Voyeur

Voyeur

4.3 6
by Daniel Judson
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Remer was an effective Manhattan P.I. until one of his targets found a nasty way to force him into an early retirement. Since then, he has been living an anonymous life, running a liquor store in Southampton and doing his best to stay in the shadows without ties to anyone or anything. Then a voice from his past reaches out for help, and he agrees to work one last

…  See more details below

Overview

Remer was an effective Manhattan P.I. until one of his targets found a nasty way to force him into an early retirement. Since then, he has been living an anonymous life, running a liquor store in Southampton and doing his best to stay in the shadows without ties to anyone or anything. Then a voice from his past reaches out for help, and he agrees to work one last case—a missing person—in order to escape the threat he's lived under for six years.

Trouble is, even if he finds Mia Ferrara, even if she's safe, that might not be enough.

Shamus Award winner Daniel Judson's irresistible noir styling and impeccably drawn heroes that are so beset and so human make Voyeur—a Shamus Award finalist—his most searing thriller yet

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Judson hits you with a 25,000 volt stun gun in Chapter One and doesn't let up until the satisfying end.” —Alafair Burke, author of Long Gone

“An intriguing idea, a strong plot, a sharp central character and a photogenic setting - the Hamptons…. We're there, particularly when it turns out that it's hard to tell who's scamming whom…” —Newsday

“Darkness. Cold. Bitter wind. These are the backdrops—they’re almost characters—in this grim tale of betrayal, revenge, and pain… Noir fans will find this novel a bracing jolt of icy air.” —Booklist

Publishers Weekly
While this gritty stand-alone crime novel from Shamus-winner Judson (The Violet Hour) may offer nothing new, it covers familiar terrain well. In 2003, while on surveillance in Manhattan's meatpacking district, PI Remer was dragged from his van and an unknown Frenchman burned the word voyeur into his chest. Almost six years later, an old friend of Remer's, police detective Kay Barton, asks him to find a missing young woman, Mia Ferrara, for Mia's mother, Evelyn. Earlier, Barton had persuaded Remer, who now runs a liquor store in Southampton, Long Island, to hire Mia for his store, despite her lack of experience. Though Mia subsequently ripped him off for 80 grand, he agrees to meet Evelyn, who turns out to be more concerned with her own safety than her daughter's. Evelyn is sure Mia's disappearance is just the first step in a scheme to kill her. The author's lean but effective prose is a good match for his subject matter. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews

A jittery shamus opts for a life without peeping but finds that the past won't stay put.

Remer, once a big-time, big-city private eye who's lost whatever first name he ever had, rethinks his vocation after a searing experience scares him silly, scars him permanently and generates intimations of mortality. Self-exiled from Manhattan, he plants roots in Southampton, where the nice little liquor store he owns helps him sleep better at night. In addition, he acquires lovely Angela, a girlfriend bred in the bone for sympathy, understanding and such undemanding sex that she too helps him sleep better at night. But Remer's past catches up with him in the form of Mia Ferrara, the never-quite-renounced love of his life who'd left him flat, vanishing with $80,000 of hard-earned cash from his liquor business. Now, according to Mia's mother, she's disappeared again. Will Remer return to sleuthing long enough to track her down? If he's successful, Mrs. Ferrara will pony up the stolen money. With some reluctance Remer signs on, mounts an investigation and, of course, finds himself back in the world he'd been at such pains to escape: chicanery, murder, generalized mayhem and, worst of all, possible betrayal. Is Remer being set up? And by Mia?

Judson (The Violet Hour, 2009, etc.) is a thoroughly accomplished writer. Still, the plot is noticeably underdone. For connoisseurs of style over substance.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312383596
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
12/20/2011
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
1,013,311
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

Read an Excerpt

Voyeur


By Daniel Judson

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2010 Daniel Judson
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-6195-0


CHAPTER 1

He knew the equipment well, all the tools of his trade, and had already laid out the items he would need tonight on the empty seat beside him.

Hidden behind the heavily tinted windows of his panel van, he was free to watch without being seen, a simple necessity that, in theory at least, might someday prove to be nothing less than a matter of life and death.

