Retribution: A Lew Fonesca Novel (Lew Fonesca Novels)

BOOK: Retribution: A Lew Fonesca Novel (Lew Fonesca Novels)
10.75Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


“As accomplished as he is prolific.”

Publishers Weekly

“Perhaps it is time to declare award-winning Stuart Ka-minsky as the reigning monarch of excellent detective series.”

—Midwest Book Review


“A polished follow-up to
… Kaminsky is such a pro that the pages fly by, and even though Lew is often such a sad sack, it’s hard not to root for him.”

—The Chicago Tribune/The Orlando Sentinel

“Lew is still a triumph: a Lew Archer type with nerve endings so sensitive that when he’s asked, ‘anybody dead?’ he replies, ‘Most of the people who ever lived. ‘”

Kirkus Reviews

“Kaminsky’s gifts for visceral scene-setting, for dialogue that has perfect pitch, and for telling details are much in evidence here.”


“Kaminsky has another winner.”

The Arizona Republic

“An excellent hard-boiled private-eye novel.”

—The Sunday Republican

“Kaminsky expertly delivers a sense of foreboding in Sarasota where ‘one can spend a day, a week or a lifetime avoiding the mean streets, the dark corners … Sarasota is a beautiful bright orange blanket over a layer of darkness. Most people who come here don’t look under the blanket’.”

The Sun-Sentinel

“Written with the distinct voice of its main character and an attention to details that would seem relevant to him,
has a very Raymond Chandler-like feel and is a superb installment in the Lew Fonseca series which will hopefully enjoy the same longevity Kaminsky’s other creations have.”


“Well written and briskly paced.”

—The Capital Times


Lew Fonesca Mysteries



Abe Lieberman Mysteries

Lieberman’s Folly

Lieberman’s Choice

Lieberman’s Day

Lieberman’s Thief

Lieberman’s Law

The Big Silence

Not Quite Kosher

Toby Peters Mysteries

Bullet for a Star

Murder on the Yellow Brick Road

You Bet Your Life

The Howard Hughes Affair

Never Cross a Vampire

High Midnight

Catch a Falling Clown

He Done Her Wrong

The Fala Factor

Down for the Count

The Man Who Shot Lewis Vance

Smart Moves

Think Fast, Mr. Peters

Buried Caesars

Poor Butterfly

The Melting Clock

The Devil Met a Lady

Tomorrow Is Another Day

Dancing in the Dark

A Fatal Glass of Beer

Porfiry Rostnikov Novels

Death of a Dissident

Black Knight in Red Square

Red Chameleon

A Cold, Red Sunrise

A Fine Red Rain

Rostnikov’s Vacation

The Man Who Walked Like a Bear

Death of a Russian Priest

Hard Currency

Blood and Rubles

Tarnished Icons

The Dog Who Bit a Policeman

Nonseries Novels

When the Dark Man Calls

Exercise in Terror


Don Siegel: Director

Clint Eastwood

John Huston, Maker of Magic

Coop: The Life and Legend of Gary Cooper

Other Nonaction

American Film Genres

American Television Genres (with Jeffrey Mahan)

Basic Filmmaking (with Dana Hodgdon)

Writing for Television (with Mark Walker)

denotes a Forge book



A Lew Fonesca Novel

Stuart Kaminsky

NOTE: If you purchased this book without a cover you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment for this “stripped book.”

This is a work of fiction. All the characters and events portrayed in this book are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.


Copyright © 2001 by Double Tiger Productions, Inc.

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book, or portions thereof, in any form.

A Forge Book
Published by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC
175 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10010

Forge® is a registered trademark of Tom Doherty Associates, LLC.

ISBN: 0-812-54036-0
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 2001040483

First edition: December 2001
First mass market edition: December 2002

Printed in the United States of America

0  9  8  7  6  5  4  3  2  1

To Enid,
who fills my days with life
and touches my nights with her smile

With thanks to Stephen King
for suggesting that I tackle
this story idea

Terror in the house does roar, But Pity stands before the door.

—William Blake,


years, give or take a few centuries, the state of Florida will be gone. The Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean will cover the peninsula that rests just above sea level. Geologists tell us it has happened before and they know about when it will happen again.

This information does not keep the tourists, retirees, winter residents from the North who Floridians call snowbirds, and the less than savory drifters and always hopeful dreamers from adding each year to the population. They are attracted by the weather, beaches, opportunities for theft and mayhem, or the hope of a last frontier or a final resting place.

