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Last Known Address

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"Detective Sloane Pearson is new to the Sex Crimes Division but no stranger to being treated like an incompetent blonde by her hardened male co-workers. She's also no stranger to hard-to-crack cases, and her latest is as tough as they come: A rapist is on the prowl, dragging women to deserted building sites or vacant apartment buildings peppered all over downtown Chicago, and forcing them to fight - knowing, of course, that he'll win." "When a real estate agent Sloane knows is attacked by the violent predator, Sloane finds herself taking a case

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2009 Hard cover First edition. New in new dust jacket. Signed by author. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 384 p. Audience: General/trade. Signed by the author on the title page. ... First Edition/First Printing. Brand New/Unread. Dust Jacket in protective mylar sleeve. Ships bubble wrapped and in a box. Read more Show Less

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Overview

"Detective Sloane Pearson is new to the Sex Crimes Division but no stranger to being treated like an incompetent blonde by her hardened male co-workers. She's also no stranger to hard-to-crack cases, and her latest is as tough as they come: A rapist is on the prowl, dragging women to deserted building sites or vacant apartment buildings peppered all over downtown Chicago, and forcing them to fight - knowing, of course, that he'll win." "When a real estate agent Sloane knows is attacked by the violent predator, Sloane finds herself taking a case that threatens her secret plans to leave her longtime lover. Her personal bond with the victim and a would-be relationship with a man she interviews along the way lead Sloane down a dangerous path - one that poisons the investigation as well as her personal life." "Sloane's balancing act topples when her father falls ill. Between coping with his weak heart and following the few weak leads she has, her case begins to go the way that many rape cases go: The victims fall away, one by one, suddenly unsure of what they saw or unwilling to relive the horrifying moments again and again." "When Sloane helps a hungry young Sun-Times reporter declare the case serial, she loses support: Her bosses demand she get a suspect or move on. Sloane stays on the case, though - no matter how much it strains her personal relationships. Even her partner claims she's in too deep: He doesn't believe there's an arrest on the planet worth a cop's life. Sloane disagrees: Someone's got to take up the fight." From the worst slums of Chicago's west side to the glittering Loop skyscrapers, Sloane finds no shortage of suspects. As she loses everythingshe'd called home, she can only hope to find the rapist before she also becomes a victim.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Recently transferred from homicide to sex crimes, Chicago police detective Sloane Pearson pursues a serial rapist in Edgar-winner Schwegel's gritty fourth crime novel. Called in to interview the second in a series of victims who were beaten, raped and nearly strangled to death, Pearson knows the only way she'll have a case is if the traumatized woman will talk. But without a crime scene or detailed description of the attacker, Pearson's leads dry up fast. As she retraces the victims' steps, she uncovers a common thread that winds from the dilapidated blocks where the rapes occurred to one of the city's glitzy property development companies. Introduced in 2006's Probable Cause, Pearson, the odd woman out in her new squad, shoulders the burden of a troublesome case even when her boss insists she quit. Despite a minimal body count, Schwegel ratchets up the tension, leaving readers breathless through to the last page. Author tour. (July)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
Edgar Award winner Schwegel (theresaschwegel.com) follows up her third novel, Person of Interest, a Publishers Weekly Top Ten Mystery of 2007, with this second title to feature Det. Sloane Pearson, last seen in Probable Cause (2006). Newly transferred to Chicago's Sex Crimes Division, Pearson must deal with gender-related tensions in the workplace as she races to track down a rapist. While not as strong as Person of Interest, this novel is certainly good enough to be recommended to fans of the genre. Deftly narrated by Tavia Gilbert (www.taviagilbert.com). [The Minotaur: St. Martin's hc was recommended to "readers who enjoy Lynda LaPlante's 'Prime Suspect' and Anna Travis series and Michael Connolly's Harry Bosch books," LJ 7/09.—Ed.]—Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo
Kirkus Reviews
A serial predator eludes a Chicago sex-crimes detective. Sloane Pearson is having a rough time. Transferred to Area Five after her debacle in another precinct, she's saddled with a new partner who's mostly marking time till his retirement. The other cops hurl lewd innuendoes at her. And the women nearly choked to death by a serial rapist who attacks from behind and taunts them, "Fight me, fight me," are too defeated to help nail him. Sloane's hoping the latest victim, Holly, will add to the scant description the cops have of a medium-built Latino male wearing a blue-striped uniform shirt with the name tag "Jorge." After tracking false leads and rebelling against her chief's leave-it-alone dictum, Sloane winds up at Zimmerman & Company, which is deep into plans to construct the Pulaski Corridor commercial project currently vetoed by Alderman Alan Van der Meer. Zimmerman's personal assistant Stephen catches her interest just as she's antsy to move on from Eddie, another cop who's the latest in her long line of noncommittal lovers. Then rape escalates to murder, more leads don't pan out and Sloane misidentifies the perp. Again defying orders, she keeps on the case, culminating in a battle royal during a delayed luncheon. Schwegel (Person of Interest, 2007, etc.) can out-hard-boil the best of them, from Chandler to Connelly, and the intensity of her character's father complex rivals Ross Macdonald's. Few women writers can match her, and few men either. Author appearances in Chicago
From the Publisher
More Praise for Theresa Schwegel and

