The last time Florida motel owner George Moran was in the Dominican Republic he was in a uniform and people were shooting at him. Years later he's back looking for a girl he lost -- and finding one he'd be better off without. But that doesn't matter to George while he's sleeping with beautiful Mary de Boya -- only when he discovers his lover is the wife of a former death squad general in exile with solid mob connections. Now George is bringing big trouble back with him to the Sunshine State -- as his nostalgic trip down memory lane has tangled him up in a cat's cradle of drug deals, swindles, vengeance and murder . . . and a love that's not only blind but lethal.
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January 28, 2003
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Excerpt from Cat Chaser by Elmore Leonard
Moran's first impression of Nolen Tyner: He looked like a high risk, the kind of guy who falls asleep smoking in bed. No luggage except for a six-pack of beer on the counter and the Miami Herald folded under his arm.
He reminded Moran of a show-business personality going to seed. Long two-tone hair thinning fast, what was left of a blond pompadour receding from a sunburned peeling forehead. Moran could see dark roots that matched his dark, neatly trimmed mustache. The khaki shirt was neat too, freshly laundered, faded, the cuffs of the sleeves turned up once, shirttails hanging out, aviator sunglasses hooked to one of the flap pockets. Onetime dude over the hill at forty. Maybe half in the bag. Dreamy eyes looked up from the registration card to the calendar on the wall behind Moran, then half-closed, squinting.
"Is it October already?"
It was almost November.
He filled in another line of information about himself, looked up and stared directly at Moran, deadpan.
"This is the Coconut Palms Resort Apartments. Is that correct?"
"That's correct," Moran said, just as dry.
Nolen Tyner's gaze shifted to the inside window of the office that looked out toward the Atlantic Ocean, past the oval-shaped pool and empty lounge chairs. His sleepy eyes returned to Moran.
"Then why don't I see any palm trees?"
"Some bugs ate 'em," Moran said. "I had to have six trees removed."
"It doesn't bother you," Nolen Tyner said, "you call this place the Coconut Palms there isn't a single palm tree out there? Isn't that false advertising?"
"The high rise on the south side of us, nine stories, is called the Nautilus," Moran said, "but I don't think it's a submarine. The one on the other side, it's ten stories, is the Aurora. Tell me if you think it looks like a radiant glow in the upper atmosphere. That'll be thirty dollars. You're in Number Five, right next to the office."
Nolen Tyner continued to stare at Moran. He nodded.
"Okay. How about if I sit out by the pool and drink my beer and I don't take a room? How much is that?"
"That's also thirty dollars," Moran said. "For the ambience and the music."
"I don't hear any music."
"I haven't turned it on yet," Moran said. "I'll tell you what though. You can take your six-pack up the road, you might find something more to your liking. Maybe even less expensive."
Nolen Tyner was looking at Moran's beard, his white T-shirt and cutoff jeans. "You work here or own the place?"
"Both," Moran said. "My desk clerk'd stand here and chat with you all afternoon, but he's off today."
"Being courteous to people who come in off the street," Nolen Tyner said, smiling a little, "I imagine that can be a pain in the ass at times, huh?"
"It can if you let it," Moran said.