The Ethical Assassin

( 27 )

Overview

"No one is more surprised than Lem Altick when it turns out he's actually good at peddling encyclopedias door to door. He hates the predatory world of sales, but he needs the money to pay for college. Then things go horribly wrong. In a sweltering trailer in rural Florida, a couple to whom Lem has spent hours pitching is shot dead before his eyes, and the unassuming young man is suddenly pulled into the dark world of conspiracy and murder. Not just murder: assassination - or so claims the killer, the mysterious and strangely charismatic Melford
... See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (45) from $1.99   
  • New (1) from $17.50   
  • Used (44) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$17.50
Seller since 2010

Feedback rating:

(77)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
Westminster, Maryland, U.S.A. 2006 Hardcover First Edition (1st printing), New in New jacket Book. 12mo-over 6?"-7?" tall. This is a New and Unread copy of the first edition ... (1st printing)l. Read more Show Less

Ships from: South Portland, ME

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by
The Ethical Assassin

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$9.99
BN.com price

Overview

"No one is more surprised than Lem Altick when it turns out he's actually good at peddling encyclopedias door to door. He hates the predatory world of sales, but he needs the money to pay for college. Then things go horribly wrong. In a sweltering trailer in rural Florida, a couple to whom Lem has spent hours pitching is shot dead before his eyes, and the unassuming young man is suddenly pulled into the dark world of conspiracy and murder. Not just murder: assassination - or so claims the killer, the mysterious and strangely charismatic Melford Kean, who has struck without remorse and with remarkable good cheer. But the self-styled ethical assassin hadn't planned on a witness, and so he makes Lem a deal: Stay quiet and there will be no problems. Go to the police and take the fall." Before Lem can decide, he is drawn against his will into the realm of the assassin, a post-Marxist intellectual with whom he forms an unlikely (and perhaps unwise) friendship. The ethical assassin could be a charming sociopath, eco-activist, or vigilante for social justice. To unravel the mystery and save himself, Lem must descend deep into a bizarre world he never knew existed, where a group of desperate - and genuinely deranged - schemers has hatched a plan that will very likely keep Lem from leaving town alive.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
With the brutal redneck sensibilities of a Charlie Huston novel (Caught Stealing, Six Bad Things, et al.) and the darkly comedic existential angst of crime fiction by Charles Willeford, The Ethical Assassin by David Liss is a laugh-out-loud masterwork of a mystery that explores, among other things, animal rights, vegetarianism, methamphetamine addiction, and the ideology of morality-based vigilantism.

Hoping to sve up enough money to go to college, Lemuel Altick is selling encyclopedias door-to-door throughout rural Florida over the summer. His life is irrevocably changed when, just as he is closing a sale with some down-and-out trailer park residents, a gunman storms in and shoots them dead. The fates of Altick and this strangely introspective, white-haired assassin (a "post-Marxist vigilante") become intertwined, as both men try to cover up their involvement in the murder. At the same time, they struggle to unravel a complex moneymaking scheme involving a crooked police chief (who guzzles Yoo-hoo mixed with whiskey and sports a mullet), the pedophilic head of the encyclopedia distribution company, and a ruthless thug named Kenny Rogers whose nickname is, you guessed it, the Gambler. Throw in a formerly conjoined twin who communicates with her deceased other half, the I Ching, a nightmarish hog farm, and an inhumane animal testing facility, and you've got yourself an unforgettable story!