His life and death.

Of course, Remer didn't care to dwell on that — or any of the potential dangers that came with observing people at their worst; to do so would be inviting fear in, and there was, he knew, no point in doing that.

He had parked on Gansevoort Street, in the heart of Manhattan's meatpacking district. An old-fashioned street, not paved but cobbled, it ran for several blocks through a neighborhood that was, despite the presence of the processing factories, nonetheless high-rent.

Shabby-chic, the Realtors called it.

Among the factories, dark now, were loft apartments, boutiques, several art galleries, bars, and cafés, one of which was Florent, a French bistro located, somewhat deceptively, in what had been decades ago, and still appeared to be, an old diner.

Small tables crowded close together on one side of the long room, a Formica lunch counter running along the other, lots of chrome fixtures and brightly lit, Florent was a place Remer had gone to only once — on a first date, years ago, with a dark and beautiful woman he had since worked hard to forget — but he remembered the layout well enough, both inside and out.

It was his job to possess a working knowledge of Manhattan — every street, every place of business and residence, all the ways in and all the ways out of every neighborhood, as well as the lines of sight from every corner. More often than not, success depended on this intimacy he maintained with the city — an intimacy that was a never-ending project and had long ago become a big part of who he was and, he believed, always would be.

So when he was told that tonight's tail would begin at Florent, Remer was instantly able to determine not only the advantages that would work in his favor but the disadvantages he would need to overcome.

At this time of night Gansevoort, despite its bars and cafés, was a desolate enough place, which meant he wouldn't have to deal with a lot of hectic street traffic. And yet it was busy enough — hipsters and A-listers roaming about, not to mention transsexual prostitutes lingering at the far corners and the trade they attracted — that his van, just a little beat-up, the logo of a nonexistent plumbing company marking its driver and passenger doors, wouldn't stand out completely as it waited at the curb.

These were the advantages. The chief disadvantage was that the meatpacking district was located on the northern edge of the West Village, which itself was a maze of narrow one-way streets.

Should the tail lead him south and into the Village, he would have his work cut out for him; following someone closely in that cramped place meant to risk being seen. Even with all the modern technology at his disposal, and the tools laid out beside him, success would come down to a mixture of instinct, experience, and, most important, luck.

Still, there were, he knew, worse places a mark could lead him.

* * *

There was always the chance that the couple Remer had come to follow could remain inside Florent all night — it was a twenty-four-hour place — but a little over an hour after he had arrived he saw them exiting together.

They were an illicit couple — each married to another, and, according to the man's distraught wife, who had hired Remer, experienced at deception — so Remer didn't expect to bear witness to any flagrant displays of affection.

Still, both wore the kind of smile that could never be confused with innocent.

Knowing, familiar, provocative — difficult to misunderstand.

Mounted on the dashboard of the van was a digital camcorder, which Remer had already aimed at the ten-foot area spanning from Florent's front door to the curb. Having pressed the RECORD button the moment the couple emerged, Remer sat back and watched their faces and body language on the camera's color display screen.

The woman — tall, wearing a full-length fur coat — strode to the curb and, looking over her shoulder at the man, still smiling an indiscreet smile, raised her hand to flag down an approaching cab.

Starting the van's engine, Remer pulled the column shifter down and waited, both hands on the wheel and his left foot holding down the brake pedal.

On the passenger seat were two pairs of binoculars, standard and night-vision; a carrying case of impact-resistant plastic containing a state-of-the-art GPS tracking system; and a custom-made leather case containing a directional listening device equipped with its own digital recorder capable of storing over thirty hours of conversation.

There wasn't much more that he'd need tonight — he prided himself on knowing beforehand exactly what each job would require — but should some unseen situation suddenly arise, the appropriate tool was more than likely in one of the half-dozen metal lockboxes bolted to the floor in the back of the van.

Remer watched as the male followed the female into the cab.

A tall man, handsome, well groomed, and impeccably dressed.

A dangerous man, the wife had warned with both pride and contempt.

But who wasn't, Remer thought.

The cab turned left on Washington Street, heading south.

