Lieberman's Choice - Stuart M. Kaminsky - ebook
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When a cop snaps, he threatens to take a building full of people with him. Bernie Shepard comes home with a shotgun. He opens the door to his bedroom, and sees what he expected - his wife in bed with another cop. Two pumps of the shotgun take care of them, and Shepard carries out the rest of his plan. Accompanied by his nameless dog, this half-mad young detective goes to the roof of his apartment building, where he has built a small fortress stocked with food, water, and weapons. He loads his guns and awaits the police. Talking Shepard down falls to Abe Lieberman and Bill Hanrahan, the odd-couple partners in Chicago homicide. As soon as they make contact, Shepard names his demands: He wants to talk to a TV crew and to the new police captain. The building is rigged with explosives, he says, and he is ready to pull the trigger. To stop this renegade cop, Lieberman and Hanrahan will have to kill him - or try to understand what made him snap. About the Author. Stuart M. Kaminsky (1934-2009) was one of the most prolific crime fiction authors of the last four decades. Born in Chicago, he spent his youth immersed in pulp fiction and classic cinema - two forms of popular entertainment which he would make his life's work. After college and a stint in the army, Kaminsky wrote film criticism and biographies of the great actors and directors of Hollywood's Golden Age. In 1977, when a planned biography of Charlton Heston fell through, Kaminsky wrote Bullet for a Star, his first Toby Peters novel, beginning a fiction career that would last the rest of his life. Kaminsky penned twenty-four novels starring the detective, whom he described as "the anti-Philip Marlowe." In 1981's Death of a Dissident, Kaminsky debuted Moscow police detective Porfiry Rostnikov, whose stories were praised for their accurate depiction of Soviet life. His other two series starred Abe Lieberman, a hardened Chicago cop, and Lew Fonseca, a process server. In all, Kaminsky wrote more than sixty novels. He died in St. Louis in 2009. Review quote. "Beautifully rendered. . . . Kaminsky is extraordinarily attuned to the domestic minutiae of his detectives' lives." - Chicago Tribune. "Kaminksy's books just keep getting better. . . . An outstanding story." - Booklist. "A standout performance. . . . Nobody writing today can mix taut suspense with a sense of creeping mortality as shatteringly as Kaminsky." - Kirkus Reviews. "For anyone with a taste for old Hollywood B-movie mysteries, Edgar winner Kaminsky offers plenty of nostalgic fun . . . The tone is light, the pace brisk, the tongue firmly in cheek." - Publishers Weekly. "Marvelously entertaining." - Newsday. "Makes the totally wacky possible . . . Peters [is] an unblemished delight." - Washington Post. "The Ed McBain of Mother Russia." - Kirkus Reviews.

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Contents

Cover

About the Book

About the Author

Title Page

Copyright Page

Dedication

Epigraph

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Looking for more suspense?

Cover

Begin Reading

About the Book

When a cop snaps, he threatens to take a building full of people with him.

Bernie Shepard comes home with a shotgun. He opens the door to his bedroom, and sees what he expected - his wife in bed with another cop. Two pumps of the shotgun take care of them, and Shepard carries out the rest of his plan. Accompanied by his nameless dog, this half-mad young detective goes to the roof of his apartment building, where he has built a small fortress stocked with food, water, and weapons. He loads his guns and awaits the police.

Talking Shepard down falls to Abe Lieberman and Bill Hanrahan, the odd-couple partners in Chicago homicide. As soon as they make contact, Shepard names his demands: He wants to talk to a TV crew and to the new police captain. The building is rigged with explosives, he says, and he is ready to pull the trigger. To stop this renegade cop, Lieberman and Hanrahan will have to kill him - or try to understand what made him snap.

About the Author

Stuart M. Kaminsky (1934-2009) was one of the most prolific crime fiction authors of the last four decades. Born in Chicago, he spent his youth immersed in pulp fiction and classic cinema - two forms of popular entertainment which he would make his life’s work. After college and a stint in the army, Kaminsky wrote film criticism and biographies of the great actors and directors of Hollywood’s Golden Age. In 1977, when a planned biography of Charlton Heston fell through, Kaminsky wrote Bullet for a Star, his first Toby Peters novel, beginning a fiction career that would last the rest of his life.

Kaminsky penned twenty-four novels starring the detective, whom he described as “the anti-Philip Marlowe.” In 1981’s Death of a Dissident, Kaminsky debuted Moscow police detective Porfiry Rostnikov, whose stories were praised for their accurate depiction of Soviet life. His other two series starred Abe Lieberman, a hardened Chicago cop, and Lew Fonseca, a process server. In all, Kaminsky wrote more than sixty novels. He died in St. Louis in 2009.

Lieberman’s Choice

An Abe Lieberman Mystery

Stuart M. Kaminsky

 

BASTEI ENTERTAINMENT

 

Bastei Entertainment is an imprint of Bastei Lübbe AG

 

Copyright © 2015 by Bastei Lübbe AG, Schanzenstraße 6-20, 51063 Cologne, Germany

 

For the original edition:

Copyright © 2013 by The Mysterious Press, LLC, 58 Warren Street, New York, NY. U.S.A.