As irreverent as it is enlightening, The Ethical Assassin is equal parts mystery, thriller, philosophical entreaty, coming-of-age tale, and dark comedy. Like Pulp Fiction meets Catcher in the Rye, this is a singularly unique storytelling tour de force that readers will not soon forget -- a work of pure twisted genius. Paul Goat Allen
Ron Charles
All this is great fun, and if Liss is trespassing on Carl Hiaasen's turf, well, who cares? It's a big state. What's more troubling is the heavy-handed moralizing that Liss dishes out in this otherwise comic thriller. Once he's dispatched Karen and Bastard, Melford spends the rest of the novel patiently leading Lem (and us) to the wisdom of animal rights, with a dose of wide-eyed Marxism. There's a tedious earnestness to these passages, as though we've been trapped by one of those well-meaning volunteers on the street with a clipboard who wants to explain why our lives are immoral. Several times, the novel's humor evaporates, even the plot is suspended, and the colloquy begins: "What about medical research?" "Shouldn't we have the right to take advantage of our position on the food chain?" "Is cruelty motivated by capital less evil than other kinds of cruelty?"
— The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
Liss (A Conspiracy of Paper) recycles familiar conventions-drug dealers, missing money, an innocent hero mixed up with bad guys-but salvages his novel from banality with a few quirky touches. In sticky south Florida of August 1985, Lem Altick, a 17-year-old door-to-door encyclopedia salesman, witnesses the murder of two potential customers in a mobile home. Fearing he'll be fingered for the crime-or worse, that he's next-Lem establishes a wary relationship with the likable killer, Melford Kean, who is either a violent psychopath or an animal rights vigilante fighting agribusiness. Lem must also watch out for Jim Doe, the corrupt, redneck police chief who saw Lem at the trailer on the night of the crimes. Lem's paranoia heightens when he learns of Doe's connection to his employers at the encyclopedia sales company, which turns out to be a front. While Lem repeatedly skitters away from danger as he gathers clues that reveal a web of corruption, he finds time to fall for fellow bookseller Chitra and to undergo a political awakening under Melford's tutelage. Liss provides enough entertainment to keep the pages turning, but this hybrid of a thriller and a coming-of-age story doesn't quite succeed as either. (Mar.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Seventeen-year-old Lem Altick has a problem. While selling encyclopedias in a South Florida trailer park, he witnesses the killing of two of his potential customers. Unless he cooperates with the assassin, a vegan animal-rights activist with a series of lessons to impart, he risks being implicated in the crime. Sharp-witted Lem apparently still has much to learn, including why it's OK to kill certain people but never animals. Among the villains who complicate his life are the local police chief and a middle-aged meth overlord who "mentors" young boys. As events turn increasingly bizarre, Lem finds that it is only by looking at life from the assassin's skewed perspective that he can survive. Edgar Award-winning novelist Liss (A Spectacle of Corruption) writes his first contemporary thriller, a twisted 1980s tale that mixes just the right touch of levity (characters include B.B. Gunn and Chuck Finn) with serious philosophical issues (e.g., should animals be used to test the lethality of drugs?). Readers will enjoy this wild and highly entertaining ride. For all popular fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/05.]-Ronnie H. Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The brainy young author of three critically praised historical mysteries (including the Edgar-winning A Conspiracy of Paper, 2000) moves on to a murderously funny thriller set in contemporary Florida. Recent high-school grad Lemuel Altick, who narrates, is selling encyclopedias door-to-door to finance his future college education-unfortunately, in a rundown trailer park where he pitches his goods to down-at-heels couple Karen and "Bastard." Enter the eponymous assassin, who blows the pair away, then cheerfully informs the nearly catatonic "Lem" that their deaths were necessary. Then things get weird, as Liss weaves together multiple plot strands. The primary one involves homicidal redneck police chief Jim Doe, who's also mayor of the "municipality" the trailer park has been legally declared-making it a lucrative speed trap that helps fund Doe's secret Cayman Islands bank account. But that's only the tip of a malodorous iceberg that also includes the crooked encyclopedia operation, a hog farm where animals are brutally mistreated and the "waste lagoon" containing their by-products, which doubles as a dumping lot for the rising body count. Handling his dippy plot with ease, Liss simultaneously keeps the wisecracks coming. Lem is tutored in the possibilities of sex, the ethics of animal rights activism as explained by the imperturbably genial assassin (self-identified as Melford Kean) and the collusive misdeeds of "The Gambler" (yes, his name is Kenny Rogers). Among those we meet are hog-farm heir William "B.B." Gunn (whose creepy compulsion to "mentor" preadolescent boys actually isn't sexually oriented) and lissome moll Desiree, a Siamese twin separated from her late sister Aphrodite(whose channeled "advice" keeps Desiree somewhere in the vicinity of the straight and narrow). It all ends, to nobody's surprise, at the waste lagoon. Imagine David Lynch's bizarre masterpiece Blue Velvet scripted by Edna Buchanan and Carl Hiaasen. It's a blast.
From the Publisher
Advance praise for The Ethical Assassin

