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If America is a lunatic asylum, then California is the Violent Ward.
Mickey Murphy is a criminal lawyer with an office in LA’s downtown low-rent district, an ex-wife who bleeds him for money, clients who would plead the Fifth Amendment if they could count that high, and an unrequited passion for his wealthiest client’s wife. To make matters worse, Mickey finds himself embroiled against his wishes in an elaborate and clever scam that’s going askew, and being interrogated by the LAPD about a brutal murder.
With an observant eye and ear for the California ‘scene’, Deighton once again uses his brilliant storytelling skills to propel an exciting and suspenseful narrative at breakneck speed to a dramatic climax in a riot-torn city.
This new reissue includes a foreword from the cover designer, Oscar-winning filmmaker Arnold Schwartzman, and a brand new introduction by Len Deighton, which offers a fascinating insight into the writing of the story.
business. If not, this didn’t seem to be the right time to discuss it. Victor waved a splay-fingered hand in the air. He didn’t look back. He seemed to know I’d be watching him go and calculating how much I was going to lose in fees next year. Oh, well, I hate crooks. I should never have become a lawyer. The reception line was still going, but people were no longer coming through the door. This was a celebration for employees and associates, and these guests didn’t come late to a Petrovitch bash
said. It sounded dumb and I felt stupid, the way some people do feel when confronted by someone they love too much. I’d always been a klutz like that when I was with her: I never did figure out why. ‘Hello, Mickey,’ she said, very softly. ‘It’s lovely to think that some things never change.’ She turned away and kept moving to where a line had formed to get a smile from her husband. ‘Ingrid …’ She stopped. ‘Yes, Mickey?’ ‘It’s good to see you again.’ She smiled sweetly and moved on. I guess
front of a mortician’s home.’ ‘I don’t like it,’ I said. ‘I don’t like it either,’ he said. ‘But it’s what you will have to do.’ He looked at me to show me he knew far more than he was supposed to know. You have no secrets from Rainbow. I nodded. ‘We’ll have to move him soon, Mr Murphy. He has to be embalmed. He’s been here too long already, and those bags of ice are not keeping him cold enough.’ ‘You’re right,’ I said. ‘You’d better get the horse trailer from your partner’s home. He tows it
names, and a Panamanian passport, greenbacks, and an unmarked Magnum squirreled away in a deposit box ready for der Tag. I’ve got a long list of guys like that in my big fat unpaid accounts file. ‘I’ll do what I can,’ I told her. ‘And you won’t tell Zach I gave you those notes?’ ‘No.’ Notes? There were no notes. She hadn’t written it down at all: she’d run it out on some kind of fancy laser printer. There wasn’t even a letterhead or a signature. There was nothing to connect her to the
deserve this panorama of life in a great city? I went into the family room – family room: that’s a laugh; the last time a family was in this room was when my cleaning lady brought her two cousins and her husband to get the cobwebs from the higher reaches of its cathedral ceiling. I sat down and clicked my way through all thirty channels offered by the cable company. Then I riffled through my videos without finding any Hollywood musical I wanted to see for the hundredth time. I was hungry. I got