Resurrection Day

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From the Author

Congratulations, reader. You're a survivor.

And like millions of others around the world, we are all survivors of the Cold War.

As a child growing up in the 1960's, our house was just a few miles away from a Strategic Air Command base that hosted a wing of nuclear-armed B-52 bombers. The sight of these mammoth bombers cruising overhead just after takeoff, or preparing for a landing, was as ...

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Resurrection Day

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Overview

From the Author

Congratulations, reader. You're a survivor.

And like millions of others around the world, we are all survivors of the Cold War.

As a child growing up in the 1960's, our house was just a few miles away from a Strategic Air Command base that hosted a wing of nuclear-armed B-52 bombers. The sight of these mammoth bombers cruising overhead just after takeoff, or preparing for a landing, was as common as bicycles dumped on green lawns, or fishing boats on the nearby rivers. During the day the bombers were a magnificent sight, cruising with absolute power and efficiency with their jet engines, as my brothers and I looked up in awe at all that force hundreds of feet overhead. For young boys, seeing these symbols of American nuclear might was irresistible At night it was a different story.

Oftentimes the air base would have alerts, practice drills where the bombers would take off, one after another, as if the word had come from the White House that an attack was underway. For a young boy like myself, huddling in his bed as the jets roared over the house, over and over again in the middle of night, one thought would go through my mind: fifteen minutes. There would just be a fifteen minute warning of Soviet missiles coming in over the North Pole, just long enough to launch the B-52s, but not long enough for any other kind of warning.

When you're ten years old, curled up in your blankets and sheets in a dark house, filled with the noise of jet bombers that may be screaming toward their targets, fifteen minutes can last until morning. The bombers overheard weren't the only local symbols of the Cold War being waged around the globe. Even as a young boy, I read the newspaper articles and the stories in Life magazine about the Berlin Wall, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia. I took out books from the city library about civil defense and fallout.

My older brothers told me that a few years earlier, they had all been fingerprinted, not in case they were abducted -- no, nothing as simple as a kidnapping. No, my brothers had been fingerprinted, so if the air base had ever been attacked, their bodies could be identified from the rubble of their school. I saw the signs at the city hall and the post office, identifying the fallout shelters. And so I grew up, learning in schools about math and history and grammar, and learning more from my environment: blast zone, MIRV'ed warheads, ABM systems. And in a sense, both educations prepared for the world I was entering, a world that had been shaped by the great struggle between the West and the East.

But something funny happened in this world in the late 1980's: the Cold War ended. The Soviet Union, the fierce and oppressive symbol that dominated our foreign policy and our fears for decades, collapsed upon itself, like a stone mansion betrayed by rotted timbers. The threat of overnight incineration, while not completely gone, had receded far off into the distance. My nieces and nephews, now my age when I was hearing those bombers overhead, would not have to learn about radiation and evacuation routes and nuclear detonations.

Then, it was 1991. I was half-listening to a television report, where it was noted that next year, 1992, would be the thirtieth anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Thirty years... The missile crisis was the closest we had ever come to a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union, and as I listened to that television report, a thought came to me.

What if? What if war had broken out during October 1962? How would have the war been fought? How would the world look, ten years later, in 1972? Would there have been a Vietnam War? A moon race? The civil rights movements of the 1960s?

So many questions, so many places to explore. Which is one of the two reasons why I wrote Resurrection Day , to search out how terrifyingly close we came to disaster in 1962, and to see how changed our world would have been. That was the primary reason for the book.

And the other reason... well, it was a chance to reassure a scared boy, somewhere back there, huddled in his bed as the bombers scream overhead, that everything would be fine, that the world would not end in the next fifteen minutes, that he would not face a future as bleak as the one in Resurrection Day , and that all of us would survive, would grow up to be survivors of the longest and deadliest confrontation this century, the Cold War.

Congratulations, reader. You made it.

—Brendan Dubois

An alternate-history novel in which the 1962 Cuban Crisis ends in a war which ravages the U.S. The country becomes dependent on British aid and a Boston reporter discovers a plot to transform the U.S. into a British colony.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Mystery novelist Brendan DuBois makes a foray into the alternate timeline realm and gives us a gripping and chilling dark tale featuring Boston Globe reporter Carl Landry, who is on the trail of a government conspiracy. Somewhere between the gritty work of Andrew Vachss, the hard-boiled detective novels of Dennis Lehane, and the alternate history arena usually ruled by the likes of Harry Turtledove, Brendan DuBois has wedged himself firmly into the highest ranks of fine suspense writers and mined a fantasy noir niche all his own.

The time is 1972, ten years after the Cuban Missile Crisis escalated into World War III. Russia has been all but obliterated, and many U.S. cities are no more than crater-strewn radioactive ruins. The U.S. relies on Great Britain for medical aid and food, and now exists in a state of martial law, with the government censoring all media. Kennedy and Johnson are presumed dead, although there's an underground of "true believers" who conclude that Kennedy is recovering from injury in a secret spot of safety and will soon rise to take command of a floundering America. The spray-painted words "he lives" can be found all across sides of buildings wherever one walks, but controlling the fate of America is the somewhat fascist General Curtis, who still wields military might.

Carl Landry, a former soldier who survived the worst of the war, is now a reporter with the Boston Globe. He's doing a story on murdered veteran Merl Sawson, a possibly unhinged man who swears he has an incredible story to tell Landry. Sawson gives only the vaguest suggestion that he's awareofthe true events that started the war back in '62. When Sawson is found with a couple of bullets in the back of his head, and Landry's editor at the Globe immediately spikes his story for "lack of space," Landry begins to suspect that perhaps Sawson actually did know something big. Soon he meets Sandra Price, a London Times reporter who is eager to do a story on America's present course, but who also oddly romanticizes the state of the country. Landry, who sees nothing romantic in the millions of dead and the U.S.'s weakened position in the world, freely speaks his belief that it's time that America stands or falls on its own, without European aid in any way. Together the two stumble deeper and deeper into various plots meant to keep their articles from print, and eventually they discover more bits and pieces of Sawson's conspiracy theories, which may not be so strange after all.

