Read Manhattan Is My Beat Online

Authors: Jeffery Deaver

Manhattan Is My Beat

Praise for other riveting novels by Jeffery Deaver
HARD NEWS

“Peerless entertainment … totally awesome.”


Kirkus Reviews

“Provides an excellent feel for the TV news industry. The plot twists are truly surprising. Totally recommended.”


The Drood Review of Mystery

“[Rune] is a breath of fresh air.”


Booklist

THE LESSON OF HER DEATH

“A harrowing and substantial suspense thriller … Terror steadily accelerates in this page-turner until the final riveting secrets are revealed.”


Publishers Weekly

“Chilling … Jeffery Deaver has written a strong, compelling novel forcing the reader to the edge. A commitment worth making.”


Mostly Murder

“A terrific book which can be enjoyed on many different levels.”


Mystery Lovers Bookshop News

“Deaver combines academic malfeasance, small-town police department politics, and family melodrama with all the requisite mystery and suspense for a double dose of pleasure.”


Kirkus Reviews

MISTRESS OF JUSTICE

“Excellent entertainment, with a resilient, astute paralegal as a likable heroine.”


St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“An intelligently written thriller … the characters are well-drawn [and] the plot is fast-paced.”


Booklist

“Fresh and funky; I loved it.”


Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

“A solid achievement … the ending packs a nice wallop.”


Mystery News

“Loaded with characters and action and a very devious plot … a top-notch legal thriller.”


Mystery Lovers Bookshop News

DEATH OF A BLUE MOVIE STAR

“The author creates a great sense of atmosphere, enhanced with vivid imagery, and well defined characters.”


Rendezvous

“Innovative and entertaining … truly an original.”


The Drood Review of Mystery

By the author of

THE DEVIL’S TEARDROP

THE COFFIN DANCER

THE BONE COLLECTOR

A MAIDEN’S GRAVE

PRAYING FOR SLEEP

THE LESSON OF HER DEATH
*

MISTRESS OF JUSTICE

HARD NEWS
**

DEATH OF A BLUE MOVIE STAR**

BLOODY RIVER BLUES

SHALLOW GRAVES

*
Available from Bantam Books

**
Coming soon from Bantam Books

The land of faery:
where nobody gets old and godly and grave,
where nobody gets old and crafty and wise,
where nobody gets old and bitter of tongue.


William Butler Yeats

CHAPTER ONE

He believed he was safe.

For the first time in six months.

Two identities and three residences behind him, he finally believed he was safe.

An odd feeling came over him—comfort, he finally decided. Yeah, that was it. A feeling he hadn’t experienced for a long time, and he sat on the bed in this fair-to-middling hotel, overlooking that weird silver arch that crowned the riverfront in St. Louis. Smelling the mid-western spring air.

An old movie was on television. He loved old movies. This was
Touch of Evil
. Orson Welles directing. Charlton Heston playing a Mexican. The actor didn’t look like a Mexican. But then, he probably didn’t look like Moses either.

Arnold Gittleman laughed to himself at his little joke and told it to a sullen man sitting nearby, reading a
Guns & Ammo
magazine. The man glanced at the screen.
“Mexican?” he asked. Stared at the screen for a minute. “Oh.” He went back to his magazine.

Gittleman lay back in the bed, thinking that it was damn well about time he had some funny thoughts like the one about Heston. Frivolous thoughts. Amount-to-nothing thoughts. He wanted to think about gardening or painting lawn furniture or taking his grandson to a ball game. About taking his daughter and her husband to his wife’s grave—a place he’d been too afraid to visit for over six months.

“So,” the sullen man said, looking up from the magazine, “what’s it gonna be? We gonna do deli tonight?”

Gittleman, who’d lost 30 pounds since Christmas— he was down to 204—said, “Sure. Sounds good. Deli.”

And he realized it
did
sound good. He hadn’t looked forward to food for a long time. A nice fat deli sandwich. Pastrami. His mouth started to water. Mustard. Rye bread. A pickle.

“Naw,” said a third man, stepping out of the bathroom. “Pizza. Let’s get pizza.”

The sullen man who read about guns all the time and the pizza man were U.S. marshals. Both were young and stony-faced and gruff and wore cheap suits that fit very badly. But Gittleman knew that these were exactly the kind of men you wanted to be watching over you. Besides, Gittleman had led a pretty tough life himself, and he realized that when you looked past their facade these two were pretty decent and smart guys—street-smart, at least. Which was all that really counted in life.

