CSI Miami #1: Florida Getaway [NOOK Book]


Lieutenant Horatio Caine leads a crack team of forensic scientists who investigate crimes amid the tropical surroundings and cultural crossroads of Miami. Together, they collect and analyze the evidence to expose the truth and to bring justice to those who often cannot speak for themselves: the victims.
Thomas Lessor left Las Vegas for Miami to get away from it all -- in fact, he felt certain...
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CSI Miami #1: Florida Getaway

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Lieutenant Horatio Caine leads a crack team of forensic scientists who investigate crimes amid the tropical surroundings and cultural crossroads of Miami. Together, they collect and analyze the evidence to expose the truth and to bring justice to those who often cannot speak for themselves: the victims.
Thomas Lessor left Las Vegas for Miami to get away from it all -- in fact, he felt certain he was going to get away with murder. But he was wrong, and the Las Vegas PD soon contacted Miami with a warrant for his arrest.
Hot on his trail, the Miami CSIs are called to the scene of his abandoned car...a car that's been abandoned in spirit but not in body. And on a pleasant and secluded Miami beach, a young couple is about to make a gruesome discovery....
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743488662
  • Publisher: Pocket Books
  • Publication date: 8/1/2003
  • Series: CSI: Miami Series , #1
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 576,923
  • File size: 323 KB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 2: Vanishing Act

Sitting toward the north end of Collins Avenue, the Conquistador was part of a high-rise lineup that included the Westin Miami Beach, the Conquistador, then the Eden Roc, the Fontainebleau and the Four Points. Horatio Caine had been here several times over the years, in his role as crime scene investigator; but that said nothing negative about the hotel. The place had a good reputation; any resort like this would have its share of heart attacks, accidents, and the like. The Conquistador had always been a class act, and the Boyle family -- particularly the late Phillip Boyle -- had a classy rep to go with it.

Two uniformed officers trailing him at a respectful distance, Caine entered the air-conditioned lobby, slipping off his sunglasses, taking in the well-maintained fifties-style ambiance. It was easy to imagine Frank and Dino and maybe Jerry (with or without Dino, depending on the year) moving through this lobby with a fawning entourage, inciting wide eyes and pointing fingers and oohs and ahhs from the tourists.

Matching suits of armor stood sentinel on either side of the generously wide glass front doors, the carpeted path to the front desk red, making a bridge over the expanse of white marble floor. Rich tapestries and paintings adorned the walls, and massive windows overlooked the swimming pool and the beach beyond, with the shimmer of the Atlantic Ocean. Two elderly women sat sipping iced tea and watching the activity of younger generations outside.

Caine crossed to the desk, the cops trailing dutifully, silently, and waited for the only visible clerk to get off the phone. When the phone call ended, the clerk gave Caine a sincere smile. "Terribly sorry for the wait, sir. How may I be of assistance?"

Caine discreetly showed the clerk his badge-in-wallet ID. "I'm looking for one of your guests -- Thomas Lessor."

The man's smile remained but his eyes tightened. "Mr. Lessor isn't technically a guest," the clerk said. "He's vice president. He keeps a suite here, although sometimes he can be found at the family home."

"Is he here or isn't he?" Caine asked.

The clerk seemed suddenly confused.

"It's not a trick question," Caine said. "This is official police business and I need to speak to Mr. Lessor."

"You can't," the clerk said, frowning now.

"Actually, I can. That's one of the privileges of carrying a badge."

"What I mean to say is, he's not here."

"Okay," Caine said. "We've finally established that. Would he be at the family home?"


"You're sure of that?"

"Yes. He was expected here. We were told to make his suite ready for him."

"Expected here? He hasn't arrived?"

"No. And, uh, frankly, Mr. Boyle is a bit concerned."

"Which Boyle would that be?"

"Daniel Boyle. Our manager." The clerk's eyes darted around, as if this important man might appear in a puff of smoke at the mention of his name. "Son of Mrs. Lessor, Deborah Lessor, owner of the hotel."

Caine leaned an elbow on the counter. "Father was Phillip?"

"Yes, sir. He's the son of the late Mr. Boyle."

Caine considered all of this, momentarily. "Have you checked with the airport?"

"I did that myself, sir, personally. Mr. Lessor's plane landed right on time, and he was on it -- the airport confirmed that this morning."

"All right. Then where can I find Daniel Boyle?"

The clerk gestured toward a hallway beyond the chairs to Caine's left. "He's in the lounge now -- working with the talent."

Caine thanked the clerk and started off toward and down that hallway, the two uniformed cops falling in silently behind him like a pair of burly, obedient attack dogs. Old-fashioned, glittery homemade signs along the way touted the Explorer Lounge and the nightly attraction, singer Maria Chacon.