DuBois's attention to the seamy side of a bleak Boston is an irresistible draw; its ugly, perverse, yet sultry aspects bring new life to this war-torn city. As a soldier and a reporter who has seen it all, Landry knows the streets but still manages to hold to a particular code of honesty and good intent. Landry refuses to judge those around him, as he knows how difficult an existence this harsh life can be, and his willingness to give others the benefit of the doubt makes him something of a benefactor no matter what his official capacity is. The other primary characters, even those whose identities we aren't sure of at first, are all well developed and infused with their own idiosyncrasies.

DuBois knows how to build and nurture suspense, and the author refuses to allow any easy answers to come. The narrative passes and the mystery grows ever more convoluted and tangled, with secrets and conspiracies that reach to the upper echelons of world government.Resurrection Day keeps to a perfect blend of fact and fiction, giving us an alternate timeline that is readily believable and never falls into easy stock humor or retrospection. It would have been simple for DuBois to have made many 1970s fashion, music, or other social jokes to leaven the darkness inherent in the tale being told, but the author refuses to give in to such temptation. DuBois proves here that he is capable of turning out not only an excellent mystery novel but also a fantastic story that transcends the crime/spy/suspense/fantasy genres and works as a powerhouse novel that will leave the reader awestruck and panting for breath.

—Tom Piccirilli

Chicago Tribune
What if the Cuban missile crisis had actually led to nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union? It's an intriguing premise cleverly explored in this speculative-history thriller by mystery writer Brendan Dubois.
Midwest Book Review
Award winning author Brendan DuBois, author of the Lewis Cole mysteries, has written his best book to date, a tale that will be on everyone's top ten lists for 1999.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In his first novel outside of his acclaimed Lewis Cole mystery series (Shattered Sand, Forecasts, Feb. 15, etc.), DuBois delivers an alternate-history thriller that deserves to be as popular as Robert Harris's Fatherland. DuBois postulates an America that has been politically devastated by a nuclear exchange arising from the Cuban missile crisis. It's now 1972. Washington, D.C., is a radioactive crater; Nelson Rockefeller is running for president against George McGovern; and Boston Globe reporter Carl Landry is investigating the shooting death of a 60-year-old retired serviceman. Warned off the story after it gets spiked by the military's in-house censor, and emboldened by Sandra Price, a beautiful reporter from the London Times, Landry keeps digging at Swenson's past. What he uncovers is the truth behind the rumors of what really happened in the White House as the missile crisis spun out of control--and evidence of an unholy alliance that is poised to reverse the course of American history. From cryptic references to post-bomb chaos in California to clever reworkings of '60s history (e.g., antidraft demonstrators chanting, "Hell, no, we won't glow!"), DuBois creates a sobering and imaginatively detailed vision of an America that has been crippled by tragedy--a nation where John F. Kennedy was not the King Arthur of Camelot but its Mordred, the man who brought down everything. One of DuBois's many brilliant touches is an underground of diehard Kennedy supporters who scrawl the graffiti "He Lives" on every available surface, because they believe that JFK was not only innocent, but is still alive and broadcasting from a pirate radio station. Cohesively plotted and smoothly written, steadily exciting and rife with clever conceits, this is what-if thriller fiction at its finest. Foreign rights sold in the U.K., Germany and Holland. (June) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
KLIATT
What if the Cuban missile crisis had escalated into a nuclear war? Using this as the basic premise, we find the U.S. ten years later. Parts of the country are uninhabitable, and everything is run by national security edicts. Carl Landry, a Boston Globe reporter, rapidly finds that an old veteran's murder is key to the nuclear disaster. It takes his dogged determination to ferret out the truth. As he does so, he deals with a lovely yet not-so-honest British reporter. He sees the devastation of Manhattan, and his faith in parts of his country is restored. This is an apocalyptic look at what could have easily occurred had the missile crisis been handled differently. It certainly makes one pause and will make for interesting discussion. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Berkley/Jove, 465p, 18cm, $7.50. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Robin S. Holab-Abelman; White Plains, NY January 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 1)
Library Journal
YA-A creative plot based on a fascinating premise. Imagine that the Bay of Pigs standoff had resulted in a Third World War. The USA and the USSR opened fired on one another with nuclear-armed warhead missiles. History, as we know it, is totally different. It is 10 years after the war, and the U.S., now a minor player in world affairs, is still struggling to pull itself together. The country remains under martial law, with the rights guaranteed in the Constitution a bitter joke to those faced with an enforced draft and censorship of all written material. When Carl Landry, newspaper reporter and veteran, investigates an old man's death, the military censor orders that he drop the story, but Carl continues to probe his sources. One by one, they mysteriously disappear. Full of twists and turns, this compelling novel grips readers from page one, picks up speed around the middle, and does not let go until the final page. Technology, world leaders, famous people, powers, and "rights" that are very much taken for granted are mentioned in passing, causing readers to stop and think about how the slightest change in history could unalterably affect the future.-Anita Short, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The speculative setting for DuBois's latest (after Shattered Shell, p. 106, etc.) is the world after the Cuban missile crisis got resolved the hard way. Turning from touristy Tyler Beach, New Hampshire, and his Lewis Cole series, the author focuses on a landscape bleaker in every respect. It's l972, ten years after the Russians, with nuclear warheads based in Cuba, took out New York, Washington, D.C., and a lengthy list of other significant American cities. In return, the US took out the Soviet Union—all of it. Untold millions have been killed, including President Kennedy, Vice President Johnson, and most of the Cabinet. The once-great Western power has been reduced to second-class status. In fact, had it not been for British aid during this painful decade, the nation would surely have starved. Carl Landry, a former serviceman who's now a reporter for the Boston Globe, understands how much is owed the English cousins, but he finds himself in a complex situation. Following up on what at first seems like a commonplace burglary-murder, he soon senses a cover-up. As he tracks the story for his paper, Carl learns that there may be an Anglophile conspiracy afoot, a plot that if successful would convert, or rather reconvert, the States into a British colony. Powerful interests wanted the dead man silenced, and before long, it becomes obvious that these same interests plan a similar fate for Carl. In the meantime, laudable efforts are going forward to rebuild what the bombing destroyed, and as climactic Resurrection Day approaches, the battle lines are drawn in the approved suspense fiction manner: black-hearted forces of evil on one side, simon-pure forces of good on the other.DuBois's version of life after limited nuclear war has some clever constructs, but turgid pacing and threadbare characterization reduce a promising what-if to so-so.
Unknown Unknown
"Gripping... a real page-turner."
David Pitt
"Like the best alternate-history fiction (Robert Harris' 'Fatherland' or the novels of Harry Turtledove), DuBois' tale is a feast for the mind, a what-if story that's so plausible it reads, at times, like nonfiction. In every way, this is a first-rate novel and one that is sure to appeal to a wide variety of readers."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780751525496
  • Publisher: Gardners Books
  • Publication date: 10/5/2000
  • Edition description: New

