From Miami to Detroit to Hollywood, Elmore Leonard has carved out a classic turf--and populated it with unforgettable schemers, wiseguys, misfits, and hit men. In The Hunted, Leonard goes international, as a man named Rosen runs from some Motor City mobsters--all the way to Israel--and a U.S. marine finds a perfect little war. Al Rosen is lying in bed with a beautiful divorcee when the hotel around them bursts into flames--and Rosen's photograph is captured on the news wire.
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January 27, 2003
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Excerpt from The Hunted by Elmore Leonard
THIS IS THE NEWS story that appeared the next day, in the Sunday edition of the Detroit Free Press, page one:
FOUR TOURISTS DIE IN ISRAELI HOTEL FIRE
TEL AVIV, March 20 (AP) -- A predawn fire gutted an eight-story resort hotel Saturday, killing four tourists and injuring 46 others, including guests who leaped from upper-story windows to escape the flames. No Americans were killed, but two were reported injured, including an Ohio woman who jumped from a fourth-floor window.
The blaze swept through the 200-room Park Hotel in Netanya, a Mediterranean resort city about 20 miles north of Tel Aviv. About 20 Americans escaped from the fire, an American Embassy official said, including a tour group of 17 who arrived in Israel a week ago from Columbus, Ohio.
According to a state radio report, the Park's management had recently considered closing the building after receiving threats from protection racketeers who had failed to extort payments from the hotel's owners.
Firemen extinguished the flames after a seven-hour battle.
In a six-column picture on the news-photo page of the Free Press, several elderly tourists who had escaped the fire were gathered in a group on the street, holding blankets around hunched shoulders. It was raining and they looked wet and cold. A dark, bearded man wearing white trousers, his chest and feet bare, stood apart from the group, somewhat in the background, and seemed to have been moving away when the picture was taken. The bearded man, glancing over his shoulder, was caught in that moment with a startled, open-mouthed expression.
The picture caption repeated most of the facts from the page-one story and quoted Mr. Nathan Fine, leader of the Columbus tour group, as saying, "It's a miracle we're alive. There was somebody went up and down the halls banging on doors, getting people out, telling them to put wet towels over their heads and follow him -- crawl along the hall to the outside stairway in back. He must have saved the lives of twenty people. It was lucky, I'll tell you, those stairs were outside, or nobody would be here now."
The man who had gone up and down the halls banging on doors was not identified by name. Outside the hotel that rainy Saturday morning, no one seemed to know who he was or where he had gone.