Harlan Coben: Don’t Let Go

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Harlan Coben Don’t Let Go
  • Название:
    Don’t Let Go
  • Автор:
  • Издательство:
    Century, Penguin Random House
  • Жанр:
    Триллер / на английском языке
  • Год:
    2017
  • Город:
    London
  • Язык:
    Английский
  • ISBN:
    978-1-78089-423-2
  • Рейтинг книги:
    5 / 5
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Don’t Let Go: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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Fifteen years ago in New Jersey, a teenage boy and girl were found dead. Most people concluded it was a tragic suicide pact. The dead boy’s brother, Nap Dumas, did not. Now Nap is a cop — but he’s a cop who plays by his own rules, and who has never made peace with his past. And when the past comes back to haunt him, Nap discovers secrets can kill...

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Harlan Coben

Don’t Let Go

Pour Anne

A Ma Vie de Coer Entier

Author’s Note

When I was growing up in suburban New Jersey, there were two common legends about my hometown.

One was that a notorious Mafia leader lived in a baronial mansion protected by an iron gate and armed guards and that there was an incinerator in the back that may have been used as a makeshift crematorium.

The second legend — the legend that inspired this book — was that adjacent to his property and near an elementary school, behind barbed-wire fencing and official NO TRESPASSING signs, there stood a Nike missile control center with nuclear capabilities.

Years later, I learned that both legends were true.

Prologue

Daisy wore a clingy black dress with a neckline so deep it could tutor philosophy.

She spotted the mark sitting at the end of the bar, wearing a pinstripe gray suit. Hmm. The guy was old enough to be her dad. That might make it more difficult for her to make her play, but then again, it might not. You never knew with the old guys. Some of them, especially the recent divorcés, were all too ready to preen and prove they still had it, even if they’d never had it in the first place.

Especially if they’d never had it in the first place.

As Daisy sauntered across the room, she could feel the eyes of the male patrons crawling down her bare legs like earthworms. When she reached the end of the bar, she made a mild production of lowering herself onto the stool next to him.

The mark peered into the glass of whiskey in front of him as though he were a gypsy with a crystal ball. She waited for him to turn toward her. He didn’t. Daisy studied his profile for a moment. His beard was heavy and gray. His nose was bulbous and putty-like, almost as though it were a Hollywood silicone special effect. His hair was long, straggly, mop-like.

Second marriage, Daisy figured. Second divorce in all probability.

Dale Miller — that was the mark’s name — picked up his whiskey gently. He cradled it in both hands as though it were an injured bird.

“Hi,” Daisy said with a much-practiced hair toss.

Miller’s head turned toward her. He looked her straight in the eyes. She waited for his gaze to dip down the neckline — heck, even women did it with this dress — but it stayed on hers.

“Hello,” he replied. Then he turned back to his whiskey.

Daisy usually let the mark hit on her. That was her go-to technique. She said hi like this, she smiled, the guy asked whether he could buy her a drink. You know the deal. But Miller didn’t look to be in the mood to flirt. He took a deep swallow from his whiskey glass, then another.

That was good. The heavy drinking. That would make this easier.

“Is there something I can do for you?” he asked her.

Burly, Daisy thought. That was the word to describe him. Even in that pinstripe suit, Miller had that burly-biker-Vietnam-vet thing going on, his voice a low rasp. He was the kind of older guy Daisy found oddly sexy, though that was probably her legendary daddy issues rearing their insecure heads. Daisy liked men who made her feel safe.

It had been too long since she’d known one.

Time to try another angle, Daisy thought.

“Do you mind if I just sit here with you?” Daisy leaned a little closer, working the cleavage a bit, and whispered, “There’s this guy...”

“Is he bothering you?”

Sweet. He didn’t say it all macho poseur, like so many of the d-bags she had met along the way. Dale Miller said it calmly, matter-of-factly, chivalrously, even — like a man who wanted to protect her.

“No, no... not really.”

He started looking around the bar. “Which one is he?”

Daisy put a hand on his arm.

“It’s not a big deal. Really. I just... I feel safe here with you, okay?”

Miller met her eyes again. The bulbous nose didn’t go with the face, but you almost didn’t notice it with those piercing blue eyes. “Of course,” he said, but in a cautious voice. “Can I buy you a drink?”

That was pretty much all the opening Daisy needed. She was good with conversation, and men — married, single, getting divorced, whatever — never minded opening up to her. It took Dale Miller a little more time than usual — drink 4, if her count was correct — but eventually he got to the impending divorce from Clara, his, yup, second wife, who was eighteen years his junior. (“Should’ve known, right? I’m such a fool.”) A drink later, he told her about the two kids, Ryan and Simone, the custody battle, his job in finance.

She had to open up too. That was how this worked. Prime the pump. She had a story at the ready for just such occasions — a completely fictional one, of course — but something about the way Miller carried himself made her add shades of candor. Still, she would never tell him the truth. No one knew that, except Rex. And even Rex didn’t know it all.

He drank whiskey. She drank vodka. She tried to imbibe at a slower pace. Twice she took her full glass to the bathroom, dumped it into the sink, filled it with water. Still, Daisy was feeling a little buzzed when the text came in from Rex.

R?

R for “Ready.”

“Everything okay?” Miller asked her.

“Sure. Just a friend.”

She texted back a Y for “Yes” and turned back to him. This was the part where she would normally suggest that they go someplace quieter. Most men jumped at the chance — men were nothing if not predictable on that score — but she wasn’t sure that the direct route would work with Dale Miller. It wasn’t that he didn’t seem interested. He just seemed to be somehow — she wasn’t sure how to put it — above it.

“Can I ask you something?” she began.

Miller smiled. “You’ve been asking me things all night.”

There was a slight slur in his voice. Good.

“Do you have a car?” she asked.

“I do. Why?”

She glanced about the bar. “Could I, uh, ask you for a ride home? I don’t live far.”

“Sure, no problem.” Then: “I may need a little time to sober up—”

Daisy hopped off the stool. “Oh, that’s okay. I’ll walk, then.”

Miller sat upright. “Wait, what?”

“I kinda need to get home now, but if you can’t drive—”

“No, no,” he said, managing to stand. “I’ll take you now.”

“If it’s trouble...”

“No trouble, Daisy.”

Bingo. As they started for the door, Daisy quickly texted Rex:

OOW

Code for “On Our Way.”

Some might call it a con or a swindle, but Rex insisted that it was “righteous” money. Daisy wasn’t sure about righteous, but she didn’t feel a lot of guilt about it either. The plan was simple in execution, if not motive. A man and a woman are getting divorced. The custody battle turns nasty. Both sides get desperate. The wife — technically speaking, the husband could use their services too, though so far it had always been the wife — hired Rex to help her win this bloodiest of battles. How did he do it?

Nail the husband on a DUI.

What better way to show the man is an unfit parent?

So that was how it worked. Daisy’s job was twofold: Make sure the mark was legally drunk, and then get him behind the wheel. Rex, who was a cop, pulled them over and arrested the mark for driving under the influence, and boom, their client gets a big boost in the court proceedings. Right then, Rex was waiting in a squad car two blocks away. He always found an abandoned spot very close to whatever bar the mark would be drinking in that evening. The fewer witnesses, the better. They didn’t want questions.

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