Meet the Author

Brendan DuBois of New Hampshire is the award-winning author of sixteen novels and more than 120 short stories.

His short fiction has appeared in Playboy, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and numerous other magazines and anthologies including "The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century," published in 2000 by Houghton-Mifflin. Another one of his short stories appeared in in "The Year's Best Science Fiction 22nd Annual Collection" (St. Martin's Griffin, 2005) edited by Gardner Dozois

His short stories have twice won him the Shamus Award from the Private Eye Writers of America, and have also earned him three Edgar Allan Poe Award nominations from the Mystery Writers of America.

He is also a one-time "Jeopardy!" game show champion.

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Read an Excerpt

PROLOGUE

The BOAC jet aircraft banked as it approached Boston. He was glad he had a window seat, because he wanted to get a good look at the city. As the aircraft closed in on the buildings and spires, he felt an illicit thrill.

Ten years, he thought.

A decade since he had last set foot in this country. If it hadn't been for that opportune visit out to that American SAC airfield that October, he would have remained in this country. Forever. Cooked, crisped, the fused remains of his atoms mixing in eternally with the Washington embassy building and the dozens of people on that doomed staff. He shivered and looked again at the old brick buildings and the narrow streets of Boston below him. Almost two hundred years ago a revolution began here, and his ancestors no doubt had a hand in it. Ironic, he thought.

The aircraft made a smooth enough landing. As he grabbed his overnight grip from the overhead compartment he was embarrassed at the quickening of his heart. He knew everything would be fine. The chaps back home were the best in the world, and besides, the passport he was carrying was accurate enough. It said JOHN SHEFFIELD, which was true. If it didn't say GENERAL SIR JOHN SHEFFIELD (Ret.), OBE, CB, well, then, whose bloody business was it anyway?

He stood in queue for Customs. The room was crowded, the tile floor scuffed and dirty. Only a handful of passengers moved over to the line for American citizens reentering the country. Few could afford to go overseas and there were even fewer countries where Americans felt welcome. The queue was moving now.

He handed his passport over to a paunchy-looking fellow wearing the U.S. Customs uniform of black trousers, white shirt, necktie, and billed cap. As the Customs man gazed over his passport he felt, again, that quickening of the heart. It would be all right, he knew. It would fine.

He wished he could forget that last conversation with that disturbing man in the Foreign Office. His contact seemed innocuous at first, gently puffing on a Dunhill: "You do realize, general, that if anything goes bollocks up, we can't possibly assist you? I do hate to say this, but you're on your own. We're eternally grateful for your assistance, of course, but we can't be linked to your mission. Either officially or unofficially."

It had been a jolt, of course. No backup, even for a general. The Foreign Office man had smiled slightly, patronizingly, looking like a sad hound with his thick eyebrows and sagging cheeks.

"Fair enough," he had said, speaking quickly, before he changed his mind about going back to that awful place.

The Customs agent was eyeing him. The agent's beard was a day old and his stubby fingers were ink-stained. His hat looked to be about one size too large.

"Purpose of your trip?"

"Business," he said. He had practiced saying the word in front of a mirror.

"What kind of business?"

"Textiles." The lie came easily to his lips. "I'm here to visit your mill towns in the north. Lowell and Lawrence. I represent a concern that's interested in purchasing some textile mills, put them back into business."

The Customs agent glared at him as he stamped the passport. Sheffield knew the look. Ambivalence, that was it. The Yanks had two attitudes about their cousins across the ocean: gratitude for the help and aid they had received this past decade, from food to medicines to seeds, and hatred for everything attached to that aid-the scholarships, raiding the American schools for their very best students and sending them to Britain; the medical programs, helping just a fortunate few each year for the best in burn and cancer treatments back home; and the businessmen, like the one he was trying to portray. Coming in, year after year, to buy up the shattered industries and fallow earth of this wide and wounded nation, to make a tidy profit, of course, but also slowly to bind this former colony back to its former mother country.

The passport slid back across the greasy metal counter. "Welcome to the United States." The agent's voice was as cheerful as a gravedigger's. Sheffield picked up the passport, noticed that the man's uniform shirt was mended in three places.

"Thanks, awfully," he said. After being cooped up in the tiny aircraft seat, the brief walk through the crowded terminal was a pleasure. Outside the air was smoky with car and bus exhaust. He was fortunate, only having to wait two minutes or so for a white and orange taxi cab at one of the stands outside of the terminal. He carried his hand luggage into the rear seat and said, "The Sheraton," and the taxi driver-a black man about his own age-grunted and off they went.