An 8 by 10 black-and-white photo, in a sparkly starburst, revealed the singer to be a strikingly attractive dark-skinned woman, with big black hair, large dark eyes, and a self-confident, sultry half-smile; she had plenty of personality and even more cleavage. Caine kept walking, but the cops openly gawked. Somehow Caine just knew that Maria Chacon would be the "talent" Daniel Boyle was working with.

As they neared the double doors to the Explorer Lounge, the thumping bass of the band rolled out to meet them and he could feel it in the pit of his stomach and even in the bottoms of his feet. When he pulled open one of the doors, the volume increased to just below ear-bleed level and the bass now pounded against Caine's chest, like an external heartbeat.

The tiered room had banquettes arranged in ever-widening C-shapes with aisles down either side, stadium-style seating, the middle one aimed at the barely raised stage. The banquettes' open side faced the entertainment and Caine guessed the place probably seated about five hundred. The floor bore that same red carpeting with the coats of arms -- the Conquistador consistently rolled out the red carpet for its guests. The lounge was empty but for a fourteen-piece Latin band onstage, fronted by Maria Chacon, and one man down front in the center banquette -- presumably, Daniel Boyle.

On the stage, the woman looked even more beautiful than she had in the photo -- in the same skimpy sparkly dress -- and she seemed electrically charged as she danced around the stage.

That dress looked to be constructed entirely of silver sequins, what there was of it, cut low and high at the same time -- low on top and high on the bottom. The pastel-colored lights favored her dark skin and black hair, making for an even more high-voltage performance, as the sequins reflected like countless tiny mirrors. Behind her, the band pounded away. Caine counted bass, two guitars, keyboard, drummer and two other percussionists, four horn players, and two backup singers, encouraging the vocalist with their choruses of "Shake your bon bon, baby." Maria Chacon, doing as instructed, brought the count to fourteen, as she flounced across the stage.

Immersed in his work as he was, Horatio Caine often felt bewildered by the gaiety he encountered in Miami. Didn't these people know that murders were happening out there? What was there, exactly, to sing and dance about?

As the song wound down, Caine led his little posse up the center aisle. Just as the music ended with a flourish, the man Caine assumed to be Boyle rose and walked to the foot of the stage, where he talked quietly with Maria Chacon. Caine could see that she'd noticed his presence, flicking her eyes toward him occasionally as she spoke to her oblivious boss; but she said nothing as the three officers came up behind him.

"...and don't be shy about shaking that moneymaker a little more during that last chorus," Boyle said -- his voice was like good whiskey, smooth but with a bite. "Hey, it's not like you're going to break it."

Maria rolled her eyes. Up close and in person, she was even more beautiful than the starburst 8 by 10 indicated. Her eyes were dark but flashed under the stage lights. "Jesus, Danny! I'm a singer -- not a stripper!"

"Hey, honey," he said, raising his voice just a little. "You sing great -- but they'll think you sing really great if -- "

Before he could finish, Caine stepped forward. "Sorry to interrupt -- Daniel Boyle?"

"I'm Daniel Boyle and this is a closed dress rehearsal," the man said as he turned, before seeing the uniformed cops.

Boyishly handsome, the thirtyish Boyle had high, wide cheekbones, close-cropped dark hair that was starting to recede a little, springing out in unruly cowlicks here and there. His slender frame was encased in an expensive black cashmere sweater, gray slacks, and black Bruno Magli's. His clothes said "money," and his attitude did too.

Caine flashed his badge. "Miami-Dade Police, Mr. Boyle. We understand you're concerned about Mr. Lessor not showing up here at the hotel."

Boyle frowned. "I didn't call anything in. Anyway, isn't it twenty-four hours before you can report a missing person?"

"That's a myth, sir. But do you consider him missing?"

"Well, he's not here. What would you call it?"

Boyle's gray eyes were sharp and intelligent, but carried a hint of weariness; the presence of Caine and the two cops wasn't the only thing in this life that didn't impress him much.

"We're looking for Mr. Lessor ourselves," Caine said. "I was hoping maybe you could help us."

Boyle looked impatient, but he said nothing to Caine. Instead, he turned back to the singer and the musicians. "That's all for now! Maria?...We'll talk later."

The singer gave him a blank look that nonetheless struck Caine as most expressive; then she took a few discreet steps away and accepted a white hotel towel from one of the backup singers. As she moved off, Boyle turned back to Caine again, but remained silent.

It occurred to Caine that Maria Chacon could probably still hear them, as she dabbed at her sweaty hair; he didn't particularly care, but wondered if she were purposely positioning herself to eavesdrop.

