By Marshall Karp
Formats and Prices
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around December 23, 2014. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
Gideon and Dave
October 31, 2001
“Were you really serious about the Hitler thing?” Dave said, dousing Meredith’s jeans and sweater with lighter fluid.
“Easy on the rocket fuel there, pyro,” Gideon said. “We’re just torching her clothes, not trying to burn the house down.”
“I tried to stop her,” Dave said, throwing her bra and panties on top of the pile. He tossed them on casually—a teenager disposing of his big sister’s underwear. To Dave they were just rags to be burned. But to Gideon the lacy black bra and wispy matching thong were fuel for his sixteen-year-old fantasies.
Meredith was twenty-one, a college girl—red hair, green eyes, creamy white skin. As far as she was concerned, Gideon was just another one of her kid brother’s geeky friends. She had no idea how much further his imagination had taken him.
Dave added a few more generous squirts of accelerant to the mound of clothes. “You saw,” he said to Gideon, looking for validation. “Didn’t I try to stop her?”
“You always try to stop your sister from doing stupid shit,” Gideon said. “But she’s five years older than you and fifty times more stubborn. Stand back.”
Dave stepped away from the crusty old Weber kettle grill.
“And yes,” Gideon said, striking a wooden match. “I’m dead serious about the Hitler thing.” He tossed the match onto Meredith’s tattered sweater, and as blue-orange flames shot into the air, he allowed himself to relive what had happened that evening.…
It was the night of the Salvis’ Halloween beach party, and Dave did his best to convince Meredith not to go. “What’s the attraction?” he asked. “The clams, the cannoli, or just hanging out with a bunch of drunken greaseballs?”
“No, David,” she said, which is what she always called him when she was pulling rank. “I’m going because they’ve got a kick-ass band, fireworks like it’s Chinese New Year, and because my brain is fried from burying my head in a macroeconomics book for four hours. Why don’t you and Gideon go?”
“To a Mafia party?” Dave said. “No. You know how much Dad hated the Salvis.”
“Everybody hates them, but everybody still goes. So what if they’re Mafia? The beer is free, and you know for sure they’re not going to check your ID.” She opened the front door. “What time does Mom get off work?”
“The bar will be packed tonight. She won’t be home till after three.”
“Then I’ll be home by two fifty-nine.” She blew them both a kiss and left, laughing.
Two hours later she was back, her jeans and sweater torn, her face streaked with dried blood, her hair matted with wet sand.
“Enzo,” she said, struggling to hold back the tears. “Enzo Salvi.”
“He hit you?” Dave said.
She wrapped her arms around her kid brother and sobbed into his chest. “Worse.”
“Don’t shower,” Gideon said. “The police have rape kits.”
“No cops,” she said, breaking loose from Dave. She locked the bathroom door and spent the next thirty minutes in the shower, trying to wash away the dirt, the smell, and the shame.
She joined them in the kitchen, wearing baggy gray sweats and a Mets baseball cap that concealed half her face.
“We made you hot cocoa,” Dave said.
“You want marshmallows?” Gideon asked, holding a bag of Jet-Puffed minis.
“It’s not exactly a marshmallow kind of night,” she said, pouring half the cocoa into the sink. She pulled a bottle of Jameson Irish Whiskey from the kitchen cabinet and topped off her cup.
“I’m serious. No cops,” she said. “And definitely you can’t tell Mom.”
Dave shook his head slowly. “I don’t know, Mer, don’t you think Mom should—”
“No!” Meredith screamed. “No, no, no!” The tears started to flow again, and she wiped her face in her sleeve. “He said if I tell her…” She fortified herself with the cocoa. “He said if I tell her… she’s next.”
Two more shots of Jameson later, Meredith was ready for bed. “Thank you,” she said. “I don’t know what I’d have done without you guys.” She hugged them both and gave each one a soft kiss on the cheek. A kid brother kiss. Not nearly the one Gideon had been dreaming of for years.
“One more favor,” she said, tossing her clothes on the floor. “Burn these.”
The stretch jeans burned slowly. “I wish Enzo Salvi’s balls were in there,” Dave said, finishing off his third beer as the flames crept up the denim crotch.