The driver said nothing as they joined the other cars leaving the airport and then went through a tunnel into Boston. That suited him fine. When they emerged from the tunnel he looked out the grimy windows of the cab as the driver maneuvered along the narrow and twisting streets. He had expected the place to look old and tired, like Manchester back home, but what surprised him was the dreariness of it all, like everyone had just given up. Most of the cars were old and rusted out, the buses belched great clouds of diesel smoke, and many buildings looked like they had gone for years without paint or repairs.

Fifteen minutes after arriving at the Sheraton he was in his room, lying down on the bed with his clothes still on and his shoes off, fighting exhaustion and jet lag. He got up and went into the washroom, putting a cold compress at the back of his neck. He looked in the bathroom mirror, seeing the tired blue eyes, the collection of wrinkles from squinting into the sun for years and years while in the Army, the freckled and often sunburned top of his head, fringed by a faint crown of short white hair. He knew he looked his age but he was also proud that he was only a half stone over his enlistment weight, when he was just seventeen years old and entered the service of the King.

And such years of service, from the muddy fields of France to occupation duty in Germany, and then climbing up the long ladder, becoming more and more involved with the diplomatic side of things. Now, he was in service to a Queen, meeting an American he had not seen in a decade, an American who claimed to have something vital, something important for both nations' future.

He washed out the compress, went back into the room, stood near the bed. Of course, the poor bastard was probably as crazy as a loon. He sat down on the faded bedspread for a moment, looking at the phone. Wendy. He could pick up the phone and get an overseas line, and in a matter of minutes, he could be talking to Wendy. The time difference was six hours. She'd be in bed-no doubt with the telly in the corner droning on as she dozed-but he knew his girl. She'd be happy to hear from him, despite her anger at his being in Boston.

He reached to the phone, but stopped. No, it wouldn't be smart. He had no idea who might be listening in from the hotel's switchboard. He got up and put his coat back on. He'd get a quick meal in the hotel dining room before going to sleep. Besides, he had to concentrate on what was ahead of him. He couldn't afford to be distracted by Wendy, as much as he dearly wanted to hear that voice.

The last time...they had been in the sunroom of their pleasant home in Harpenden when he had told her he was going overseas. She had to put her teacup down, her hand was shaking so hard. She had glared at him, her face a mixture of fear and dismay. "Tell me you're joking, John. Please."

"I'm afraid not, love," he said, sitting down in the cushioned wicker chair. "I'm told that it's something quite important, something that only I can do."

"You haven't been on the active list for three years! Surely they can send someone else."

He spoke firmly. He hadn't used this steely tone since his retirement. "They can't. There's...an American. Someone I knew when we were stationed in Washington. He will only talk to me, and me alone. That's why I'm going."

Tears were slowly trembling down her cheeks. Her voice was begging now. "I've been with you many a year, John Sheffield, with nary a complaint. You've been to Malaya and Cyprus and Aden. I've been with you in Germany and Belgium and Washington and Melbourne. Not once have I ever said a word."

"I know, Wendy. It's meant everything to me." But he wouldn't back down.

"And you're a silly old man, riding off again for Queen and Country," she said, raising her voice. "You've done your duty, more than any man I know! And now they want to send you, a man on pension who has to go to the loo three times a night. They're sending you on some silly James Bond mission to a country where they shoot students and people still starve in the countryside. I forbid it."

"Wendy, I've already told them that I'll go."

She folded her arms, stared out at her garden, her most favorite place in the world, and whispered the words again. "I forbid it."

But in the morning she silently packed his overnight bag. The car to pick him up had been late and he went out to the garden, to her bent-over form digging at something with a spade in the soil. He wanted to say so much but didn't know where to begin. So he had gone without a word.

Now he gave one last glance at the silent phone and left his room. An hour later, he knew he had made a terrible mistake. He had a solitary and quite awful meal in the hotel's dining room, some baked cod dish that was dried and tasteless and an American beer that was flat and without any body. He remembered a joke he had heard once, from a subaltern. "What do American beer and making love in a canoe have in common? They're both frigging close to water!"

A good joke, but he wasn't in a joking mood. After dinner he decided to take a quick walk outside to clear his head. He stepped out onto Boylston Street and joined the night crowd. There seemed to be a Boston copper or an Army MP on almost every street corner, and he tried to blend in, though he knew it wouldn't work, based on the way he was dressed. Most of the men and women looked like they were wearing clothes from the last decade, worn from being mended, washed and re-mended.

At Exeter and Newbury Street, he turned left and stopped. A group of Boston police officers and Army MPs were swarming out of a storefront door that had a for lease sign posted in its window. They had clipboards and wooden sawhorse barriers in their hands. He wasn't sure what was going on, but he had seen enough. It was time to get back to his room. He turned and saw a man with a tired face, in a suit better cut than others he had seen, who had his palm up, holding a police badge. He glanced around and saw other men in suits, doing the same thing to about a half dozen people who were walking away from the quickly erected barriers.

"Not so fast, mister," the policeman said. "You got someplace you gotta go so quickly?"

"Yes," he said. "I'm going back to my hotel."

The man cocked his head. "You're a Brit, ain't you?"

"I most certainly am," he said, reaching into his coat pocket. "Here's my passport."

The policeman quickly glanced through the small book and handed it back. "So it is. Go right ahead to your hotel."

He put the passport back and said, "What on earth is going on?"

The tired man shrugged. "Residency check, that's all. Make sure these citizens have permission to live here. You need permission to live and work in Boston and every other city in this country. If you don't, it's back to the suburbs and countryside for you."

"But they're just trying to survive, aren't they?"

"Yeah, but if everyone moved into a city, who'd be out there to grow crops and raise cattle and-hey! You there! Hold on!"

