New York Times bestselling author
created the acclaimed blockbusters The Devil's Teardrop and The Coffin Dancer. Here he showcases his superb talent for "ticking-bomb suspense" (People) in this Edgar Award-nominated novel
Location scouting is to the film business what Switzerland is to war. John Pellam had been in the trenches of filmmaking, with a promising Hollywood career -- until a tragedy sidetracked him. Now he's a location scout, who travels the country in search of shooting sites for films. When he rides down Main Street, locals usually clamor for their chance at fifteen minutes of fame. But in a small town in upstate New York, Pellam experiences a very different reception -- his illusionary world is shattered by a savage murder, and Pellam is suddenly center stage in an unfolding drama of violence, lust, and conspiracy, which have a stranglehold on this less-than-picture-perfect locale.
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August 30, 2000
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Excerpt from Shallow Graves by Jeffery Deaver
"I heard this scary story about you one time," Marty said, "and I didn't know whether it was true or not."
Pellam didn't look over. He was driving the Winne-bago Chieftain 43 back into town. They'd just found an old farmhouse a mile up the road and had offered the astonished owner thirteen hundred dollars to shoot two scenes on his front porch, provided he didn't mind if a combine replaced his rusting orange Nissan in the driveway for a couple of days. For that kind of money, the farmer said, he'd eat the car if that was what they wanted.
Pellam had told him that wouldn't be necessary.
"You used to do stunt work?" Marty asked. His voice was high and Midwest-inflected.
"Some stunts, yeah. Just for a year or so."
"About this film you did?"
"Uh." Pellam pulled off his black 1950s Hugh Hefner sunglasses. The autumn day had dawned bright as blue ice. A half hour ago it had turned dark and now the early afternoon seemed like a winter dusk.
"It was a Spielberg film," Marty said.
"Never worked for Spielberg."
Marty considered. "No? Well, I heard it was a Spielberg film. Anyway, there was this scene where the guy, the star, you know, was supposed to drive a motorcycle over this bridge and these bombs or something were blowing up behind him and he was driving like a son of a bitch, just ahead of these shells. Only then one hits under him and he goes flying through the air just as the bridge collapses.... Okay? And they were supposed to rig a dummy because the stunt supervisor wouldn't let any of his guys do it but you just got on the bike and told the second unit director to roll the cameras. And you just, like, did it."