Excerpt from Oblivion by Peter Abrahams, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Oblivion

by Peter Abrahams

Oblivion by Peter Abrahams X
Oblivion by Peter Abrahams
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2006, 384 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team
Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt

Chapter One
Lost Weekend

Nick Petrov, in the witness box, waited for the next question. The lawyer for the accused looked up from his yellow pad and fastened his skeptical gaze -- familiar to millions of cable talk show viewers -- on Petrov's face. The lawyer had eyebrows like Einstein's, resembled him in general, Petrov thought, but with a better haircut. Perfume from the previous witness still hung in the air.

"Been quite the career," said the lawyer, "hasn't it, Mr. Petrov? So far."

A better haircut and a meaner disposition. "That's not for me to say," Petrov said. He'd been on the stand for twenty-eight minutes, long enough to have formed the opinion that there was only one juror to worry about -- the middle-aged woman in the back row, a lapis butterfly brooch on her lapel. The eleven other faces said guilty in the first degree, at least to him; but her face, soft, pretty, unadorned, had mercy written all over it. The defendant, Ty Canning, polishing his glasses on the end of his tie, had shown none.

"But it's what you think," said the lawyer. "That you're the sharpest tool in the shed."

"Is that a question?" Petrov said.

"Most definitely," said the lawyer.

"Do I have to answer it, Your Honor?"

"The witness will answer the question," said the judge.

"I'm more like a leaf blower," Petrov said.

Some people laughed; but not the butterfly woman.

"You think this is funny?" said the lawyer. Petrov remained silent, and the lawyer, perhaps slightly off-stride, didn't demand an answer. He flipped through the yellow pad in an irritated way. Petrov, habitual noticer of little things, saw that his eyes weren't moving, meaning he wasn't actually reading. Was this a dramatic pause or had he lost the thread? "Your Honor," the lawyer said, "I'd like the jury to hear that last question and answer again." He'd lost the thread; the self-confident but inferior younger brother who'd never arrived to disturb the Einstein family dynamic.

Petrov waited for an opening.

"Question," said the court reporter. "What did the defendant say on the ride back from Mexico? Answer: He said, 'You got me.' "

" 'You got me,' " said the lawyer, facing the jury. "Sounds definitive. Practically an admission of guilt." He spun around to Petrov. "But in your deposition of June eleven, you stated the defendant's words were 'What makes you think it was me?' Not an admission of guilt, more like the aggrieved response of an innocent man." He paused. "Now, remembering that you are under oath, which one of your answers should the jury believe?" Petrov felt the butterfly woman's gaze on his face, knew that phrase -- the aggrieved response of an innocent man -- touched something deep inside her. The jurors, wide awake now, leaned forward in anticipation. "Both," Petrov said.

"Both?" Those eyebrows, lively and articulate, rose in disbelief. "Are you aware of what would happen to your license if you put yourself in the position of giving false testimony?"

"I am aware," Petrov said. He met the lawyer's gaze. "In the deposition, I was asked only what the defendant's first words were -- 'What makes you think it was me?' It was after I explained the leads I'd followed that he made the second remark -- 'You got me.' There was also a third remark, just before I turned him over."

Silence. The lawyer understood, the judge understood, everyone with the slightest knowledge of cross-examination tactics understood that you never asked a question without knowing the answer. But a trial had dramatic form, and that form now demanded the question be asked.

The foregoing is excerpted from Oblivion by Peter Abrahams. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permission from HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • 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 $12 for 3 months or $39 for a year.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Join Now!


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: The Cold Millions
    The Cold Millions
    by Jess Walter
    Jess Walter's The Cold Millions centers around 16-year-old Rye Dolan and his 23-year-old brother Gig...
  • Book Jacket
    The Shadow King
    by Maaza Mengiste
    While reading The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste, I was reminded of the David Foster Wallace novel ...
  • Book Jacket: The Exiles
    The Exiles
    by Christina Baker Kline
    A young governess finds herself pregnant and in prison for theft and attempted murder. An Irish ...
  • Book Jacket: White Too Long
    White Too Long
    by Robert P. Jones
    Religious scholar Robert P. Jones doesn't pull any punches in his latest book, White Too Long: The ...

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The Blind Light
    by Stuart Evers

    A multigenerational story about two families bound together by the tides of history.
    Reader Reviews

Book Club Discussion
Book Jacket
The Exiles
by Christina Baker Kline

The author of Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant historical novel.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Agent Sonya

Agent Sonya: Moscow's Most Daring Wartime Spy

Master storyteller Ben Macintyre tells the true story behind the Cold War's most intrepid female spy.

Enter


Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I I M B T Give T T R

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 the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.