The Suspense Is Killing Me
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A journalist searches for the true story of his glamorous sibling’s death
When rock star J. C. Tripper died, only his brother Lee was by his side, and in the decades since, Lee has been deviled by questions of what really happened that night in Tangier. He thinks he knows the truth, but his recollection of that final drug-soaked bender is about to be called into question.
An old acquaintance mails Lee a Nazi pistol and four Polaroid pictures of a dead body—an invitation to reopen a long-cold murder investigation. Lee then reconnects with Sam Innis, onetime best friend to the brothers Tripper, who urges him to track down J.C.’s former bandmates and music industry contacts. That night, Lee’s girlfriend, a bestselling conspiracy theorist, is tortured to death in her tub. As his brother comes back to haunt him, Lee must unravel the mystery of J.C.’s last days, or risk joining him behind the velvet rope at the great after-party in the sky.
enough of the wind and the rain inside, so we went out onto the terrace, into the thick wetness and deadening heat broken only by the infrequent limp breeze staggering through the tops of the trees in the Park. The terrace wrapped around the corner of the building and featured a nautical theme. Jazz played through the kind of speakers you found on cruise ships. The flooring was a polished deck and the chairs were elegant things that came from a defunct ocean liner, the Titanic for all I knew.
out. Then she looked at it. Then she looked up at me and squinted. “It is me,” I said. “Come on in,” she said, having decided that maybe I was who I said I was. She was wearing Guess? jeans that were way too loose on her. She was a bony little thing. She looked like a little girl who had by some caprice of fate found herself in her forties. At least she wasn’t poor. I’d checked the Los Angeles Times real estate classifieds at breakfast and the condos in the Marina City Club kicked in at
short. Did you ever see the man? It’s embarrassing. He’s a rusted golden oldie, he’s pretty creepy—” “I get the idea,” I said. “He wouldn’t fit in here today. Is that what you’re saying? You’ve really got it all over him when it comes to pants.” “And Freddie has run MagnaDisc into the ground. We just can’t have that, can we? We are all answerable to our boards, our shareholder. So, if we find JC and pension Freddie off, we can get MagnaDisc back with the program, back where the Magna name
“Somebody’s lying to me.” I was turning toward the top of the bed and had stopped to kiss the back of her right knee on the way back to the pillow. “Somebody’s always lying,” she sighed. “You want to go to Tangier with me?” “You’re going, then?” “Why not? Whitney thinks it would be a good idea.” “You do think JC’s alive, don’t you?” “My brother is dead as they come. It’s not my fault no one will believe me.” “You’re already starting to keep secrets!” “I’ll tell you what I really want—”
break my fall. I strained to see the judges’ scorecards. 2-2-1-2-1-1-1 … My breathing apparatus slowly returned to the fray; I could stop gagging and gasping and rely primarily on moaning. I held on to the wall like a drunk grappling with a lamppost and gingerly drew myself into a sagging upright squat. I reminded myself of one of the schoolroom posters depicting the evolution of the species. From the looks of things I’d just crawled out of the slime and didn’t quite know what to make of dry