“Gripping entertainment from the opening pages–a terrific read with the page-turning energy of a first-rate thriller, but also far more than that. David Liss has written a genre-bender with more than its share of white-knuckle suspense, vivid characters, and surprising humor.”
–Joseph Finder, author of Company Man

“Hilarious, poignant, and laced with paranoia, The Ethical Assassin reads like a Hardy Boys mystery on acid. David Liss pulls out all the stops in this Homeric coming-of-age tale. A vibrant and sweaty page-turner, this book explodes with fresh, memorable characters and a soundtrack I’d like to own.”
–Mark Haskell Smith, author of Moist and Delicious

“Hypnotic and addictive storytelling.”
–Lee Child, author of One Shot

“Imagine David Lynch’s bizarre masterpiece Blue Velvet, scripted by Edna Buchanan and Carl Hiaasen. It’s a blast.”
–Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

From the Hardcover edition.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400064212
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 2/28/2006
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

David  Liss
David Liss is the author of A Spectacle of Corruption, A Conspiracy of Paper (winner of the 2000 Edgar Award for Best First Novel), and The Ethical Assassin. He has a graduate degree in English literature from Columbia University, as well as an M.A. from Georgia State University and a B.S. from Syracuse University. He lives in San Antonio with his wife and daughter.

Biography

David Liss never received his doctorate. According to the tongue-in-cheek F.A.Q.s on the author's web site, this is the second most common question that Liss is asked in interviews. The first, of course, is "are you Jewish?"

Halfway through his dissertation on 18th century British literature and culture, Liss decided to take a shot at writing fiction. His extensive knowledge of early British culture and his Jewish heritage informed the world he would create -- an anarchic, corrupt economic playground in which Jews and Christians forge tenuous bonds in pursuit of the almighty dollar.

For the next few semesters, Liss wrote his dissertation during the school year and his novel during breaks. As time went on, the breaks became longer and longer. Liss found himself ignoring his dissertation and concentrating full time on his fiction, living off of a fellowship grant he had received to finish his studies. The gamble paid off; published in 2000, A Conspiracy of Paper was released to glowing reviews and brisk sales.

A Conspiracy of Paper introduced readers to Benjamin Weaver, the "thief-taker" who is also the protagonist of Liss's third novel, Spectacle of Corruption. Benjamin Weaver is "an outsider in eighteenth-century London: A Jew among Christians; a ruffian among aristocrats; a retired pugilist who, hired by London's gentry, travels through the criminal underworld in pursuit of debtors and thieves." Critics and mystery readers immediately took to this "Philip Marlowe done up in a wig and buckles," and A Conspiracy of Paper won Liss the Edgar award for Best First Novel.

The Edgar came as somewhat of a mixed blessing for the young novelist. Liss did not necessarily set out to write a "mystery novel," nor did he feel any particular leanings toward continuing to write in the mystery genre. By winning the Edgar, Liss feared that he would be pigeonholed as "the historical mystery guy." So for his second novel, Liss decided to take a step away from Weaver, further back into the 17th century.

The Coffee Trader tells the tale of Miguel Lienzo, a Jewish trader in Amsterdam who tries to corner the market on a promising new commodity known as coffee. Echoes of our current economic climate surface throughout, and the storyline carries a special poignancy in today's culture of multinational coffee chains.

