Book by Doolittle Sean
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Common sense told Andrew Kindler that a surprise visitor at the beach house didn't necessarily mean bad news. Instinct changed his mind long before the stranger with the sport coat on his arm got around to showing his badge.
"Hello up there."
Andrew hadn't realized he'd dozed off in the lounge chair until the voice startled him awake. He sat up and blinked against the sunlight, slowly regaining his sense of place. After all these weeks, he still sometimes woke up disoriented. He'd gotten to like the feeling.
Most of the time.
"Sorry. Over here."
Andrew looked toward the owner of the voice, who stood near the top of the long run of stairs leading up to the deck. When the stranger saw that he'd gotten Andrew's attention, he raised a rolled newspaper in greeting. "Anybody home?"
Andrew looked at his watch. Not quite nine o'clock. He reached to turn down the radio, suddenly wishing he had a dog.
"Morning," he said.
"Morning," said the stranger. "I rang the bell but nobody answered. Heard the radio, noticed the gate was open, thought I'd poke my head around. Mind if I come up?"
A German Shepherd, Andrew thought. Maybe a Doberman.
"Watch that top step," he said. "It's cracked through the middle."
The guy acknowledged the tip with a short wave of the newspaper and a long stride over the offending tread. He strolled across the deck, scuffed cowboy boots sounding a hollow knock that echoed beneath the planks. Andrew watched from the lounge chair, evaluating possibilities.
Besides the gulls, and the occasional gutsy pelican, he didn't get many callers here. His cousin Caroline dropped by every so often with one of her foil-wrapped care packages, usually something new she'd learned in her gourmet cooking class. Andrew had begun to grow optimistic that anybody else who had reason to look for him probably would have found him before now.
The guy coming toward him wore rolled shirtsleeves and black denim slacks in spite of the heat wave in progress. He carried the sport coat over the crook of one elbow. Andrew saw big shoulders, weathered features, and a clean-shaved jaw. He guessed mid-forties, but the sunglasses made it hard to tell.
"Your paper was in a bush around back," the guy said, holding out the morning Times.
"I knew that kid's aim was improving. Thanks."
On the radio, the morning jock had just launched the hour with the daily Hot Spot report. Andrew leaned over and turned the volume back up a notch.
It had been almost two weeks since air and ground crews had reigned in an out-of-control brush fire that had blackened nearly 2,500 acres of state park land a few miles up the coast. According to the radio, smoldering pockets had flared up again during the night.
Meanwhile, farther north, separate wildfires in Topanga and Calabasas had been devouring parched scrub since late yesterday afternoon. Hot, dry Santa Ana gusts threatened to drive one fire into the other, pushing both through the mountain passes toward Malibu. Andrew had taken to spending his mornings on the deck, watching the forest department planes pass overhead on tagteam runs.
The stranger listened along for a moment, turning to gaze at the thick brown haze parked above Topanga Canyon to the north.
"Lifestyles of the rich and famous," he mused.
Andrew said, "Mm."
"Early in the year for this stuff, though. Dry summer."
"That's what they're saying."
"Sorry again for the drop-in, Mr. Borland." The stranger grinned easily and extended a palm. "I came by to see you yesterday, but you weren't around."
Mr. Borland. Andrew smiled and decided to let that one hang for now. He didn't explain to the stranger that he was not his jackass cousin-in-law, Lane, who owned the beach house. He reached to meet the man's grip, which felt calloused and solid.
"Detective, is it?"
The guy cocked his head without losing the grin. He watched Andrew from behind the shades. "You must be reading those papers."
"When I can find where they landed. Have you been in the papers?"
"Oh, I seem to be a regular celebrity lately."
"That must be it," Andrew said. "I probably saw your picture somewhere."
The detective nodded along, but Andrew could tell he wasn't buying it. Especially when the cop leaned forward and said, "Just between you and me, what really gave me away?"
Andrew thought: I started it. He shielded sun with his hand, starting over with the boots and working his way up.
"Put it this way," he said. "Are you much of a drinker?"
The detective--who had yet to state his business, Andrew couldn't help but note--seemed happy enough to play along. "I've been known to rest my feet on a rail from time to time."
"You know how when you're talking to a woman at a bar, one of the first things she notices is that spot where the wedding ring used to be on your left hand there?"
Now the detective looked at the hand he'd used to deliver the newspaper. His grin widened. "I do."
"For what it's worth," Andrew told him, "those sweat stains on your shirt say 'shoulder holster' to me."
The detective barked out a laugh that seemed to come back to them from beneath the deck. Without further chitchat, he folded open the jacket, reached inside, and said, "Not bad. Maybe you should have one of these."
Andrew set the newspaper aside and accepted the wallet. He flipped it open, checked the shield and ID. Adrian Timms, LAPD. Robbery-Homicide Division. When Andrew handed the wallet back, Timms finally took off the shades and slipped them into his shirt pocket. His eyes seemed friendly, direct. Andrew got the feeling they didn't miss much.
"Mind if I sit down?"
"Help yourself." Andrew held up his coffee mug. "I've got a pot on in the house."
"Too hot for coffee, but thanks. I don't want to take much of your time."
"I'm not really on a tight schedule," Andrew said. "What brings you to the beach, Detective?"
