Broke, recently divorced, and a total deadbeat, Bob Wells has spent his life as a psychiatrist only doing good in the world. When one of his patients with clear paranoid delusions starts to lose a grip, Bob has no choice but to intervene. Emile Bardan is haunted by demons, and he believes that someone is trying to steal his most prized possesion, the legendeary Mask of Utu. Bob thinks it’s all part of Emile’s imagination until he discovers that Emile is telling the truth and that the mask is worth millions. It’s Bob who may actually be the one losing his grip. He’s tired of helping people for nothing, tired of being treated like dirt—and while he may have met the girl of his dreams, he doesn’t want to lose her because he can’t take care of her. There is only one thing to do: Bob is going to steal the mask himself: But doing so may mean making the biggest mistake of all—as he proceeds down a path into a dark abyss from which there is no return.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.53(d)|
About the Author
In 1985 ROBERT WARD'S critically acclaimed Red Baker, which won the PEN West prize for Best Novel of 1985, drew the attention of David Milch, who asked him to write for Hill Street Blues. In 1988 he became a co-executive producer and writer of Miami Vice. He has also written for such shows as New York Undercover, The Division. He lives in Los Angeles.
Read an Excerpt
Even after three vodkas and an Ambien, it had taken Bob Wells two hours to fall asleep. Now he lay in his bed dreaming that he was running through a maze of dark city streets, while sharp little stilettos of ice stuck in his chest. Somewhere ahead of him in the gathering dark, a voice screamed, "Terrorists. Terrorists . . . they're coming! The terrorists!" He knew that panicky voice so well, knew it nearly as well as he knew his own. He turned a dream corner and saw the screamer lying there, near a battered old phone booth, his sore-covered head hanging in the gutter.
Bob Wells woke up with a start. There it was again. The panic dream of ice rain. A lethal injection that fell from the night sky, accompanied by a high-pitched scream, the same scream he could hear for real now, somewhere out there on the wet city streets.
He got out of bed, went to his bedroom window, and with some effort pushed it open. The cold wind and sleet blew in from the harbor. Bob stuck his head out into the night and looked down the far end of Aliceanna Street. The homeless guy was there, just as he'd been the night before, the guy everybody called 911, lying in the gutter, right next to the battered and windowless telephone booth. Loaded on rotgut and crack, he held his wine bottle in the air and screamed: "Here they come! The terrorists! They're in the air! They're here! Terrorists! Terrorists!"
Bob listened to 911 rave, his hysterical voice cutting through his rapidly beating heart. Finally, he shut the window, sighed, took off his sweat-soaked pajama top, quickly threw on his old wool crewneck sweater, and reached for his black Levi's.
Bob buttoned his old navy pea jacket against the sleet as he headed down the slippery street. He was ten feet away when the terrified, wide-eyed, filthy man looked up at him.
"I know you," he said. "The fucking terrorist."
"Nah, Nine," Bob said. "No terrorists, man. It's just me. Bob."
The drunken, panicked wreck looked at him through rheumy eyes.
"Dr. Bobby?" he said. "Dr. Bobby, that you?"
"Yeah," Bob said. "That's me. What's up, Nine?"
"They're coming," 911 whispered. "They're coming. I heard it from my people."
"Right," Bob said. "So, if they are coming, maybe the smart thing to do would be to get off the street?"
911 bit his scabby lower lip and looked at Bob in a cagey way.
"So you might think," he said. "But then again, maybe that's exactly what they want me to do. After I get to the shelter, boom, the death strike hits there."
"I don't think so," Bob said, moving even closer. "You know why?"
"'Cause I talked to your people just a few minutes ago and they told me that tonight is just a street action. Anybody in the shelter is safe, Nine. Okay?"
911 looked frantically around like a frightened gerbil.
"Also it's cold and wet out here," Bob said, looking up at the sky. "You could get real sick and then you'd be playing right into their hands."
From beneath the street grime, 911 assumed a thoughtful stare.
"You're right," he said. "They would just love that, bro."
"Of course they would," Bob said. "Hey, the thing is, I gotta go to St. Mary's shelter right down on Broadway, so maybe you'd like to keep me company, huh?"
"Like riding shotgun on the stagecoach to Dodge," 911 said.
"Just like that," Bob said.
"Maybe we should go now, before they come," 911 said. Like he'd just thought of it. Like he was taking care of Bob.
"Let's do it," Bob said.
As 911 tried to unfold his bones from the street, Bob gently took his arm, a mistake he wouldn't have made earlier in the night, when he was less wasted.