Gittleman had taken a liking to them over the past five months. And since he couldn’t have his family around him he’d informally adopted them. He called them Son One and Son Two. He told them that. They weren’t sure what to make of it but he sensed they got a kick out of him saying the words. For one thing, they said, most of the people they protected were complete
shits and Gittleman knew that, whatever else, he wasn’t that.

Son One was the man reading the guns magazine, the man who’d suggested deli. He was the fatter of them. Son Two grumbled again that he wanted pizza.

“Forgetaboutit. We did pizza yesterday.”

An irrefutable argument. So it was pastrami and cole slaw.

Good.

“On rye,” Gittleman said. “And a pickle. Don’t forget the pickle.”

“They come with pickles.”

“Then
extra
pickles.”

“Hey, go for it, Arnie,” Son One said.

Son Two spoke into the microphone pinned to his chest. A wire ran to a black Motorola Handi-Talkie, clipped onto his belt, right next to a big gun that might very well have been reviewed in the magazine his partner was reading. He spoke to the third marshal on the team, sitting by the elevator up the hall. “It’s Sal. I’m coming out.”

“Okay,” the staticky voice responded. “Elevator’s on its way.”

“You wanta beer, Arnie?”

“No,” Gittleman said firmly.

Son Two looked at him curiously.

“I want
two
goddamn beers.”

The marshal cracked a faint smile. The most response to humor Gittleman had ever seen in his tough face.

“Good for you,” Son One said. The marshals had been after him to lighten up, enjoy life more. Relax.

“You don’t like dark beer, right?” asked his partner.

“Not so much,” Gittleman responded.

“How do they make dark beer anyway?” Son One asked, studying something in the well-thumbed magazine. Gittleman looked. It was a pistol, dark as dark beer,
and it looked a lot nastier than the guns his surrogate sons wore.

“Make it?” Gittleman asked absently. He didn’t know. He knew money and how and where to hide it. He knew movies and horse racing and grandchildren. He
drank
beer but he didn’t know anything about making it. Maybe he’d take that up as a hobby too—in addition to gardening. Home brewing. He was fifty-six. Too young for retirement from the financial services and accounting profession—but, after the RICO trial, he was definitely going to be retired from now on.

“Clear,” came the radio voice from the hallway.

Son Two disappeared out the door.

Gittleman lay back and watched the movie. Janet Leigh was on screen now. He’d always had a crush on her. Was still pissed at Hitchcock for killing her in the shower. Gittleman liked women with short hair.

Smelling the spring air.

Thinking about a sandwich.

Pastrami on rye.

And a pickle.

Feeling safe.

Thinking: the Marshals Service was doing a good job at making sure he stayed that way. The rooms on either side of this one had adjoining doors but they’d been bolted shut and the rooms were unoccupied; the U.S. government actually paid for all three rooms. The hallway was covered by the marshal near the elevator. The nearest shooting position a sniper could find was two miles away, across the Mississippi River, and Son One— the
Guns & Ammo
subscriber—had told him there was nobody in the universe who could make a shot like that.

Feeling comfortable.

Thinking that tomorrow he’d be on his way to California, with a new identity. There’d be some plastic surgery.
He’d be safe. The people who wanted to kill him would eventually forget about him.

Relaxing.

Letting himself get lost in the movie with Moses and Janet Leigh.

It was really a great film. The very opening scene was somebody setting the hands of the timer on a bomb to three minutes and twenty seconds. Then planting it. Welles had made one continuous shot for that exact amount of time, until the bomb went off, setting the story in motion.

Talk about building the suspense.

Talk about—

Wait….

What was that?

Gittleman glanced out the window. He sat up slightly.

Outside the window was … What
was
that?

It seemed like a small box of some sort. Sitting on the window ledge. Connected to it was a thin wire, which ran upward and disappeared out of view. As if somebody’d lowered the little box from the room above.

Because of the movie—the opening scene—his first thought was that the box was a bomb. But now, as he lunged forward, he saw that, no, it looked like a camera, a small video camera.

He rolled off the bed, walked to the window. Looked at the box closely.

Yep. That’s what it was. A camera.

“Arnie, you know the drill,” Son One said. Because he was heavy he sweated a lot and he sweated now. He wiped his face. “Stay away from the windows.”

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