Authors: Michael Koryta
Tags: #Fiction, #General, #Mystery & Detective, #Suspense Fiction, #Police, #Mystery Fiction, #Detective and Mystery Stories, #Private Investigators, #Crimes Against, #Lawyers, #Cleveland (Ohio), #Private Investigators - Ohio - Cleveland, #Cleveland, #Ohio, #Police - Ohio - Cleveland, #Lawyers - Crimes Against
ALSO BY MICHAEL KORYTA
Tonight I Said Goodbye
THOMAS DUNNE BOOKS
St. Martin’s Minotaur
This is a work of fiction. All of the characters, organizations, and events portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
THOMAS DUNNE BOOKS
An imprint of St. Martin’s Press.
A WELCOME GRAVE
. Copyright © 2007 by Michael Koryta. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews. For information, address St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS CATALOGING-IN-PUBLICATION DATA
A welcome grave / Michael Koryta.—1st ed.
1. Private investigators—Ohio—Cleveland—Fiction. 2. Lawyers—Crimes against—Fiction. 3. Police—Ohio—Cleveland—Fiction. 4. Cleveland (Ohio)—Fiction. I. Title.
First Edition: July 2007
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
For my sister, Jennifer,
who read my first “book” many years ago
and managed not to laugh
eter Wolverton and David Hale Smith continue to display an astounding talent for remaining patient and positive during the ugliest of drafts, and, as always, I’m in their debt.
No one has waded through more drafts and mistakes with me than Bob Hammel, who probably has read ten times more Lincoln Perry pages than have ever been published. Thank you, Bob.
Lending a set of helpful, colorful, and decidedly unique opinions were Laura Lane and Gena Asher. One left wine stains on her copy of the manuscript, the other fell asleep on it, but they were key contributions nevertheless.
Deepest gratitude to those at St. Martin’s Press and Thomas Dunne Books for all their work and support—Thomas Dunne, Andy Martin, Katie Gilligan, Rachel Ekstrom, Matthew Shear, and the rest of the team.
It has been a true pleasure getting to meet the owners and employees of bookstores around the country, who are always gracious hosts and seem to truly love their jobs. Thanks for all the support.
I write because the work of others has entertained and inspired me over the years. Those writers continue to be a constant source of motivation—on and off the page. It is a true and valued privilege to receive advice and encouragement from the writers who led me into this business, and I’m most grateful.
And, of course, thanks to my family.
ometime after midnight, on a moonless October night turned harsh by a fine, windswept rain, one of the men I liked least in the world was murdered in a field near Bedford, just south of the city. Originally, they assumed the body had only been dumped there. That Alex Jefferson had been killed somewhere else, dead maybe before the mutilation began.
They were wrong.
It was past noon the next day when the body was discovered. A dozen vehicles were soon assembled in the field—police cars, evidence vans, an ambulance that could serve no purpose but was dispatched anyhow. I wasn’t there, but I could imagine the scene—I’d certainly been to enough like it.
But maybe not. Maybe not. The things they saw that day, things I heard about secondhand, from cops who recited the news in the distanced way that only hardened professionals can manage . . . they weren’t things I dealt with often.
Jefferson was brought from the city with his hands and feet bound with rope, duct tape over his mouth. A half mile down a dirt track leading into an empty field, he was removed from a vehicle—tire tracks suggested a van—and subjected to a systematic torture killing that was apparently quite slow in reaching the second stage. Autopsy results and scenarios created by the forensic
team and the medical experts suggested Jefferson remained breathing, and probably conscious, for fifteen minutes.