LAST KNOWN ADDRESS

“A unique vision of Chicago on virtually every page.”—Chicago Tribune

“Schwegel’s writing style is sharp and often funny…It’s [her] ability to nail down Chicago that gives her book a unique vitality.”—Chicago Tribune

“[Sloane Pearson] is a fighter…[her] pugnacious temperament happens to suit the situation here, which has the scrappy officer standing up for the traumatized victims.”—The New York Times

“Theresa Schwegel has fashioned an unusual blend of crime thriller and police procedural…Her ingenious character-driven plotting will earn your admiration.”—San Diego Union-Tribune

“Schwegel is an edgy, adventurous writer, which is good news if you’re tired of reading police novels that all seem alike…The real appeal, here, is Pearson, who’s smart, tough and unconventional. Schwegel is talented writer who’s brave enough to try new things...And she’s only going to be better.”—The Arizona Republic

“Schwegel can out-hard-boil the best of them, from Chandler to Connelly, and the intensity of her character’s father complex rivals Ross Macdonald’s. Few women writers can match her, and few men either. ”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

PERSON OF INTEREST

A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year

“A terrifically vigorous plot...a high-stakes story of risk and suspicion, told with rich, insightful detail.”—Janet Maslin, The New York Times

“Riveting...nail-biting, emotionally dense.”—Chicago Sun Times

“Fascinating...Schwegel’s gaining ground as one of the most compelling young authors in a highly competitive genre.”—USA Today

“Quickening suspense...vivid characterizations [that] lift the thriller plot to literary-novel status.”—Entertainment Weekly

“Eminently readable....an indisputable crime fiction tour de force.”—Chicago Tribune

“This pitch perfect portrait of a family in crisis reinforces Schwegel’s position as one of today’s top authors of hard boiled police procedurals.” Publishers Weekly

“In her third novel, Schwegel ventures away from genre conventions, offering a hybrid with believably complex characters and an effective sense of perilous unpredictability.” —Kirkus Reviews

“In Schwegel’s capable hands, her story never falters...This is noir fiction at its best.” —Library Journal

 “A tough, hard-bitten story...unflinching, riveting.”—Boston Globe

“Exciting, excellent, gritty.” —Lansing State Journal

“A thrilling tale punctuated by brisk action and believable characters...Person of Interest shows why Schwegel has become an author to watch.”—South Florida Sun-Sentinel

PROBABLE CAUSE

“Schwegel spins a taut and muscular tale that explores the dark side of law enforcement. The cast is convincing, the suspense is unrelenting, the result is top-flight entertainment.” —The San Diego Union-Tribune

“Schwegel skillfully tightens the plot screws.”—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times

“Genuinely intriguing.”—Publishers Weekly

 “Beautifully plotted …great characters…nuance and depth.”—Globe And Mail (Toronto)

OFFICER DOWN

Winner of the Edgar Award for Best First Novel

“Schwegel makes an impressive debut with this dark and gritty thriller.” —San Diego Union-Tribune

“Readers can at last enjoy a tough-gal yarn with heaps of moral ambiguity and good guys gone bad.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“[A] hard-edged take on the police novel.” —Rocky Mountain News

“Schwegel, who writes about police work with authority, has also created a tough and original character.” —Chicago Tribune

“Layers of betrayal and mistrust…Officer Down is not for those who want their heroines unsullied and idealized, but is an excellent choice for contemporary noir fans.” —Baltimore Sun

“A powerful and compelling first effort that promises good things to come from Schwegel.”