Caine said, "Thomas Lessor is, I believe, your stepfather."

"Yes he is," Boyle said noncommittally. "What does that have to do with him being missing?"

On stage, the band was beating a hasty, murmuring retreat into the wings. In the end, only Maria Chacon remained.

Caine pressed on with this mildly hostile witness. "Wasn't your stepfather supposed to come to the hotel after his plane landed last night?"

Shrugging, Boyle scratched absently at one of the cowlicks. "That was the plan, but he doesn't always come straight here."

"Where else would he go?"

"He's a grown-up, Mr. Crane. He goes where he pleases."

"It's Caine. He isn't staying in your family home?"

"That's where I live. He'd be welcome, of course, but Tom prefers a suite here at the hotel. What's this about, anyway?"

Keeping his cards close, Caine said, "We need to talk to him about an ongoing investigation."

"What the hell 'ongoing investigation' could there be? Tom hasn't even been in Miami in..." Boyle's voice trailed off. "This is about that supposed murder in Vegas, isn't it? They're not still trying to pin that Hardy thing on him, are they? Jesus!"

"I'm not at liberty to say."

The hotel manager gestured dismissively. "The judge threw that pile of lies out of court."

"When was the last time you saw your stepfather?"

Boyle eyed him as if deciding how far he was going to let this go. "Two weeks ago. I spent the weekend with him and my mother at our new resort hotel. Why in God's name are you still hassling him after the judge threw the case out?"

Ignoring the question, Caine asked, "How did you feel when your mother moved out to Vegas with him?"

That drew a nasty grin from Boyle. "You're fishing now, Detective Caine."

"Actually, it's Lieutenant."

"Lieutenant. Just out of civic-spiritedness -- I'll tell you anyway. I had no reason to be angry when my mother and Tom moved to Las Vegas. I was glad that she found happiness again, and when they left, this whole hotel fell right into my lap. Why exactly would I be unhappy?"

Caine said nothing, but something just didn't seem right.

"The truth is, Lieutenant Caine, I like my stepfather very much. Great guy. I'd even say, we're very close."

"He's a little near your age to be a father figure, isn't he?"

"We're more like brothers."

Except one of the brothers is sleeping with Mom, Caine thought. Nodding, the CSI said, "You just don't know where he went after his plane landed last night?"

"No, and you're right, I have been worried. My people called the airport and were told Tom's plane landed around twelve-thirty, midnight and I have no idea where he went after that."

"Where might he have gone?"

Boyle shrugged. "Tom's been doing business down here for a long time -- he has a lot of friends at the other hotels. Could have stayed at any one of a half dozen of 'em last night."

"But why would he do that?"

"You'll have to ask Tom."

"And he didn't call and tell you of a change of plans?"

"No. Isn't that obvious?"

Caine shrugged. "It's just, you'd think he'd call you -- close as you are -- to keep you from worrying."

"Well, he didn't, and I don't know that I'd have done differently in his place."

Eyes narrowed, Caine said, "You were concerned enough to have the airport called."

Boyle's eyes widened in exasperation. "Try curious! Look, he landed safely in Miami, but he's free to do what he wants. If he wanted to spend the night somewhere else, that's his decision."

Caine cast another line into the water. "Even if he spent it with a woman who wasn't your mother?"

Boyle's upper lip curled. "Tom worships my mother. He would never do that kind of thing."

"It's been well established that the woman he was accused of murdering, Mr. Boyle, was his mistress."

"'Mistress'?" Boyle snorted a laugh. "What an antiquated, moralistic word...but coming from a throwback like you, Lieutenant Caine, I'm not surprised." He thrust an arm, pointing toward the lobby. "You've worn out your welcome, Officer -- get out of my hotel. Now."

For several long moments, Caine kept his eyes on Boyle. Finally, he said, "All right, Mr. Boyle. I'll leave your premises -- that's your call -- until I come back with a search warrant."

Boyle's eyes and nostrils flared. "Jesus Christ! Tom is not here!"

Calmly, Caine said, "Your stepfather is wanted for murder, Mr. Boyle. Harboring him could be a serious criminal offense."

"God damn!"

"And we're going to have officers watching this facility -- if we see any sign of Mr. Lessor, they'll move in." From the corner of his eye, Caine saw the singer disappear into the wings. "So you might wish to spare yourself the embarrassment, and -- "

"Get the hell out," Boyle said, tugging a cell phone from his pocket. "I've got a business to run. I don't have the luxury of hanging around on the taxpayer's dollar."

Caine flinched a non-smile. "Thank you for your help, sir."

