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2 Hawthorne Literature- A to Z

The 25th Hour

by

The 25th Hour Cover

ISBN13: 9780452282957
ISBN10: 0452282950
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Excerpt

PROLOGUE

THEY FOUND THE black dog sleeping on the shoulder of the West Side Highway, dreaming dog dreams. A crippled castoff, left ear chewed to mince, hide scored with dozens of cigarette burns-a fighting dog abandoned to the mercy of river rats. Traffic rumbled past: vans with padlocked rear doors, white limousines with tinted glass and New Jersey plates, yellow cabs, blue police cruisers.

Monty parked his Corvette on the shoulder and shut off the engine. He stepped from the car and walked over to the dog, followed by Kostya Novotny, who shook his head impatiently. Kostya was a big man. His thick white hands hung from the sleeves of his overcoat. His face had begun to blur with fat; his broad cheeks were red from the cold. He was thirty-five and looked older; Monty was twenty-three and looked younger.

"See?" said Monty. "He's alive."

"This dog, how do you call it?"

"Pit bull. Must have lost somebody some money."

"Ah, pit bull. In Ukraine my stepfather has such dog. Very bad dog, very bad. You have seen dogfights at Uncle Blue's?"

"No."

Flies crawled across the dog's fur, drawn by the scent of blood and shit. "What do we do, Monty, we watch him rot?"

"I was thinking of shooting him."

Awake now, the dog stared impassively into the distance, his face lit by passing headlights. The pavement by his paws was littered with broken glass, scraps of twisted metal, black rubber from blown tires. A concrete barricade behind the dog, separating north- and southbound traffic, bore the tag SANE SMITH in spray-painted letters three feet high.

"Shooting him? Are you sick in the head?"

"They just left him here to die," said Monty. "They threw him out the window and kept driving."

"Come, my friend, it is cold." A ship's horn sounded from the Hudson. "Come, people wait for us."

"They're used to waiting," said Monty. He squatted down beside the dog, inspecting the battered body, trying to determine if the left hip was broken. Monty was pale-skinned in the flickering light, his black hair combed straight back from a pronounced widow's peak. A small silver crucifix hung from a silver chain around his neck; silver rings adorned the fingers of his right hand. He leaned a little closer and the dog scrambled upright, lunged for the man's face, came close enough that Monty, stumbling frantically backward, could smell the dog's foul breath. The effort left the pit bull panting, his compact, muscular frame quivering with each rasped breath. But he remained in his crouch, watching the two men, his ears, the mangled and the good, drawn back against his skull.

"Christ," said Monty, sitting on the pavement. "He's got some bite left."

"I think he does not want to play with you. Come, you want police to pull over? You want police looking through our car?"

"Look what they did to him, Kostya. Used him for a fucking ashtray."

A passing Cadillac sped by them, honking twice, and the two men stared after it until its taillights disappeared around a bend.

Monty rose to his feet and dusted his palms on the seat of his pants. "Let's get him in the trunk."

"What?"

"There's a vet emergency room on the East Side. I like this guy."

"You like him? He tries to bite your face off. Look at him, he is meat. You want some dog, I buy you nice puppy tomorrow."

Monty was not listening. He walked back toward his car, opened the trunk, pulled out a soiled green army blanket. Kostya stared at him, holding up his hands. "Wait one second, please. Please stop one minute? I do not go near pit bull. Monty? I do not go near pit bull."

Monty shrugged. "This is a good dog. I can see it in his eyes. He's a tough little bastard."

"Yes, he is tough. He grew up in bad neighborhood. That is why I stay away from him."

The light shining down from above cast deep shadows beneath Monty's cheekbones. "Then I'll do it myself," he said.

By now the dog had slumped back to the pavement, still struggling to keep his head up, to keep his glazing eyes focused on the two men.

"Look at him," said Monty. "We wait much longer, he'll be dead."

"One minute ago you want to shoot him."

"That was a mercy thing. But he's not ready to go yet."

"Yes? He told you this? You know when he is ready to go?"

Monty carefully circled behind the dog, holding the army blanket as a matador holds his cape. "It's like a baby, they hate getting shots from the doctor. They're screaming and crying as soon as they see the needle. But in the long run, it's good for them. Here, distract him."

Kostya shook his head with the air of one who had long suffered his friend's lunacies, then kicked a soda can. The dog's eyes pivoted to follow the movement. Monty hurled the blanket over the dog and sprang forward, wrapping his arms around the dog's midsection. The dog growled and wrestled with the wool, sinking his teeth into the fabric and shaking it violently, trying to break the blanket's neck. Monty managed to stand, struggling to maintain his bear hug, but the dog, slick with blood, slithered madly in his grasp like a monstrous newborn. Monty lurched toward the Corvette as the pit bull released the blanket and turned his head, snapping viciously, his jaws inches from Monty's throat. He clawed at Monty's arms until Monty hurled him into the trunk, the dog still biting as he fell into the hollow of the spare tire, trying unsteadily to regain his footing as the lid slammed shut.

Monty picked up the army blanket and returned to the driver's seat. Kostya stared at the sky for a moment and then joined his friend in the Corvette. The entire encounter had lasted five minutes.

"What goes on in your little head?" asked Kostya, after Monty had tossed the blanket into the well behind his seat and started the car. "That was very stupid thing you did. Most stupid thing you ever did. No, I take that back. Lydia Eumanian was most stupid thing you ever did."

"I got him, didn't I?" said Monty, grinning. "A little of the tricks, a little of the quicks, boom! Nabbed." He checked his mirrors and pulled onto the highway, heading uptown again.

"Yes. The quicks. Meanwhile, you are bleeding. You get bit."

"No, that's the dog's blood."