Chicago Sun-Times

“Instantly engrossing…Mack’s voice is rough and real, conveying both her tough cookie persona and the authentic emotions behind her street face…. An impressive, gripping first novel.”

Publishers Weekly

Officer Down is the best crime novel I’ve read in a long time. Theresa Schwegel captures the soul of Chicago’s streets through the eyes of a distinctly vulnerable, if hardened cop. This author has big things ahead of her.” —David Ellis, author of In the Company of Liars

“Credible cop background and evocative Chicago scenes add to the pleasures of this memorable first novel.” —Booklist

“Tough and dark and wickedly funny . . . Theresa Schwegel is a major new talent.” —Scott Phillips, author of Cottonwood

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312364274
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 7/7/2009
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 9.50 (w) x 6.48 (h) x 1.31 (d)

Meet the Author

THERESA SCHWEGEL is a Loyola University graduate and the recipient of an MFA in screenwriting at Chapman University. Her debut novel, Officer Down, won the Edgar Award for Best First Novel and was short-listed for the Anthony Award. In 2008, she received the 21st Century Award from the Chicago Public Library Foundation. She lives in Chicago.

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Read an Excerpt

Last Known Address

THE COOLEST ONE OF us heard about a new place, a lounge on Damen Avenue, no sign posted, an after-ten happy hour. I don't really want to go, but since this whole thing with Stephen I don't get many invites. I wear a skirt and ribbed tights and knee-high boots because there are ways to show leg, even when winter won't let go of April. I'm single. Leg is important.

Half-hour wait at the door, and well worth it: inside, the select are few. The décor is all royal blue and candlelit; shadows fall on parlor corners where privileged people don't have to whisper when they tell their secrets. We sit in high-backed chairs and marvel at the drink menu, at the unknown bourbons and brandies stirred with ginger syrup or egg whites or house-made bitters.

A singer you'd never hear on the radio grovels and our rockabilly cocktail girl is just so nice; between the two of them we feel a little out of place, here in this outpost for the surviving hip.

After one cocktail, I fit right in. Two, and I'm special.

We talk about the things we always talk about—the three of us and our newish guy pal—and I am interested or indifferent or annoyed, depending on who's doing the talking. I'm not saying much, but I'm not pouting, either. I'm just thinking about how things would be if Stephen were here. About how I'm so much more like myself without him. About how much being like myself sucks.

At some point the coolest one looks at me and wants to know, "What's your problem?" I could tell the truth—that I'm still in love with the guy whose South American temper translated into a restraining order four months ago—but these are the only friends I have left after the breakup. The only ones who think I wasn't to blame. And on top of that, this is the first time she hasn't used the "poor you" tone—the one people use at hospitals and funerals except that with me the compassion feels chilly—probably because, as the judge pointed out, nobody in a case like mine is ever completely innocent. I can't bring up Stephen now—that case is supposed to be closed—so I say that work is my problem, because isn't work everyone's problem?

The coolest one, rightly short on sympathy, says I should quit working for the mayor. I tell her I don't work for the mayor, exactly, but she knows that—she happens to be alobbyist and so she's got her arguments, and technically, we shouldn't be talking, let alone talking about work. It doesn't matter; the conversation has already gone to vinegar because the other two can't stand the Machine, nor apparently can they tolerate the idiocy of the traffic control cops on Upper Wacker. As if one has to do with the other, or either has to do with me. I spend my days in the pressroom on the losing side of illogical debates like this, so I shut up and try to enjoy the atmosphere and my delicious hundred-plus-proof beverage that I bet Stephen would find much too sweet.

Just inside the next room where more hipsters drink Ne-gronis, their booze-warmed cheeks further flushed by the fireplace, I notice a hollow-eyed Latino looking at me. He's dressed in all black like the barbacks, so I think maybe he works here, which would explain why he's alone and empty faced and near invisible. But he isn't trolling for empty Collins glasses or highballs, and if he's on the clock someone would've chased him from there by now, half hidden behind the fat velvet curtain that stages the room, observing me with black-hole eyes.

