Bestseller Green (Kingdom Come) introduces a tough, appealing hero in his action-packed 12th thriller. Jake Carlson, a correspondent for the tabloid TV news show American Outrage, based in New York City, has softened his hard line a bit after his wife's recent death, but is still capable of going for the jugular when necessary for a hot story. On the home front, to help his preteen adopted son, Sam, get over his grief, Jake agrees to try and track down Sam's biological mother. This simple request goes from bad to worse once pseudo-celebrity Jake starts asking questions about the boy's supposed Albanian roots. After Jake is drugged and shot at, his personal life becomes tabloid fodder as his own colleagues ruthlessly chase down the story. When Sam disappears, Jake gets serious and sets out to do whatever it takes to bring his son back, regardless of who pays the price. Green's tale is ripe with irony and full of barbs. (Apr.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
American Outrageby Tim Green, Scott Brick (Read by)
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Jake Carlson, a correspondent for the TV news show American Outrage, inhabits a world of sensational trials and crazed celebrities. One of the nation's top television journalists, he's used to dragging himself through the dirt to get to the truth. When his adopted son, Sam, asks him to use his muckraking talents to find his birth mother, Jake is stunned by the ugly secrets he unearths: an international crime syndicate, a horrifying child trafficking ring, and a corrupt politician, the patriarch of an old New York financial dynasty.
Initially galvanized by a career-making exclusive, Jake-and his son-are soon the victims of brutal violence and the targets of Jake's fellow reporters, who dog them for their story. Concerned for the survival of his family, Jake realizes some sins of the past should never be uncovered...
Filled with an insider's knowledge of tabloid news and the experience of an adopted son seeking his biological parents, AMERICAN OUTRAGE proves to be Tim Green's best, most personal thriller yet.
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American OutrageA Novel
By Tim Green
Warner BooksCopyright © 2007 Tim Green
All right reserved.
Chapter OneSAM'S HEAD WAS BACK against the wall, his eyes painfully closed, wearing the look of a refugee. Crusted blood caked the edges of his nostrils and sloppy crimson smears marked the trail that must have run down either side of his mouth and off the chin. His white Yankees T-shirt, oversized to hide a stomach that spilled over his belt, was stained and rumpled.
Jake's jaw tightened and he drew deep breaths of air through his nose. He flung open the door and Sam looked at him, blinking back fresh, seventh-grade tears. The principal, Ms. Dean, burst out of her office, shooting her glare at Jake, then at Sam, then back to Jake. Ms. Dean wore a frumpy blue dress. She had a small, grandmother's face, with curly white hair and petite round glasses, what you might expect on a can of baked beans. She tapped the backs of her fingers against the open door of a conference room and said, "In here, please."
Jake put a hand on Sam's husky shoulder, giving it a squeeze before he followed the principal's orders. She snapped her fingers at Sam. Jake cleared his throat, felt his cheeks go warm, and sat down at the far end of the table after folding his raincoat and laying it over the back of the chair to drip. Ms. Dean pointed to a chair and Sam sat down at the opposite end of the table. The principal put a piece of paper in front of Jake, handing him a pen.
"An order of suspension," she said. "This is three. The next one and he'll be expelled, Mr. Carlson. We can't have this fighting."
"Ms. Dean," Jake said, offering her the same smile that he used to open the hearts of total strangers.
"No, Mr. Carlson," she said, showing him her trembling palm. "I know it's been hard for Sam, losing a parent. But this school is supposed to be a safe zone for my students."
"Are you sure about what happened?"
Ms. Dean frowned, the little crescent wrinkles at the corners of her mouth rippling outward and down toward the tuft of fuzz on her chin.
"He bit them," she said.
Jake flashed a look at Sam, who only hung his head.
"I saw the teeth marks," she said. "And there's blood on his braces."
Sam tightened his lips and winced.
Jake scrawled his signature below the principal's.
"Come on, Sam," Jake said. He got up and grabbed his coat, walking past his son and letting himself out into the office.
"I think he should see Dr. Stoddard," the principal said, raising her voice. "Obviously, whatever you're doing privately isn't working."