A Conspiracy of Paper fans finally received their second helping of Benjamin Weaver in 2004, with the release of Spectacle of Corruption. This time around, Weaver escapes from prison and steps incognito into the world of 18th century politics. The setting gives Liss a fresh opportunity to flex his intellectual muscles, creating a fascinating and enlightening portrait of London's political scene.

Liss is currently putting the finishing touches on his fourth novel, which he promises will have nothing to do with the eighteenth century, stock trading, or men in wigs. As for that dissertation, Weaver is still listed in his official bio as a doctoral candidate. With three successful novels and a fourth in the works, however, Liss is not rushing to finish his degree. When asked whether he feels a need to complete the degree, he says, "Not at all. I'd quit again if I could."

Good To Know

A few outtakes from our interview with Liss:

"I once spent a spent a summer selling encyclopedias door to door."

"I am dedicated to the cause of animal rights."

"On my first day of college, I vomited on the dining hall steps in front of a timid young lady and her horrified parents."

"I don't have any especially interesting unusual hobbies. When not working or parenting, I tend to be reading, exercising (I'm told that fitness has replaced alcoholism for contemporary writers), and general socializing. I have a long-standing interest in, and appreciation of, wine."

"Also, I'm thinking of starting my own cult -- a small group of people who will give me all of their material possessions and worship me as the most powerful being in the universe. If you're interested in joining, shoot me an email."

Read More Show Less
    1. Hometown:
      San Antonio, Texas
    1. Date of Birth:
      March 16, 1966
    2. Place of Birth:
      Englewood, New Jersey
    1. Education:
      B.S., M.A., M.Phil.

Read an Excerpt

The Ethical Assassin


By David Liss

Random House

David Liss
All right reserved.

ISBN: 140006421X


Chapter One

Chapter 1

It was friday evening, just after seven o'clock, and still bright as noon. In Florida, August is perpetual, relentless, refusing to unclench its fist, and despite the looming sunset it was close to a hundred degrees. The heat settled in my body, dull and enervating, and it accentuated the smell that hung in the air--a stink both tangible and elusive, like the skin of grease on a cold bowl of stew. It was more than a smell, but a thing, heavy enough to weigh like cotton balls shoved into the back of your throat. A putrid miasma whirled and eddied through the streets of the trailer park. I don't mean hot-garbage-by-the-curb smells--rotting chicken carcasses and old diapers and potato peelings. No such luck. It smelled like a prison camp outhouse. Worse.

I stood there on the spiderwebbed concrete step leading up to the mobile home, propping open the screen door with my shoulder. Sweat trickled down my side and clung to my overworked undershirt. I'd been at it since a little after lunch, and I was in a haze now, an automaton lost in the blankness of ringing doorbells, delivering my pitch, lurching forward again. I glanced left and right at the faded white mobile homes and thought it both amusing and profoundly sad that I couldn't remember coming down this street.

I wanted nothing more than to make it inside someone's home, to get out of the heat. The trailer's window-unit air conditioner hummed and rattled and almost bucked, trickling condensation into an eroded gully of white sand. I was overdressed for the heat, and every few hours I needed a blast of AC, like an antidote, in order to keep up the fight. I'd chosen my attire not for comfort but to look smart and to do business: tan chinos, wrinkles smoothed out by the humidity, a thickly striped blue-and-white shirt, and a square-cut, knit turquoise tie, maybe three inches wide. It was 1985, and I thought the tie looked pretty cool.

I knocked again and then jammed my thumb into the glowing peach navel of the doorbell. No answer. The muted hum of a television or maybe a stereo barely pierced the door, and I saw a slight rustle of the slatted blinds, but still no answer. Not that I blamed them, whoever they were, squatting behind their sofa, pantomiming Shhhh with fingers pressed to lips. I was on their stoop, a teenager in a tie, trying to sell them something, they would think--rightly so--and who needed that? Then again, who needed them? It was a self-selecting system. I'd been doing this for only three months, but I knew that much already. The ones who came to the door were the ones you wanted to come to the door. The ones who let you in were the ones you wanted to let you in.