He's breaking the rules, looking at me after I've caught him. I know I should be a little creeped, but thanks to booze I take it in stride and flash him an overdone, toothy smile. His black eyes don't change as he takes a step back and disappears, poof, a shadow.

I think, Oh no you don't, and get up, the strength of the cocktails hard to catch up with as I cross the room on amission—and one that's just as quickly aborted when I find him around a corner down a hallway with the girl who is now commanding his attention: she's got him backed up against the wall, arms around his neck, tongue in his mouth. Before I can make myself scarce, a bathroom door opens next to them and a woman strolls out, fresh lipstick; they don't notice as she makes her way past; there's a double meaning to her excuse me. The look she gives me lacks solidarity and I think she must wonder just what, exactly, I'm waiting in line for, so I duck into the bathroom, wash my hands. In the mirror I decide I look like a real dumbass.

When I return to my friends, no one asks where I went because they're too busy bitching about Moms, an unaffectionate nickname for a former part of the circle whose brain went to mush after her son was born in June. Moms doesn't come out anymore. I think it's because she found her life's meaning and now lacks the cynicism required to participate in these so-called happy hours. They decide it's because she must be at home relearning the alphabet.

I don't know why they equate Moms's happiness with weakness. I try to imagine her here, her slobbery little reinvented wheel in tow, but I can't. She wouldn't be interested in this bullshit.

The coolest one pities Moms. She's missing out. This is the place to be. Here, all senses indulged, minds rum-clear. The singer takes a break and Tom Waits cuts in on the sound system to assure us mankind can keep alive thanks to its brilliance. He's right: We are brilliant. We talk and talk andwe know everything—except the fact that tomorrow will be just as stark-white shitty as today.

I finish my third Dark and Stormy and I'm about to order another, but our guy pal announces it's a school night and somehow—these fancy drinks steal time!—we lost an hour. We settle up and tip too much and I follow the others as they float out, heads fizzy, past the long line of hopefuls who are so glad we're leaving. This time, I am, too.

Outside, the coolest one links arms with the newish guy, naturally. He tells his story and then she tells the real one when they head off to the Blue Line together because the train doesn't run past her place, last time I checked. I should have known. Not that I care; I just should have known. The remaining one asks if I want to share a cab west and I say no thanks and hasta noche because, lucky me, my apartment is less than a dozen blocks away. Yes, it's cold, but spring is just around the corner, and yes, it's late, but it's only getting later while we stand around talking about it.

I walk Damen Avenue south, trying to right the alcohol in my step. Tomorrow morning I'll probably still taste spiced rum in the back of my throat while I watch my boss climb our office walls, her Xanax and Wellbutrin no match for the latest political blitz. We'll be waiting for an alderman—the mayor's most vocal opponent, of course—to officially gripe about a recent property tax incentive program. The alderman will have a legitimate point, but my job is to dispute it, so I'll spin his statement out of context and into a sound bite while my boss writes the City Hall response. Then, while we wait forour work to hit the newsfeed and find out whether the media decides a Hollywooder did something worse, or Obama something better, or that their readers/viewers/subscribers aren't interested in more allegations against the mayor, she'll ask me therapy-grade personal questions, the answers to which I will also have to spin, because last time I opened my mouth—about Stephen—she was "contractually obligated" to involve the cops. I can't imagine she'd report a hangover, but at this point I wouldn't trust her with my dry cleaning.

I cut over on Potomac through the Jose Diego school grounds to get to my street. Most of the new three-flats on this block sit half finished, vacant, and off the market, since their sellers gave up chasing prices into the tank. I've been keeping my eye on a brand-new condo development just south of here, but I don't really want to move again so soon. Right now I rent a little place on the cusp of Humboldt Park where it's even cheaper because the housing bust slowed all expansion west, stalling the neighborhood vibe at sketchy. I don't mind sketchy. It's where people with real city legs live.

Funny that I'm thinking about city legs just as I trip and wind up facedown on the sidewalk. I don't think I can be all that drunk so I roll over and sit up to convince myself.

I fell pretty hard: skinned my knee—ripped a hole right through my tights, damn it; landed on my shoulder and my elbow, both of which will bruise and hurt like hell tomorrow; and I scraped the shit out of my arm trying to protect my face.

