Twenty-five years ago, an unspeakable crime was committed and Roy Slater fled--from the life he thought he wanted, from the memories he couldn't avoid, and from the devastating suspicions of those he called friends. But now that his estranged father is dying, the prodigal son has returned to confront the past--and finds himself inextricably caught up with an old flame and a new murder, one that leads him inevitably back into the twisted web of deceit and violence from which he thought he'd escaped.
In this haunting novel of literary suspense, Edgar Award-winner Thomas Cook once again delves deep into the realms of betrayal, passion and murder.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
May 30, 2004
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from Into the Web by Thomas H. Cook
Chapter One There is no older story than the return of the native, and I'd always believed that had Adam returned to Eden to walk in middle age the ruined garden once again, he might have felt an odd nostalgia for his fall. And yet I felt no such nostalgia for Kingdom County. In fact, after leaving it, I'd never expected to live there again, see the suspicious look in Sheriff Porterfield's eyes each time I'd met him on the streets of Kingdom City. He'd never said a word to me, but I'd guessed his thoughts: I know you were there. The old sheriff had been standing on the corner only a few yards away when I'd climbed onto a bus headed for California a few days after the murders. He'd had that same accusatory look in his eyes, but he'd added a knowing grin as the bus pulled away. I know what you did. I'd just turned nineteen that year, a boy on his way to college, armed with a scholarship, seeking only to escape a bloody act, build a life far away from Kingdom County and in every way different from the one I'd lived there. If I'd had one determination as I'd taken my seat in the bus that day, it was that I would never again live in Kingdom County, never again endure its poverty and blighted hope, and certainly not the dark suspicions of Sheriff Wallace Porterfield. But when my father fell ill, I had no choice but move back. With both my mother and my brother Archie gone, there was no one left to care for him. And although I had nothing in common with my father, nor even so much as a tender childhood memory of him, I couldn't let him die alone. The fact that he was dying was not in doubt. Doc Poole had made that clear as I sat in his office a few days after my return. "I want to know exactly what his condition is," I said. Doc Poole leaned back in his chair. "He won't make it through the summer, Roy." It was a stifling summer afternoon, and even as Doc Poole spoke, the two of us facing each other across his old wooden desk, I knew that a few miles away my father had already retired to his sweltering bedroom, its door sternly closed, as it always had been, my father secluded not only within that steaming space but within himself as well, a chamber just as airless and overheated as the room in which he lay. "In the last stage of liver cancer there's really nothing to be done," Doc Poole added. "So I wouldn't waste any time on false hope." "I never have," I said casually. "What did Jesse tell you about his situation?" "Just that he had cancer. He didn't say he was in the last stage of anything. He didn't even ask me to come home." "Well, I'm glad you did," Doc Poole told me. "You can help him stay comfortable." "I'll do what I can," I said crisply. Keep him comfortable, that was my sole purpose in coming home, simply to care for my father's most immediate needs, nothing more. I had not come home to reconcile with him, win his approval, or confess anything. As far as I was concerned my father was a crude and ignorant man who took a bullish pride in his crudity and ignorance, wore them like badges of honor. So much so that he often seemed determined to offend me, forever sprawled in his musty, littered bedroom, wearing nothing but boxer shorts and a sleeveless undershirt, his legs spread wide, a cigarette burning down to the nub in his soiled fingers. At dinner he wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and noisily gulped the last swallow of iced tea, defiantly staring at me when he set down the glass. Day and night, he watched one mindless TV comedy after another, seemingly as amused by the commercials as by the programs themselves. Even in sleep he seemed bent upon disturbing me, twisting about violently as he muttered my brother's name, Archie, Archie, as if to make it clear that my dead brother was the one he wo