 

Copyright © 1993 by Stuart Kaminsky

 

Project management: Lori Herber

Cover adaptation: Christin Wilhelm, www.grafic4u.de

Cover design by Jim Tierney

 

E-book production: Jouve Germany GmbH & Co. KG

 

ISBN 978-3-95859-478-4

 

www.bastei-entertainment.com

 

All rights reserved, including without limitation the right to reproduce this e-book or any portion thereof in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of the publisher.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, businesses, companies, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

To the members of the Liars Club, who can’t resist going to the edge

“Not till I know what’s happening right here. Not till the keepers of the inner shrine have answered me. How. You inside. Unbar the door. Is the king there? Tell him to hurry. Tell him a soldier’s out here with bad news.”

—EURIPIDES,Iphigeneia in Tauris

Chapter 1

THE MIDNIGHT WAVES SCRATCHED silver fingers along the narrow beach at the end of the street. Through the open window of his car, Bernie Shepard heard the waves and the rush of traffic half a block behind him on Sheridan Road. He parked next to a fire hydrant, picked up his shotgun, opened the car door, and stepped into the night. The dog leaped out after him, silent except for the pad of his paws on the street.

It was mid-September. The moon was full and the waves hitting the Chicago shore of Lake Michigan were sluggish and cold. And in spite of their moonlit silver caps, dirty. No more than a month ago, at the end of this street, Shepard had watched the uneatable coho salmon flop around, mating, dying just off the shore.

Shepard and the dog were alone.

Only the drunk and drugged, only the incautious homeless, only those whose late night shifts require it walked the streets of low rises and two-flats on Fargo and the other nearby streets that ran a single block from Sheridan to the lake. These were streets that twenty years ago had been respectable, thirty years ago had been choice, and forty years ago had been elite.

Now the old people who lived here went to bed early and double-locked their doors. The professionals who found the neighborhood a bargain treated their lives like a movie, believing and disbelieving the danger at the same time.

Shepard and the dog crossed the street to the Shoreham Towers. The Towers stood fifteen stories high. There was nothing in sight for five blocks in any direction that rose higher in the cloudless sky than this 1930s rectangle of red brick and white ledges.

Shepard opened the outer door of Shoreham Towers and entered. He made no attempt to hide the weapon in his hand. Fifteen years ago, the lobby of the Shoreham had a carpet and chairs. They were long gone. The chairs had been stolen, the carpet taken up by management before it too was taken.

The lobby smelled of disinfectant and the memory of that damp carpet. On the walls were faded prints—pink flowers and ornate tropical birds—protected by dusty glass.

He moved to the inner lobby door, opened it with a key, and stepped in. The inner lobby still had a few chairs, a trio of artificial plants that looked artificial, and an overhead light fixture with eight teardrop bulbs, one of which flickered on and off as the man and dog moved into the open elevator.

The dog sat and watched as the man pushed a button and the elevator doors closed. The elevator lurched, still half asleep, sluggishly upward 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10. The elevator stopped with a grunt of steel and the doors opened.

Shepard, dog behind him, headed down the corridor of the tenth floor and stopped in front of an apartment. He listened. There was a faint sound of voices behind the door. Shepard opened the door slowly, very slowly with a key and stepped into the darkness touched by the moonlight through the windows and a thin slice of yellow light coming from the partly open door of the bedroom in front of him. The dog entered and watched Shepard carefully close the door to the apartment.

The voices were clearer now, a man and a woman. Shepard moved silently to the bedroom door and stood listening.

“… to be safe,” the woman said.

Shepard motioned to the dog, who understood, pushed the bedroom door open with a paw, and trotted in silently.

“I checked. He’s on an all-night stakeout on the South Side. There’s no way …”

The man stopped suddenly, midsentence. He had seen the dog.

Shepard kicked open the bedroom door and raised the shotgun. He had heard others tell the tale, claiming moments like this were gauzy dreams, slow motion. But he sensed none of this.

Andy Beeton was throwing off the blanket. He was naked. He reached for a gun in a holster draped over a chair near the bed. Shepard fired. The blast sprayed Beeton with red-black dots against his pale skin and spun his head to the right, taking his left eye. He was dead before he slumped against the night table, tipping the table lamp to the floor and bringing down the nearby chair and holster with his outstretched hand.

Somewhere behind Shepard, the dog made a sound, not quite a whimper, maybe even a yawn.

Shepard turned to the woman, who had sat up, not bothering to cover her breasts. She was small and wide-eyed. Her nipples were dark and pointing at him. Her long hair tumbled over one eye. Her head shook “no” slowly and her mouth formed the word no as Shepard fired and turned away, not wanting to see what the blast did to her. But as he took a step back to the door, she made a sound, an almost cooing sound. He turned to see what he did not want to see and knew that the sound was only a memory and that Olivia was dead.

There was no more to look at or do here. He reloaded the shotgun and snapped his fingers. The dog looked from him to the bed and back again before obeying the sound and moving into the darkened living room.

Before Shepard and the dog had crossed the living room, they could hear voices in the corridor.

“What happened?”

