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Marked Man (Victor Carl Series #6)
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Marked Man (Victor Carl Series #6)

4.5 8
by William Lashner

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All Victor Carl knows is that he's just woken up with his suit in tatters, his socks missing, and a stinging pain in his chest thanks to a new tattoo he doesn't remember getting: a heart inscribed with the name Chantal Adair.

Is Chantal the love of Victor's life or a terrible drunken mistake? Victor intends to find out, but right now he's got bigger concerns.


All Victor Carl knows is that he's just woken up with his suit in tatters, his socks missing, and a stinging pain in his chest thanks to a new tattoo he doesn't remember getting: a heart inscribed with the name Chantal Adair.

Is Chantal the love of Victor's life or a terrible drunken mistake? Victor intends to find out, but right now he's got bigger concerns. His client, a wanted man, needs to come in out of the cold, and he's got a stolen painting for Victor to use as leverage.

But someone is not happy that the painting has surfaced. Or that the client is threatening to tell all. Or that Victor is sniffing around for information about Chantal Adair. The closer Victor comes to figuring it all out, the deeper into danger he falls, as the ghosts of the past return to claim what's theirs.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A sense of humor is seldom found in today's top thrillers, but bestseller Lashner possesses one in spades and reader Rohan gets the joke. The author's boozing, lecherous, rule-bending Philadelphia lawyer, Victor Carl-the kind of guy who, in his sixth outing, wakes up with a colossal hangover and an unfamiliar woman's name tattooed on his chest-would seem a throwback to the fondly recalled, politically incorrect screwball sleuths of the '30s and '40s. But Carl has more dimension than his pulp ancestors, and Rohan plays the attorney as both intelligent and lighthearted as he simultaneously searches for the mystery woman whose name, Chantal Adair, he now wears, while brokering a deal that will bring an old gangster in from the cold. Rohan is equally resourceful in delivering a well-timed punch line: when the lawyer asks a young woman at a bar to sample his drink, she does and replies, "Tastes like hummingbird vomit." Rohan's easygoing narration takes advantage of every charming and glib aspect of Carl, to whom women react, in his own words, "with an appealing lack of respect." Simultaneous release with the Morrow hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 20). (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
The sixth Victor Carl novel from former Philadelphia lawyer Lashner (Fatal Flaw) explores the process of redemption for lost souls. Carl is a hapless defense attorney just trying to pay the rent on his apartment and the lease on his office photocopier when he stumbles onto a case that might transform his life-or kill him in the process. This latest work revolves around rectifying past indiscretions, whether it's a Rembrandt stolen 28 years ago or last night's drunken escapade that resulted in a gleaming new tattoo. Carl's ability to negotiate a deal outside the courtroom will determine the fate of several lives, including his own. Lashner, who could be considered an East Coast version of Michael Connelly, fills his narrative with frenzied plot twists, lovable characters, and a sharp wit. He paints the deeply flawed Carl as a pitiable figure trying to find his role in a nihilistic world and searching for a way to change his life for the better. Oddly, the answer lies within his new tattoo. Highly recommended for most fiction collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/06.]-Ken Bolton, Cornell Univ. Lib., Ithaca, NY Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Victor Carl, borderline shyster (Falls the Shadow, 2005, etc.), takes on the case of The Un-Fab Five. Fifteen years ago, five Philly street kids who'd grown up together-minor rascals, not hardened delinquents-accidentally managed to pull off a major heist, netting among other glittering prizes a Rembrandt. Flash-forward to a sickroom in the present, where an elderly Greek virago lies ready to expire as soon as she sees her son Charlie. She wants Victor to arrange it despite Charlie's problematic relationship with law enforcement and his estrangement from his boyhood chums. It's true as well, it turns out, that Charlie isn't so sure he wants to see Ma, deathbed or no. A complementary plotline concerns what must have been one of the most memorable nights in Victor's 30-something life, a night of revelry capped by a generously proportioned bright-red tattoo. The problem here is that Victor can't remember anything about that night, including Chantal Adair. So who is the woman whose name is emblazoned on his chest? It's nice to see these two plotlines merge, but it really shouldn't have taken 400 pages. Victor does dry and witty well enough to earn him a place among picaresque heroes, but whatever happened to taut and tight?

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Victor Carl Series , #6
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.33(d)

Read an Excerpt

Marked Man

By William Lashner

HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2006 William Lashner
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0060721553

Chapter One

It must have been a hell of a night. One of those long, dangerous nights where the world shifts and doors open and you give yourself over to your more perilous instincts. A night of bad judgment and wrong turns, of weariness and hilarity and a hard sexual charge that both frightens and compels. A night where your life changes irrevocably, for better or for worse, but who the hell cares, so long as it changes. Batten down the hatches, boys, we're going deep.

It must have been a night just like that, yeah, if only I could remember it.