911 pulled away quickly and kicked Bob squarely in the balls. Stunned, Bob went down on his knees, groaning and holding his crotch, as the homeless man scuttled away.
"Oh no, man. You can't fool me," 911 screamed. "You almost had me, dude, but I saw through you! You fucking terrorist son of a bitch!"
Bob fell over on his side as the pain shot through his stomach and lodged somewhere near his Adam's apple. He lay there and it occurred to him, for maybe the hundredth time that day, that he seriously needed out of this shit. Up, up, and away, like forever, for good. No more, baby. No more friend of the friendless. No more poor folks. No more 911s.
As the burning pain subsided, Bob Wells entertained a small, almost funny thought. If any of his neighbors looked out their windows just now, they'd see him there and think, Look at the poor, homeless son of a bitch out in this shit. Pathetic.
And they'd be right, Bob thought, dead right. Because this was it. This was his life. The grand and once near-glorious Bob Wells was lying in the street after being kicked in the balls by a madman. Not only that, but the madman was one of his own patients, a wretch he'd helped get off the streets time and time again.
Cold winter sleet raining down on his face, Bob began to laugh. It was perfect really, just fucking perfect. Slowly and with great delicacy, Bob picked himself up and limped up the dark wet street toward home.
Copyright © 2006 by Robert Ward. All rights reserved.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This tale of a loser with a chance to gain illicit millions is an ironic indictment of our greedy and fame-hungry culture. Psychiatrist Bob Wells, former '60s peace activist and champion of the underdog, sees his life on a downward slide. His former pals have defected to the suburbs, his wife has left him for a pop psychoanalyst, and his practice is rapidly dwindling. When a chance comes to earn a fortune by stealing an ancient Sumerian mask, he takes it - and in a strange twist of fate becomes an instant hero and media darling. Eager to hang on to fame and riches, Bob becomes a monster and a killing machine. The plot takes the reader on a hair-raising ride, filled with dizzying twists and turns. The book reads like a screenplay at times, which may have been the author's intention. It would make one heck of a movie.
An entertaining book to say the least. And perhaps a little scary. If anyone has met people of any abundance then the transformation or should I say corruption of the characters in 'Four Kinds Of Rain' rings true. Robert Ward has managed to capture that corruption in great detail, opening the mind of his lead character Bob Wells to us with none of the ugliness spared. The delusions Bob Wells and his friends present to their souls to justify their deeds is downright frightening. The book is one-part fable and two-parts sad reality. A page-turner I truely enjoyed.
In mysteries readers are accustomed to suspending belief but this one asks way too much. This one's a Baltimore blood bath and the hero? obtains hyperbolic fame way out of proportion to his deed. The pedestrian prose is mainly concerned with the hero alternating between rationalizing his terrible behavior with having pangs of guilt about that behavior. The other characters undergo personality changes that would make a politician proud. Nevertheless, the plot is intriguing and you'll probably stick it out to see how it ends.
Baltimore psychiatrist Dr. Bob Wells knows his life is spinning out of control due to a gambling addiction and a need to imbibe to numb the pain of his work and the loss of his wife after twenty-two of marriage when she finally gave up on him. In his fifties his once thriving practice lies dormant if not dead. He makes some chump change as a freelance (nice term for fill-in) psychiatric social worker. ----------------------- Bob¿s only pleasure comes when he plays with his oldies band, the Rockaholics, which is once a week as everyone else has real day jobs. To spice up the act the group hires blonde Jesse Reardon as a singer. To his shock Bob falls in love at first sight with the beautiful blond bombshell. He ignores his desire until she tells him she loves him. Though they share heaven, Jesse informs her beloved Bob that they will not stay together because she refuses to be with a man with no money. Bob decides his only avenue top obtain some cash to keep Jesse is to rob his last wealthy client, neurotic antiquities dealer Emile Bardan. The unhinged Emile thinks that his nemesis Colin Edwards will try to steal a priceless Sumerian sun-god mask from him and will kill him if he tries stopping him Emile believes Colin has murdered a friend. Bob sees an opportunity to steal the mask and sell it to Colin.--------------- FOUR KINDS OF RAIN is for the most part an amusing crime caper in which the bungling cast make mistake after mistake. The story line is fast-paced though a bit over the edge as Emile is paranoid Colin is dangerous and Bob is desperate. Fans who enjoy wacky tales starring ultra-flawed characters will want to accompany these escapees from the Robert Ward as this novel is filled with humorous blunders and misguided escapades.----------------- Harriet Klausner