Table of Contents
Nominated for the Shamus Award
“This book probes and pokes and provokes more deeply than most so-called serious novels, forget the qualification of genre. This is smart, snappy and unsettling enough to keep a bar discussion going well into the night.”
âChicago Sun Times
“A surprisingly tasty dish. Beinhart's complex thriller, with its underlying theme of the dangerous convergence of religion and politics in today's society, seems certain to provoke controversy. It seems equally certain that most readers, whatever their spiritual posture, will find it absorbing.”
âSan Diego Union Tribune
“This is a perfect novel for fans of the political thriller or mystery genre, with current issues interwoven smoothly into the
“Beinhart does a fine job describing the treacly paradise of the Church of the Third Millennium and a finer job ratcheting up the pressure on his fragile hero.”
“Splendid religious legal thriller.”
âPublishers Weekly (starred review)
“A very atypical witches' brew of sex, religion, hypocrisy, and evil in which the war on terror is cynically manipulated to subvert America's basic values.”
“A born-again Christian private eye's faith is shaken to the core when he takes the case of the Muslim student suspected of killing his atheist professor.”
“Larry Beinhart's Salvation Boulevard, like his Wag the Dog and The Librarian, is a wild ride indeed. Intelligent, provocative, often outrageous, it pits a tough excop turned born-again
against what only looks like innocence, covering a dark world of power and treachery and deceit. It will grip you, first page to last.”
“A gripping, page-turning tale that takes one through bad lawyers and good ones, treachery and faith, pornography and preaching, torture and Homeland Security. Salvation Boulevard is a great and memorable read.”
“Salvation Boulevard is dramatic and highly provocative. Larry Beinhart expertly crafts a tempestuous philosophical personal drama that will unquestionably motivate intense discussion, debate and critical thinking. Read Salvation Boulevard and you will be consumed in a thought-provoking whirlwind. It's quite a significant read.”
âRobert K. Tanenbaum
“In Orwellian times, fiction is often the only way to get the truth out. We are approaching such times in the United States, and Larry Beinhart masterfully alerts us to what depths our government has sunk. Salvation Boulevard is a quick paced and heart wrenching call to arms against the excesses our government has foisted upon âwe the people.'”
âAmbassador Joseph Wilson,
author of The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir
“Larry Beinhart's Salvation Boulevard pulls off one of the toughest tricks in modern literature: a sharp, high-energy whodunit that will disturb you with how closely it is based on real life.”
“Larry Beinhart's Salvation Boulevard is the kind of pop-fiction detective story that could fundamentally transform the consciousness of Red-state America. And it's a fun and often quite provocative read for the rest of us! I couldn't put it down!”
âRabbi Michael Lerner
ALSO BY LARRY BEINHART
Â The Librarian
Â Wag the Dog
Â No One Rides for Free
Â You Get What You Pay For
Â Foreign Exchange
Â How to Write a Mystery
Wag the Dog
The basis for the film with Robert DeNiro and Dustin Hoffman
Selected by Capital (the German version of Forbes)
as one of The Top 1,000 Books of the Last 1,000 Years
Selected by Tempe, Arizona,
as one of The Great Books of the 20
Selected by the Wall Street Journal
as one of The Five Best Books on Public Relations
To my family:
My father and mother, who taught me to think,
My wife, who inspires me and holds me to the highest standards,
My children, who taught me that there are far deeper currents
than mere thought.
Ahmad looked like hell.
He also looked like a kid. I knew he was twenty-one. But if he'd been cleaned up and had civilian clothes on, and I saw him in the hallways at my daughter's high school, I could've believed he was sixteen, seventeen years old.
That was what Manny wanted me to see. Manny had a cause. And for some reason, he wanted me to join up. I didn't understand why. It was unnecessary. Pay me; I do my job. Causes are dangerous; everyone knows that.
Right now, the kid was in an orange jumpsuit, his wrists and ankles manacled, connected by a chain that connected to another chain that wrapped around his waist. He had prison-issue slippers on his feet. He was scared, as scared as I've ever seen anyone. And he'd been hurt. He had bruising on the right side of his face, and he had trouble moving, and when Manny reached out to shake his manacled hand, he flinched.
“Easy son, easy,” I said, soft and slow, talking halfway between the way you talk to a person and a wild animal you're trying to coax to your side.
He looked at me, his eyes dark as the night and wet as the rain. He couldn't help himself; the tears started to flow. It happens that way, if
you've been brutalized enough: the first gentle words you hear, the tears start to flow.
“Come on,” I said and put my hand on his arm to lead him to the yellow plastic chair. They'd provided us with three chairs, no table. They'd even taken Manny's pens away and given him a felt tip for making notes. Pencils were too dangerous. This was not normal. Usually there was a tableâbring your own pen, tape recorder, pads.
The CO that brought him in was Leander Peale. He was mostly called Lee, sometimes Leap or Leapy. He worked prisoner escort a lot, and both Manny and I knew him. He was born-again. Saved him from a life of crank before he lost all his teeth. He still rode a bike and had a “Born to Lose” tat beneath his uniform. He used to have an imp with an enlarged penis that said “Satan's Spawn,” but he'd spent some serious dollars having it lasered off. He was an okay guy. Not an asshole. He knew that we all have to live together; we all have our jobs.
In addition to Lee, in his CO uniform, there were two suits. They didn't introduce themselves. Manny asked, “Who are you?”
The older one, a homely man with twenty-year-old pits of teen acne still marking his face and thin straw hair, muttered, “Homeland Security,” from between thin, grudging lips. But who knows what that means. When I put my hand on Ahmad's arm, he and his younger partner, an iron pumper, thick in the chest, both hunched like they were ready to pounce if the kid went berserk or I tried to spring him.
“Back off,” Manny said dismissively.
Ahmad dropped to his knees and put his hands on my leg. He hugged my thigh and wept. “Save me, please save me from these people.”
That was too much for the Homeland Security guys to accept. No crying, no touching, no accusations. So they moved. They were coming for him. Manny got between us and them. He looked at
them with the authority of a man who sues people for a living and wins.
“They are beating me,” Ahmad said, both hands now on my thigh, holding on like I was a life raft, looking up at me like I was the key to the kingdom of heaven. “They stick things in my ass. I am innocent. Tell my mother, please tell my mother, I'm innocent. Don't let them beat me anymore. Please.”
Manny looked at Lee.
“Not me,” Lee said. We have to parse these things. He didn't say it never happened. He didn't even say, “He was resistin',” like he would have if some other COs had been overzealous. In the circumstances, it was as good as jumping on a pine box, pointing a long-boned forefinger, and screaming, “Yes, they did that to him!”
“Alright, this is over,” the older of the two said.
Manny flipped open his cell phone and took the guy's picture. Then his partner, then one of Ahmad holding my knee and sobbing like a boy who'd just been raped.
“He's lying,” the older one said. “He's lying. They train them to say that. And weep and cry.”
“He had to be questioned. What if he was planning more murders? What if it was part of a plot? What about that?”