Leaving the seething hotel manager to make his call -- to his stepfather? to a lawyer? -- Caine and the two cops headed back up the aisle and into the hall that led back to the lobby.

They hadn't gone far when a door on the right opened and a lushly black-maned head popped out -- the singer, Maria Chacon.

The uniformed cop to Caine's right was startled, but the CSI held out a calming hand.

The woman stepped out and glanced quickly up and down the hall, apparently to make sure they were alone. "I need to talk to you, Lieutenant." Lieutenant -- not "Officer" or "Detective"; she had been eavesdropping.

"Go right ahead, Ms. Chacon," Caine said, planting himself, folding his arms.

"Ssshhh!" she said. "Not here -- not now. Mr. Boyle could come out at any moment and see us!"

"All right," Caine said. "How about the coffee shop at the Eden Roc, next door? In one hour?"

The dark-haired beauty considered that for a moment, then nodded. "One hour....Just you. Not the blue boys."

She meant the uniformed cops.

"Not the blue boys," Caine said, quietly amused.

The two cops were exchanging glances -- one confused, the other a little hurt.

"All right," she said. "Be there -- it'll be worth your time, Lieutenant."

"I won't stand you up," Caine said.

She smiled, just a little. "No man ever has."

"I believe that."

And then she was back inside the lounge.

As the three cops walked into the lobby, Caine already had his cell phone out, dialing Judge Balin to get a search warrant. Caine had called Balin, a longtime law-and-order jurist who believed in dispensing justice swiftly, because he could get fast service. If Lessor was on the premises, they would find him.

His second call was to dispatch, to arrange for officers to cover the entrances, and he was told, as usual, to make do with the group he had. No way could the three of them cover all the exits, but they would have to do the best they could. One went around back to the boardwalk that stretched most of the length of Miami Beach, while the other one kept his eyes on the front door. As for Caine, he waited impatiently for the warrant that would allow him to find out if Lessor was here.

A patrolman rolled up to Caine in the U-shaped driveway of the Conquistador in less than an hour. The officer came out of his car waving the document, then hustled over. The CSI supervisor had the officer radio the cop around back as Caine ordered the one out front to remain there while he and the patrolman went inside.

After Caine handed him the warrant, the desk clerk phoned Daniel Boyle and the manager appeared from somewhere down the hall, shaking his head as he walked up to the desk.

"What now?" he asked.

The clerk handed over the warrant.

"That's my passkey to your hotel," Caine said.

Bristling, Boyle said, "I don't like your attitude."

With a shrug, Caine said, "I get that, from time to time -- don't you?"

Boyle looked the warrant over. "This limits you to my stepfather's suite."

Caine nodded. "Would you like to accompany us?"

Reaching for his cell phone again, Boyle said, "Manuel, you go with the officer -- I'll watch the desk."

Manuel's face showed that he didn't like the order much, but he said nothing and came around the counter with a key. "This way, sir."

Leaving Officer Jacobs on watch in the lobby, Caine followed the desk clerk onto the elevator, standing silently while the clerk fidgeted nervously as they rode up the twenty floors to the penthouse.

"Your name is Manuel?" Caine asked conversationally.

"Yes, sir."

"Ever see a TV show called Fawlty Towers?"

"No, sir."

"Probably just as well."

When the double doors opened, they came out into a short foyer with a large mahogany door in front of them. The CSI supervisor pulled on a pair of latex gloves.

Most of the rooms in the hotel used an electronic Ving key, but this one had a Yale lock. The desk clerk slipped his key in and swung the door open and got out of Caine's way as the CSI entered, shutting the door behind him, leaving his host in the hall.

As Caine expected, this was not your typical hotel room -- no functional carpeting, rather a hardwood floor accented by two area rugs, one in the middle of the living room and a long narrow one that disappeared down a hall to the left. To Caine's right, a white sofa piled with cushions hugged the wall, facing a coffee table and two highback chairs that matched the sofa. A big-screen TV sat at an angle to the right of the sofa, in front of floor-to-ceiling windows -- curtains open -- overlooking Atlantic beachfront twenty floors below. The wall to Caine's left was dominated by a fireplace, the mantel arrayed with photos of Thomas and, presumably, Deborah Lessor, as well as one of a blonde Deborah and a younger Daniel Boyle. A doorway on that wall led to the kitchen.

Despite the breathtaking view, the expensive furnishings, even the family photographs, the suite had a sterile, unlived-in, showroom feel. Not only was there no sign that Lessor was here now, it was hard to imagine that he or anyone other than cleaning staff ever had been.

Still, Caine had a job to do.