The heavy brown leather bag, which my stepfather had given me reluctant permission to borrow from its mildewing box in the garage, dug a trench into my shoulder. Touching the thing always made me feel dirty, and it smelled like split-pea soup. He hadn't used the bag in years, but my stepfather had still thought it important to act put-upon before he reluctantly agreed to let me clean out the mouse droppings and polish it with leather restorer.

I adjusted the strap to lessen the pain and plodded down the steps and along the old walkway that bisected the lawn--really just an ocean of sand peppered with a few islands of crabgrass. At the street I looked in both directions, unsure which way to go, which way I'd come from, but down to my left I saw a flyer flapping lazily against the corner mailbox, affixed with a long swath of dull silver duct tape. The missing cat flyer. I'd seen--what?--two or three of those that day? Maybe twice as many missing dog flyers. Not all the same dog or cat, either, and I was sure I'd passed by this one already. It had a photocopied picture of a white or tan tabby with dark splotches across its face, its mouth open, tongue barely visible. Anyone seeing a plump kitty named Francine should call the number below.

I headed away from the flyer. I was sticking to the same side of the street, passing a vacant lot to get to the next trailer. My legs, defying the demand for pep from my brain, moved slowly, shuffling almost. I looked again at my watch, which hadn't much budged since just before I rang the bell. At least four hours to go, and I needed to rest. I needed to be able to sit still for a while, but that wasn't really it. What I needed was relief from thinking about the job, even a good night's sleep, as if such a thing were possible, but I could give up all hope of sleep. It wouldn't happen on the road, when I worked all day and half the night. Not at home, on my one day off, when there were errands to run and friends and family to see before the cycle began again. I'd been operating on less than four hours a night for three months now. How long could I do it? Bobby, my crew boss, said he'd been doing it for years, and he seemed okay.

I had no plans of doing it for years. Just one year, that was all, and that was plenty. I was pretty good at the job--more than pretty good--and I made money, but there I was, seventeen years old, and I could feel myself aging, feel soreness accumulating in my joints, feel a beleaguered rounding in my shoulders. My eyes didn't seem to work as well, my memory had begun to frazzle, my bathroom habits were irregular. It was the lifestyle. I'd gone to sleep at home, just outside Ft. Lauderdale, the night before. The alarm had jerked me out of bed at six so I could get to the local office by eight, where I'd sat in pep meetings until we all hopped in the car and headed out to the Jacksonville area, checked into a motel, and got to work. Another standard weekend gets under way.

Tires rumbled behind me, and I instinctively veered over toward the empty lot, careful to avoid the nests of fire ants and the prickly weeds that would find their way to my dark gray gym socks, which only a seventeen-year-old could convince himself passed for respectable as long as no one saw the sporty stripes.

Keeping over to the side was the smart thing in places like this. Locals wouldn't have to look at me twice to see that I was way out of my element. They would throw mostly empty beer cans or swerve at me, half-playful and half-homicidal. They would shout things, and I thought it a pretty good guess they were withering insults, insults that would sting like salt in my eyes if I could hear them, but they'd be garbled against the whoosh of a speeding truck and the crackling speakers blasting 38 Special. I didn't know if the other guys had to put up with the same crap, but I doubted it.

A dark blue Ford pickup rolled to a stop. It looked freshly washed, and its paint glistened like a tar pit in the glare of the almost setting sun. The passenger-side window lurched down, and the driver, a guy in his thirties with a black T-shirt, learned over toward the window. He looked handsome in an odd way, like the debonair guy in a cartoon out to steal the hero's girl, but like a cartoon character, he was oddly distorted. He was puffy. Not fat or heavy or anything. Just puffy, like a corpse beginning decomposition or a man suffering from an allergic reaction.