Timms took the nearest sling chair, propped a boot across his knee, and draped the jacket over it. "I'm investigating this Gregor Tavlin business you've probably been hearing about."
Andrew was not aware of any Gregor Tavlin business. He hadn't really looked at the newspaper in a couple of weeks. Lane and Caroline had a television at the beach house, but he rarely turned it on. And except for the daily Hot Spot, he mostly just kept the radio around for company.
"No kidding? That's some business."
"Yes, I guess it is."
"Look," Andrew finally said. "I have a confession to make."
"Now there's something I don't hear every day."
He ran over with wit, this cop. Andrew gestured toward the house. "Lane Borland is my cousin's husband. I just moved to town a couple months ago. Lane owns the house. They don't use the place much, so I get a view of the ocean while I pretend to be hunting for my own shower and toilet."
The truth: He probably should have packed up and moved on weeks ago. He knew better than to let himself get attached to the place, but he couldn't seem to help it.
Andrew liked the view of sand and water. He liked the coastline at dusk, the soft lap of the surf at night. He liked making coffee before sunrise, taking a hot mug out to the deck, and waiting for the salty mists to clear.
Lately, he'd grown to find something reassuring about the sight of a new horizon line.
He'd grown to like measuring out the days according to the rhythm of the tides.
Andrew didn't bother telling the detective how much he disliked the philandering greaseball his cousin Caroline had married, or how fiercely Lane Borland opposed the idea of Andrew anywhere near his property.
Lane, a talent manager who specialized in spokesmodels, had bought the beach house during a dip in the real estate market last year. He'd claimed it was a resale investment until Caroline had caught him here celebrating their anniversary with a buxom twenty-two-year-old Maybelline girl.
Caroline had offered her husband two options: get rid of the place, or hire a lawyer and get ready to pay up. Lane had caved without argument at the time, though he'd been citing soft real estate numbers ever since. He blamed the stock market.
But Andrew's kid cousin was no dummy, despite her inexplicable taste in men. Which meant that until Lane decided to stop dragging his feet and give up his million-dollar whoopie pad, Andrew had a fantastic rent-free view of the Pacific.He was happy to help.
"I'll be honest," Detective Timms said. "That explains a thing or two."
"I was thinking you didn't seem to be from around here."
It appeared to be Andrew's turn. "What gave me away?"
The detective started with Andrew's sandals and worked his way up from there.
"The tan, for starters," he said. "No offense, but you're a little on the pale side for a fellow who spends mornings on a sundeck."
Andrew held up the tube of SPF 60 he generally kept with him when he planned to be outside for any length of time. "These rays you've got out here are hell on scar tissue."
As if he'd been granted permission, the detective now nodded toward the first thing most people noticed about Andrew's face.
"I've been wondering what you tangled with," he admitted. "Left a little mark."
Andrew supposed the detective was being polite. The worst of the scars was thick as a pencil and ran half the length of his jawline. The jagged ...
In California the hills are on fire. Not a good sign for Andrew Kindler, who just came from back east to get away from his past–as an arsonist. In fact, almost from the moment he sets foot in his cousin’s Santa Monica beach house, the heat starts swirling around him. First there’s the cop who thinks Andrew might know something about a murder suspect. Then there’s the suspect’s beautiful sister, who is willing to pay Andrew $5,000 for the same information.
But Andrew really uninformed. And with a sensational murder case burning a hole in the gut of the LAPD–as well as the star-studded L.A. fitness industry–ignorance is dangerous. Now Andrew must solve a murder he knows nothing about, find a killer he’s never met, and unravel a family’s explosive secret. His reward for success? To live another day: one step ahead of his burning past...
“An exceptionally well-crafted and well-told tale of arson, police work, misplaced zeal, bad relationships, good relationships, family bonds and, oh yes, exercise videos. Quirky, compelling, intelligent, and funny ... If you like Elmore Leonard, do yourself a favor and pick up BURN.”– Lincoln Journal Star
“A cult writer for the masses–hip, smart and so mordantly funny that the casual reader might be laughing too hard to realize just how thoughtful Doolittle’s work is. Get on the bandwagon now.”–Laura Lippman, author of By a Spider’s Thread
“Sean Doolittle combines wit, good humor, and a generosity of spirit rare in mystery fiction to create novels that are both engrossing and strangely uplifting. He deserves to take his place among the best in the genre.”–John Connolly, author of The White Road
“An estimable addition not only to the publisher’s list but also to crime fiction ... Doolittle delivers a briskly plotted, hard-boiled mystery that has its roots in the Elmore Leonard school of dark comedy.”– South Florida Sun-Sentinel
·Gold medal winner for mystery in ForeWord Magazine’s Book of the Year Award
·A Best Crime Fiction of 2003 pick from January Magazine
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Description du livre 2005. PAP. État : New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. Established seller since 2000. N° de réf. du libraire VR-9780440242277
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Description du livre 2005. Mass Market Paperback. État : New. 105mm x 26mm x 176mm. Mass Market Paperback. In California the hills are on fire. Not a good sign for Andrew Kindler, who just came from back east to get away from his past-as an arsonist. In fact, almost fro.Shipping may be from our Sydney, NSW warehouse or from our UK or US warehouse, depending on stock availability. 368 pages. 0.181. N° de réf. du libraire 9780440242277
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