Remer kept the video recorder running so he could provide a real-time account of the couple's journey from Florent to their destination. The dashboard camera was connected to a small control panel mounted on the steering wheel that allowed him to easily direct the aim and increase or decrease the zoom.

While the van was in motion, the video was displayed on a screen built into the aftermarket rearview mirror. Remer quickly zoomed in on the license plate, should he need for some reason to track down its driver later, and then quickly zoomed back out again.

After that, he focused on maintaining the proper distance from the mark — too close and he could be detected, too far back and this cab could be easily lost.

A left onto Horatio, a right onto Hudson. So, into the Village, then. Hudson became Bleecker, after which the cab made a right onto Broadway and then a left onto Houston.

A little less than a mile, and then a series of quick turns onto Allen, Broome, and Orchard.

Finally, the cab came to a stop in front the Blue Moon Hotel.

Mindful of the distance he needed to maintain, Remer paused at the corner, midturn. Using the controls on his steering wheel, he panned the camera and followed the couple as they crossed the sidewalk and entered the brightly lit hotel lobby.

There were large windows on either side of the door, which itself was almost all window, so once he coasted forward and came to a stop, Remer was able to document the couple's behavior as they stood at the front desk.

The more he caught, the better.

It was here, his experience told him, that affection might be displayed. And soon enough it was.

The female was standing beside the male, not shoulder to shoulder with him but facing him. She had already taken hold of his left arm, was almost hanging on it as if it were a rope she eagerly wanted to climb.

As before, they were smiling. Remer thought of his client, how she would feel when he played the video for her.

So happy, these two — deliriously so.

Leave him, make a clean break and move on, Remer would advise his client. Of course, she wouldn't listen; no one ever did.

Once hurt, few had the sense just to walk away.

When the check-in was complete, the couple headed for the elevator just beyond the front desk. Pausing there, standing more or less in that same manner, their faces close now, they talked quietly. Still no kiss, though. The elevator arrived and they entered it, disappearing from Remer's line of sight.

Orchard, a quiet side street running north to south between Delancey and Broome, was like a long canyon of brick facades and wrought-iron fire escapes. The buildings here were slightly taller than in the West Village, many of them former tenements. Across from the Blue Moon was, in fact, the Tenement Museum, and surrounding it were several shops and offices, all closed now.

Pulling ahead, Remer parked the van at the eastern curb and killed the motor.

He had been lucky so far — first Gansevoort, now here. Both streets were relatively discreet, and he had found on each a place to park. Most of the time, to achieve a line of sight, he had to double-park with the flashers blinking and hope that he appeared to anyone who might take notice to be a plumber on some emergency job.

A good enough cover, but still, standing out was standing out.

Grabbing both pairs of binoculars and the directional microphone, he moved to the back of the van, sat on one of the bolted-down metal containers, and looked out the rear door window at the Blue Moon.

He took a quick count of the rooms with lighted windows and waited, watching for one of the darkened ones to illuminate.

If his luck held, the couple would have been given a room facing Orchard. Had they been given a rear-facing room, he would then need to abandon the comfort and protection of the van and seek out access to the building's rear windows.

Failing to find that would require him to return to the van and wait till the lovers exited the hotel, make a record of that, and, should they remain together, follow them again.

Should they part outside the hotel, which was the likely scenario, he would follow the woman to her residence, establish her address, and use it later to identify her. If this information wasn't sufficient and his client wanted more, then another tail would be planned.

Rarely did he get all that he needed on the first night out. Rarely were the logistics of working in this city anything less than a series of obstacles that he needed — was paid — to overcome.

Maybe, if his luck held, he'd have what he needed in a matter of hours, then actually find himself back in his apartment and asleep by midnight.

As he thought this, he removed the laser-sighted directional microphone from its leather case. Once he determined what room the couple was in, all he would need to do was aim the invisible laser at the window and listen to — and record — what was being said.

Or whatever noise they made.

It was as he pulled this piece of equipment from its case that Remer saw the two vehicles turn onto Orchard Street from Broome.

Moving quickly, a black sedan leading a black SUV, the windows of both vehicles as heavily tinted as the windows of his own.