The policeman started running after a scared young man who was racing down an alleyway. Sheffield quickly made his way back to the Sheraton. He should have stayed home. This was an awful place. The only work here was for the young and fearless, and he was neither. He leaned against the wall of the hotel's lift, exhausted. Just twelve more hours, that's all, he thought. Twelve more hours. A good night's sleep and a bracing shower in the morning. Then there would be a quick meeting at some little pub in this city with that bloody American. After a quick pop over to the consulate, he'd be on an afternoon flight back home. If some young guttersnipe from the Foreign Office ever darkened his door again, he'd toss the bloke out on his arse.

He used the key, opened the door. Wait. Could this be his room? He stood there blinking in confusion as he went in. What the hell! There, in his bed, blanket and sheets just above her breasts, was an attractive young woman.

"Johnny," she said. "It's about time you got back."

He went forward. He'd have this straightened out in a few minutes and then he'd get some sleep. It wasn't a woman at all, but a young girl. Barely eighteen. Her hair was blond and pulled back.

"I'm sorry, young lady, but you have the wrong room."

She shook her head. "Nope. You're Johnny Sheffield, and you bought me for the night."

There was a noise behind him and he turned. Three men stepped out from the bathroom, wearing dark suits, white shirts, and black ties, their faces utterly expressionless. He took a deep shuddering breath, felt his hands relax. So. This was where it was going to end. He looked back down at the girl, saw that her hands holding the blankets were trembling. Sitting gently down on the bed, he grasped one of her hands and said, "M'dear, would you care to join me in a prayer?"

She nodded frantically, and as he looked up at the three approaching men, he noted the phone by the bedside.

Damn it, he wished he had made that call.



--From Resurrection Day, by Brendan DuBois. © June, 1999 Brendan DuBois used by permission.
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First Chapter

CHAPTER ONE

The dead man lay on his face in his bed, the sheets and blankets pooled around his feet. The back of his head was a bloody mush. He had on a pair of baggy white shorts and his skinny legs were quite hairy. The apartment smelled of old clothes and dusty air and something else. Carl Landry recognized that third smell. It was the odor of a body, brutally violated, giving up its life. It was a smell that had intrigued him once. Then it had saddened him. Now, it was just something he was used to. Just part of the job.

Carl was a reporter with the Boston Globe and he stood at the dead man's bedroom door, notebook in hand, carefully recording everything he could see, writing in a cramped style that had seen him through high school and the Army and four years of newspaper work.

Detective Paul Malone caught his eye and separated himself from the chattering group of cops. He and Carl were friends, sort of. As much as a cop and reporter can be. Malone was in his late forties, overweight, and wore a tan coat that flapped about his shins. There was a faint patch of gray stubble on his chin where he had missed shaving that morning, and his thick gray-black hair was combed to one side with some wet-looking goop.

"C'mon, Carl, get out, will ya?" he said, shooing him backward. "I let you see the stiff and that's fine. Any more and when the Herald shows up, they'll expect the same treatment, and we can't have none of that. Turn this freakin' place into a freakin' circus, you will."

Carl smiled his best buddy smile and said, "Come along, Paul. Chat with me for a second or two, will you? Deadline's coming up and I want to phone this in. Make the morning edition."

"And beat the pants off the Herald, right?"

"You got it."

Two steps and they were in the kitchen. A younger detective was dusting the countertops for fingerprints. There was a flash of light from the police photographer in the bedroom.

The apartment was small and cluttered and to Carl's practiced eyes it had been tossed. Drawers were open, closet doors were ajar, and clothes and dishes were scattered across the floors and on top of the furniture. The kitchen floor was linoleum and an empty metal bowl was on the floor, jammed up in the corner. The breakfast dishes were still in the sink. One cereal bowl, one coffee cup.

A tiny prewar TV set and a bunch of newspapers and magazines were in the living room. A jet screamed overhead, going toward the landing strips at Logan Airport. The carpet was light brown and threadbare along the edges, with a faint pattern of flowers that had been trampled away by years of foot traffic.

The door had three locks, a sensible precaution, especially during the winter, when supermarket shelves emptied by 10 a.m. every morning and the prostitutes in the Combat Zone bartered their wares for cans of beef stew. But none of the locks appeared broken.

During the past couple of years at the Globe, Carl had run into Paul Malone on a fairly routine basis. Carl's job was general assignment reporter. Because of his military experience, his editors thought he'd be used to seeing dead bodies, so more often than not, he was sent out on crime stories. He and the older detective had a cautious but respectful relationship. Malone was relatively straight when it came to news, and Carl was equally polite when it came to asking the questions.

"What we have here is one Merl Sawson. Age sixty. Apparent gunshot wounds to the back of the head." Malone's accent was pure Boston.

Carl scribbled away. "Looks pretty apparent to me."

"Sure it does, young fella, but I ain't putting my name to it until he's at the morgue. Would look pretty funny if we turned him over and found a knife to his heart, now, wouldn't it?"

"Yeah. A laugh and a half. You wondering who might have done the shooting?"

Malone grunted with what might have been amusement. "Now, there's somethin' they must've forgot to teach us in detective school. Wondering who done the shooting and all."

"You know what I mean. This poor guy was shot. Who's got guns and ammunition nowadays? Only the Army and the mob. Not civilians. So what do you think?"

"I think you're crossing the line from being a reporter to being a pain in the ass, and that's a mighty short line."

"Thanks for the geography lesson," Carl said. "How did the call come in?"

"He's got a pal downstairs. He heard some shouts last night. Thought it might have been the television. Then Merl didn't show up for their usual lunch. When nobody answered the door, he called us."

"Suspects?"

The detective looked pained. "C'mon, we've been here all of a half hour."

"Burglary, though, that's what it looks like."

"Look, Carl, get the hell out, will ya? I got work to do."

"Just a sec." He looked around the room. No pictures. That was funny. You'd think a guy this old would have pictures of family and people on the walls. But no. Nothing. He looked at the magazines on the floor. Time, with a picture of Nelson Rockefeller on the cover; American Legion, with a picture of Nelson Rockefeller on the cover, and Sports Illustrated, with a picture of Joe Namath and Nelson Rockefeller on the cover. A veteran and a sports fan.

