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1 Local Warehouse Mystery- A to Z

Innocent

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Innocent Cover

ISBN13: 9780446562423
ISBN10: 0446562424
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Excerpt

1 It was Monday Heavy footsteps, coming quickly. He could tell from their nearness that the first ring would have been enough. The door swung open. The man was taller than he was, younger and thicker around the chest. The man glowered, and the space between his dark eyebrows and his dark, wavy hair looked very small, pinched and wrinkled with annoyance. "Mr. Delamina?" "Yeah. What can I do for you?" "I’ve got a delivery for you." "I didn’t order anything." He prepared to close the door. "It looks like a gift." He held up the clipboard. The invoice was filled out in big, clear letters. Under quantity it said "1 ea." Under description it said "Sony Bravia EX500," and under amount it said "$2,199." But below that in big block letters, it said paid. "Are you sure it’s the right address?" He was a bit suspicious, but he had seen the invoice, and his greed had been stimulated. He was thinking it might be a mistake, but somehow he could still end up with something valuable. "Yes. You’re Michael Delamina?" "Right." Delamina’s small eyes moved to the truck then to the invoice, not finding a reason not to be interested. "Then you got a new high-definition flat screen. I need to take a look at where it goes." He stepped up on the porch, and something about his brusque, hurried manner made Delamina step backward, letting him inside. It was a large, modern kitchen with black granite counters and a black granite island, with an array of copper pots hanging from a rack above it. He took two steps inward and swerved to go around the island. As he passed it, his free hand plucked one of the black-handled kitchen knives from a slot in the butcher block beside the cutting board. As he had expected from the width of the slot, it was the boning knife. When he was working, the proper tools seemed to find their way to his hand. He pivoted to the left and brought the knife around so his body added force to the thrust, and the eight-inch blade was lodged to the handle in the space just below Delamina’s rib cage. He stepped forward with it and pushed upward. As he did, he said quietly, "I’m the one you sent people to find. Go join them." Delamina went limp, fell onto the kitchen floor, and lay there, his eyes open and losing focus. He stood above Delamina for a moment, watching. He was fairly sure that his upward, probing thrust had reached the heart. This was a crude, elementary way of killing a man. It was actually one of the things that prison inmates did to one another. When they pushed a blade upward they tried to move it around a bit, like a driver manipulating a standard transmission, so they called it "running the gears" on someone. But he hadn’t wished to have Delamina’s death look like expert workmanship. That might warn the next one that he had come back to take care of this problem. He stepped to the rack by the sink, took a clean dish towel, and wiped off the handle of the knife. He knelt on the floor for a moment and looked more closely at Delamina. The heart and the lungs had to be stopped. The human body could take an incredible amount of battering, piercing, even burning, and heal rapidly and go on with undiminished strength for another forty years. For a pro, death had to happen right away with no uncertainty. Before he left, the person had to be dead—not dying, but dead and cooling off. He couldn’t have somebody get up after he was gone. None of his ever had, but it was a concern. He put his hand on Michael Delamina’s carotid artery to be sure his heart had stopped, then tugged a button from Delamina’s shirt, extracted a few inches of thread, and held the thin, white filament in front of his nostrils. The thread didn’t move. He dropped it on Delamina’s chest with the button, touched the artery one more time, stood, and walked. He went out the side door of the house and got into the plain white van. He had parked so close to the side door that he only had to take two steps and he was in the driver’s seat behind tinted windows. He had a red shop rag caught in the back door of the van so it hung down to cover the license plate. He backed out of the driveway, shifted and accelerated to a moderate speed, and proceeded down the street. After he had gone a mile or two, he turned into the parking lot of a supermarket, drove around to the rear of the building, got out, and stuffed the rag, the coveralls, and the clipboard into a bag in the Dumpster. He pulled back onto the road and merged into the traffic again. He drove carefully and lawfully as he always did, and never risked having a cop pull him over. He wore the blue baseball cap and a pair of sunglasses, because he knew that if anyone saw him through the windshield, what they’d remember was a baseball cap and sunglasses. In twenty minutes he was twenty miles away, and in forty he was in another county at the lot where he had rented the van a couple of hours ago. He returned it and drove the rented car he had left on a nearby street toward the airport. The distinguishing feature of the killing business was its premeditation. Most amateurs got caught because they were too inexperienced to look far enough ahead. They made plans to kill some enemy, but didn’t devote much thought to what they would do with the body. Some of them didn’t even think clearly about their alibis. It was as though the killing itself were a high wall ahead of them. They thought so much about having to climb it that they couldn’t get their eyes to focus on what was beyond it. Even the ones who bothered to construct alibis often made foolish mistakes. They would go to a movie and pay with a credit card, sneak out in the middle of the film to do the killing, and then get caught on a security camera driving back into the parking lot. Or they’d kill their wives and then call their girlfriends on their cell phones, and the phone company would have a record of which repeater tower picked up the signal. When they didn’t make mistakes, they still had trouble. The truth was, if you were the police department’s favorite suspect, almost any