The damage, though, as assessed, is concealable: long sleeves, my new pants suit. For once I appreciate the thankless weather in this city—it'll keep my skin covered until Memorial Day at least. Some story this would be to hide from the boss. If she were privy to any of tonight's activities, however blameless, she'd march me straight over to the Board of Ethics. You went where with a lobbyist? She's a friend, is she? Good-bye employment. Nice to know you, health insurance. All over a stupid crack in the sidewalk.

I'm about to get up as a car turns down the street and the headlights angle off the back hatch of a parked SUV a few cars away, and this would all be totally normal if there wasn't some guy who's standing there, hanging out behind the SUV. Immediately I decide I am either stupid and clumsy and embarrassed, or just being paranoid. After that I decide I could be all of those things except paranoid, if he's following me.

I get up, not exactly graceful, and the car drives on, so I lose the light but I don't lose the bad feeling about the guy.

I just rewrote the Chicago Safety Manual for Women, where it advises addressing unknown men directly, so I say, "Stephen?" because he did follow me that one time. I know it's wishful thinking, I haven't seen Stephen in months, and he is a stranger to me. Anyway, he wouldn't come at me like this—this man who is now maybe ten feet away and closing like he's going to tackle me.

Which he does. And I'm back on the ground, his hands over my mouth and my face, my head against the pavement.He says something—I think he says "Bite me"—and he doesn't sound like Stephen, but I don't sound like me, either, when I shout "Stephen!" again, for help, or reason, and my voice is muted against his leather gloves.

I can't see his face because we're between streetlights and beneath trees; he is a shadow, his eyes black holes, just like the man who watched me at the bar. And I am that dumbass I saw in the lounge's bathroom mirror.

I can't let this happen.

I wrestle and push and I use up all my strength too quick while he just holds me there, arms locked, strong. I breathe hard between the slits of his leather fingers and I know I have to fight for details now, I have to memorize them: his striped shirt, dark coat. I don't remember this shirt or coat and I can't remember what the man at the bar was wearing. Just black.

I twist sideways and for a second I think I can get away, but then I realize he let me go just enough to get around me, behind me, his forearm against my throat, a better grip. Then he pulls me up and I hang there, headlocked, breath gone, my boots hardly touching the ground. I dig my fingernails into his arms but my nails are bitten to the quick and the sleeves of his coat are canvas-sturdy—I might as well claw wood. I can't get air and I'm afraid he'll crush my throat and my brain skips like it's going to short out; there's no time left to think. My head thrashes, my legs scissor-kick, and every part of me takes up the fight until the tip of my boot catches the pavement. I throw him off balance: we bothstumble forward, feet tangled, onto the grass—the near-frozen, still-wet grass that's just a little softer than the pavement. He lands on top of me and I hear something snap and we're both hurt, now, I hope.

I get up, a reflex, to escape—I can get to the street at least, get into the light. I'm crawling fast across the cold, sharp grass when I start to cough. I can't stop. My lungs can't catch up. I keep going, hands and knees, coughing, sucking air. Coughing, sucking air.

Then I hear him. Behind me. Laughing? Is he laughing? He sounds both surprised and certain, like he can never get over how amusing this is.

"Stephen?" I ask, not because it makes sense, but because it would be okay. If it were Stephen, at least I would know what I did to deserve this.

Then he's at me again, his hands over my mouth and my face, his strength holding steady; and this time, for me, fear sets in differently: I freeze up. I let him smother me. I taste the musty residue on his gloves, same as bile. I hear traffic and wind and my boot heels kicking the sidewalk in faraway waves.

As he is choking me I think he says "bite me" again, like a dare. I won't dare. I look up, I look for his black-hole eyes, but until this moment I've never seen such black.

1

SLOANE PEARSON DOUBLE-PARKS THE unmarked on Damen Avenue, buttons up her slicker, and skips between fat drops to the three-flat's doorstep. Plastic flags on the OPEN HOUSE sign spring yellow and wild against the gloom. She rings the buzzer but doesn't wait to go inside.

She counts each step up the long, straight flight. Fifteen to the first landing: three more than the stairs at Eddie's, though these aren't as steep. She's winded when she reaches the top floor, more so when she sees Scott Zwick leaning against the penthouse doorframe, casual, like they've already met.