"Carl..."

"I'm outta here."

By the door, he finally figured out what was bothering him.

It was the boots. Old work boots, their soles held together by gray duct tape. They stood neatly by the door on sheets of newspaper. Just like...Carl glanced back into the open bedroom door, seeing the legs of the dead man. Sweet Jesus. Sure was the right size. And the guy had claimed to have been a veteran. And he remembered. It had happened a month before, the first really cold day of September. A truly awful day. For six hours he'd been standing on a pier by Boston Harbor, waiting for the police to dredge up a stolen car. A couple of Roxbury kids had driven straight off the pier during a police chase the night before. Their stunned parents were huddled by the end of the pier, ready to claim the drowned remains. When his relief came before the car was recovered, he almost cheered. Thank God he wouldn't have to talk to the families and get the usual "how do you feel" crap for the next day's story. Now, he could go home and have a beer or three and try to forget the drawn faces of these people waiting for their dead children.

Then he felt a touch at his elbow, and heard the old man's voice. "Excuse me, are you a reporter?"

Carl turned around. The man stood on the cracked sidewalk, dead leaves and discarded newspapers swirling about his feet from the harbor wind. A few people walked by and looked at Carl sympathetically, silently saying Sorry he grabbed you, fella, but better you than me. The man was tall, wearing a long Army overcoat devoid of insignia or even buttons. His work boots were scuffed and cracked, held together by gray, grimy duct tape. His hands were quivering, and when he saw Carl notice them, he quickly shoved them into the coat's pockets. His face was red and pockmarked, his nose dripping, and there were dark bags under his eyes, like he had gotten one night's sleep a week for the past decade. His thin gray hair was tangled and unwashed.

"Yes, I am, and I'm sorry, but I've got an appointment and..."

"You're a vet, right? See you're wearing the old field jacket."

Carl nodded wearily. "Yep, U.S. Army. Just like you, right?" He reached into his pocket for a quarter.

The old man shook his head violently. "No, no, put your money away. That's not what this is about. I'm a veteran, too, but I've never begged. Not once."

"Oh. All right then, what can I do for you?"

He looked around and stepped forward, his breath smelling of beer. "Got something for you. A hell of a story. But only if you have the balls to print it."

"That's for my editor to decide. What's it about?"

The old man lowered his voice. "Something awful. But something you'll want to know about. It's just about the biggest story ever, just you see. You know, even ten years later, some people still enjoy killin', and that's gotta be stopped."

Carl nodded seriously. That word ever sounded like it was said by a nine-year-old boy. But there was a faded look in the old man's eyes, and his thin shoulders shivered pathetically under the coat. Damn it, the man was a veteran. Just like him. He deserved better. Hell, they all deserved better.

"I tell you what, Mr...."

He shook his head again. "Oh no, no names, not yet. But tell me, will you do the story?"

"No promises, but I'll look at what you've got." Carl said it seriously, respectfully. The old man was owed that.

He smiled in relief, showing brown and misshapen teeth. "Good, that'll be good. Look, I've got some important documents, something important to show you. Here's just a taste." He handed Carl a much-folded piece of lined notebook paper.

"Right there, that's where the story should start. In that piece of paper. I'll be here tomorrow afternoon, right at this spot. We'll go over the other papers together. Okay? But I won't come if I don't think I can trust you. I'll go somewhere else. These are bad times, you know."

Carl knew what he was in store for. He had seen it before, with other reporters and other "sources" that had latched on to them. But despite that, tomorrow he'd take the old guy to a nice diner, buy him probably the best meal he'd had in ages, and listen to his tales of dark conspiracies involving no doubt the Rockefellers, space aliens, the Romanovs, and whatever. Carl would nod politely in all the right places, slip him five bucks, and then go home and get drunk at all the old memories the man had disturbed. So be it.

"Fine," Carl said. "Tomorrow, right here."

"Good." He looked like he was about to say something, but then he swung around and walked away, his step more confident. That was the last Carl had seen of him. The fellow veteran had not come back the next day, or the next. After a week, Carl had given up on him.

The piece of paper had a list of five names on it, and Carl had spent a few minutes looking them in up a phone book and city directory. When not a name was found, he put the paper aside. Now, Carl stood outside Merl Sawson's apartment, breathing deeply, glad to get out of the stuffy rooms. Focus, he thought. Focus on the story. He looked at his watch. An hour to deadline. He shook off his promise to Detective Malone and took the creaking stairs up to the next landing and knocked on the door. No answer. Well, let's try his downstairs lunch pal. He went back down and stopped at the first-floor apartment. An older man answered the door, his face flushed and his eyes wide with concern and questions, a plaid bathrobe about his skinny body.

"Yes?"

"Carl Landry from the Globe," he said. "And you are...?"

"Andrew Townes."

"You rent here?"

"I own this place," he said, one gnarled hand holding his bathrobe closed. "My parents left it to me."

"So you knew Mr. Sawson?"

Eyes still wide, he nodded. "He's rented from me near on four years."

"And what did he do for work?"

"Retired, I suppose."

"He was a veteran, wasn't he? I saw he had a couple of issues of American Legion."

Townes paused for about a second too long. "I really don't know. We didn't talk much about that. You see, he-"

"Landry!" came the detective's voice from upstairs. Malone leaning over the railing, snarling at him. "Damn it, man, when I said leave, I meant leave the building! Stop getting in our way, will ya?"

Carl waved a hand up, resisting an urge to use one finger, and rummaged in an inside pocket of his coat, the same U.S. Army field jacket the old man had noted the previous month. Jesus, he thought. It must have been him. Had to be. He pulled out a creased and slightly soiled business card, which he passed over.

