No Physical Evidence: A Courtroom Novel

No Physical Evidence: A Courtroom Novel

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  • ISBN-13: 9780804117791
  • ISBN: 0804117799
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group


Lee, Gus


A sultry evening wind stirred trees and made old newspapers cavort down back alleys. Street dogs growled at shadows, and Metro cops knew that something was coming their way. Sergeant William McManus trailed a tan Cutlass Supreme into brick-cobbled Old Town. Near Fat City Cafe, the Cutlass slowed, its four male, watch-capped passengers checking out dangling purses in the festive summer boardwalk crowds. The Cee Supreme was the most popular U.S. car for auto theft. McManus ran the plates, but they came back clean. Sergeant McManus was a compact man with sharp eyes, good teeth, and a nose for trouble. He nodded; his partner unlocked the riot gun and called for backup. But the Cutlass accelerated past the overflowing bars and restaurants and headed for center city. McManus had no probable cause to turn on the lights. He followed, waiting to make a solid stop. A mile away, in a modernist steel downtown cafe bar for lawyers and lobbyists called A Shot of Class, a svelte woman in red opened the door, admitting a warm night wind that made the air conditioner huff. Table candles flickered and the barman sensed something in the warning breeze. He retrieved a concealed Colt automatic and slipped it in his pocket. The piano player was doing "Perfidia" while Thomas Andrew Conover III held night court for the faithful, the curious, and the thirsty. Conover casually checked out the woman in red. It had been a good press week for the District Attorney. Some columnists loved Tommy's rugged good looks, his history as a boxer, his robust optimism. But slam-dunk ballot box wins were news-killers and most journalists would welcome a Conover disaster, something dark and insidious that would make the smug election a contest and drive citizens to their newspapers. Her red dress slid on black leather, a trim hip touching Tommy with a soft, electric contact that made him think that somehow he knew her. But Tom was tiredly forgetful, dangerously unattached, and warm with drink. "Yo!" he called. "Whatever she wants." He removed his coat and loosened his silk tie. In moments, she was considering him over an ice-cold Margarita. Tommy had been relating a long-ago bout. Now he rebegan his account of the fifth round, when he had knocked his opponent's mouthpiece into the cheap seats as the lubricated crowd roared and the enemy corner tossed a torn, pink-stained towel into the ring to a chorus of flash photography. "Can you still fight?" Her question dilated his best capillaries. She was an advocate of blood sports, games of risk, and late-night shots at catastrophe. Hot lipstick broke the glass's salt rim. Sweet green eyes, heavy black hair, a good chest, a bumpy past. The Cutlass's torn roof smoothed with the turn into the dead end of Eleventh and the K Street Mall. To the left of the four men was the looming Old Latin gravity of the Cathedral of the Holy Sacrament. Opposite was A Shot of Class, bright, warm, and rhythmic. Billy McManus didn't like a four-pack of heavies this close to the DA's traditional Friday night watering hole. And Thomas Conover's bodyguard, a bald, spectacularly stupid ex-wrestler named Large Louis, was as useful in these matters as a dead cat in a pool game. McManus kind of liked the DA, the way cops kind of liked all prosecutors. DAs were a necessary vice--they did the trials that put the bad guys away. But DAs were still lawyers who could bust good cops for overenthusiastic arrests, or publicly crap on the Blues to fatten a lead in the polls in a tight election year. Luckily, there was no sweat; this election was a done deal. The Cutlass driver saw the trailing police cruiser and smoothly backed out. McManus turned to follow when a woman's bright, bloody cry of terror cut through the warm air. McManus braked, tires smoking toward the mall, giving up the Buick for the scream. "I can stillLee, Gus is the author of 'No Physical Evidence: A Courtroom Novel' with ISBN 9780804117791 and ISBN 0804117799.

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