Excerpt of Home Front by Kristin Hannah
(Page 7 of 8)
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He shouldn't have given in to Jolene, all those years ago, when she'd
begged for the house on Liberty Bay. He'd told her he didn't want to live
so far from the cityor that close to his parents, but in the end he'd
given in, swayed by her pretty pleas and the solid argument that they'd
need his mother's help in babysitting. But if he hadn't given in, if he
hadn't lost the where-we-live argument, he wouldn't be sitting here on
the ferry every day, missing the man who used to meet him here...
As the ferry slowed, Michael got up and collected his papers, putting
the deposition back in the black lambskin briefcase. He hadn't even
looked at it. Merging into the crowd, he made his way down the stairs to
the car deck. In minutes, he was driving off the ferry and pulling up to
the Smith Tower, once the tallest building west of New York and now an
aging, gothic footnote to a city on the rise.
In Zarkades, Antham, and Zarkades, on the ninth floor, everything
was oldfloors, windows in need of repair, too many layers of paint
but, like the building itself, there was history here, and beauty. A wall of
windows overlooked Elliott Bay and the great orange cranes that loaded
containers onto tankers. Some of the biggest and most important criminal
trials in the past twenty years had been defended by Theo Zarkades,
from these very offices. At gatherings of the bar association, other lawyers
still spoke of his father's ability to persuade a jury with something
close to awe.
"Hey, Michael," Helen, the receptionist said, smiling up at him.
He waved and kept walking, past the earnest para legals, tired legal
secretaries, and ambitious young associates. Everyone smiled at him,
and he smiled back. At the corner officepreviously his father's and
now hishe stopped to talk to his secretary. "Good morning, Ann."
"Good morning, Michael. Bill Antham wanted to see you."
"Okay. Tell him I'm in."
"You want some coffee?"
He went into his office, the largest one in the fi rm. A huge window
looked out over Elliott Bay; that was really the star of the room, the
view. Other than that, the office was ordinarybookcases filled with
law books, a wooden floor scarred by decades of wear, a pair of overstuffed
chairs, a black suede sofa. A single family photo sat next to his
computer, the only personal touch in the space.
He tossed his briefcase onto the desk and went to the window, staring
out at the city his father had loved. In the glass, he saw a ghostly image
of himselfwavy black hair, strong, squared jaw, dark eyes. The image
of his father as a younger man. But had his father ever felt so tired and
Behind him, there was a knock, and then the door opened. In walked
Bill Antham, the only other partner in the firm, once his father's best
friend. In the months since Dad's death, Bill had aged, too. Maybe they
"Hey, Michael," he said, limping forward, reminding Michael with
each step that he was well past retirement age. In the last year, he'd gotten
two new knees.
"Have a seat, Bill," Michael said, indicating the chair closest to the desk.
"Thanks." He sat down. "I need a favor."
Michael returned to his desk. "Sure, Bill. What can I do for you?"
"I was in court yesterday, and I got tapped by Judge Runyon."
Michael sighed and sat down. It was common for criminal defense
attorneys to be assigned cases by the court it was the old, if you require
an attorney and cannot afford one bit. Judges often assigned a case to
what ever lawyer happened to be there when it came up. "What's the case?"
"A man killed his wife. Allegedly. He barricaded himself in his house
and shot her in the head. SWAT team dragged him out before he could
kill himself. TV filmed a bunch of it."
Excerpted from Home Front
by Sarah Hannah. Copyright © 2012 by Sarah Hannah.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press. All rights
reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted
without permission in writing from the publisher.