"Call me, will you? I'm doing a story about Mr. Sawson and I'd like to give a good accounting of his life for the paper. Hate to just run a brief story. I'm sure he's worth more than that."

Townes took the card and retreated into the apartment, "This is all so awful," he muttered as he closed the door, and Carl went out to the porch. The crisp October air felt good after being inside the apartment house.

Poor Merl Sawson. Probably just a crazy dead vet. Their meeting last month? Just coincidence, that's all. Still...it wouldn't hurt to look at that list of names again. The old wooden apartment building was three stories, painted white, each floor an apartment with an outside porch facing the street. In this Hibernian town they were affectionately known as Irish battleships. He looked at the three mailboxes on the porch. Townes, Sawson, and Clemmons. He wrote down the names and stepped off the front porch, past two uniformed Boston cops. The older cop said, "They get anybody yet?"

"Not that I know of."

The younger cop tried to make a joke. "Chances are, the perp's out of state. He'll be as hard to find as a Kennedy 'fore the night's out."

The younger cop laughed, but the older one frowned and stuck his hands in his uniform coat pocket and turned away. The cop's name tag said "Mooney." Maybe he was one of the true Irish believers, still pining for that lost promise. Could be. This was Boston, after all, and even Carl sometimes still felt the faint stirrings of that old promise, an old promise he often tried to forget.

A man in a tweed jacket and jeans stood on the sidewalk, a camera bag over his shoulder and a 35mm camera in his hands. It was Mark Beasley, a photographer for the Globe who wore a beard that reached the middle of his chest and was nicknamed the Beast.

"What have you got, Carl?"

"I don't have much, but the cops have a dead man up in the second-floor apartment."

"You want me to wait around?"

Most reporters simply tolerated the Beast, but Carl found he liked the guy. He might have the charm of a bull sniffing around the entrance to a china closet, but he did get the job done and didn't treat his work as an impediment to a "serious" career as an artist.

Carl checked his watch. "Yeah, if you can. If there's a hole in the metro section, they might be able to use a picture of the cops dragging this guy's body down the stairs."

Another jet flew by overhead. Beasley looked up, camera in his hands. "Jesus, what a place to live in. Freakin' noise would drive me crazy."

"What noise?" Carl asked, oblivious.

"Typical reporter," the Beast said, grinning. "Wouldn't notice a naked woman in front of him unless it had something to do with his story."

Carl smiled back. "Typical photographer. Wouldn't notice a naked woman in front of him unless he had film in his camera." He walked away quickly, past a faded mcgovern for president sign flapping from a telephone pole. No neighbors were standing around, and he didn't have time for a door-to-door to get local color. If he was lucky he could make it to the Globe in fifteen minutes-if there were no checkpoints set up along the way-and have almost thirty to do the piece. Already, as he unlocked the car door and got inside, he was writing the story in his mind. It shouldn't be too hard.

The inside of his '69 Coronet was cluttered with old Globes, notebooks, and maps. The outside was light blue and freckled with rust. It was sloppy but comfortable and, most days, reliable. Today it started up after three tries. At the first stop sign, he saw some faded graffiti on the side of a liquor store. he lives, it said.

Jesus, he thought. Maybe there were true believers everywhere. Walking into the newsroom of the Globe was always a jolt to the system, even after four years. The noise was a constant hum of conversations, ringing phones, chattering teletype machines, and the slapping of typewriter keys. The closer it came to deadline, the louder the noise, and right now it was almost deafening. But even after deadline, it never got quiet. Before one newspaper rolled out and hit the streets, it was time to work on another. As his editor once said, the news never stops and never do the goddamn newspapers.

There were a couple of dozen desks, arranged haphazardly over the dirty tile. Floor-to-ceiling pillars broke up the space, and also served as a convenient hanging place for calendars, notices, and framed front pages of Globes past. At the far end of the room was a large horseshoe of desks belonging to the foreign, national, metro, editorial, features and sports editors. Carl aimed for a heavyset man behind one of the metro desks, his boss, George Dooley.

At the very end of the room were the glass-enclosed offices of the managing editors and the executive editor. Off to one side by itself, as if he didn't really belong, was the office for the oversight editor. The curtains to the glass windows of this office were closed. They were always closed. Like most reporters, Carl had never been in that office and that suited him just fine.

He passed one pillar. The framed front page was from August 14, 1945: JAPS SURRENDER. Another one was from June 28, 1950: AMERICAN PLANES BOMB FLEEING REDS IN KOREA. Carl dodged a copy boy, racing out to Composing with a fistful of papers in his hand. Another pillar, another front page. This one was January 21, 1961: KENNEDY OFFERS WORLD NEW START FOR PEACE. It was hanging crookedly, and the broken glass had been poorly repaired with masking tape.

George had a phone to his ear but glanced up as Carl approached. As always, he gave Carl a look of skepticism, a look Carl had gotten used to these past four years. Dooley's desk was covered with paper, pencils, half-empty Styrofoam coffee cups, and damp photographs, fresh from the darkroom. His thin brown hair was plastered to a freckled scalp, and he wore black-rimmed glasses that were always sliding down his large nose. He had on a wrinkled white shirt with the sleeves rolled up massive forearms, a black necktie tugged open, and black slacks. He called it his uniform and claimed it saved him from wasting time in the morning, choosing clothes while fighting his daily hangover.

"Yeah, yeah," George growled into the phone. "Hold on for a moment, will ya?" He turned to Carl. "Whaddya got?"

He stood before his editor, flipped through his notebook. "A homicide from East Boston."

"Yeah, I know. Male or female?"

"Male, old guy. Looks like a vet. Shot in the back of head." He thought about telling George about his earlier meeting with the man, and decided not to. There was a pecking order in the newsroom, depending on how many stories saw print, and he didn't want George delaying this story because of some odd meeting last month.

George picked up a pencil, scratched a few notes. "Too bad it wasn't a college girl. Could use something to spright up the front page. All right, get me something in ten, page and a half."

