face. Beautiful, yes. Even through the bruises. But never soft.
What do you want? she said.
Same thing I wanted three months ago. Get you out of there. Today. Taylor's in school, right?
Okay. We pick her up. I take you to a safe place. No one knows butme, you, and your little girl. Then I approach your husband. Explain the situation to him.
Johnny will never go for it.
He doesn't decide, Janet. He just listens.
She hesitated, then shook her head. I can't. Not right now. Don't make this personal, Michael. Janet had brought a cup of Starbucks with her. She took a final sip and dropped the cup into a wastebasket near her feet. Then she crossed her legs and deflated a little with a sigh.
I said, 'Don't make this personal.'
What does that mean?
She shrugged and stared at the line of her calf, the angle of her shoe.
I don't know. Just don't. Then I sat forward, tented my fingers on the surface of my desk, and smiled. How about some lunch?
Janet closed the book I'd given her and dropped the glasses back over her face. Sounds good.
Private detective Michael Kelly returns in a lightning-paced, intricately woven mystery. When Kelly is hired by an old girlfriend to tail her abusive husband, he expects trouble of a domestic rather than ahistorical nature. Life, however, is not so simple.
The trail leads to a dead body in an abandoned house on Chicago's North Side and then to places Kelly would rather not go: specifically, City Hall'sfabled fifth floor, where the mayor is feeling the heat. Kelly becomes embroiled in a scam that stretches from current politics back to the night Chicago burned to the ground. Along the way, he finds himself framed formurder, before finally facing a killer bent on rewriting history.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Advance Praise for Michael Harvey's The Fifth Floor
Michael Harvey is a magnificent new voice.
In The Fifth Floor, Michael Harvey gives us a tale of murder, bare-knuckle mayoral politics, and historical catastrophe-in short, the perfect Chicago detective story, complete with a loving tour of the city's funkier locales that'll make any displaced Chicagoan long for home.
--Erik Larson, author of The Devil In the White City
Harvey's superb second thriller . . . Harvey's plot twists in all the right places, and his noir-inspired dialogue crackles without sounding showy. Marlowe and Spade would readily welcome Michael Kelly into their fold.
--Publishers Weekly (starred review)
PI Michael Kelly digs into the history of the Great Chicago Fire for his second case in what's shaping up as a strong series. . . . Dry wit, de
About the Author
Michael Harvey is the creator, writer, and executive producer of the television series Cold Case Files, as well as an Academy Award-nominee for his documentary Eyewitness, and is a former investigative reporter for CBS. He earned a law degree at Duke and a masters in journalism from Northwestern. He also owns a bar in Chicago. He is the author of The Chicago Way.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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