Abel Baker Charley

Abel Baker Charley

by John R. Maxim


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380730070
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/15/2001
Pages: 448
Product dimensions: 4.19(w) x 6.71(h) x 1.23(d)

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Chapter One

The tall man walked more slowly now, avoiding streetlights where he could, merging with the night shadows that lined the park wall. He was listening...feeling.

Fifth Avenue was dark and all but lifeless. No cabs had appeared in the fifteen minutes since he'd turned back to his hotel. A fine mist of rain seemed to hover more than fall, daubing a soft haze across his tinted aviator glasses. He stopped beneath a single low sycamore and wiped them dry against the suede of his jacket. Through flat green eyes that had a sadness about them he scanned the street he'd come down, probing one block at a time as he followed the receding wink of traffic lights.

There was nothing. Only the pull of the park, and it was getting stronger. The man who'd been following him, the young man in the gray raincoat, was gone. At least Baker could not feel him. He must have gone ahead, Baker decided, to where gray raincoat's partner waited. Back to the hotel where Baker had left one suitcase as an animal leaves its scent. Baker would not return there.He turned south once more. Ahead of him by several yards was Seventy-second Street. There, the black maw of the park entrance opened wider as he approached. And he felt the pull. He thought he felt it. Slowing again, he weaved across the sidewalk and back, probing, like a dowser searching for a hidden spring. Although he felt no pain yet, he was almost sure. The thing inside him was hunting again.

"What's in the park, Abel?" He asked the question in his mind."safety."

"Central Park is not safe. Not at night." Even his inner voice was tired."safe for you. trust me baker."

Trust me! Three times now he'dheard it. Three times he'd heard Abel's warning, if that's what it was, since the airport taxi took him to that first hotel. Leave this place, it said then. Someone will hurt you here. Someone is saying your name here. Leave your smaller bag and go. No, Baker. Not through the lobby. Through the kitchen. Go. Trust me, Baker.

And then once more at the second hotel, where he'd given a new name. There the voice tugged at him as he sat at the bar nursing the single drink that he'd allowed himself. There'd been a woman sitting there alone. She'd looked at him twice since he entered and each time lowered her eyes to the near-empty glass in front of her. Baker almost spoke to her. He wanted to. She might have taken the edge off his loneliness. They might even have spent the night together. Baker knew that he was not good at that sort of thing. But it does happen. And it might have been nice. Not so much for the sex especially, but to feel the warmth of another human body where no one could find him.

Baker sighed. It was wishful thinking. He knew that he was so out of touch with single women that he would probably stammer like a schoolboy and make an ass of himself. Then there was the problem of keeping Abel leashed and quiet. Abel didn't like him getting close to people. Not even his own daughter. Well, you can go to hell, Abel. That's where the line gets drawn.

But he did leave the bar because Abel had said trust me. Walk awhile, Abel said, through the quiet streets so that I can listen. And now here he was. Standing outside Central Park on a damp night listening to another trust me. Closer to an obey me, which it damn well better not be."Abel?"

"the park."

"Who's in there, Abel? Who will I find in there?"

"i've kept you safe . . . the park is safe...the park is darker."

Yes, Abel. You've kept me safe, for what that's worth. For what any of this is worth. But you're not worth it, Abel. Not you or Charley either. Not if the two of you are all I have.

"go into the park, baker. safe."

For now, Abel, we'll do it your way. This close, we'll do it your way.A tiny pressure behind his right eye, barely there and not yet building into pain, relaxed abruptly. Baker jerked his head to shake off the thread that remained. Then, with a grunt of disgust, he passed between the stone pillars into the park.

A city block to the east, the man in the gray raincoat breathed heavily into the mouthpiece of a sidewalk telephone. "Come on," he urged as he counted the number of rings. They stopped at eleven.

"Sir?" he inquired of the silence at the other end. "This is Michael, sir. Do you know my voice?"

"May I hope that your telephone is secure?" It was a low, rich voice that hinted at a lifetime of privilege.

"It's an open pay phone on Madison Avenue, sir. It doesn't figure to be dirty, and anyway this is the only time I could have called you."

"Madison Avenue in New York City?"

"Yes sir. He's here. Jared Baker is here."

There was a long silence on the distant end. Michael Biaggi could hear the older man swallowing.

"Jared Baker is where, exactly?" the voice asked finally.

"Right now he's taking a slow walk down Fifth Avenue. Mr. Harrigan is covering his hotel from the street and Kate Mulgrew is inside. She tried to pick him up in the bar but he didn't bite."

"Which hotel?"

"The St. Moritz, for now," Biaggi answered. "He checked into the Warwick first but that was a dodge. The name he's using is Harold Mailander.""Humph!" The voice sounded approving. From his Virginia bedroom he could almost hear Marcus Sonnenberg's voice instructing Baker on the choice of assumed names. Pick a name that is easily mispronounced or forgotten. No names that reflect self-image, no names that are easily retained, such as Jared Baker, and no names matching your initials. Jewish and foreign names serve well unless you happen to be in a place where there are few Jews or foreigners. Harold Mailander. A good name. For the St. Moritz, a very good name. "Is there any sign of Dr. Sonnenberg, by the way?"

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Abel Baker Charley 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Bulldog056 More than 1 year ago
Great read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you have not discovered John Maxim, you are missing out. This is a weirdly plausible book that just flies. Love it, love Maxim
Guest More than 1 year ago
Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you just wanted to be someone else; or been bullied and wished that you could fight back? I bought this book when it was originally published in paperback, and have probably reread it a half dozen times. When I saw it had been rereleased, I got it down from the attic and reread it again. This book gets better with each chapter. If you like the Bannerman series, you will really enjoy this book. My only problem with the book is that THERE HASN'T BEEN A SEQUEL!!!!!