“What was that?”

“Where did it come from? I think it was …”

“I’m calling the police.”

“Jerry, mind your own business.”

“I’m calling the police, Flo. You hear what I’m saying here? Someone could be for Chrissake dead or …”

Shepard stepped through the apartment door and into the corridor. The dog trotted in front of him. He reached back and closed the door.

“Mr. Shepard, what ha …?”

The speaker was a short, fat man with gray hair that had gone electric wild in his sleep. He was wearing a gray robe. He had stopped speaking when he looked first at Shepard’s face and then at the gun at Shepard’s side.

There were two other men and two other women in the hallway, all of them over sixty. Shepard and the dog strode toward the open elevator door, the people moving silently to the side, out of his way.

As Shepard and the dog entered the elevator, an apartment door opened and two men, both in their thirties, both a bit drunk, stepped out.

“What the hell’s goin’ on?” asked one of the men.

Shepard and the dog faced forward. As the doors closed one of the drunken men, the bigger of the two, looked at Shepard and the shotgun in his hand, took a step toward him, and then thought better of it. The elevator doors closed and Bernie Shepard could hear.

“What the fuck is goin’ on out here?”

As the elevator lurched upward, the voices below faded in the distance and the grind of weary gears.

“I’m calling the cops.”

“Jerry, mind your own business.”

When the elevator reached the top, the fifteenth floor, Shepard and the dog stepped out into a silent corridor of locked apartments. Shepard moved to a door marked STAIRWAY, pushed it open so the dog could step in ahead of him, and followed the animal into the dim-bulbed shadows.

Shepard did not think, did not allow himself to think. Images behind him in the apartment screamed for attention. He ignored them and climbed the stairs, listening to his footsteps clang and echo and howl back from fifteen stories below. At the top of the stairwell was a heavy metal door. Shepard put down his gun and pushed the door open. Warm air rushed in.

Picking up the gun, Shepard stepped out onto the roof of the Shoreham Towers, commanded an unbidden image to go away, leaned the gun against the wall, and closed the door. A heavy metal bar rested against the wall next to where he had placed the gun. While the dog padded around the pebble-covered roof, Shepard, straining, slowly wedged the bar against the door. He tested it, found it firm, and retrieved his gun. Again he was aware of the sound of the waves, the rush of traffic. Nothing outside of the Shoreham Towers had changed in the last five minutes.

An empty water tower, its once orange body covered with graffiti, its four girderlike legs acned with rust, sat in the middle of the roof. Shepard moved toward the tower. Beneath it was a clearing of almost ten feet by ten feet surrounded by concrete blocks that Shepard had brought up one at a time, in the dead of night, over the past six weeks. In one corner of the minifortress was a formidable cache of weapons. Next to the weapons was a chest containing food. Atop the chest was a jug of water. Shepard stepped through a narrow passage between the blocks and checked the food, water, weapons, and a first-aid kit. He pulled out a blanket and a two-way radio, laid the radio on the blanket, and adjusted a rolled-up sleeping bag so that it rested against the blocks.

Satisfied, Shepard stepped back through the passage between the blocks and walked to the corner of the roof.

The dog came to his side, sat, and waited.

There would be no sirens. They would come silently, and if he wished, he could look over the edge of the tower down to the street to watch them come. They would ask questions, find the bodies, wait for orders, and gradually figure out where he was. It would take time. Half an hour. An hour. Time.

To the south, toward downtown, he could see the snake of car lights along Lake Shore Drive. The distant high rises along the drive were darkened but not fully asleep. Well beyond them he could see the downtown peaks, even the Sears Tower. Then Shepard looked toward the lake and saw darkness except for a dot of light that must have been a boat. To the north just a few blocks away, though it was too dark to see it, was the cemetery that divided Evanston and Chicago at the lakeshore. To the west lay the city, sleepily alight even at this hour.

Shoreham Towers was in East Rogers Park, not a melting pot, but a scared puzzle of Haitians, Jamaicans, poor Southern whites, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Indians, Pakistanis, recent Russians. Fifteen blocks to the west was West Rogers Park, small homes, threatened, mostly Jews with odd pockets of Chinese and slightly more affluent Russians.

Shepard turned from the edge of the roof. The odds were good, he knew, that they would send Lieberman. And behind him would come Kearney. It was Kearney’s district now. But now lasted only an instant.

Shepard went back into his concrete-block stockade with the dog behind him, leaned his back against his rolled-up sleeping bag, and closed his eyes.

Chapter 2

WHEN THE CALL CAME a little after two in the morning, it did not wake Abraham Lieberman, nor did it awaken his wife, Bess, but for different reasons.

Bess had learned three decades earlier to sleep with thirty-six-decibel ear plugs to block out the snoring of her husband. Each year, Abe snored less, not because the problem had passed but because he slept less.

On this early morning, wearing his favorite green robe with hardly a bit of nap remaining on its threadbare surface, Abe sat in the kitchen with the door closed doing the crossword puzzle and drinking an iced mixture of diet cola and coffee. He considered shaving.

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!

Lesen Sie weiter in der vollständigen Ausgabe!