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:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2003, 448 pages
    Paperback:
    Aug 2003, 416 pages

  • 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!

One Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: The Book That Matters Most
    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers appreciated the innovative structure of The Book That Matters ...
  • Book Jacket: The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    by Scott Stambach
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers were uniformly impressed by this difficult yet heartwarming ...
  • Book Jacket: Boy Erased
    Boy Erased
    by Garrard Conley
    Growing up in rural Arkansas, Garrard Conley did not quite fit the mold of his strait-laced, ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    by Scott Stambach

    "An auspicious, gut-wrenching, wonderful debut." - Kirkus, starred review

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood

    An enthralling novel about love, loss, secrets and friendship.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
This Must Be the Place
by Maggie O'Farrell

An irresistible love story for fans of Beautiful Ruins and Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

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

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.