It started inauspiciously enough. The preceding few days I had been in the center of a media storm. The New York Times on line one, Live at Five on line two, Action News at six, details at eleven. Now, I am never one to shy from free publicity -- the one thing, I always say, that money can't buy -- but still, the exposure and the hubbub, the constant vigilance to make sure my name was spelled correctly, the crank calls and dire threats and importunings to my venality, all of it was taking a toll. So that night, after work, I took a detour over to Chaucer's, my usual dive, for a drink.

I sat at the bar, I ordered a Sea Breeze, I let the tang of alcohol, with its blithe promise of sweet ease, slidedown my throat. There was an old man perched on the stool next to me who started talking. I nodded at his words, yeah yeah yeah, even as I looked around to see if there was anyone else of interest in the bar. A woman in the corner gave me the eye. I tossed it back. I finished my drink and ordered another.

My memory here sounds almost coherent, but don't be fooled. Even at the moment of which I write, it is starting to break apart. The old man, for example, I can't remember what he looked like. And in my memory I can't feel my feet.

John Lennon is singing from the jukebox, imagine that. The old man is talking about life and loss in the way old men in cheap bars always talk about life and loss. I finish my drink and order another.

The door opens and I turn to it with the great false hope one holds in bars that the next person to step inside will be the person to change your life. And what I see then is a beautiful face, broad and strong with a blond ponytail bobbing behind it. The face still lives in my memory, the one thing I remember clear. She looks like she has just climbed off her motorcycle, black leather jacket, jeans, a cowpuncher's bowlegged walk. The very sight of her gives me the urge to up and buy a Harley. She stops when she sees me, as if she had seen me before. And why wouldn't she have? I am famous, in the way you get famous for a minute and a half when they plaster your face on local TV. I give her a creepy smile, she walks past me and sits at the bar on the other side of the old man.

I finish my drink and order another. I order one for the woman. And, to be polite, I order one for the old man, too.

"I loved my wife, yes I did," the old man says. "Like a fat kid loves cake. We had all sorts of plans, enough plans to make a cherub weep. That was my first mistake."

I lean forward and look beyond him to the blonde. "Hi," I say.

"Thanks for the beer," she says as she taps her bottle of Rolling Rock.

I raise my glass. "Cheers."

"What's that you're drinking?"

"A Sea Breeze."

"I don't doubt it."

"I detect a note of scorn. I'm man enough to drink a prissy drink. Want to arm-wrestle?"

"I'd pop your elbow flat out of the socket."

"Oh, I bet you would."

"Let me try it," she says.

I smack my elbow onto the bar, twist my palm into a wrestling grip.

"Your drink," she says.

"See, you can't make plans," says the old man as I slide the drink past him to the woman. "Life don't let you. Wasn't long afore I found out she was sleeping outside our marriage bed. With my brother, Curt."

"You don't say," I say.

"I just did," says the old man. "But I could deal with that. Leastways she kept it in the family. No need to upset the apple cart and spill the milk."

"What do you think?" I say to the woman, whose pretty face is twisted sour after a sip of my drink.

"It tastes like hummingbird vomit," she says as she passes it back.

"My name's Victor. Victor Carl."

"What, they run out of last names when you were born?" she says. "Had to give you two first names instead?"

"Exactly that. So what do they call you?"

"Wouldn't you like to know."

"I'm just trying to be friendly here."

"I know what you're trying," she says, but a smile starts breaking out anyway.

"It was the cancer, finally did in all them plans," says the old man. "It tore up the throat. Curt's throat. When he died, she up and ran off with the night nurse. Happiest day of my life when she left. Now I miss her every minute of every hour. I loved her true, like a Hank Williams song, but what does that matter?"

I snatch down the rest of my drink, and that is apparently the moment my mental recorder decides to go seriously on the fritz. I remember Jim Morrison intoning sweet mystical nothings from the jukebox. I remember my drink tasting funny and me laughing at the joke. I remember the old man getting up for a moment and me slipping onto his warm stool so I could sit next to the woman. I remember ordering us another round.


Excerpted from Marked Man by William Lashner Copyright © 2006 by William Lashner. 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.