set of precautions you took would be inadequate. If there was no real evidence of guilt, the police would start finding fibers in your car or house that were "not inconsistent" with the fibers in the dead man’s clothes or carpets. A pro was never the cops’ favorite suspect, because he had no clear connection with the victim. He knew a lot about the business because he had been raised in it. His parents had been killed in a car crash when he was ten. His nearest relative was his mother’s younger sister, who was in college in California and barely made it to the funeral. She had no room in her schedule for raising anybody’s ten-year-old child. But a neighborhood man named Eddie Mastrewski had volunteered to take the boy in, teach him some values and the habit of work. Eddie was the local butcher, a man who drove a good car, lived in a good house, and had a reputation for honest weights and fresh meat. In those days in a working-class neighborhood, no one thought much about it. There was a boy who needed a home for a few years, and Eddie had one. In later years, the boy suspected that the reason nobody had worried that this lifetime bachelor might be a child molester was the neighborhood’s whispered knowledge that Eddie regularly made home deliveries of special cuts of meat to a few particularly attractive housewives. Eddie Mastrewski did exactly as he had promised—provided a safe, happy home and taught the boy his trade. The part that the neighbors didn’t know was that Eddie the Butcher wasn’t just a butcher. He was a professional killer. The boy had been a good learner. As a teenager he had a photograph on his wall taken by a news photographer in Vietnam. In the foreground there was a procession of people at some sort of religious festival. They were walking along, some beating drums, some with their mouths open wide singing, some with their heads bent in prayer. But behind them was a glaring bright-orange-and-crimson explosion spreading into the air like a monstrous flower blooming. He knew from Eddie that the photograph must have been taken during the two-tenths of a second after the bomb’s initiator had ignited the explosive, but before the minds of any of the paraders could apprehend the change. The bomb had already gone off, but none of these people had yet heard, felt, or seen anything happen. That was still in their future. The boy had spent a great deal of time over the next few years thinking about those two-tenths of a second. If he could deliver a disabling blow in those two-tenths of a second, the adversary would literally never see it coming, never know what happened to him until he was down. Eddie made sure the boy was proficient with knives, shotguns, rifles, and pistols of the common brands and calibers. When the boy was fifteen, Eddie began to take him out on weekend jobs. When he turned sixteen, he quit school and worked with Eddie full-time. That was when he had advanced from apprentice to journeyman. Killing was mostly a mental business. It required thinking clearly, not quickly. Picking the time and place long before he went out to do a job gave him the chance to study the way it should be done, to find the best shooting angle, and become familiar with all of the entrances and exits. Before the time came, a professional killer could arrange almost everything in his favor. He could come through like a gust of wind—there unexpectedly, then gone—and after he disappeared, leave an impression rather than a memory. Eddie had taught him that "It’s the passion that’s missing, and that protects you. You kill somebody because someone else hates him. The only time you have to feel anything is if you make a mistake and he gets the chance to fight back. Then he’s your enemy and your adrenaline flows until he’s dead." Amateurs were all passion. Amateurs would plan the killing up to the moment when their enemies died and then turn stupid. They thought it would end then, that they’ll toss the knife or gun away, go back to their houses, take a shower, and stuff their clothes in the washing machine. Amateurs didn’t think about the fact that as soon as the body was found, they had potent new enemies, the cops. And cops looked for connections between victims and their killers. Nine out of ten murders were done by somebody the victim knew. How many people could the average person know? The average person could only hold five hundred faces in his memory. So at the moment when the victim hit the ground, the world’s six billion people narrowed down to only five hundred suspects. The police would look at how the killing was done. If it required a lot of strength, the killer was a man; about two hundred and fifty of the five hundred were eliminated. Two-thirds of the remaining two hundred and fifty would have good alibis. Make that eighty suspects. A quarter of them were too young or too old. Make that sixty suspects. By now the amateur was beginning to feel a little sick. The pro would already have counted his money and be on the way to his next job. He was one of the six billion who had already been eliminated. He turned into the car-rental return outside La Guardia, returned his car, and rode the shuttle bus to the terminal. The people who saw him noticed only another middle-aged man with brown hair graying a bit at the temples, who wore the nearly universal travel uniform of such men—a dark-colored sport coat with gray or beige pants, a blue shirt without a tie, and rubber-soled shoes. There was no reason to look at him closely, nor did he look at them. Everyone on a shuttle bus to an airport was on the way to somewhere else, and thinking well ahead into a different time and place. afternoon when he drove the white van up the driveway and stopped it at the side door of the house. He pulled his blue baseball cap down securely, leaned to the seat beside him, and picked up the aluminum clipboard with its layers of invoices. As he slid down from the seat to the driveway, he reached into his blue coveralls and retrieved a ballpoint pen. He hadn’t had the time to stop and pick up the perfect tools for this, but what he had would probably do. If not, people often had the right things around the house. He rang the doorbell, listened for footsteps, then rang again.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