For more than a year, the Hitler thing had been Gideon’s favorite argument. “Do you think Hitler was a nice guy when he was in high school?” he would ask Dave. “No—he was an evil, crazy fuck,” he’d say, not waiting for an answer, “and he got worse and worse. Don’t you think the world would be a better place if someone whacked Hitler when he was still young? Because Howard Beach sure as hell would be a better place if someone killed Enzo Salvi.”
Dave’s standard response was always, “You’re crazy.” But tonight, as he watched his sister’s clothes turn into ashes, it no longer sounded so crazy.
“It’s my fault,” Dave slurred. “I’m three payments behind.”
“Bullshit,” Gideon said. “Nobody rapes a guy’s sister over sixty bucks. Enzo Salvi is a psycho.”
Dave popped the top on another Bud Light and finally asked the question Gideon had been waiting to hear.
“How would we do it?”
The next afternoon, Gideon went to the comic-book store and sold his Spawn collection at a painfully cheap price. “Thanks,” Dave said, knowing he had no other way to get the money to pay off Enzo.
“Killing this prick is expensive,” Gideon said. “But it’s worth it.”
For the next three weeks, the two boys thought, rethought, and overthought the murder, watching episodes of CSI and renting as many movies as they could find starring Jet Li, Jackie Chan, and Jean-Claude Van Damme. They jogged on the beach, lifted weights, and tried to bulk up on Joe Weider’s Mega Mass 4000.
“Enzo’s been on steroids since freshman year,” Dave said as the two of them downed one of their three daily protein shakes.
“That means his balls are shrinking,” Gideon said.
“No, it means we could drink this chocolate shit forever, and he’d still have twice as much muscle as the two of us put together.”
Gideon raised his glass in a toast. “Who gives a shit?” he said. “We’ll still have bigger balls.”
It didn’t feel really real until they decided on a weapon. They put together a list of possibilities with the pros and cons next to each one. A gun had the most pros. It was almost guaranteed to do the job. But it also had the most cons. Guns were hard to come by and easy to trace. In the end, they decided on the oldest weapon in the world and the easiest to get their hands on. A club.
“It worked for the cavemen,” Dave said.
They took the subway to Royale Sporting Goods in Brooklyn and paid sixty-two dollars for a thirty-four-inch Brett Bros. Stealth bat in black. Next they headed over to AutoZone for a box of Diamond Grip latex gloves.
Then they waited.
It had to be a Friday night. Most of the kids at John Adams High paid Enzo off in cash, but Gideon worked in the stockroom at Tonello’s Liquor Store and had to steal a bottle of vodka every week. Every Friday after work, he would trudge out to the dunes across from the Salvi house on 165th Avenue and hand over the booze to Enzo.
They zeroed in on the day after Thanksgiving. There was no school that day, and if they were lucky, Enzo would be drunk by the time he showed up.
As always at this time of year, the dunes were damp and cold, but Gideon was dressed for it—Carhartt waterproof gear, ski cap, Timberlands. Enzo, as usual, didn’t show up on time. Five minutes. Ten. At fifteen, the mind games started. He knows. He’s not coming. He’s going to let me freeze out here, and then when I finally give up, he’s going to kill—
“Where’s that faggot with my vodka?” Enzo yelled, tromping through the tall grass. There was a half moon, and Gideon could make out a shadowy figure in the mist with the massive neck, arms, and chest of a steroid abuser.
“Yo,” Gideon said.
“What the hell are you doing so deep into the dunes?” Enzo said. “I’m not here for a blow job. Just a bottle of booze.”
Gideon held up the liter of Absolut. “Here it is.”
That was the signal, and what was supposed to happen next had been modeled after a scene from Fist of the White Lotus. Dave, who had been hunkered down in the wet grass, jumped up behind Enzo and brought the maple/ash-wood bat down hard.
But real life doesn’t play out like kung fu movies, especially when the victim has the street smarts of a Mob boss’s son, and the attacker—who had taken countless practice swings—chokes at the moment of truth.
Aiming for the back of Enzo’s head, Dave managed to hit only his right shoulder.
Enzo exploded. In a lightning move, he wheeled around and kicked Dave’s arm, sending the bat sailing. A split second later, Enzo pulled a Smith & Wesson Extreme Ops knife from his pocket, flipped open the business end, rushed Dave, and shoved him to the ground.