"Hi. Miss Pearson? Thanks for coming." Zwick offers his hand, a shake she can find little agenda behind, even though she knows that's the point.

"I was in the neighborhood," she says, playing it just as cool. She leaves out the part about being in the neighborhood because a concerned parent reported a registered sex offender parked outside Peabody Elementary.

Zwick wipes his feet on the welcome mat and she follows suit, her heavy black boots making her feel bigger than she is; clunky. Especially compared to this guy, smooth as they come: at once dressed up and down in frayed boutique-pocket jeans, a silk-screen designer shirt with stripes so faint they're a suggestion, and the softest leather shoes—probably Italian, if Italian's in this season.

"Miserable out there, isn't it?" he says, not so it's a question, so she doesn't answer. It's unlikely they'd have the same definition of the word, anyway; he probably doesn't have too much that makes him feel bad. An unlucky weekend in Vegas, maybe. A head cold. The Bears draft picks.

"Come on in," Zwick says like it's his place. "Check it out."

When Sloane steps inside, she catches the fresh scent of cut grass, heady from the rain. At first she thinks it must be a Realtor's staging trick, but when Zwick leads the way, she realizes it's his cologne.

They round the foyer corner and the penthouse opens up like a gift: high ceilings, lots of light and space, and warm, sleek lines. It's pleasantly, impersonally furnished and maid-clean, like a model or a hotel room. Reminds Sloane of so many of the places she has called home.

"Can you tell me why this place came back on the market?"she asks, since she'd had her eye on the address just before it sold a few months back, its low-low price suggesting a steal. At the time, she'd been too chicken to steal it.

"Fell out of escrow," Zwick says, bringing the lights up a little in the living-slash-dining room.

"Something you should be telling me? Code violations? Damages?"

"Nothing like that. Buyer's loan app was fraudulent." He motions her over to the dining table set for a fiesta of four, where he's got one mango-orange plate moved aside for paperwork. He traps a contact form on a clipboard and hands her a pen. "Formality," he says, same way he said "fraudulent."

Sloane takes the clipboard and fills in the required blanks, feeling Zwick over her shoulder, a casual supervisor. She writes her real name and resists the urge to transpose the last four digits of her phone number, as she has before. Authority. Always gets her.

"Are you working with another Realtor?" Zwick asks. They all ask this question; he manages to make it sound like an afterthought. She wonders if he already knows her answer will be as canned as cream corn.

"I'm not working with anyone." Which is true. But she couldn't strip away the gummy sweetness that coats a lie so she says, "I'm just seeing what's out there. I've been waiting, you know. Watching the market."

"Haven't we all," Zwick says, nothing sweet about it. He smiles, drawing lines at the corners of his eyes: conclusions.

He glances at her contact form long enough to read it twice, check whether she filled out anything more than the required fields. He asks, "Do you currently own a home?"

"No," she says. "I'm staying with a friend. In the West Loop. A loft." She looks down at her stupid boots and feels huge, inelegant. Full of it.

"My ex and I used to live in a loft," he says. "Twenty-four hundred square feet and not a single one of them private. If I learned one thing from that place? Space is nice. Walls are better."

"Walls would be good." She takes a listing flyer from the table. "Space would be good, too." She studies the page like a warrant: no need to comprehend a single word, the facts already so clear. A friend, she said. Admitted. But not to Eddie. Not yet.

"You need a place of your own," Zwick says, and when Sloane looks up at him, those lines around his eyes, those conclusions, fade just enough to be possibilities instead.

She manages a nod and checks the fine print on the listing—not that she needs to: she'd snagged a copy from the flyer box yesterday and memorized the details before ditching it in the trash outside the station. The place looks exactly like the photos—better—and the price doesn't look too bad, either.

"Why don't you go ahead," he says, "take a look around? If it's space you want, you don't need my song and dance."

Sloane's had so many sales pitches from eager Realtors these past few weeks she wonders if her bullshit detector hasblown a gasket, because Zwick doesn't even register. No song, no dance? The way he cares and doesn't care: she wants to hold it against him. She really wants to hold something against him.

"Thanks," she says, pulling away from his smile. Just seeing what's out there, she had said. Scott Zwick suddenly part of it. Has she lost her mind?

