Join BookBrowse today and get access to free books, our twice monthly digital magazine, and more.

Excerpt from 24 Hours by Greg Iles, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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

24 Hours

by Greg Iles

24 Hours by Greg Iles X
24 Hours by Greg Iles
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2000, 384 pages

    Paperback:
    Jul 2001, 448 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"I finished it while you was sleeping," he said. "I like trains. I rode one once. When I was little. From St. Louis, after Mamaw died. Joey rode up by hisself on the train and got me. We rode back together. I got to sit in front with the rich people. We wasn't supposed to, but Joey figured a way. Joey's smart. He said it was only fair. He says I'm good as anybody. Ain't nobody no better than nobody else. That's a good thing to remember."

Peter stared at the little locomotive. There was even a tiny engineer inside.

"Whittlin's a good thing, too," Huey went on. "Keeps me from being nervous."

Peter closed his eyes. "Where's my mom?"

"I liked talking to you. Before you ran, anyway. I thought you was my friend."

Peter covered his face with his hands, but he kept an eye on Huey through a crack between his left cheek and palm. Now that he knew where he was, he thought about jumping out. But Huey was faster than he looked.

Huey dug into his coveralls again and brought out his pocketknife. When he opened the big blade, Peter pressed himself into the passenger door.

"What are you doing?"

Huey grabbed Peter's bound wrists and jerked them away from his body. With a quick jab he thrust the knife between Peter's forearms and sawed through the duct tape. Then he reached over and unlocked the passenger door of the truck.

"Your mama's waiting for you. In the playground. At the McDonald's."

Peter looked up at the giant's face, afraid to believe.

"Go see her, boy."

Peter pushed open the truck's door, jumped to the pavement, and started running toward the McDonald's.

Joe reached across Margaret McDill's lap and opened the passenger door of the BMW. His smoky black hair brushed against her neck as he did, and she shuddered. She had seen his gray roots during the night.

"Your kid's waiting in the McDonald's Playland," he said.

Margaret's heart lurched. She looked at the open door, then back at Joe, who was caressing the BMW's leather-covered steering wheel.

"Sure wish I could keep this ride," he said with genuine regret. "Got used to this. Yes, sir."

"Take it."

"That's not part of the plan. And I always stick to the plan. That's why I'm still around."

As she stared, he opened the driver's door, got out, dropped the keys on the seat, and started walking away.

Margaret sat for a moment without breathing, mistrustful as an injured animal being released into the wild. Then she bolted from the car. With a spastic gait born from panic and exhaustion, she ran toward the McDonald's, gasping a desperate mantra: "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want....The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want....The Lord is my shepherd..."

Huey stopped his green pickup beside his cousin Joe with a screech of eroded brake pads. Two men standing under the roofed entrance of the Barnes & Noble looked over at the sound. They looked like bums hoping to pass themselves off as customers and spend the morning reading the papers on the sofas inside the bookstore. Joe Hickey silently wished them good luck. He'd been that far down before.

When he climbed into the cab, Huey looked at him with the relief of a two-year-old at its returning mother.

"Hey, Joey," Huey said, his head bobbing with relief and excitement.

"Twenty-three hours, ten minutes," Hickey said, tapping his watch. "Cheryl's got the money, nobody got hurt, and no FBI in sight. I'm a goddamn genius, son. Master of the universe."

"I'm just glad it's over," said Huey. "I was scared this time."

Hickey laughed and tousled the hair on Huey's great unkempt head. "Home free for another year, Buckethead."

Reprinted from 24 Hours by Greg Iles by permission of Putnam Books, a member of Penguin Putnam Inc. Copyright (c) 2000 Greg Iles. All rights reserved. This excerpt, or any parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission.

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 $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Join our inner reading circle, go ad-free and get way more!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Real Americans
    Real Americans
    by Rachel Khong
    Rachel Khong's sophomore novel Real Americans is an intergenerational saga that questions racial and...
  • Book Jacket: A Short Walk Through a Wide World
    A Short Walk Through a Wide World
    by Douglas Westerbeke
    From the very first page of A Short Walk Through a Wide World, debut novelist (and librarian!) ...
  • Book Jacket: The Swans of Harlem
    The Swans of Harlem
    by Karen Valby
    Journalist Karen Valby's first book, The Swans of Harlem, introduces readers to the little-known ...
  • Book Jacket: The Sicilian Inheritance
    The Sicilian Inheritance
    by Jo Piazza
    Sara Marsala is going through a rough patch, to say the least. In the process of divorcing from her ...

BookBrowse Book Club

Book Jacket
The Familiar
by Leigh Bardugo
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo comes a spellbinding novel set in the Spanish Golden Age.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    This Strange Eventful History
    by Claire Messud

    An immersive, masterful story of a family born on the wrong side of history.

Who Said...

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

R is a D B S C

and be entered to win..

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.