GRETCHEN ADAMEK, March 17, 2011 (view all comments by GRETCHEN ADAMEK)
I find myself compelled to comment on this book after seeing the review by Lissa pop up in the daily dose, and then reading the other reviews.

I could MAYBE agree that this was a taut psychological and legal thriller if this was a stand alone book. But it's not. It's a sequel. "Presumed Innocent" ended with a legal triumph and Rusty's personal despair. Rusty had had an affair, his wife deliberately and brutally murdered his mistress, and meticulously framed him.

Flash forward twenty years to this book--and I am giving nothing away that isn't apparent very early on--and Rusty is living with and still married to his wife. The details of the why and how are unsatisfactory; and the basis for the second murder investigation is consequently contrived.

The only redeeming quality to this book is the skilled writing. Turow sets a breakneck pace, and at the same time a dark melancholy mood.

Those who read and rooted for Rusty in Presumed Innocent as I did, will, I suspect, have no doubt as to Rusty's innocence here. It's just I don't care. For god's sake, I was rooting for Tommy Molto!
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Lissa, March 13, 2011 (view all comments by Lissa)
Turow presents the story from the different perspective of most of the characters, drawing out the suspense. Like watching a suspense movie, I wanted to call out to the characters to warn them. Intriguing and difficult to put down, even tho the characters are every day people with their own strengths and vulnerabilities. A great read. Will make a good movie.
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Dr. Rico, June 8, 2010 (view all comments by Dr. Rico)
In Turow's latest novel, as in all his novels, he explores people and their relationships and the ways that the law parallels, and affects, these relationships. This gives Turow's novels a depth beyond the run-of-the-mill courtroom thriller. And yet that doesn't prevent "Innocent" from being a crackerjack page-turner. The reader is hooked on discovering which clues are red herrings and which are real -- and what is the meaning of each real clue. Did Rusty really do it, and what is he hiding? Turow handles the shift of perspective among the main characters fairly well, although I admit that one (and only one) character is presented in the third person, and that took some getting used to. But that's a small flaw in a hugely enjoyable book, Turow's best novel in years.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780446562423
Subtitle:
An Otto Penzler Book
Author:
Turow, Scott
Author:
Herrmann, Edward
Author:
Perry, Thomas
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Subject:
Legal
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - General
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
Widowers; Husbands and wives; Suspicious deaths; False accusations; Lawyers; Judges; Love affairs; Search for truth
Subject:
Butcher s Boy;mafia;assassin;murder;organized crime;mystery;suspense;action;fict
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
May 4, 2010
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