The puffiness was weird, sure, but what I mostly noticed was his hair. He kept it sheared to almost a military cut, but in the back it came down in a straight fan to his shoulders. Today they call this style a mullet. In 1985 I'd never seen a mullet before, had no idea what a mullet was, what it was called, or why someone might choose to endure such a thing except for the simple thrifty pleasure that comes from having two haircuts on one head. All I knew was that it looked monumentally stupid.

"Where you going?" the guy asked. His voice buckled under the weight of his syrupy accent, uniquely Florida. Half pecan pie, half key lime. We were about thirty miles outside of Jacksonville, and heavy accents were par for the course.

I'd lived in Florida since the third grade and had long been afraid of just about everyone outside a major urban center. In no way did I consider this cowardice, but common sense. Despite the popular belief that big cities like Ft. Lauderdale and Jacksonville and Miami were nothing but suburbs of New York or Boston, they were, in reality, dense with longtime Florida natives, a vocal minority of whom included Confederate flag wavers, "Dixie" hummers, and cross burners. These cities were also full of transplants from all over the country, so things balanced out reasonably well. Step out to the boonies, and the flavor became considerably less cosmopolitan.

I now stood, as far as I was concerned, in the boonies, which meant that the iridescent kick my jew ass sign on my forehead, visible only to those who preferred Hank Williams Jr. to Sr., began to throb and fire off sparks. I conjured a polite smile for the pickup driver, but the smile turned out badly, crooked and sheepish.

For an instant, I considered giving the guy my line, about how I was in the neighborhood to speak with parents about education, but I knew instantly it was a bad idea. Puffy Guy with his weird hair and his pampered pickup radiated a low tolerance for bullshit. My crew boss, Bobby, could probably get away with the pitch. Hell, Bobby would probably score off the guy, but I was not Bobby. I was good, maybe the best guy in Bobby's crew--maybe the best guy Bobby had found in a long while. But I wasn't Bobby.

"I'm selling," I said with a startling realization, like the flip of a switch, that I wasn't merely uneasy, I was afraid. Even in all that heat, I felt cold, and my muscles had begun to tense. "Door-to-door," I added. I took the bag off my shoulder and set it down between my black dress sneakers.

The man leaned a little farther toward me and grinned a mouth full of haphazardly arranged teeth. The two front ones, in particular, were long like a rabbit's, but widely spaced and moving in opposite directions. Their crookedness stood out all the more for their unusual, even radiant, whiteness. I wished I hadn't seen them, because now I had to try not to stare.

"You got a permit for that?" He yanked at something between his legs and came up with a nearly full bottle of Yoo-hoo, which he put to his lips for a good ten seconds. When he set it down again, the bottle was now more than half-empty. I suppose an optimist would say it was half-full.

A permit. I'd never heard of such a thing. Did I need a permit? Bobby hadn't said anything about it; he'd merely dropped me off and told me to hit the trailer park hard. Bobby loved trailer parks.

I had to stay focused, act confident, presume this guy wouldn't try anything too crazy, not in the middle of the street, albeit a sinisterly deserted street. "My boss told me to sell here," I said, looking at the pavement rather than his teeth.

"I didn't ask who told you to do nothing," the guy said, shaking his head with sadness at the poor state of things. "I asked if you had a permit."

I tried to tell myself I shouldn't be so afraid. Nervous, sure. Anxious, guarded, alert--you bet. But this was like being ten years old again, caught in the nasty neighbor's yard or messing around with your friend's father's power tools. "Do I need one?"

The guy in the pickup fixed his gaze on me. He curled his upper lip into a half pucker, half scowl. "Answer the question, boy. You stupid?"

I shook my head, partly in disbelief and partly in answer to his question. "I don't have a permit," I said. I tried to look away again, but his eyes were bearing down on me.

Then the redneck burst into a huge, crooked-tooth grin. "Well, it's a good thing you don't need one, then, ain't it?"

It took me a minute to understand what had happened, and then I forced a nervous attempt at an I'm-a-good-sport laugh. "Yeah, I guess it is."

"You listen up. You best stay out of trouble. You know what happens to people caught breaking the law round here?"

