A financial reporter is drawn into a web of deceit when she investigates the deaths of members of a secretive association called the Billionaire Boys Club.
- Dorchester Publishing Company, Inc.
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Too Rich To Live
By Lawrence Light
Dorchester PublishingCopyright © 2004 Dorchester Publishing
All right reserved.
Chapter OneEdward Danton stood in his tuxedo, listening to the hubbub of the museum benefit dinner. He never used to be the guy who would kill someone. He once had a pleasant smile but now every smile was a pretense. His favorite movie used to be Ordinary People but now it was Dangerous Liaisons. And he had been in love once but now couldn't remember how that felt.
If Edward Danton hadn't fallen in love, hard and early, he wouldn't have become a killer. Maybe a Wall Street bigshot, where he could have simply terminated people's financial security. Not a killer.
Tonight, Danton was going to kill a member of the Billionaire Boys Club. And the Billionaire Boy wouldn't see Danton coming. Danton stood among the other tuxedoed waiters at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's June fundraiser. They clustered among the tables set up around the Temple of Dendur. Outside in the Great Hall, the cocktail party rolled.
The other waiters buzzed quietly among themselves as if passing secrets. They were glad to be there because a steady catering gig sure beat working in the reality TV show that was the New York restaurant world, where contestants regularly got ejected.
Danton said nothing and thought only of the small vial that rode in his jacket pocket, weighing it down.
Chef Emily crossed the small bridge over the reflecting pool that flanked the temple. She had a wry smile for Danton. "The dinner's late getting started. Think they'll blame that on me?" She often complained that female chefs were as welcome in the dining business as female quarterbacks in the NFL.
"Caddy Redmon's to blame. He's late, as usual."
She laughed. "Isn't he running for the Senate?"
"He's lost my vote." Danton nodded. "Let's start a revolution. We'd kill him. After we humiliate him."
Chef Emily asked Danton if he could baby-sit on Saturday. "Phil has to work." Emily's husband also was a chef.
"No problem. Tommy's not sick of me?"
"My son's going through a difficult phase. You're an angel for coping."
Hyperactive Tommy had a shriek that could break all the lights on Times Square. Danton would like to swing Tommy by his heels and smash his obnoxious little skull against the wall. "He's a great kid," he told Emily. "We play lots of games."
She headed back for the food prep area, which was set up next door in the American Wing, watched over by stern portraits of George Washington, who looked as though he were having trouble holding down a supper of Valley Forge campfire gruel.
Danton returned to scrutinizing the long empty head table where Caddy Redmon, chairman of the Met's board, and the other swells would sit in majesty. Resplendent in its silverware and crystal settings, the table sat right in front of the temple, which was an assemblage of sandstone walls and columns from 15 B.C., honoring the fertility goddess Isis. Above the temple entrance were images of vultures, wings outspread. High society types, preferring old money to new, liked to dine amid antiquity.
"Are you sure you can handle the head table?" Krapp, the headwaiter, asked him for the fifth time. "We're late starting. There's pressure." Krapp had a stopwatch for a brain and wanted every detail executed perfectly. Catered dinners don't generate individual tips for waiters, hence their stipends depend on how important people assessed the service the next day.
"Let me see. Is it take from the left and serve from the right? Or take from the right and serve from the left?"
Krapp didn't enjoy being teased. "Chef Emily insisted you do the head table this time. Don't screw it up."
Krapp's eyelid was twitching, which happened when he felt stressed. Danton would like to grab one of the exquisitely crafted forks from the nearest table and jam it into his damn eye.
Outside the museum's massive slanted window, the last light from the orange sun made the Central Park trees glow, as if afire.
"If I do screw it up, I'll tell them I'm you."
Krapp's face twisted. "Don't screw it up," he grumped and stalked away.
Danton slid his hand into his right jacket pocket, the one with the vial. (Continues...)
Excerpted from Too Rich To Live by Lawrence Light Copyright © 2004 by Dorchester Publishing. Excerpted by permission.
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In New York though in her thirties reporter Karen Glick is reengineering her life. First she has divorced her PowerPoint efficient investment banker Tim Bratton. Second she wants out of the fluff executive profiles she writes for Profit magazine as her heart is in investigating. She is looking into the buyout of Redmon, Dangler, Strongville & Morgan by the Billionaire Boys Club who she has evidence that proves they are a quartet of tax cheaters. Highly regarded investigative journalist Frank Vere tells her if they can verify the proof with supporting documentation they will bring down a powerful group that includes one member currently running for the US Senate. --- At the Metropolitan Museum of Art fundraiser, senatorial candidate Caddy Redmon gives a shocking speech before collapsing and dies. The group Vampyr has accused Redmon of fraud and cheating, but Karen doubts this organization would seek blood to cleanse the problem. Karen begins to investigate, but soon realizes that someone with a personal vendetta has targeted the Billionaire Boys Club as another member is murdered, but finding the guilty party will prove difficult as this group has hurt many people over their two decades of cheating. --- Ironically while Karen seeks to uncover the identity of a killer, readers know who he is from page one and somewhat his motive although that is not fully understandable until the final climax. The story line is exciting as the audience follows Karen investigating the homicide while also seeking the collaborating evidence that proves the Billionaire Boys Club are tax cheaters. Though the reasoning behind the killings seems stretched, fans will appreciate this intense thriller starring a delightful protagonist who hopefully covers future financial scandalous stories. --- Harriet Klausner