The thrill chases her through the kitchen so she doesn't stop to look, though the room is one of the main reasons she's interested: the island layout with acres of countertop, the four-door, side-by-side Sub-Zero, the dual-fuel, six-top range. She could feed a gourmet army.

Down the hall, the first bedroom is a page from a furniture catalogue, all color-coordinated and strategically cluttered. The corkboard calendar just looks like it should be scheduled with important things to do.

The master bedroom, at the end of the hall, is an advertisement for the best dreams: everything some grade of soft and shade of white. The California King is too big for the room. As it should be, she thinks, its feather pillows perfectly good excuses for naps.

The master bath is just as impressive, though distinctly warmer than the bedroom; makes Sloane break a sweat. The room is sizeable, anchored by a Jacuzzi tub and six-way spray shower; above the tub, a large window frames a perfect picture of the treetops and the clearing sky. It's art, the way the light comes in, and at night she's sure the city skyline burns, distant candles. She imagines herself here, part of thepicture: a long soak, the room still, her skin pink and heat-swollen.

Imagines, and wipes sweat beads from her upper lip, knowing her face will soon go splotchy, and that art is never practical, and that the room is too humid to be properly ventilated.

Sloane steps into the dry tub, her boots fixed against the nonslip rubber strips. The emerald green, inch-by-inch tiles that run up the wall sparkle, and the smell of bleach is caustic. The grout between tiles has thinned, the caulk at the fixtures peeled, probably from a wire brush and too much elbow grease. It wouldn't take a crime scene team to call mold a suspect here.

She reaches up, feels along the window: the wood frame is brand-new—no rot—but fixed so it can't be opened. Sloane's helped install enough of these windows to know they're good for aesthetics, and for security, and for the pocketbook; in a room with regular condensation, they're also good for growing fungus.

She gets out of the tub and switches on the exhaust fan positioned above the toilet on the opposite wall. The motor kicks on and sounds just fine, so she drops the toilet lid and climbs up to check the register. The airflow is weak, so she guesses there's a problem with the vent: miscalculated capacity, maybe, or a faulty roof trap.

Her cell buzzes, so she steps down and looks at the display even though she's certain it's her partner calling about being late, which is why she isn't running on time, either, and whyshe sends his excuses to voice mail. She can't tell Heavy where she is, anyway; he's not the type of guy you want to enlist to weigh options. Ask him to come in on an arrest and he'll want to work the case all over again, cover his bases. Hell, ask him to pick a lunch spot and you won't eat until four. Sloane knows it's better she tell him about this when all is said and done. If all is said and done.

She looks again at the listing sheet: the ink has smudged on her hand now, and transposed the price. No matter which way it reads, it's a deal. Last week, when it came back on the market, she'd assumed the worst—a structural issue or some other problem discovered during inspection. The property did look too good on paper. Then yesterday, after a long shift that was only longer because she didn't want to go back to Eddie's, she called Zwick. Told herself she had to come, just to find out what was wrong with it. She had hoped for something else she couldn't fix. She had hoped she wouldn't have to be the deal-breaker.

Her cell buzzes again, Heavy again, another reality check. If he calls twice it means he'll call a third time, and a fourth, so—

"Heavy," she answers.

"Where are you?" he asks, always so polite no matter how he means it.

"I'll be there in ten," she tells him, though it'll take at least twenty to get to the station from here.

"Don't bother," he says. "Meet me at 553 North Leavitt.We've got another one. Sounds a lot like the Meyer-Davis case. Same game, same winner."

Sloane's sweat goes cold. "Aren't you waiting on Meyer-Davis now?"

"She called and cancelled. I guess this is a busy time of year for accountants. She says she can't talk to us again until after the fifteenth."

"We're not doing taxes, Heavy. We can't afford to file an extension."

"We can't afford to lose her, either. Come on, Sloane. It's only a few days."

Sloane figures there's no point in spending those days arguing. "You said 553 North Leavitt, right?"

"I'll see you there."

Sloane hangs up, finds Scott Zwick: he's feet-up on the couch in the front room, no worries, mi casa es su casa, all that. "What do you think?"

"Thank you," she announces, "but I have a situation—I have to get to work."

Zwick moves toward the door so she can't get by without a handshake, at least. "Before you go I should tell you the sellers are very motivated," he says, a side step in line with hers.