His gut clenched instantly, seemed to know well before his mind what the presence of these shimmering, rushing vehicles meant.

But as the sedan skidded to a stop beside his van, positioning itself at a slight angle so its nose was just inches from the van's driver door, Remer's mind quickly caught up.

The SUV took position directly behind the van, its nose at the rear bumper.

There was no doubt now.

Cornered.

Remer kept a licensed handgun locked in the glove compartment. Dropping the directional microphone, he rushed toward the front of the van, but before he could even reach the passenger seat, its window shattered and a gloved hand reached in, unlocking and opening the door.

A well-practiced move.

He counted four men. Despite the confusion, he saw that two of them had handguns drawn and were holding them expertly.

Not one of these men, though, said a thing.

A third man leaned in through the open passenger door, reached back, and grabbed the handle of the cargo door, releasing it. That door instantly slid open, and before Remer could do anything, the fourth man lunged inside, his arm fully extended.

Something struck Remer in the chest.

He recognized it just before the 25,000 volts bit into his chest.

A stun gun.

It was this fourth man who dragged Remer from the van.

Though he was semiconscious, Remer saw the third man scrambling to get across the passenger seat and behind the wheel of the van. He saw, too, one of the two armed men holster his weapon and join the fourth.

There wasn't anything Remer could do as these two men lifted him and carried him back to the SUV.

He felt as though he were being rushed along by a swift current.

Once inside the SUV, seated between two men, Remer was hooded and his wrists were bound together with sharp wire.

The vehicle raced north for a few blocks, then turned right onto Delancey, heading east.

It was then that Remer felt a needle pierce his skin and enter his radial vein.

The last thing he knew was trying to breathe the already stale air trapped within the darkness of the canvas hood.

The last thing he heard was the sound of the SUV's thick tires thumping on the uneven surface of the Williamsburg Bridge.

* * *

He opened his eyes to darkness.

It took him a moment to realize that he was no longer hooded but in an unlit room. When his eyes adjusted he could make out the shapes of high windows — whitewashed and honeycombed with security wire. Opaque. These windows were visible on all four walls, but some were nearby while others were a distance from where he sat. So this room took up an entire floor, and he was tucked away in one of its corners.

A factory? Maybe. Unused? Probably. The air was cold and smelled of damp and mildew. He could almost sense the dormancy.

He heard nothing for a long time — nothing from inside the building and nothing from outside it, not even the sound of distant street traffic. It was night still — but was it the same night or another? He could be anywhere — a few blocks into Brooklyn, or in any of the other boroughs.

For that matter, was he even in New York?

He was parched, he knew that much. A side effect of whatever they had injected into him? Or an indication that he'd been unconscious for a long time?

There was no way of telling. The only certain things were the cold and the smells and the pounding of his heart.

* * *

Maybe an hour later — a long time, however long it actually was, to be bound to a chair in an empty room — Remer finally heard something: the sound of tires on the debris-covered asphalt below one of the windows.

A vehicle rolling to a stop, then its doors opening and closing.

This was followed by voices, first outside and then inside, far below him. Finally, Remer heard footsteps on stairs. One flight, then another, then another still.

Getting louder.

Then the footsteps were in the large room, moving toward him. He was able to determine that there were three sets. Hard-soled boots worn by big men.

Finally, these men were close enough for Remer to see them.

Two of them were dressed in army field jackets and jeans; the third, standing between them, was wearing a leather peacoat, dark knit sweater, and black slacks and shoes.

Hanging from his left shoulder was a leather bag.

By the way the others flanked this man, and remained always a step behind him, Remer knew he was the one in charge.

They stopped a few feet away. The man in the leather peacoat watched Remer for a moment, then said to the man to his right, "Get the light." His accent was French.

The man to his right disappeared back into the surrounding darkness. The echoes of his receding footsteps were the only sounds to be heard. The man in the peacoat continued to watch Remer in silence. Then the receding footsteps stopped, only to begin again a few seconds later.

The man reemerged from the darkness, holding now a six-foot standing lamp and an orange extension cord.

He placed the lamp beside Remer, then headed toward the nearest wall, uncoiling the cord as he went. Inserting the plug into an outlet, he returned to the lamp and switched it on.