The west coast of Florida faces the Gulf of Mexico. On the white sand shore a little over fifty miles south of Tampa lies Sarasota.

magazine ranks the city as one of the fifteen most livable communities in the United States.
Southern Living
magazine recently named Sarasota County “the nation’s per capita arts capital.” The wealthy residents sponsor and support five live equity theaters, world-class museums, an
opera company and opera house, a ballet company, a performing arts center, a circus tradition, and lots of film festivals.

One can spend a day, a week, or a lifetime avoiding the mean streets, the dark corners, and the violence that occurs daily, at least until they become a victim or witness it on television.

Sarasota is a beautiful bright orange blanket over a layer of darkness. Most people who come here don’t look under the blanket.

And then the newspaper or television news on Channel 40 lifts it to safely reveal a woman murdered in front of her infant triplets, a cabdriver staggering into the lazy Sarasota-Bradenton Airport bleeding from two bullet wounds in the chest, the rape and murder of a woman in her bed in a safe and expensive condominium community.

For every high-rise there is a trailer park.

For every theater there are six crack houses.

For every festival there are a dozen bank robberies.

For every millionaire there are a hundred desperate souls who would kill for twenty dollars.

For every new upscale mall there’s a Circle
waiting to be robbed. The night clerk working is often a single mother with a child or two, her eyes questioning each customer who enters after dark.

And for me, two men had died in the past two days and a woman had died twenty-two years before them.

Nothing really held their deaths particularly together but me. The first death hadn’t even made it to television. Each of the other two turned out to be big stories for almost a week until a teenage girl and her boyfriend murdered the girl’s mother. That was news because the dead woman and the girl were white and the boyfriend black.

Our murders are frequent, black, white, and red, colorful, the stuff our natural, morbid curiosity draws us to, and then we move away to work, eat, watch television, or go out to the movies.

I want nothing but to be left alone. I don’t want corpses, problems, weeping women, doomed children. I don’t want them but they make their way to me. I had come to Florida,
to Sarasota, to escape from memories of the dead.

I had fled from such visions, from the helpless who asked for help, from the dead who needed no help, and from those who were haunted by ghosts who were as real to them as my ghosts are to me.

The world intrudes on my seclusion because I need to eat, to have some place to live, and to keep my clothes reasonably clean. I work as little as I can and live in isolation as much as I can.

The Cincinnati Reds have spring training here and we have a minor league team, the SaraSox. I’ve never gone to a game, the opera, the ballet, or one of the five live theaters.

I take my pleasures in small guilty doses.

Until the very end, I took no pleasure in what I had just been through.

It had begun with pain and ended with promise. I’ll tell you about it.


my face hurt.

A woman named Roberta Dreemer, affectionately known to her few friends and many enemies as Bubbles, had filled the doorway of her rusting trailer in the mobile home park just across from the Pines Nursing Home seconds after I knocked. Bubbles Dreemer was a very big woman.

She had been easy to find. She had a phone and it was listed in the Sarasota phone directory. It seemed like a quick, easy job for Richard Tycinker, attorney-at-law in the firm of Tycinker, Oliver and Schwartz with offices on Palm Avenue who needed Big Bubbles’s testimony in an assault case.

I handed Bubbles the folded sheet. She looked at it for a beat and hit me. Then she slammed her door.

It was a Thursday. Still morning. I was sitting by myself in a booth at the back of the Crisp Dollar Bill, almost directly across from my office/home on Washington Street, better known as 301. I was doing my best to forget Bubbles Dreemer. I’m not good at forgetting. That is one reason I
see Ann Horowitz, the shrink treating me for depression.

I had bicycled to the trailer park and back to save the cost of a car rental. From where I lived and worked I could bike or walk to almost anything I needed or wanted in Sarasota. Before I went into the Crisp Dollar Bill I had stopped at the Main Street Book Store, the largest remaindered bookstore in Florida, gone up to the third floor, and bought a two-videotape 1940 serial of
The Shadow
starring Victor Jory. It took six dollars of my fifty. I was using some of what was left on a beer and a Philly steak sandwich that, thanks to Bubbles, was a little painful to eat.

My name is Lew Fonesca. When people look at me, they see a five-foot-seven, thin, balding man, a little over forty years old with a distinctly Italian, distinctly sad face. That’s what I see when I look in the mirror, which I do my best to avoid.

I came to Florida five years ago from Chicago after my wife died in a hit-and-run accident on Lake Shore Drive. I was headed for Key West. My wife, whose name I’ve spoken only twice since she died, was a lawyer. I was an investigator in the office of the state’s attorney of Cook County. My specialty was finding people. I’m not a cop. I’m not a lawyer. I’m not a private investigator. I’m not even an accountant.

BOOK: Retribution: A Lew Fonesca Novel (Lew Fonesca Novels)
10.75Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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