"They're asked to squeal like pigs?" I tried to keep it from coming out, but despite my fear it slipped through my grasp and got away from me. It could happen to anyone.

The redneck's dark eyes went narrow over his long nose. "You being a smart-ass?"

What the hell kind of question was that? Could there be any explanation for what I'd said other than smart-assedness? I decided not to point that out.

When people say that they had the metallic taste of fear in their mouth, that metal is generally copper. My mouth tasted like copper. "Just keeping things light," I managed, along with a forced expression of calm and affability.

"What's a smart-ass like you doing out here, anyhow? Why ain't you in your college?"

"I'm trying to earn money for college," I told him, hoping my industry would impress him.

It didn't. "Ain't you something, college boy? Am I going to have to come out of here and smack you in the pussy?"

There was, of course, no dignified way to answer that question. Maybe Bobby would be able to shrug it off, crack some self-effacing joke to make the guy in the pickup like him. Next thing you know, they'd be laughing like old friends. Not me. The only thing I could think of was groveling--or to imagine an alternate universe version of me, the Lem who would walk over to the open window and pound the guy in the face until his nose burst and his stupid haircut was matted with blood. The Lem in this universe didn't do that sort of thing, but it always seemed to me that if I could do it once, if I could be the sort of person who might beat the living shit out of a jerk giving me a hard time, then that fact would be written on my body, my face, in my walk, and I wouldn't be, once again, under the thumb of a bully high on his own power over me.


Excerpted from The Ethical Assassin by David Liss Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 27 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(12)

4 Star

(9)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2014

    Amber to chris

    Talk to u later

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

    Posted September 12, 2014

    Mia

    -hugs them both as tears stream down my face- Guys. I just need some time to think. Ill be on late...

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

    Posted September 12, 2014

    Chris

    Ok.

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

    Posted August 21, 2014

    Jaeden

    Walks in

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

    Posted August 17, 2014

    Gokun

    ...

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

    Posted August 16, 2014

    Ashley

    Yay hes ok walks back to camp.

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

    Posted August 15, 2014

    Zach

    Sleeps

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

    Posted August 11, 2014

    Corey

    -screams in pain and took Jordan out of his crib and heals the wound and he vanished with Jordan-

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

    Posted September 12, 2014

    Carrie

    Bye mia. I love you. Bestfriends forever

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

    Posted August 16, 2014

    The Doctor

    *Picks up the scythe* I'm gonna hold on to this. Don't want anything possesing him now do we? *Sets a remote control Dalek on his bed stand* See ya later guys

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

    Posted August 6, 2014

    Logan

    Connor... -cries for the first time since mom-

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

    Posted August 6, 2014

    D.J.

    Conners alive at athenian constitution.

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

    Posted August 11, 2014

    A medic

    -blood bends the blood and carefully pours it to ur mouth- "he'll be fine" -i whispered-

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

    Posted August 25, 2014

    Connor

    Slits my wrists and collapses on the dooe

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

    Posted August 7, 2014

    Starlight

    Meh

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

    Posted August 4, 2014

    &alpha Apollo Cabin &alpha

    Apollo Cabin

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 18, 2012

    A very good read.

    Interesting story with many twists and turns. One of the characters poses an interesting question worth thinking about.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    a good read.

    i got this book from my cousin and was reluctant to read it. i opened it up for a quick red of the first few chapters and it grabbed me right away. the characters are quite surprising in some instances, but can also be predictable at times. it is a short read but worth the time.

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

    Posted March 19, 2007

    Good Read

    I really liked this book. I have read two of this author's books and enjoyed them both. I liked the characters and the plot, although I kind of guessed what was going to happen. Still, if you are looking for a good read that won't tax your brain, you can't go wrong with this book

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

    Posted May 4, 2006

    Great Read

    The book was a fun read and easy to get through. I thought the story was great but as someone else said I could've done without the public service announcement about Animal Cruelity. Overall quite entertaining novel though.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)