Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.
For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.
The bestselling author of "The Dark Side of the Game" tackles the unspoken taboos in sports today in this fast-paced and gripping thriller set in the world of pro football.
|Publisher:||Grand Central Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||4.25(w) x 6.75(h) x 0.84(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Trane Jones emerged from a small voodoo shop at the corner of Crescent and strolled confidently down Bourbon Street with his back straight, his head high, and a spring in his gait. He was full-framed at six foot four, and the biker boots he wore made him taller and more imposing still. Despite the late hour he wore a dark pair of Oakley sunglasses, and a black leather cap, which he wore backward, matched his jacket but covered his trademark diagonal cornrows. It was a cool night in the Quarter. Before he could go ten steps people began to recognize him.
"Trane! Can I have your autograph?"
The boy was excited, a freckle-faced white kid about twelve years old. He looked like he came from a place like Nebraska.
"Fuck you," Trane said, scowling at the boy's parents and walking on without bothering to sign the kid's crummy piece of paper. Nothing pissed him off more than people grubbing for autographs.
Trane Jones wanted to forget about football. For any NFL player not involved in the Conference championship games, that weekend, like the Super Bowl, was an annoyance. All the hard work, the sweat, and the pain seemed futile when you realized that no one really cared about you quite as much unless you won a championship. Here he was, the NFL's best runner-the best ever, if you asked him-with records falling all around him like pigeon shit. But people still didn't give him the respect he deserved because he had yet to play for a championship team. He was a New Orleans Saint. It annoyed him to no end. It was the kind of mood that seemed to lead him to trouble, or trouble to him.
As he walked he spurned other autograph-seeking tourists with a deadly stare, refusing to stop or even slow his pace. He could have avoided the crowded street, but there was something satisfying about having the whole world point and stare and you just keep walking on by. Trane took a left on Conto and entered the dark bowels of the Quarter, leaving the crowded street behind. A handful of middle-aged drunks who'd just emerged from a bar followed him for a block but then thought better of it.
Trane snorted disdainfully as he passed the familiar signs that warned of high crime in the area, but all the same he caught himself absently touching the Glock strapped underneath his arm. Three blocks down he took a right between two battered redbrick buildings into a narrow, unmarked street. Halfway down the darkened street he came to a small storefront with a simple glossy black door and a large window painted entirely red except for the words etched carefully into the paint:
ELYSIUM: WHERE THE GODS PLAY.
Inside was a small anteroom lit by an orange lamp that suggested firelight. An elegantly dressed man in his mid-forties sat behind an important-looking antique desk. The man, Gaston, a half-breed, wore a thin European mustache and spoke with an accent.
"Mr. Jones," he said calmly.
"I want a banger," Trane said with a wicked white smile from behind the dark glasses.
"Of course," Gaston said, picking up a phone. "Please make yourself comfortable in the lounge, Mr. Jones."
Trane let himself through a dark wooden door into the smoky bar, where well-dressed men and beautiful women of every color mingled quietly together. Trane moved through the room and sat down at a small table in the corner. This was a club where unusual things were the norm, so it didn't seem to be any great surprise that Trane Jones had walked into it. Still, people couldn't keep from stealing a look his way. Trane let his tongue hang lazily out of his mouth so they could see the chrome ball he had pierced through it years ago as his trademark. Within seconds a perky redhead brought Trane a scotch. She ignored his tongue and he presumed she'd seen him there before. He returned her smile by wagging it at her and staring pointedly at her backside as she walked away.
Moments later a waif of a girl with snowy blond hair appeared from a door in the back and made her way to Trane's table. She was thin but adequately endowed. The skin about her neck and shoulders was a pale white, even against her simple white silk dress. She wore very little makeup, a touch of blush and a light pink lipstick. That and her big liquid brown eyes gave her face a childlike innocence that sent Trane's blood rushing.
"You my banger, baby?" he said.
The girl feigned timidity and brought her mouth to his. He held the back of her neck with his enormous hand and kissed her hard. She sat down.
"Drink?" he said.
Before she could answer, the redhead was back with a bottle of expensive champagne. "This is from Mr. Le Tousse," she said, displaying the bottle with dash.
Trane could see a balding middle-aged man in the background staring his way and puffing up like a peacock in his expensive suit. He was flanked by two striking black women.
"Tell him to fuck himself," Trane said casually, "and bring my little girl here a . . ."
"Manhattan," the blonde said in a heavy Russian accent.
"A Man-hat-tan, and another a this shit for me."
The redhead fought back a frown and returned to the bar with the bottle in hand. Trane gave the arrogant white man the finger and turned his attention to the girl. She was just what he liked. He'd have to remember to tip Gaston nicely.
After their drinks the girl asked in halting English. "Would you like go?"
Trane shook his head slowly and with a shameless grin told her, "I wanna just sit here and look and think about how I'm gonna tear you up . . ."
The girl managed a crooked smile and took another drink. Trane just stared. He could make even a girl like this squirm, and that somehow made him feel good.
Another drink, long and slow, and he said, "Now."
Without a word she stood and took him by the hand, leading him into the back and up a wide set of spiral stairs and down a long dim carpeted hallway to a room at the end. The room was Gothic, with high wood-carved ceilings and heavily draped windows that led to two separate wrought-iron balconies. Between the two windows stood a large sculpted four-poster bed draped with a diaphanous canopy. When the door was shut behind them, Trane hit the girl hard on the back of the head with his open hand, knocking her to the floor and sprawling her pale thin limbs onto the thick blue oriental rug. She got up slowly and turned to look at him. His eyes were lit with a strange glow, and her limbs began to shake.
"This for you," she offered.
Beside the bed on a dresser top was a Turkish water pipe. The girl lit it and inhaled long and hard before presenting it to Trane. The scent of opium filled the room, and the girl's dark brown eyes were soon glazed with indifference.
Trane beat her, then took her, then beat her again.
In the dead hours of the night Trane awoke to find the girl sitting on the edge of the bed with a needle in her arm. Half asleep, he watched her shoot her junk, and then took her hard one more time before collapsing for the rest of the night.
When the first beam of sunlight dropped across his face, Trane began to stir. The bed felt wet, wet and sticky. He bolted upright and rubbed his eyes furiously. A guttural moan clawed its way up his throat and escaped into the musty room. The bed was soaked in blood. The girl beside him was blue, stone cold.
(c) 1999 by Tim Green"
Table of Contents
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Tim Green wrote a very exciting book Lots of twists an turns coould not put it down Great storyline Lee