By Patterson, James
Little, Brown and Company Copyright © 2010 Patterson, James
All right reserved. ISBN: 9780316036238
IN THE WINK OF A BLINK OF AN EYE
LOMBARDO’S STEAKHOUSE ON Manhattan’s tony Upper East Side was justly famous for two things, two specialties of the house. The first was its double-thick, artery-clogging forty-six-ounce porterhouse, the mere sight of which could give a vegan an apoplectic seizure.
The second claim to fame was its clientele.
Simply put, Lombardo’s Steakhouse was paparazzi heaven. From A-list actors to all-star pro athletes, CEOs to supermodels, rap stars to poet laureates—anyone who was anyone could be spotted at Lombardo’s, whether they were brokering deals or just looking and acting fabulous.
Zagat, the ubiquitous red bible of dining guides, said it best: “Get ready to rub elbows and egos with the jet set, because Lombardo’s is definitely the place to see and be seen.”
Unless you were Bruno Torenzi, that is.
He was the man who was about to make Lombardo’s Steakhouse renowned for something else. Something terrible, just unbelievably awful.
And no one seemed to notice him… until it was too late… until the deed was almost done.
Of course, that was the idea, wasn’t it? In his black three-button Ermenegildo Zegna suit and dark-tinted sunglasses, Bruno Torenzi could have been anybody. He could have been everybody.
Besides, it was lunch. Broad daylight, for Christ’s sake.
For something this sick and depraved to go down, you would have at least thought nighttime. Hell, make that a full moon with a chorus of howling wolves.
“Can I help you, sir?” inquired the hostess, Tiffany, the one person who did manage to notice Torenzi if only because it was her job. She was a young and stunning blonde from the Midwest, with perfect porcelain skin, who could turn more heads than a chiropractor.
But it was as if she didn’t even exist.
Torenzi didn’t stop, didn’t even glance her way when she spoke to him. He just waltzed right by her, cool as a cabana.
Screw it, thought the busy hostess, letting him go. The restaurant was packed as always, and he certainly looked like he belonged. There were other customers arriving, getting in her face as only New Yorkers can. Surely this guy was meeting up with someone who was already seated.
She was right about that much.
Table chatter, clanking silverware, the iconic jazz of John Coltrane filtering down from the recessed ceiling speakers—they all combined to fill the mahogany-paneled dining room of Lombardo’s with a continuous loop of the most pleasant sort of white noise.
Torenzi heard none of it.
He’d been hired because of his discipline, his unyielding focus. In his mind there was only one other person in the busy restaurant. Just one.
Torenzi had spotted the table in the far right corner. A special table, no doubt about that. For a very special customer.
He cut sharply over to another aisle, the heels of his black wingtips clicking against the polished wood floor like a metronome in three-quarter time.
Torenzi leveled his stare on the bald and unabashedly overweight man seated alone with his back to the wall. The picture he’d been handed could stay tucked in his pocket. There was no need to double-check the image.
This was him, for sure. Vincent Marcozza.
The man who had less than a minute to live. Continues...
Excerpted from Don't Blink by Patterson, James Copyright © 2010 by Patterson, James. Excerpted by permission.
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