Sam followed close behind, filling the entryway with his large presence. Jake wasn't a big man, but at just thirteen, Sam was nearly as tall and weighed about the same. It wasn't unusual for people to overestimate his age by three or four years.
Outside, Jake held the umbrella for Sam, giving him all the protection it could offer against the teeming late spring rain. He saw Sam into the passenger side, slamming the door before collapsing the umbrella and tossing it into the trunk. He climbed into the seat of his BMW coupe and wiped away the courses of water running down his face.
"You bit them? Are you kidding me?"
Sam slumped further into the seat and deepened his scowl. He folded his thick arms across his chest and angled his head away so that Jake could see nothing of his features except the ends of those long dark lashes and the tip of his pug nose. Jake slapped the steering wheel, whipping droplets of rain from the stringy ends of his hair across the burl-wood dashboard. He cursed, slammed the car into gear, and raced off into the downpour toward home. The wipers pounded out their beat, fighting off the hissing buckets of rain as they crossed the bridge to Atlantic Beach.
"My father would have kicked my ass," Jake said. "Is that what you want? Is that what this is about? I'm too easy on you? I'm your buddy and you want some goddamn assurances that I'm in charge?"
Jake pulled up short at a light, stomping on the brake so that Sam bumped his head against the dash.
"Where's your goddamned seat belt?" Jake said. "Can you follow at least one rule?"
Jake just stared at Sam until he popped open the door and ran out into the rain.
All Jake could do was watch as he ran across the parking lot, a husky, hunched-over shape in tennis shoes, whose bear-gait sent him into the misty gray rain coming in off the ocean until it swallowed him completely.
"I don't belong," Sam said, his face contorting as if someone had pinched his skin, then let go.
"I'm sorry, Sam," Jake said. He knelt down and touched Sam's shoulder.
Jake hadn't bothered with the umbrella when he went after him. His suit clung tight to his body and dark blue dye stained the backs of his hands. Sam sat balled up underneath the boardwalk with his head in his knees, trembling. Heavy drops from the boardwalk above plunked into the lake of water surrounding them and the rain hissed as it struck the dunes beyond.
"They say you're not my dad," Sam said, his head back in his knees, his shoulders shuddering. "Everyone sees you on TV and they say you're not my dad. I tell them to shut up, but I don't look like you, and if someone hits you, you always said to hit them back."
"Sure," Jake said, moving his hand from Sam's shoulder to his dripping head, "but you don't bite people, Son. You just don't."
Sam's head jerked up and his big dark eyes had that red cast.
"There was three of them. Mike Petroccelli was choking me from behind and I put my head down. I didn't bite him. He was pulling my head off and my braces cut his arm. There was three of them. I didn't bite. I swear to God."
"Is that what all these fights are about?" Jake asked. "You being adopted?"
Sam nodded his head and dropped it between his knees. When he spoke, his words were muffled. "I want you to find my mom."
Jake lost the feeling in his arms and legs and his head felt light.
"Your mom's gone, Sam," Jake heard himself say.
"No," Sam said, his voice barely audible above the shattering rain on the boardwalk above, "not Mom, my real mom. I want you to find her."
Jake felt his lunch pushing up into his throat and he swallowed it back down.
"The records are gone. That was part of how we got you. We wanted you so badly, your mom and I. You have to know how bad we wanted you, Sam."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean, someone out there knows. There are things on the Internet about everyone."
Jake shook his head. "You're talking about finding a person. You don't just go Yahoo! it."
He studied Sam for a moment then looked at his watch. "I know you don't want to hear this, but I've got to get you home and get to the city. I got the nanny Angelina Jolie just fired."
Sam rolled his eyes.
"I know," Jake said. "Who gives a shit, right? But we get to live in a house on the beach and eat Häagen-Dazs by the gallon."
"You find everyone else," Sam said, looking up at him, his eyes looking into Jake's. "That's what you do. You find people. They talk to you. That's your job. I want you to do that for me. I want to find her."