Kostya raised his eyebrows. "Yes? Because you have hole in your neck and blood is coming out."

Monty lifted his hand to his neck, felt the warm dribble of blood. "Just a scratch."

"A scratch, oh. Meanwhile, you bleed to death. And you need rabies shot."

"They'll stitch it up at the vet's." Behind them the dog thrashed around in the trunk, his bellows muted by the traffic.

"What? The vet? You bleed all over car, you die, your father yells at me. Oh, boo-hoo, boo-hoo, you let Monty die. No, please. Go to Seventh Avenue, there is Saint Something, a real hospital."

"We're going to the vet." The blood ran down Monty's arm, soaking his shirtsleeve, puddling at the elbow.

"Rule number one," said Kostya, "don't grab half-dead pit bulls. We have people waiting for us, people with money, and you play cowboy-no, dogboy-in middle of highway. You're bad luck; you put bad luck on me. Always everything that can go wrong, goes wrong. Doyle's Law. It is not just you and me when we go out, no, no, it is Monty, Kostya, and Mister Doyle of Doyle's Law."

"Doyle? You mean Murphy."

"Who's Murphy?"

"Who's Doyle? Murphy's Law," said Monty. "Whatever can go wrong will go wrong."

"Yes," said Kostya. "Him."

From that day on the dog was Doyle.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

JHallOnline, January 1, 2010 (view all comments by JHallOnline)
Excellent first novel by Mr. Benioff. Characters are crisp and the pace is quick, an intelligent crime novel for all readers.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780452282957
Author:
Benioff, David
Publisher:
Plume Books
Author:
Mountford, Peter
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Revenge
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Suspense fiction
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
New York
Subject:
Drug traffic
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
New york (n.y.)
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Suspense
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
January 2002
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
8 x 5.31 in 0.64 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects


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

The 25th Hour Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Plume Books - English 9780452282957 Reviews:
"Review A Day" by , "The 25th Hour moves briskly and assuredly. Benioff keeps the chapters short enough to leave the reader wanting more — not because the book is lacking in content, but because the sharp characterizations, clever dialogue, and intriguing situations are irresistible....[A] brief but exhilarating read." (read the entire Powells.com review)
"Review" by , "[A] spellbinding portrait....Brilliantly conceived, this gripping crime drama boasts dead-on dialogue, chiaroscuro portraits of New York's social strata and an inescapable crescendo of tension."
"Review" by , "[An] absorbing debut novel....Monty is such a likable character that he practically subverts the theme of 'crime doesn't pay'....The ending's got a nice twist to it, and the double surprise here is the way in which it is delivered."
"Review" by , "Remarkable....A darkly human novel that ends up more about hope than about cynicism."
"Review" by , "What makes Benioff's take on this tale so special is his deep trust in the ordinariness of it all, and the persistence of his supporting cast in thinking, as even your best friends will, that this night is all about them."
"Review" by , "The 25th Hour is the kind of tough, honest, young-in-New York novel you're always looking for but seldom seem to find. A story that will engage your mind and trigger your pulse from beginning to end."
"Review" by , "Benioff's first novel is as unusual as it is well-wrought: it resonates with a Whitmanesque sense of the city's possibilities and unsatisfied longings."
"Review" by , "A riveting account of neither crime nor punishment, but the hellish, temporary suspension between those two worlds. This book is at once brutal and beautiful. I could not put it down."
"Review" by , "Exciting....Intriguing."
"Review" by , "Terrifically tense...beautifully black-humored....[A]chieves both pathos and excitement. (Grade: A-)"
"Review" by , "[An] acerbically captivating first novel....Mr. Benioff creates a pungent, funny urban tableau full of shrewd operators and unfulfilled desires. He gives this slim, engaging book a colorful range."
"Review" by , "As time runs out for Monty Brogan, we feel the thrilling inevitability of great narrative: how everything could and should have been different, and how it could only have happened exactly as it did."
"Review" by , "A dark and funny tale of a man who's screwed his charmed life up to the point that he's only got 24 hours to go before he's incarcerated for seven years. Time enough for one last good time with his friends and a doozy of a twist at the end."
"Review" by , "Tight and crisp....The 25th Hour shines. It couldn't get much better."
"Review" by , "David Benioff has written a terrific first novel. The predicament he creates for his protagonist hold us to the end."
"Review" by , "This novel is an extraordinaty sustained performance. I am dazzled by its seriousness, so often hilarious on the surface, and by its exquisite workmanship."
"Synopsis" by , All Monty Brogan ever wanted was to be a fireman. Now he's got just 24 hours before he will start a seven-year stretch in the federal penitentiary for drug dealing. As the minutes count down, Monty seizes one last chance to stack the odds in his favor.
"Synopsis" by ,
"Novels like The 25th Hour don't fall out of trees every day. The tone is dark and intense; its elegant style is cut on the raw side; and the characters come from places we've all been." -The New York Times

All Monty Brogan ever really wanted when he grew up was to be a fireman. Now he's about to start a seven-year stretch in the federal penitentiary for drug dealing. With just twenty-four hours of freedom to go, he prowls the city with his girlfriend and his two best friends from high school-a high-flying bond trader and an idealistic teacher. As the minutes count down, Monty seizes one last chance to stack the odds in his favor.

Hurtling from the money pits of Wall Street to Manhattan's downtown lounge and club scene, from the enclaves of the Russian mob to the old immigrant neighborhoods, The 25th Hour evokes the pulsing rhythms and diamond-hard edges of a city in the raw, illusory hours between midnight and dawn. A taut and mesmerizing tale of an urban purgatory suspended between the crime and the punishment, The 25th Hour is a major player in contemporary noir fiction from the author of the bestselling novel City of Thieves and the short story collection When the Nines Roll Over.   

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