“You dickless Mick bastard. I’m gonna cut your fucking heart out and shove it up your bitch sister’s skanky Irish ass.” He straddled Dave, drew his arm back, and was about to plunge the serrated steel blade into Dave’s chest when Gideon brought the bottle of vodka down on Enzo’s head.
The knife fell from his hand, and then the rest of Enzo Salvi toppled face first into the sand.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” Dave said, crying for the first time since his father’s funeral when he was twelve. “I blew it. Thank you, Gid, thank you. He was gonna kill me. Is he dead? Is he dead?”
The answer was clear as Enzo flailed at the grass, cursing incoherently, his mouth spitting sand and saliva, his brain and his coordination misfiring.
This wasn’t the plan.
“What’ll we do, what’ll we do?” Dave asked.
“Grab his other side,” Gideon yelled, yanking hard on Enzo’s already damaged right arm.
“What are we doing?” Dave said. “Where are we taking him?”
“Just shut up and do what I say.”
Dave locked on to the left arm, and Enzo howled in pain as the two boys dragged him through the dunes to the water’s edge.
After wading into the bay up to his thighs, Gideon shoved Enzo’s head under the water. Enzo’s feet thrashed wildly.
“Grab his legs! Don’t let him kick loose!” Gideon yelled.
Dave fought to grab Enzo’s feet.
“Hold them as high up as you can,” Gideon said. “It’ll force his head down more.”
Dave followed orders, and thirty seconds later Enzo’s body went limp.
“We can’t take a chance,” Gideon said. “Come around here.”
Dave dropped the legs, and they both held Enzo’s face down underwater.
“This is for my sister, you Guinea fuck!” Dave screamed, punching through the water and connecting with Enzo’s pulpy skull. “And this is for all the money you took from me, and this is for all the years you beat me up, and this is for that time you threw my books and all my shit in the bay, and this is for…”
He continued to rant and drive his fist into the water.
“Enough,” Gideon finally said.
“Is he dead?” Dave asked, pummeling the bloody, submerged figure one last time.
“He’s been dead about two minutes.”
“We… killed… Hitler,” Dave said, panting, crying, and laughing at the same time. “We killed… Hitler.…”
They dragged the waterlogged body to the shore and then went back to the original plan. Gideon ripped the gold chains from Enzo’s neck, took his watch and the money from his wallet.
Dave spat on Enzo’s face. “Let’s get out of here,” he said, ready to bolt.
“Not so fast,” Gideon said. “The collection book—our names are in it.”
Enzo Salvi kept detailed records of his burgeoning criminal career in a most unlikely place—a dark red Moroccan leather journal, bordered in gold filigree, with a magnetic flap closure to protect the inside pages.
Gideon fished the four-by-six diary out of Enzo’s jacket pocket. It took another ten minutes to find the bat, the knife, and the Absolut bottle, which remarkably was still intact.
“Rot in hell,” Dave said, spitting on Enzo’s remains one last time.
Nobody was in sight as they stepped out of the dunes onto 165th Avenue. They walked silently through the cold November night, past the honeycomb of middle-class homes, swigging vodka from the murder weapon as they went.
It was every florist’s dream. A Mafia funeral.
As fate would have it, Gideon’s mother and father owned the local flower shop and had been the beneficiaries of the outpouring of condolences from friends, relatives, and business associates of the Salvi family.
“It’s like my parents found a winning lottery ticket in their pocket,” Gideon told Dave, “and they have no idea I’m the one who put it there.”
The two boys, along with Meredith, walked solemnly past the line of thirty-two flower cars and up the stairs of St. Agnes. A white hearse was parked in front, and behind it a caravan of black limousines stretched for three city blocks. Media vans jammed the opposite side of the street, and a frenzy of photographers pressed against the police barricades, all hungry for the money shot that could make the front page of tomorrow’s Daily News.
And cops. Cops everywhere. Beat cops, sergeants, and brass all the way up to deputy chief. The Feds were there, too, filming every move, every detail, every face. Grief and privacy be damned. There’s nothing like a Mafia funeral to fill the Bureau’s archives with valuable footage of “known associates.”
Gideon, Dave, and Meredith were ushered into a pew, and Meredith immediately knelt to pray.
“How could you pray for him?” Gideon whispered once she took her seat.
“I didn’t. I prayed for forgiveness.”
“For what?” Gideon asked.
“I’ve been praying to the Holy Mother to punish him, and now I feel guilty.”
