Twelve years ago, Matthew Scudder lied to a jury to put James Leo Motley behind bars. Now the ingenious psychopath is free. And the alcoholic ex-cop-turned-p.i. must pay dearly for his sins. Friends and former lovers -- even strangers unfortunate enough to share Scudder's name -- are turning up dead. Because a vengeful maniac is determined not to rest until he's driven his nemesis back to the bottle...and then to the boneyard.
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July 29, 2002
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Excerpt from A Ticket to the Boneyard by Lawrence Block
New York had a cold snap that year right around the time of the World Series. Oakland and the Dodgers were in it, so our weather didn't affect the outcome. The Dodgers surprised everybody and won it in five, with Kirk Gibson and Hershiser providing the heroics. The Mets, who'd led their division since Opening Day, were in it through seven playoff games. They had the power and the pitching, but the Dodgers had something more. Whatever it was, it carried them all the way.
I watched one of the games at a friend's apartment and another at a saloon called Grogan's Open House and the rest in my hotel room. The weather stayed cold through the end of October and there were speculative stories in the papers about long hard winters. On the local news shows, reporters took camera crews to farms in Ulster County and got rustics to point out the thick coats on the livestock and the woolly fur on the caterpillars. Then the first week of November Indian summer came along and people were out on the streets in their shirtsleeves.
It was football season, but the New York teams weren't showing much. Cincinnati and Buffalo and the Bears were shaping up as the power in the NFL, and the best Giants linebacker since Sam Huff drew a thirty-day suspension for substance abuse, which was the current euphemism for cocaine. The first time this had happened he'd told reporters that he had learned a valuable lesson. This time he declined all interviews.
I kept busy and enjoyed the warm weather. I was doing some per diem work for a detective agency, an outfit called Reliable Investigations with offices in the Flatiron Building at Twenty-third and Broadway. Their clients ran heavily to attorneys representing plaintiffs in negligence suits, and my work consisted largely of tracing potential witnesses and getting preliminary statements from them. I didn't like it much, but it would look good on paper if I decided to get myself properly credentialed as a licensed private investigator. I wasn't sure that I wanted to do this, but I wasn't sure that I didn't, and in the meantime I could keep busy and earn a hundred dollars a day.
I was between relationships. I guess that's what they call it. I had been keeping company for a while with a woman named Jan Keane, and that had ended some time ago. I wasn't certain it was done forever, but it was done for now, and the little dating I'd done since had led nowhere. Most evenings I went to AA meetings, and afterward I generally hung out with friends from the program until it was time to go home and to bed. Sometimes, perversely, I went and hung out in a saloon instead, drinking Coke or coffee or soda water. That's not recommended, and I knew that, but I did it anyway.