Authors: Michael Weaver
Tags: #Psychological, #General Fiction, #Fiction
“ENHANCED BY STRONG, SINEWY WRITING, NUMEROUS PLOT TWISTS, AND A POTENT MELDING OF SEX AND VIOLENCE, THIS EXPERTIY WROUGHT
NOVEL proves that Weaver knows what most thriller fans want—and can deliver it in spades.”
“DECEPTIONS carries a certain rhythm of motion to it as characters blend fluidly with an unusual plot… Readers will be intrigued…
“SUCCESSFUL… so laceratingly tough that the ink it’s printed with might as well be distilled testosterone… Weaver practices
a kind of
writing that rings true for his double-butch heroes. IF YOU CANT FIND ANYTHING TO SAVOR IN THIS ONE, BETTER FORGET HOW TO
“THE BOOK KEPT ME IN THAT RARE STATE BETWEEN SPELLBOUND AND PAGE TURNING. THE DIALOGUE ABSOLUTELY CRACKLES.”
“A NIFTY TWIST ON THE USUAL ORDER OF THINGS AND A FAST-PACED THRILLER THAT GETS BETTER AS IT GOES ALONG. It’s the stuff of
solid action fiction.”
Baton Rouge Magazine
“THIS STORY TAKES NO PRISONERS.… [IT IS] A KINETIC THRILLER.”
“A COLORFUL, SUSPENSEFUL CHASE AND ESCAPE NOVEL…. An international thriller that exposes some of the worst aspects of politics
and private ambitions. It does entertain solidly.”
Calhoun Liberty Journal
“Michael Weaver [lands] the reader in the middle of a SPINE-TINGLING GOVERNMENT PLOT to murder an innocent woman. Ten years
later, when the U.S. Attorney General discovers the woman is still alive, he tries again. AND THAT’S WHEN THE PLOT THICKENS.”
* * *
RAVES FOR MICHAEL WEAVER’S PREVIOUS NOVEL,
“WILL LEAVE READERS BREATHLESS, PROBABIY WITH THEIR THROATS RAW FROM SILENT SCREAMING.”
—James Patterson, New York Times bestselling author of
Along Came a Spider
STARTS OUT LIKE GANGBUSTERS… . What keeps one plowing through the steamy pages is the character of the demon developed by
“RIVALS THE VILLAINY OF HANNIBAL LECTER… . WEAVER WOULD SEEM TO HAVE A CAREER IN THIS GENRE.”
“FIRST-RATE… IRRESISTIBLE… Weaver has pulled off an assured and stunning debut”
Cleveland Plain Dealer
“A SERIAL KILLER NOVEL WITH A DIFFERENT TWIST… A FIRST-RATE NOVEL”
MERCILESS… TERRIFYING… A POWERFUL, MESMERIZING PSYCHOTHRILLER, THE KIND OF BOOK YOU JUST CANT STOP READING.”
West Coast Review of Books
“PERFECTLY PACED VACATION READING.”
“SEX, VIOLENCE, AND ACTION… . DON’T READ
IF YOU’RE HOME ALONE… . Guaranteed to give you some chilling goose-bumps no matter how hot the summer day… . You’re hooked
for the entire book by page three.”
“CHILLING… . A SEARING, CRAFTIIY WRITTEN SUSPENSE STORY THAT WILL LIKEIY HAUNT YOU AS MUCH AS IT ENGAGES YOUR INTEREST AND
ADMIRATION… A sophisticated psychological thriller that deserves its place in the summer reading roster as readily as those
by Ludlum, Grisham, and Throw.”
Raleigh News & Observer
“A QUICK, INTENSE EXPERIENCE. AN EXCELLENT CHOICE FOR A QUIET WEEKEND.”
Wisconsin State Journal
“WILL SCARE YOUR PANTS OFF… . READ
BUT NOT AT NIGHT, HOME ALONE. THEN WATCH FOR WEAVER’S NEXT NOVEL.”
“HAUNTING… YOU’LL BE FASCINATED FROM PAGE ONE… .
WILL RIVET YOU IN YOUR SEAT.”
WARNER BOOKS EDITION
Copyright © 1995 by Michael Weaver
All rights reserved.
Warner Books, Inc.
Hachette Book Group
237 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10017
Visit our website at
First eBook Edition: October 2009
For Rhoda—who, happily for me,
continues to share it all.
A special thanks to Maureen Egen,
not only a brilliant editor,
but a reasonable one.
More thanks to Arthur and Richard Pine.
