Showdown … in which Wragg plays with his prey.
Mr. Wood scowled at the glowing surveillance screen. A single hole had appeared in his perfect plan. The hole in Police Chief Neeley’s head.Read More
One bite held enough drug to knock out a linebacker. But Kelly’s body had fought a long war against that potion of somnolence. Her resistance had mounted for years.Read More
Mrs. Mock turned her head and drew a quick breath against the blast of heat as she lifted an aluminum baking pan from the oven. Oversized oven mitts shaped like two puffy snowmen protected her hands. “There’s nothing like a Christmas cookie!” she said aloud.Read More
Elmore slowed the rumbling panel truck as he entered bustling, green-and-gold, downtown Lafayette. In back of the truck, among piled cabinetry tools and padded blankets, grazed a small, bewildered herd of plywood reindeer. Elmore had milled them himself the past week at Rankin Cabinets. Each little Rudolph sported a blinking battery-powered red nose that flashed happily in the darkness as Elmore pulled open the truck’s rear doors. The deer radiated good cheer, and they cheered Elmore too. He would deliver his herd to Lafayette Courthouse, where Boy Scouts and other volunteer holiday elves would distribute them to stores and city parks for the big night ahead.Read More
The Epicureans mustered for their 25th solstice in Nottingham. From there, in a single luxury jet courtesy of the Duke and Duchess, the travelers would soon fly by night across the Atlantic. They would glow in the heavens, a star among the stars. A star falling on Alabama.Read More
Mr. Wood opened his hooded eyes.He slept nights in the heart of the castle, a labyrinth of 100 rooms on five floors — meeting rooms and ballrooms, bedrooms and smoking rooms, grand rooms and intimate rooms. Secret rooms. Dozens of stairways and hallways and passageways connected the levels and wings and spaces like a huge honeycomb. A man could get lost.
Sheriff Neeley and Deputy Turnipseed sat smoking late cigars at two dented aluminum desks. The unglamorous squawk of night hawks came through an open window. Both lawmen enjoyed the fresh air after a summer thunderstorm.Read More
Mary lay still on a white stiff sheet, small as a doll. A swift pulse beat visibly in her neck, a little blue wink. In nervous hands, Elmore rolled and unrolled a hospital admission form. He waited in a metal chair by Mary’s hospital gurney. Two hours had passed since her admission. Two hours. Mary was stable, the doctors said. They waited on antivenom.Read More
Elmore drove home the next hot afternoon. He’d eaten another day of sawdust. He never let on to the Rankin crew about the sporadic searing pains on either side of his spine or the gnawing animal under his right ribcage. He kept his eyes closed tight on bathroom breaks. He did not want to see what left him, trickling weakly into the bowl.Read More
The Rock 'n' Roll Regiment: in which Elmore gets some warnings from his friends.
Elmore woke on top of his bedsheets, sweating and sticky. The little one-horse window unit in the kitchen didn’t have a prayer of cooling the whole house in June.
The outside light told Elmore that he’d slept till mid-afternoon.
He thought for a moment he smelled burned white bread in a toaster oven. That turned out to be the odor of his own body, sick and sweating out alcohol.Read More
Faded Photographs: in which Elmore revisits the scene of Kelly’s crime
Elmore looked in on Will and Mary. He could make out two distinct lumps under a thin white bedsheet. The children looked like sleeping figures covered by snow in storybooks.
They shared a bed, and Elmore didn’t make it a big deal, didn’t buy bunk beds to separate them. He’d let the twins be twins for now. They could curl up together in the same little bed another year or two. After all, they slept together nine months inside Kelly.Read More
Lago de Garda: in which 24 courses of the rare and forbidden are served.
Gianni Abati proudly lifted a silver lid, his starched white toque and apron mirrored in its gleaming metal. He announced the dish with a flourish: Polenta Prosciutto.
“It is, in Alabama, how you call it? Ah… bacon corn bread!”Read More
The Far Shore: in which Kelly escapes death, but not demons.
Kelly opened her eyes.
Ahhh. Her old friend.
She didn’t recognize all the drugs the paramedics and the hospital had jacked into her, but she did know lithium.Read More
The Gingerbread Men: in which a questionable lady comes bearing gifts.
Mr. Wood saw Mrs. Mock to the door, patted her on the fanny, and closed it behind her.
She’d had a big time. She’d gotten a big reward. Now, she had a big assignment.
Mr. Wood pulled out his lap drawer. He withdrew a black remote studded with multicolored buttons. He pressed a big red one in the center.
Fort Rogers: in which the kids visit Snake Creek.
Timmy Wragg pulled down a hatchet off the wall of his daddy’s workshop.
Will Rogers chopped down pine and sweetgum saplings.
Mary Rogers dragged the trimmed poles and stacked them high.Read More