Before the crap he was doing now, Jake had spent time in the streets of Kabul and Baghdad. He'd seen the mobs, the fighting, smelled the gunpowder, the burnt and rotting flesh. That didn't scare him the way this did because this wasn't someone else's problem that Jake was there to give an account of. This was his problem, and he knew it was a problem. His instincts, the same ones that had launched his career as a journalist, had told him back then when they got Sam that something was wrong. It wasn't anything on the surface, all the documents were there. The lawyers had signed off. There were assurances.
But Karen had gone through the first of many operations back then, and she was desperate for a baby, desperate because she knew that no matter how it turned out she could no longer have children of her own. And back then, when they were praying that maybe she'd been cured, Jake wanted to give her that baby more than he'd ever wanted anything. To make her a mother. To make her life complete. And as hungry as Jake was for his own success, it paled next to the yearning he felt for Karen to have what she wanted and for her to be happy.
So, he had pushed it.
Jake realized Sam was still looking into his eyes and it made him start. Sam was a boy whose eyes usually shifted, his head tilting down, and his face disappearing beneath that dark thatch of unruly hair. This time, though, Sam held his gaze. And maybe it was because Jake had seen that same desperate look in the faces of so many strangers that, despite the fact he was scared, he said yes.
"Okay, Sam," he said. "I'll find her. I'll try."
Excerpted from American Outrage by Tim Green Copyright © 2007 by Tim Green. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Tim Green has written eleven previous thrillers and the nonfiction New York Times bestseller THE DARK SIDE OF THE GAME. He played eight years in the NFL and is a member of the New York State Bar. Today he is a featured commentator on NPR and FOX Sports. He lives with his wife and four children in upstate New York. For more information about the author visit: http://www.timgreenbooks.com.
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Tim Green's latest was not one of his best but does keep the reader interested. I found the characters a bit on the average side and the plot was good but not the best I have ever read. I enjoyed the book, just not on my top 10.
I was disappointed in this book , it didnt seem to reveal Who Sam's mother was , Implied Martha , but did not confirm it I wasted several days reading it
In New York City American Outrage TV news reporter Jake Carlson mourns the loss of his wife Karen. However, their thirteen years old adopted son Sam is having more trouble with her death in many ways more than Jake is as the kid feels he does not belong anymore. Sam asks Jake to find his biological mother reluctantly he agrees though he is not sure how successful he can be as they adopted him from a nebulous Albanian system. --- Jake starts his search with the lawyer who finalized the adoption only to find the man committed suicide. He next goes to the Albanian agency only to learn they are no longer in the baby business instead they are a travel agency. Still though he makes little progress, Jake digs deeper for Sam¿s sake with his teen at his side. When the travel agency head is killed after a night with Jake, he knows he is getting close, but not sure what he has. He becomes tabloid news, Sam vanishes, and the Mafia and an unknown affluent adversary want Jake stopped. --- This is an enjoyable thriller as Jake changes during the course of the quest. Whereas he initially gives his investigation lip service, he soon realizes how important it is. Adding interest to the fun tale is the reporter becomes the subject of his peers and gets a taste of his own medicine. Fans will enjoy this solid investigative tale. --- Harriet Klausner
As host of the TV news show American Outrage the widowed Jake Carlson is an expert at digging up the truth behind the real story. When his teenage adopted son, Sam, asks Jake to track down his birth mother Jake grudgingly agrees. Sam has been acting up in school lately and Jake thinks finding his birth mother might bring Sam some peace.
The further Jake digs the more he reveals shocking evidence of crimes including illegal baby trafficking and a long line of cover ups in one of New York's wealthiest political families. Jake and Sam get caught up in a dangerous game with players who will stop at nothing to keep the truth from being revealed.
I enjoyed listening to the abridged version of American Outrage and thought it was a great story but just a little too predictable. I saw situations coming from a mile away and even correctly guessed the ending but I still felt that it was worth my time. Jake is endearing as the caring Dad who is trying to do right by his son and Sam is an annoying know-it-all with a "potty mouth" but Green makes it work within the story line.
What I also liked about the story is that when all was said and done, Jake got a taste of what it was like to be on the opposite end of the media spectacle. This was my first book by Tim Green and I liked it well enough that I'll be on the lookout for more by him. I recommend this one for action lovers.