Gideon wished he could tell her the truth. “Don’t take all the credit,” he said. “A lot of people were praying for Enzo to die.”
By 11:00 a.m., every seat in the church was filled. A side door opened, and the crowd rose. Father Spinelli led the family into the chapel. First, Teresa, Enzo’s mother, wearing an elegant black silk designer suit and a simple gold cross around her neck. In lieu of a veil, she was stone-faced behind oversized dark glasses. Jojo, the surviving son, escorted her to the front pew.
Meredith squeezed her brother’s hand, knowing what was next. Joe Salvi, the silver-haired spitting image of his late son, entered arm in arm with his eighty-five-year-old mother, Annunziata, who was in the black mourning dress she had worn since her husband died decades ago. She let out a wail as she cast her eyes on the coffin.
The priest began. “For over eighty years, the Salvi family has made Howard Beach their home.”
Not their home, Gideon wanted to scream out. Their territory.
“And it is clear by the outpouring of love from this community…”
They’re only here because they’re too scared to stay away, or they want to enjoy the family’s misery.
“… that Joe and Teresa Salvi’s generosity is legend. Food baskets for the poor at Thanksgiving, toys for the children at Christmas…”
A fully stocked wine cellar for the rectory.
“… and just last month, their annual Halloween beach party. This year it was especially meaningful because it was the first time many of you were able to let yourselves have fun since the towers fell in September.”
Enzo had fun. Meredith didn’t.
“I know that the New York City Police Department is working hard to bring the person or persons who cut Enzo’s life short to justice, and—”
Without warning, Annunziata Salvi rose from her seat and lurched toward the coffin. “No polizia. La famiglia fornirà giustizia. La famiglia fornirà giustizia!” she screamed, throwing herself onto her grandson’s casket.
It was old country funeral theatrics, and Joe Salvi let his mother wail until she sank to her knees, sobbing. Finally, he went to her, helped her back to her seat, and stood facing the crowd.
Twelve hundred people held their breath as the Mafia boss cast his cold, dark eyes across the room, a message to one and all that despite their loss, the family was none the weaker.
Gideon and Dave, hearts pounding, lips sealed, dared to stare back. They knew what Joe Salvi was looking for. Them. And his eyes made it clear that he would keep looking for them as long as he lived. La famiglia fornirà giustizia, the old lady had proclaimed.
The family would make its own justice.
The Hazmat Killer
The two homeless men were sitting on the cobblestones in front of the World War I memorial on Fifth Avenue and 67th Street. As soon as they saw me heading toward them, they stood up.
“Zach Jordan, NYPD Red,” I said.
“We got a dead woman on the merry-go-round,” one said.
“Carousel,” the second one corrected.
His hair was matted, his unshaven face was streaked with dirt, and his ragtag clothes smelled of day-old piss. I got a strong whiff and jerked my head away.
“Am I that bad?” he said, backing off. “I don’t even smell it anymore. I’m Detective Bell. This is my partner, Detective Casey. We’ve been working Anti-Crime out of the park. A gang of kids has been beating the shit out of homeless guys just for sport, and we’re on decoy duty. Sorry about the stink, but we’ve got to smell as bad as we look.”
“Mission accomplished,” I said. “Give me a description of the victim.”
“White, middle-aged, and based on the fact that she’s dressed head to toe in one of those Tyvek jumpsuits, it looks like she’s the next victim of the Hazmat Killer.”
Not what I wanted to hear. “ID?”
“We can’t get at her. The carousel is locked up tight. She’s inside. We would never have found her except we heard the music, and we couldn’t figure out why it was playing at six thirty in the morning.”
“Lead the way,” I said.
The carousel is in the heart of Central Park, only a few tenths of a mile off Fifth, and unless a Parkie showed up in a golf cart, walking was the fastest way to get there.
“Grass is pretty wet,” Bell said, stating the obvious. “I thought NYPD Red only got called in for celebrities and muckety-mucks.”
“One of those muckety-mucks went missing Friday night, and my partner and I have been looking for her. As soon as you called in an apparent homicide, I got tapped. We work out of the One Nine, so I got here in minutes. But if this isn’t our MIA, I’m out of here, and another team will catch it.”
“Casey and I volunteer,” Bell said. “We clean up well, and if you really twist our arms, we’d even transfer to Red. Is it as cool as they say?”