Meet the Author

New York Times bestselling author William Lashner is the author of seven suspense novels that have been published in more than a dozen languages throughout the world. A graduate of the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, he lives with his family outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Marked Man (Victor Carl Series #6) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my first book by William Lashner and I enjoyed it. There was a really good twist near the end that I didn't see coming (my kind of story, lol). I recommend this book and I will continue to read more Lashner novels. --K--
Guest More than 1 year ago
Philadelphia Attorney Victor Carl wakes up one morning in the vestibule of his apartment building, his suit disheveled, socks missing, and the name Chantal Adair inscribed on his chest. Victor can¿t remember what happened the prior night and is on a quest to find out, along with who Chantal Adair is. But his efforts are waylaid by a stubborn Greek woman on her deathbed, demanding he bring her son Charlie Kalakos home in return for a favor Victor¿s father owes her. Charlie is wanted by the District Attorney¿s Office and the FBI for stealing a Rembrandt painting from a museum. Charlie wants to return home to tell his mother goodbye but Charlie¿s partners-in-crime would prefer he stay gone. While negotiating with the authorities as well as considering a shady offer by an art dealer/mercenary named Lavender Hill, Victor hires his own investigator to find Chantal Adair. To his surprise, a young girl with the same name disappeared the night Charlie and his gang stole the Rembrandt. Could the two crimes be connected? Each outing with self-deprecating Victor Carl is a treat for readers who like a good mystery with wacky characters and a narrative voice that entertains throughout. A flawed man who thinks worse of himself than he actually is, Victor is tempted by fame and money with an internal monitoring system that allows him to step outside the bounds of law, but just barely. Victor, who seems to remain in a self-identity crisis, is joined this time by his partner, Beth Derringer, the moral gauge of their partnership. Lashner¿s excellent style offers plenty of humor enmeshed within a good story and characters that just can¿t be matched. This series is a hard one to top.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My first read of a Lashner novel. Enjoyed it quite a bit though the ending was somewhat disappointing. Victor is losing Beth, seemingly one of the higher points of his life and a welcome member of the cast of characters that inhabit this book. We'll all suffer her loss for however long that is. A novel of this length and nature could bog down more but the strength of the characters and dialogue keep it afloat most of the time.
GailCooke More than 1 year ago
William Lashner is a no holds barred writer, his prose is smart, upbeat, and, at times, uproariously funny. Marked Man is Lashner at his best, and most impressive. He doesn't wait to reel you in, but opens with a grabber: 'It must have been a hell of a night. One of those long, dangerous nights, where the world shifts and doors open and you give yourself over to your more perilous instincts...' These are the words of Victor Carl, a Philadelphia lawyer. He can't remember the night but his suit is in shreds, his socks are long gone, and he's sporting a new tatoo - a heart inscribed 'Chantal Adair.' Dare you to put this book down - it's impossible. Carl will admit his life is in a mess, and he really needs to find Chantal - whoever or whatever she is. However, that's got to take second place to fulfilling a dying woman's wish - she wants to see her ex-con son one more time before she dies. Not an easy task as said son is in hiding after a 15-year-old art theft. However, son is willing to barter a missing Monet and Rembrandt, so he says, in order to see his mother. All Carl has to do is arrange this trade-off. Meanwhile, who is Chantal and what is she to Carl? If he ever gets his life straightened out, reading about him will be less interesting. He's certainly not the most dedicated or ethical of attorneys but he is definitely one of the most entertaining. Enjoy! - Gail Cooke
Guest More than 1 year ago
MARKED MAN by William Lashner is a fast passed gritty mystery with a less than stellar lawyer doing the detective leg work for a couple of interesting clients. Then again, Victor Carl picked up this new case in a different and painful way. Thinking that he was sharing drinks with a brash young beauty at a bar, he finds himself on his front hallway the next morning, unaware of anything but the fierce new pain in his chest. Finding this was his new tattooed heart, with the name Chantal Adair, it becomes his only clue to what he would be working on --or dieing for soon! The hilarious, less than charming characters, add a great deal to this story. All of Victor's cases clash and follow the fast track at the same time. Victor is constantly deciding whether to do the right thing or the expedient financial beneficial thing for himself. I haven't decided whether he needs a good talking too, or a huge hug----and this decision process becomes a delectable mystery.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Philadelphia defense attorney Victor Carl wakes up to a four poster hangover caused by imbibing too much alcohol the night before. Not only does he remember little of most of the evening, Victor is stunned to find a tattoo of a heart on his chest with the name of someone called Chantal Adair inside it. He thinks never again as he has no idea who is Chantal or when did he get the tattoo.----- As he remains bewildered and befuddled, he finds connections between the mysterious Chantal Adair, a client with a Rembrandt and an elderly woman asking Carl's father for a favor. Victor works his case diligently as long as it does not interfere with his search for what happened on the lost evening, more info on Chantal, and especially not interfering with his girl watching skills. However as haunting that night is with his total lack of recall, the evening will soon come back in full force to haunt him.------ This interesting character driven thriller stars a somewhat hedonistic man who knows he went on too much of a bender, but as he tries to learn what happened that led to the tattoo, he finds himself instead in an even more complex fiasco. Readers will appreciate this cleverly designed tale because of Victor as he goes from severe hangover to bewildered soul to shocked jock to finally in trouble just because he wants to connect the dots. No one who reads this fine novel will ever overindulge as William Lashner provides a strong suspense story.----- Harriet Klausner