Excerpt from The Arraignment by Steve Martini, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Arraignment

A Paul Madriani Novel

By Steve Martini

The Arraignment
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Jan 2003,
    448 pages.
    Paperback: Aug 2003,
    416 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"So what did you tell Dana?"

"I told her I'm working on it. Have a little patience. Everything comes to those who wait."

"Is that something else your father told you?"

"Read it on some guy's toe tag at the morgue. He was sitting on the tracks when a train hit him, and all they could find was his foot."

I know the story to be true. Coroner's bedside manner.

"Besides, I've got a few irons in the fire."

"What?"

"Can't talk about them right now." With Nick, it's always the big mystery. The next major coup in his life.

"Hell, at least with Margaret she didn't care," he says. "Whatever I wanted to do was fine, as long as we could pay the bills."

"Sounds like you regret leaving her."

"Only once a month," he says. "When I'm making the support payment." Then he thinks for a moment. "No. That's not true. Sometimes I see her in my dreams," he tells me. "Coming at me with an ax." Nick's laugh at something like this is always the same, a kind of shrill, pitched giggle you wouldn't expect from a man his size with a barrel chest. It was a bitter divorce.

"There's an old saying," says Nick, "that the truth shall set you free. I'm living proof. I told her the truth, and she divorced me. But at least I left her with a song in her heart."

With this he smiles. Nick's parting was not exactly a class act. It was talk all over town, gossip at all the watering holes. A man possessed of a tongue gilded with enough silver to waltz embezzlers and corporate confidence artists out of court couldn't figure out how to tell his wife he wanted another woman.

Even after she caught him with Dana, Margaret was prepared to forgive him. But Nick thought of a way to save her from herself; with the lyrics to a piece by Paul Simon—"Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover"—playing on an old turntable and a farewell note propped above it on the shelf.

Margaret had her revenge in the divorce and the support hearings that followed. Nick is likely to be practicing well into his eighties to pay the bills, though I suspect his annual income before taxes is into seven figures. I can imagine he might now be in a financial pinch.

"You're probably wondering why I asked you to come over." He cuts to the chase.

The hair on the back of my neck goes up. Nick wants a favor.

"I want you to understand it isn't me asking; it's really Dana."

"That makes it easier to say no," I tell him.

"Be nice. She likes you. She's the one who suggested I come to you."

Now I am nervous.

"She has a friend. This guy sits on the county arts commission with her. Seems he got himself involved in some kind of grand jury probe."

I'm already shaking my head.

"Listen, don't be negative," he says. "Hear me out. The guy's just a witness. He may not even be that. He hasn't even been served with a subpoena yet."

"Then why does he need a lawyer?"

"Well, he thinks he will be. I know. And I wouldn't ask you to do it, except I got a conflict. I can't represent him. The man's in business."

"So is the Colombian cartel. It's nothing personal," I tell him.

"As far as I know, he's clean. No criminal history. He's a local contractor."

Knowing Nick, the guy is probably drilling tunnels under the border crossing at San Ysidro. Nick would tell a jury his client was drilling for oil, and they'd probably believe him.

"So why would the U.S. attorney want to talk to a local contractor?"

"They got some wild hair up their ass on money laundering. That's all I know. Probably one of their snitches got into a bad box of cookies. The feds go through this every once in a while. It's like the cycles of the moon," he says. "One of their snitches has a bad trip, starts hallucinating, and half a dozen federal agencies go on overtime. From what I gather, it's the people down in Mexico they're looking at."

Reprinted from The Arraignment by Steve Martini, by permission of G. P. Putnam’s Sons, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright © 2003, Steve Martini. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Promise
    The Promise
    by Ann Weisgarber
    Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery of Anne of Green Gables fame, once wrote that "...all things ...
  • Book Jacket: Black Moon
    Black Moon
    by Kenneth Calhoun
    The popularity of book-turned-movie World War Z and television series The Walking Dead points to a ...
  • Book Jacket: Hyde
    Hyde
    by Daniel Levine
    In Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novel, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, the story ends ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Sailor Twain
by Mark Siegel

Published Mar. 2014

Join the discussion!

Win this book!
Win The Steady Running of the Hour

The Steady Running of the Hour

"Exciting, emotionally engaging and amibtious. I loved it!" - Kate Mosse

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

I T T O A Eye

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.