Is it cool? Is playing shortstop for the New York Yankees cool? For a cop, NYPD Red is a dream job.
There are eight million people in New York City. The department’s mission is to protect and serve every one of them. But a few get more protection and better service than others. It may not sound like democracy in action, but running a city is like running a business—you cater to your best customers. In our case, that means the ones who generate revenue and attract tourists. In a nutshell, the rich and famous. If any of them are the victims of a crime, they get our full attention. And trust me, these people are used to getting plenty of attention. They’re rock stars in the worlds of finance, fashion, and publishing, and in some cases, they’re actually rock stars in the world of rock.
I answered Bell’s question. “Except for the part where I ruin a good pair of shoes tromping through the wet grass, I’d have to say it’s pretty damn cool.”
“Where’s your partner?” Bell asked.
I had no idea. “On her way,” I lied.
We were crossing Center Drive when I heard the off-pitch whistle of a calliope.
“It’s even more annoying when you get closer,” Bell said.
The closest we could get was twenty feet away. We were stopped by a twelve-foot-high accordion-fold brass gate. Behind it was a vintage carousel that attracted hundreds of thousands of parents and kids to the park every year.
It was hours before the gate would officially open, but the ride was spinning, the horses were going up and down, and the circus music was blaring.
“You can’t get in,” Casey said. “It’s locked.”
“How’d she get in?” I asked.
“Whoever put her there broke the lock,” he said. “Then they replaced it with this Kryptonite bicycle U-Lock. It’s a bitch to open.”
“They obviously didn’t want anybody to wander in and mess with their little tableau,” I said.
“We kind of figured that,” he said. “Anyway, ESU is sending somebody to cut it.”
“Not until the crime scene guys dust it for prints,” I said. “I doubt if we’ll find anything, but I don’t want it contaminated by some cowboy with an angle grinder.”
“Detective Jordan…” It was Bell. “You can get a good look at the body from here.”
I walked to where he was standing and peered through an opening in the gate.
“Here she comes,” Bell said, as though I might actually miss a dead woman in a white Tyvek jumpsuit strapped to a red, blue, green, and yellow horse.
“Damn,” I said as she rode past us.
“Is that your missing muckety-muck?” Bell asked.
“Yeah. Her name is Evelyn Parker-Steele.”
Both cops gave me a never-heard-of-her look.
“Her father is Leonard Parker,” I said. “He owns about a thousand movie theaters across the country. Her brother is Damon Parker—”
“The TV news guy?” Casey said.
“The bio I have on him says he’s a world-renowned broadcasting journalist,” I said, “but sure—I can go with TV news guy. And her husband is Jason Steele the Third, as in Steele Hotels and Casinos.”
“Holy shit,” Casey said to Bell. “We stumbled onto the First Lady of rich chicks.”
“She’s a lot more than that. She’s a high-paid political operative who is currently the campaign manager for Muriel Sykes, the woman who is running for mayor against our beloved Mayor Spellman.”
“Rich, famous, connected,” Bell said. “Six ways to Sunday, this is a case for Red. I guess we better get out of here before we blow our cover. Good luck, Detective.”
“Hang on,” I said. “My partner is running late, and I could use your help feeling out the crowd.”
Casey instinctively looked over his shoulder at the deserted park.
“They’re not here yet,” I said, “but they’ll come. The media, the gawkers, people in a hurry to get to work but who can always make time to stop and stare at a train wreck, and, if we’re lucky, the killer. Sometimes they like to come back to see how we’re reacting to their handiwork. You mind helping me out?”
The two cops looked at each other and grinned like a couple of kids who just found out school was closed for a snow day.
- "In the case of NYPD RED, there is simply too much fun --- in the form of inventive murder, sex, chemistry, investigation, more murder, more sex, and the like. Potboiler? Yes. Wonderfully told? Indeed."—bookreporter.com
- PRAISE FOR JAMES PATTERSON:
"The prolific Patterson seems unstoppable."
- "James Patterson knows how to sell thrills and suspense in clean, unwavering prose."—People
- "Patterson's novels are sleek entertainment machines, the Porsches of commercial fiction, expertly engineered and lightning fast."
- On Sale
- Dec 23, 2014
- Page Count
- 400 pages
- Grand Central Publishing