The bright light cut into Remer's eyes. He blinked against it.

"I would imagine that you are at this moment very scared," the man in the peacoat said. His accent was heavy, muddy. He handed the leather bag to the man to his left.

This man knelt, placing the case on the floor and zipping it open.

Remer said nothing.

"It is wise to be scared," the man continued. "You should be. We want you to be. It is natural. Fear is hardwired into all of us, put there by nature to protect and save us. Things can become very focused when we are scared. Only what truly matters gets our attention."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Voyeur by Daniel Judson. Copyright © 2010 Daniel Judson. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More

Meet the Author

DANIEL JUDSON, a Shamus Award winner and a four-time finalist, is the author of five previous novels, most recently The Violet Hour. He attended Southampton College, and his time in the Hamptons (particularly the parts that don't make the society pages) was the inspiration for the setting and characters in Voyeur. He now lives in Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Voyeur 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Suspensemag More than 1 year ago
Daniel Judson brings us the third book in his Southampton Trilogy. Shamus award winner and three-time nominee, Daniel Judson draws us into the world of Southampton’s elite with a good dose of the seedier side thrown in. In the preface we find lead character Reimer—a private investigator—in the middle of a case to prove infidelity. Reimer finds himself in the hands of a group of thugs intent on beating him down to show how dangerous his chosen profession can be to his life and inevitably forcing Reimer into retirement. Fast forward six years where we find Reimer living a quiet life running a liquor store in downtown Southampton chasing the dragon to keep demons from his every waking moment. Reimer keeps to himself and avoids trouble. The only relationship he gave himself to was with a troubled woman named Mia who breaks his heart and takes off with his life savings. Reimer is called by a friend and employee to take one last case to find a missing person who turns out to be no other than Mia. Her mother is desperate to find the daughter she has not seen since she ran from Reimer. Reluctantly he takes the case, which is when his trouble begins. He tracks Mia to a bar called Pintauro’s where Mia allegedly works. Turns out she jumped ship with her new boyfriend Dave Brazier, again stealing money from the case register. Following leads along the way Reimer finds himself in the middle of murder and a plot to scam hundreds of thousands of dollars. Judson weaves a dark tale in this suspense novel, capturing the reader and keeping their attention until the thrilling conclusion. Whether you are a long time reader of Daniel Judson or have just been introduced to his writing, you need to run out and buy this book. It is noir at its very best. Reviewed by Jodi Hanson for Suspense Magazine
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
solc More than 1 year ago
It will caught your attention since the very beggining. If you are like me that think books are not interesting. You definitly need to read this book. It will make you to start your own movie in your mind. The fact that is placed in the Long Island south fork, makes easy for you to imagine the whole plot. I read it in no time, once I started it, I just wanted it to finish it and get to the buttom of the mistery. I highly recommend it.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 2003 in Manhattan, intrepid private investigator Remer is conducting surveillance of a couple for a client who warned him her spouse is dangerous. While parked, four men corner him; two with guns drawn professionally. A third attacks him with a stun gun shooting 25 K volts into Remer. They take him from his vehicle into their SUV and drive across the Williamsburg Bridge to Brooklyn. They complete their assault by carving Voyeur onto his chest. Years later, mentally Remer remains emotionally fragile while hiding from everyone; as he runs a liquor store in Southampton. However, his friend from his sleuthing days, police detective Kay Barton finds him and asks him to hire Mia Ferrara to work at his store though she lacks experience. Reluctantly he does, but she stole 80 K from him before vanishing. Kay informs him that Mira is missing and that the woman's mother Evelyn wants to meet him to beg him to find her daughter. Instead of what he expected from the mom, when they meet, the frightened woman says her daughter's disappearance is the first step that will end in Evelyn's death. This is an exciting character driven private investigative thriller. The story line starts off as a Manhattan Noir, but quickly switches to a Long Island anti-Noir, and soon turns into a hesitant Noir as Remer is unsure he can get back in the saddle. Fast-paced, Remer knows he owes the Frenchman and his thugs, but his chest reminds him what the cost is. Harriet Klausner