As usual they have their hands full. Three prominent members of the Turkish community are all brutally murdered and Lieberman must find out what, if anything, ties these murders together. It doesn't help that the key to the puzzle might be an event that took place over a century ago.
Bill Hanrahan finds himself assigned to a case where a hospitalized chef claims to have been beaten by two people and shot by a third, a bespectacled Chinese man. As Bill digs deeper he finds himself at odds with an old nemesis, a man who has an unusual affinity for Bill's wife.
Both Lieberman and Hanrahan struggle to do the right thing even if it means bending the letter, not the spirit, of the law.
Related collections and offers
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Dead Don't Lie
Ankara, Turkey, 1915
Aziz Akan was deaf in his right ear and blind in his left eye.
Both the deafness and blindness were the result of a bomb dropped two years earlier on a cave just outside of Malik in Armenia. Aziz was in the cave with more than one hundred Armenians and two Greeks.
Twenty-two people, not the Greeks, emerged from the cave, including Aziz. When he emerged from the cave, dazed, screaming with pain, and soaked with his own blood and that of others, he had something in the pocket of his shredded jacket that he did not have when he had entered the cave.
Mistaken for an Armenian, as he wanted to be, he recovered slowly and not very well in a small ill-equipped Malik hospital. When they had taken his jacket, Aziz had ripped his prize from the pocket and clutched it to his chest where it stayed. He was released five days later.
When he made his way to Ankara, he found himself being called horoz, rooster, because he turned his head like a rooster.If he wanted to hear the person in front of him, he cocked his head left to present his good ear. Similarly, when he wanted to see, he turned his head in the opposite direction. The Rooster.
He didn't mind. What he minded was that he might be dead on this night.
He was on a narrow street in the Old Quarter, a street of haphazardly placed white stone blocks on the hill on which Ankara had stood for more than two thousand years. The stones had been worn down by more than twenty generations of merchants, shoppers, soldiers, and thieves. Aziz had cowered in alleys wider than this street.
His back was against a rough brick wall. There were a few windows on the street glowing dimly from oil lamps, which was good for Aziz. What was bad for Aziz who, praise God, would live through the night, was the almost full moon.
Aziz was in the shadows, but the two men at the end of the street knew he was there. They were waiting for him.
The two men, who had been sent by the Three Pashas who now ruled Turkey, were patient, even amused.
The Three Pashas, members of the Young Turk revolution of 1908, Ahmet Cemal, Ismail Enver, and Mehmet Talat, were rumored to have ordered the murder of more than 500,000 Armenians and 100,000 Greeks. Aziz believed the rumors. He had been in that cave, had been other places where he had seen, heard, felt, and hid from the Chetas. The Chetas were bands of Turkish refugees from Thrace, violent criminals released from prison and warrior Kurds on horseback. The Chetas had been recruited by Enver Pasha's Ministry of War to do just what they had done, massacre Armenians and Greeks.
The night was cool, but not cold. It was better to be a bit cold than to step into the light and be dead.
The two men at the end of the street were armed. They were enjoying themselves, talking, even laughing. No, it was more like chuckling. That was why they hadn't come down the street to simply drag him away or shoot him. They wanted him quivering with fright when he finally emerged, quivering, wetting his pants afraid and ready to talk.
From time to time a single word from the men could be heard by Aziz, who cocked his head to listen. Cinayet, murder, and Cehennem, Hell, were two words that made the most impression.
Aziz was in this fix because he had made a mistake. He had divulged his secret to Gani Bey Thothsis. Gani Bey, fat, jowls jiggling when he nodded yes, had been a conduit for Aziz in the past. Gani Bey had rank, far lower than a Pasha, but rank nonetheless. Gani Bey had traded a gold jewelry box for a passport. The passport description perfectly matched Aziz and the name that had been created suited him. There had been other mutually beneficial transactions with Gani Bey until this night, when Aziz became a commodity Gani Bey could sell to the secret police of the Three Pashas' government.
Aziz had moved freely through Greece, Turkey, and Armenia, selling secrets he seldom really had. But business had been bad for quite some time.
Aziz had been Greek, Armenian, Turk, and once, not very productively, he had been a Kurd. He had moved easily from Christian to Sunni Muslim to Greek Orthodox when he crossed borders. But now it was getting so that Aziz didn't know who to betray anymore. He had been Armenian when the attack on the cave took place. Wrong place, wrong time, wrong nationality.
Thankfully, he had lied to Gani Bey about where he had hidden his treasure from that cave. Gani Bey should have andprobably did know Aziz had lied. Gani Bey expressed indifference. They had both lied. It had been civil.
Aziz knew he would not be able to bargain with the two men at the end of the alley. They would torture him.
He would talk. They would kill him.
He decided to look at the other end of the street, the end away from the men of the Three Pashas. To do this he would have to step out of the shadow and cock his head. He decided to chance it.