Innocent Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.48 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Grand Central Publishing - English 9780446562423 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Mesmerizing prose and intricate plotting lift Turow's superlative legal thriller, his best novel since his bestselling debut, Presumed Innocent, to which this is a sequel. In 2008, 22 years after the events of the earlier book, former lawyer Rusty Sabich, now a Kindle County, Ill., chief appellate judge, is again suspected of murdering a woman close to him. His wife, Barbara, has died in her bed of what appear to be natural causes, yet Rusty comes under scrutiny from his old nemesis, acting prosecuting attorney Tommy Molto, who unsuccessfully prosecuted him for killing his mistress decades earlier. Tommy's chief deputy, Jim Brand, is suspicious because Rusty chose to keep Barbara's death a secret, even from their son, Nat, for almost an entire day, which could have allowed traces of poison to disappear. Rusty's candidacy for a higher court in an imminent election; his recent clandestine affair with his attractive law clerk, Anna Vostic; and a breach of judicial ethics complicate matters further. Once again, Turow displays an uncanny ability for making the passions and contradictions of his main characters accessible and understandable." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review A Day" by , "What distinguishes Turow's work from boilerplate thrillers is his skill as a writer. Not only does he make the legal developments spellbinding — giving us just enough terminology and procedure to follow along, without cramming the information down our throats — but he makes the characters comes alive just as vividly. They often behave badly and make questionable choices (who doesn't?), and those actions are always believable and strike a note of truth that is sometimes lacking in popular fiction." (Read the entire Powells.com review)
"Review" by , "Scott Turow's new novel is the dedicated fiction-reader's version of El Dorado: a driving, unputdownable courtroom drama/murder mystery that is also a literary treasure, written in language that sparkles with clarity and resonates with honest character insight. I came away feeling amazed and fulfilled, as we only do when we read novelists at the height of their powers. Put this one on your don't-miss list."
"Review" by , "[A] fast and absorbing ride....Rusty's second trial — which takes up the better half of this novel — proves to be just as suspenseful and gripping as his first."
"Review" by , "This is a beautifully written book with finely drawn characters and an intricate plot seamlessly weaving a troubled family story with a murder. Drawing the reader in and not letting go until the last page, Turow's legal thriller is a most worthy successor to Presumed Innocent and perhaps the author's finest work to date."
"Review" by , "There are enough surprises in all this to keep the reader's attention fixed — Turow has always been very good at that — but as usual in his fiction there's more than skillful legal drama....All of which makes for an intelligent, thoughtful novel: a grownup book for grownup readers."
"Review" by , "After reading Innocent...I had an urge to turn back to page one and start over to see where the clues and feints were. It's that good.... The plot twists are augmented by canny observations and richly captured personalities."
"Review" by , "Innocent is a meticulously constructed and superbly paced mystery, full of twists and surprises and the sort of technical arcana on which the genre thrives....This is a lovely novel, gripping and darkly self-reflective."
"Review" by , "Though Innocent is a richer read for those who have read Presumed Innocent, it stands alone with ease....Adding that internal conflict to ambition, sorrow, and righteousness — with murder, adultery and careers at stake — makes for an easy summary judgment: Innocent is anything but a guilty pleasure, it's prime popular fiction."
"Synopsis" by ,
The Butcher's Boy is back! Thomas Perry's vengeful assassin has returned to play a deadly psychological game with Elizabeth Waring, the only Justice Department official who ever believed he existed. Can these two from opposite sides of the law come together to take on the mafia?
"Synopsis" by , In Thomas Perrys Edgar-winning debut The Butchers Boy, a professional killer betrayed by the Mafia leaves countless mobsters dead and then disappears. Justice Department official Elizabeth Waring is the only one who believes he ever existed. Many years later, the Butchers Boy finds his peaceful life threatened when a Mafia hit team finally catches up with him. He knows they wont stop coming and decides to take the fight to their door. 

Soon Waring, now high up in the Organized Crime Division of the Justice Department, receives a surprise latenight visit from the Butchers Boy. Knowing she keeps track of the Mafia, he asks her whom his attackers worked for, offering information that will help her crack an unsolved murder in return. So begins a new assault on organized crime and an uneasy alliance between opposite sides of the law. As the Butchers Boy works his way ever closer to his quarry in an effort to protect his new way of life, Waring is in a race against time, either to convince him to become a protected informant—or to take him out of commission for good.

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