"Now the song and dance?"

"Yeah, okay, you got me. But situations like this? They're all in the timing. I'm not sure I told you this, but the seller's wife is having twins in July. I mean, you can imagine—they're thinking in terms of trimesters. Tick-tock."

"Tick-tock," Sloane repeats, no heart in it, because starting a family is one thing she can't imagine at all. She moves past him, her boots falling flat across the hardwood and she is again too big, too much for this.

"Please," Zwick says, staying with her, "take my card. If you are interested in this place, I know we can make a good deal. If not ..." He leaves the statement there for her to pick up.

At the door she says, "I don't need a Realtor."

"I don't want to be your Realtor." Zwick smiles, the lines at his eyes sneaking toward those possibilities again.

Sloane thinks of Claire Meyer-Davis. And the new girl. Their possibilities all risks now. From now on.

"I'm sorry. I can't afford it."

LAST KNOWN ADDRESS. Copyright © 2009 by Theresa Schwegel. All rights reserved. For information, address St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2013

    I bought this book at the dollar tree for $1

    I bought this book at the dollar tree for $1

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

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Another solid book by Schwegel

    I'm an ex-police officer and I love the way Schwegel captures the rough and rowdy atmosphere of police work. She has an excellent grasp of the day to day dialog and sophomoric pranks that are so common amongst the boys and girls in blue. It is a tough job and it breeds its own peculiar brand of humor. And the political and human obstacles to getting the job done are well and truly portrayed. Sometimes cops feel like they're fighting everyone but the bad guys.
    The plot and action are okay, if a little trite. I could have done without the lengthy point-of-view narratives from the victims, but that's a personal preference. I like tighter more focused books.
    A good ending, nicely done. A book well worth the investment of money and time.

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  • Posted August 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Last Known Address makes you think

    Det. Sloan Pearson is still new on the Chicago Sex Crimes Unit and as a newbie she would expect normal hazing but what she recieves is sexual harassment.
    At one point she is returning from seeing her father in a hospital and so is late for work, one fellow officer says "I'll bet she got a hot wax."

    Early in the story, we witness the thoughts of someone being stalked and then raped. It is confusing because we don't know who it is.

    Pearson is given the case to find the serial rapist.
    When she finds that a victim was a woman who had shown her a condo she was thinking of buying, the case became personal.

    Dealing with the case and her father's illness takes a toll. Her relationship with her boyfriend is terrible, the rapport she could have with her partner is not there and she ignores orders from her superior.

    At one point in the story she meets a person and becomes attracted to him. The reader wonders if this could be the rapist.

    Pearson is a compulsive worker. She wants to find the rapist before another woman is attacked but she is so cold and impersonal that she doesn't create any sympathy and if she catches the rapist or, the reader doesn't care.

    A major element in the story is the sexual harassment and if Schwegel portrayed Pearson in this cold way due to this harassment then it has a purpose. If Schwegel is attempting to expose this as a problem with the police department, then I hope the novel surves its purpose.

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  • Posted June 8, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    exciting whodunit

    Chicago police detective Sloane Pearson has moved from homicide to major sex crimes. Her current case involves a brutal serial rapist who leaves his prey near dead from strangulation. Her efforts to get someone to talk are futile as the women fear their predator will return to finish the job or worse.

    The brass demands she either finds a legitimate suspect or move on as they reject her belief a serial rapist is stalking Chicago. However, she has no clues so Pearson tracks what the victims claimed they did before being snatched and raped. She begins to find a tenuous link, but is running out of time as her boss orders her to drop the investigation immediately and start a new case while she knows the next victim is just around the corner.

    The latest Pearson police procedural (see PROBABLE CAUSE) is an exciting whodunit in which the heroine's boss and lover intrude in her inquiry. Her supervisor orders her to cease and desist though she believes another rape is imminent and Sloane is considering leaving her lover, but puts that on hold while investigating; on top of that her father is ill with a bad heart. The story line is fast-paced and never slows down as Pearson's tour of Chicago is no joy ride as the clues are few and the women begin to back away with her only ally being a Sun-Times reporter that she feeds information to that if her boss knew would cost her the job she loves. Theresa Schwegel provides a tense one sitting thriller.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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