He did it swiftly. There was no one he could see blocking the distant end of the street. He ducked back in the shadow breathing rapidly.
"Ne ahmak esak, you stupid ass," one of the men called out. "We see you. This is no longer enjoyable."
Aziz was frozen with fear and then a light came from the shuttered window directly across from where he hid, a distance not much more than the length of a man. The window swung slowly open and a thin woman, a candle in her hand, leaned out.
"Who shouts?" she said. "Fevzi?"
The candlelight, weak as it was, exposed Aziz. His good eye met those of the woman who saw something there she definitely did not like. She closed and locked the shuttered window as Aziz began to run. The bomb that had turned him into Horaz the Rooster had not damaged his legs.
The two men behind him wore uniforms and carried weapons. Aziz was unencumbered and driven by a fear like no other he had ever felt.
He ran. Two shots were fired. One screamed past him into a moonlit wall. The other tore off a finger on Aziz's left hand. He was slowly losing his body to Turkish attacks. He ran faster, wondering if the finger that was gone had a ring on it.Except for some cash hidden with his treasure, Aziz had, since he was on his own at the age of fourteen, converted whatever cash or salable goods he had stolen into rings, which he wore at all times. Many of the Sunni looked with disfavor on the wearing of ornaments, but to punish all who did would require the condemnation of many thousand Effendim, Beys, and even some Pashas. Fortunately for Aziz, religion had taken a decided rest while the country fought ruthlessly for its existence and its expansion against Greeks, Armenians, Kurds, and Russians.
He could hear them behind him. It sounded to Aziz as if he had increased the distance between them. He had been too frightened to make any plan other than getting to a turn, hiding on another street in a doorway, or into a house where the door had been left unlocked.
But now, he could keep running. All he had to pray for was not being shot again, not leaving a bloody trail they could follow, and not passing out. He sent out a prayer using the words of two religions, Christian and Muslim, weaving them together and running.
His goal now was the left bank of Enguri Su, the tributary of the Sakarya River that ran alongside Ankara.
He knew a friendly storm drain, one that had supposedly been built by Alexander the Great when he paused in Ankara with his army. If he made it to the drain, Aziz vowed that he would also offer a prayer to Alexander. Deep down he knew he would offer no such prayer, but nearer the surface of thought, Aziz really meant it.
Two or three hundred yards farther, out of the partial protection of the darkness of the Old City streets, Aziz limped dizzily through a newer and only slightly better neighborhood than the one in which he had taken refuge.
The water was no more than another hundred yards away, but it looked like the distance to Mecca.
He stopped, took a chance, looked over his shoulder with his good eye. They weren't there. He turned his head the other way, straining to lull his panting, so he could hear. Echoing down the Old City street from which Aziz had emerged was a voice coming toward him. He held up his hand, the one with the missing finger. Blood, lots of blood, and a numbness, but he hadn't lost a ring. The ring on what had recently been his finger clung tightly to the stub of what remained.
He gulped, turned, and hobbled, tugging at the ring, but it didn't come off. The swelling had begun. That there was little pain did not surprise him. It would come, but he couldn't afford to have it come soon.
He passed no one on his way. It was sometime after midnight. He didn't know or care how much as long as the sun did not suddenly shine. At the bank, he didn't pause to catch his breath and look at the moonlight reflected in the still water.
He strode into the ankle-high water and moved sluggishly to his left. He knew where the stone drain was, how far he had to go. He knew there were still dangers. No more than three minutes later he faced the next danger and plunged into the cold water, dog-paddling across the water, fighting off the wish to simply close his eyes and float. When he did reach the other shore, one hand holding him steady on the rough stone, he looked back.
Two hundred paces back, the two uniformed men stood at the water's edge and argued about which way to go. Common sense would tell them to split up, common sense would eventually win because the two men had much to lose by failing to bring in Aziz Akan.
Aziz, water-soaked, in agony, pulled himself up slowly. As soon as his body cleared the lip of the narrow drain, he rolled himself into the darkness and began to crawl.
When he had rested at the far end of the drain, he would bind his finger and make his way, not back to the small room he had been renting, but to the shop on Necmi Caddesi, Necmi Street, where cheap furniture was sold, and where Aziz had hidden his cave treasure under a stone block against the wall. The owner of the shop, Habib, was a gentle soul, who would awaken in a few hours, go to his shop, find a window broken, and nothing missing.
That is, if Aziz had no further trouble on the way.
Then, having retrieved the package wrapped in waterproof leather, Aziz would be on his way out of Ankara, out of Turkey; perhaps if he could talk his way through it, he would be on his way to America.
What was certain, if he lived, tomorrow he would be celebrating his twenty-first birthday and on the way to somewhere.
Copyright © 2007 by Stuart M. Kaminsky.