He began in the living room, finding not so much as a fingerprint. His next stop was the high-tech kitchen, where a stainless-steel refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher were interspersed between sections of black countertop. A black table with service for six sat in the middle of the oversized room. He opened the refrigerator and found several untouched oversized bottles of Evian, two bottles of wine, and a six-pack of imported beer, but no real food.

The bathroom was next, and although it had larger-size toiletries than a normal hotel bathroom, the soap, shampoo, and other products were untouched. The only toothbrush in the medicine chest was still in its blister pack.

Shaking his head, Caine moved on to the bedroom. The king-size bed sat immediately to his right, the same floor-to-ceiling windows as the living room beyond that. The mattress was hard -- he could have bounced a quarter off it -- and although he found clothes in some of the drawers of the large armoire on the north wall, they all looked brand new, the socks still on those little plastic hangers, the handkerchiefs next to them still in their packaging.

Nothing in this apartment gave Caine any sense of the man -- no magazines, no books, nothing significant about the decoration; his wife stayed here, too, from time to time, but no evidence indicated a female's presence -- not even clothes or toiletries.

Caine had the distinct feeling that this suite was a fraud -- that not only had Lessor spent no time here in the past twenty-four hours, but the man perhaps kept some other, secret quarters in town.

Another thought was nagging Caine. Had Lessor simply landed in one plane and caught another for some country with no extradition agreement with the United States? While they would be combing Southern Florida looking for him, Lessor would be combing some beach in Rio. Caine considered calling Catherine in Vegas and sharing these thoughts, then decided to instead wait until after he met with Maria Chacon.

The search warrant coming up empty would have disappointed him a lot more if he'd actually expected to find something here. Of course, he was pretty sure it hadn't been a completely wasted trip. He'd confirmed to his satisfaction that Thomas Lessor hadn't set foot within this apartment within the last twenty-four hours. Hell, the last six months.

But Thomas Lessor had to be somewhere, and Caine was sure this place could be taken off the list of Miami possibilities. He needed more information to come up with any other options. He checked his watch.

In about ten minutes, Maria Chacon would be at the Eden Roc, and he didn't want to keep the singer waiting. She had something on her mind, something to share about Daniel Boyle and perhaps Thomas Lessor.

And whatever she had to give him, it was more than he had right now.

Copyright © 2003 by CBS Worldwide Inc. and Alliance Atlantis Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 19 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2014


    This looks like a good place to conduct business.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2013


    Is this book over the top good because i a. Not going to buy an exspensive book if its stinksu

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2013


    I love your mom

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013


    Allright my love..... will i b mentoring? Goodnight

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2013


    Silver res 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,910

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 1, 2013


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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 17, 2012

    Very good.

    I liked the part where Speed was warning Horatio that the victim didn't smell very good, and I also liked the part where Horatio freaked Speed out when he was working with the audio-visual guy.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Jennifer Wardrip - Personal Read

    This was my first CSI: MIAMI serialized novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I have to say that Max Allan Collins, the author who writes the majority of all CSI titles, seems to have a better understanding of Horatio Caine than of Gil Grissom. The character descriptions were much better than some of those I've read in the regular CSI novels.<BR/><BR/>FLORIDA GETAWAY has a case that starts in Las Vegas with the regular CSI team and then spreads to Miami and Horatio's team. It's a well-developed case and a pretty darn good plot. Definitely recommended for CSI and CSI: MIAMI fans!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2005

    perfect mix of c.s.i crime scene investigation and c.si. miami

    this was a really good book.i think people should buy this.i can't ever decide whether to buy csi or csi miami books. then i see this book it's csi and csi miami together.i couldn't stop reading this book.again this was a really good book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2004

    Great Book

    Normally, it takes me a month to read a novel, but this was such a keeper, I finished it in two days!!!! A must have for any CSI collection!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2004

    Great Forensic Book

    This book is great for people that love to watch the CBS series of CSI Miami. Max Collins is a fabulos writer that always writes to the level that makes you so excited to keep reading. I just recently started reading CSI Miami books and i love them!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2004


    This was one of the best books I have read! If you watch the TV series then you will love the book. All of the books in the CSI:Miami and CSI are very interesting and you will not want to put them down! I dont even like to read but this whole series was so interesting and great to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2004

    Florida Getaway Review

    I only gave this book 2 stars because it did not hold my attention, I could not keep reading it for long amouts of time because it didn't bring me in and make me want more after I was done reading. I would recommend this book if you like mysteries and trying to solve things but if thats not your thing I would not suggest this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted March 26, 2011

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    Posted April 3, 2009

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    Posted October 31, 2009

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    Posted February 15, 2013

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    Posted November 21, 2009

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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