"George, come on, you know I've got twenty minutes. And besides, the guy was a vet. That should be worth something."

"Don't be offended, Carl, but I'd rather have a dead co-ed than a dead vet," George said. "And you still get just ten minutes. Oversight took a long lunch and he's running late."

He knew better than to raise a fuss. "All right, ten it is. Did the Beast call? He was trying for some pictures of them taking the body out."

"Yep, he called and nope, there's no pics. They took the body out the rear, to avoid all the attention."

Something seemed to tickle the back of his hands. "That sounds strange, George."

"Strange? Yeah, the whole world is strange. And now you've got nine minutes, Landry."

"On my way," he said, looking up again, as he always did, to the framed Globe front page from October 31, 1962, that hung on the pillar just behind George's chair. REDS BOMB DC, NYC; MILLIONS FEARED DEAD. A smaller subhead read: "Kennedy, First Family Perishes." And the first paragraph of the story: "The horrors of this past weekend's invasion of Cuba to attack Soviet missile sites struck home with an apocalyptic vengeance yesterday, with news that atomic bombs had struck Washington, D.C., and the outskirts of New York City, killing millions of Americans and destroying the upper reaches of the federal government. Military sources confirm that President John F. Kennedy and Vice President Lyndon Johnson perished in the attack. The whereabouts of Speaker of the House John McCormack-the next in line to the presidency-are not known at this time."

After his first six months here, shuddering ever time he'd passed it, he eventually asked George why that particular front page was in such a prominent place. George had replied in that gravelly voice of his, "Why the hell not? It's news, ain't it?"

Carl turned and headed to his desk.

--From Resurrection Day, by Brendan DuBois. © June, 1999 Brendan DuBois used by permission.

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2001

    Arch, knowing and not very convincing

    It's incredible to think that this book was written by the same person. 'Ressurection Day' which begins in Boston some years after the Cuban Crisis sparked WWIII, and following America's hollow victory in the war's aftermath, opens with a flourish of details so vivid and natural, that it's okay to overlook the incredibly fake British dialog and the way the book clearly rips-off the far superior 'Fatherland'. In that book, the alternate history involves a Nazi regime that emerged from WWII Uber Alles. Both books involve seemingly meaningless murders of unknown, obscure men that, when investigated, threaten to unravel the fragile understanding of the story's alternative history. By now, it's the 1970s, and America's WWIII triumph means that the nation is a bombed out, nuked and slowly disintegrating version of itself, with whole chunks of the country verging from lawlessness to uninhabitability. A strong military presence barely holds the country together, but much of the credit goes to General Ramsey, a thinly veiled stand-in for 60's SAC Chief Curtis LeMay. For most Americans, life is a series of utter deprivation, periodic form letters regarding missing relatives, censored news, and a preserved hate for the Kennedy's and their circle who are widely given responsibility for the war. (If the Kennedy years were supposed to Camelot, the Americans who populate 'Ressurection Day' would substitute a mix of Nazi Berlin, Troy and the Land of Mordor from Tolkein). Believed dead, the President is held in utter contempt, as is his young circle who are in different measures dead or in prison. Millions of Americans receive periodic form letters indicating that their relatives remain missing. Though technically a superpower, America is also impoverished, dependent on the good will of other nations. Though profiting from America's scars, even the most cynical foreigners pine for the America of old, the shining light pf democracy. The detective in this case isn't a policeman, but a Vietnam vet (we still lost Vietnam) named Carl Landry. Out of the service - service including military suppression in California in the war's aftermath - Landry writes sanitized news in Boston. When a homeless man offers Landry the story of a lifetime, Landry's interest isn't exactly picqued. The mysterious death of the informer is a bigger lure. When a cursory review of the victim reveals that he was part of JFK's honor guard, the hunt is on for some lost secret left behind by the President - something that will galvanize the nation to pick itself out of its fallout shelter the same way the youthful president had set the nation towards racial integration and scientific advancement. This is where the story turns into a sort of cross between political thriller and mystery. His newspaper writing skills should be enough to have cultivated in Landry the workings of a true detective. Unfortunately, those skills seemed to have been honed by regular readings of supermarket tabs, and Landry becomes a captive audience for every crazy conspiracy theorist left alive. There are hints midway through that the author will rehab the pitiful Kennedys - not so much because he begins guilding them, but because the military establishment gets the strong-arm treatment early on, and author Dubois shows no interest in changing that direction. Landry, however, seems to quickly lose the capacity for doubt, and only swallows more conspiracy. Unfortunately, suspended belief becomes infectious, and the British charachters, who are the weakest in this story, are given a starring role. There are hints that something will happen, that events are in the offing, but no clues - there's no reason for the reader to even guess as to the results, so why bother. To stretch plausibility even further, Carl falls in love with a visiting Brit who is not only clueless as to the state of American affairs, but needs Carl's to explain the history of WWIII. With the war so recent, Landry

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2013

    Well written great book

    Must read for all boomers

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2012

    Garbage

    Dont waste your money. I cant believe this was even recomended or even in the same category as "patriots & Survivors" was. Dont waste your money on this. The begining of the book is incoherant rambling not easy to follow and just plain dull. I made it to page 20 and closed it then started reading another book I got that has to do with the post Apacolyptic world im fastinated with and like to read about

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  • Posted January 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Fantastic read.

    This is a first rate thriller of alternate history. The reader realizes that real life characters are woven into the fiction making it plausable. I want to give it a five because it was SO memorable a read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2000

    A different kind of apocalyptic novel

    An interesting 'what if' novel dealing with the cuban missel crisis, what if things had turned out differently and the soviet union and the u.s. went to war. At least that is the premise of the novel, it's setting. What the story really is is part love story, part espionage story. Dubois keeps the story moving with various turns in the plot and some interesting background story as to what it is like in this alternate world. He creates likeable, believable characters. It's good for some light reading.

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