In the full-throttle, noir-soaked tradition of Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly, the acclaimed young author of Bad Connection unleashes an ambitious and edgy new thriller pulsating with raw, urban energy.
Decorated NYPD Officer John Coglin always thought his picture on the front page of the newspaper would be one for the scrapbook.
That was before he had the bad luck to be forced into a witness-free, kill-or-be-killed confrontation with a drug-dealing thug. It's of no help to him that the incident took place during the run-up to a bitter mayoral election campaign, and that his adversary was sixteen years old and black.
Now, instead of another commendation, Coglin is staring down the barrel of a media- and politics-stoked murder rap.
But on the eve of his sure conviction arrives a fateful telephone call.
It's not the governor, but his long-lost uncle, Aidan O'Connell.
A veteran of the IRA and a recently released guest of San Quentin Penitentiary for armed-to-the-teeth robbery, Aidan offers his nephew a pardon that has nothing to do with lawyers.
Coglin is about to find out that the type of amnesty Uncle Aidan is proposing is the kind that involves a beautiful but dangerous Mafia widow, a car trunk full of M-16s, and thirty million dollars in jewels smack dab in the middle of Rockefeller Center.
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead is a highly entertaining, deliciously gritty, super-fast thriller that takes us on a cutthroat ride into an urban realm where criminal intent collides head-on with the vagaries of fate and the inscrutabilities of the human heart.
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December 23, 2002
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Excerpt from Before the Devil Knows You're Dead by Michael Ledwidge
The place they went to eat called itself a diner, but it was little more than a large coffee shop. It was empty except for the old Spanish cook and the middle-aged waitress, his daughter, who turned from where she sat smoking at the front counter.
"Oh no, you again," she said. It was what she always said.
They sat in the deepest booth and put their radios up on the table top next to the ketchup. They ordered burgers and ate them slowly. Nobody came in or out. The waitress took their empty plates and went for coffee. Baker shifted in the silence.
"If it's about what I said about Karen," he said.
"No," Coglin said, looking out into the rain through the plate glass. "It ain't that."
"What then That EDP The lady
Coglin turned from the rain to his partner.
"You notice how pretty she was " he said.
"Now that you mention it."
"Well, there was a picture of her in her apartment, when she was a kid. She looked like an angel, like a little girl in a fairy tale."
"And " Baker said.
Coglin placed his hands on the table in front of him and stared down between them as if some answer lay there in the paled swirls of worn linoleum.
"I guess I never really thought about how fucked up it is to be crazy like that," he said quietly, "so alone and fucked up."
Baker looked at him in shock. He was at a complete loss for a response.
"Does this have anything to do with that fancy TV you're watching now " he said.
Coglin gave him the finger as he looked back out the window. When the waitress brought the check, Baker grabbed it.
"Gotta try something radical to cheer your ass up," he said, taking out his wallet.
A thin, hunched form appeared up the block, pushing a shopping cart as they exited the coffee shop. As the figure passed under a streetlight, Coglin could see that he was an older black man with a messed-up face: his nose a swollen bag; his eyes purple, puffed slits; his lips split.
"Is that Smilin' Ronnie " Baker said.
"Hey, Smilin'!" Coglin called, taking a step toward him. "Hey, Smilin'! What happened "
The old man slowed for a moment, his pulverized face turning vaguely toward the sound of Coglin's voice. Then he began to step quickly. The metal rattling of his cart off the breaks in the sidewalk was suddenly more rapid, like the clatter of a train skipping a stop.
"What the hell happened to him " Baker said. "Took a spill "
"Off a roof, maybe," Coglin said.
"Ream knocked him out," said a voice behind them.