As friends and literary agents,
they’re simply the best.
thirty-eight years old and wearing his first nonrented tuxedo on the night the Metropolitan Museum of Art honored him with
a grand reception.
Distinguished, elegantly dressed men and women smiled at him and he smiled back, although he knew very few of them. Still,
it was a festive occasion, and there was nothing wrong with smiling. As his mother used to say, smiling required fewer muscles
Of course his mother had always said it in her own lyric Italian, which made it a lot more pleasing to the ear. But the meaning
was the same.
Highlighting that night’s tribute was a retrospective of some of Gianni’s earlier work, along with the museum’s first public
his most recent painting. A leading critic had already praised the canvas as a haunting urban landscape that embodied the
kind of stark, poetic imagery for which Gianni had become so justly celebrated.
Gianni himself was unimpressed by the rave. He had too clear a memory of this same authority dismissing him ten years ago
as a naive candy-box painter with no true intellectual theory behind his work and therefore no real force as an artist.
So much for the judgment of experts.
A waiter brought Gianni a fresh drink, and he continued his slow circling of the crowd. Earlier, the Metropolitan’s cu
rator had made a point of introducing him to everyone of possible importance to the museum’s financial and political well-being,
and the artist had shaken hands and exchanged pleasantries with them all. Now it was sufficient to simply smile in passing,
sparing him the need to hear his given name mispronounced with a hard G, rather than with its proper softness of Johnny.
It was a bit past ten o’clock when he saw Don Carlo Do-natti enter the rotunda.
The don carried himself with his usual great presence, an impeccably groomed man of medium height and build who, by the mere
thrust of his jaw and the straightness of his back, managed to project an elemental force.
Glancing past Donatti, the artist picked out the three men who had arrived with him. They were young and sleek haired, and
Gianni had never seen them before. Like the don, they were dressed in the latest in tuxedos. But instead of following him
into the reception area, they positioned themselves at the entry and carefully watched their boss’s casual progress across
the marble floor.
Gianni hurried to welcome the don. He had, of course, sent him an invitation, but only as a mark of respect and affection.
Knowing the range and pressures of Donatti’s commitments, Gianni had never really expected him to attend. Seeing Donatti here
now, knowing how rarely he indulged himself in this sort of lavish, ceremonial affair, the artist was touched.
“Don Donatti,” he said. “You do me honor.”
They embraced and Gianni felt the powerful back muscles beneath the fabric of the Don’s dinner jacket. Gianni had known him
since early childhood, and it was always something of a surprise to be confronted by his seemingly impervious youth and strength,
the dark eyes that glittered like marbles.
Donatti kissed him on both cheeks. “It’s
honor, Gianni. You think I’d miss such an occasion?” He laughed. “For this, I’d have made them carry me here in my coffin.”
“Not even in a joke, Godfather.”
Gianni escorted Donatti to a small, corner table. How eas
ily I slip back into it, he thought. The almost stylized rituals of old-world respect, the affectionate use of the term
that custom dictated, the sudden rush of warmth that made him feel not nearly as alone as he had felt just moments before.
Although Gianni’s father had raised him as a Jew, it was by his mother’s Sicilian precepts that he had lived the core years
of his life to date. As had his father. In the end, both his parents had died of them.
At the table, Don Donatti took out a pair of glasses, wiped them clear with his handkerchief, and surveyed the elegant setting
and those in it. Then leaning forward, he gave particular attention to the collection of spotlighted paintings that made up
Gianni Garetsky considered the canvases along with the don.
Bits and pieces of me.
Yet, there was the wonder, too. I
That special sleight of hand. You started with a blank stretch of canvas, ran in some color, and presto! A new world. And
it was all yours. Whatever you wanted to see, you saw. Whatever you wanted to happen, happened. Awesome. Sometimes his brush
trembled, his eyes blurred, his stomach knotted. Whom did he think he was? God? If not God, then at least a sorcerer.
Donatti nodded, as if this slight movement of his head carried his ultimate judgment of everything he saw.
“Too bad, Gianni.”
Gianni looked at him.
“Too bad they couldn’t be with you tonight,” Donatti said softly.
The artist was silent. The anonymous “they” were his mother, his father, and his wife. His parents had been killed a long
time ago, when he was not yet seventeen. Teresa, his wife, had been taken by cancer only recently. So what he was feeling
mostly tonight was cheated.
The don understands this better than most. The thing was, how much did even the best of it mean without those you loved with
you to share it?
A waiter appeared with champagne and filled their glasses. They sat wordless until he had left.
Donatti gazed evenly at the artist.