"You want to know what deceit tastes like?
It's sweet. Like honey."
Over the course of his shady legal career, Victor Carl has made a host of bad decisions, but letting his ex-fiancée, Julia, fall back into his life and into his bed might be the worst. Julia's husband has just been murdered, her fingerprints are all over the crime scene, and $1.7 million in cash has inexplicably vanished. If Victor didn't know better, he might think Julia was setting him up.
But Julia is drop-dead gorgeous and lust trumps reason 24/7 in Victor Carl's world. Victor wants to believe the Beatles were right, that all you need is love. But why are the cops accusing Victor of murder? And what is the murder weapon doing in his bedroom? And who is the dead woman in the freezer?
Suddenly, the wary lawyer is no longer fighting to rekindle a lost love . . . he's fighting to save himself.
About the Author
New York Times bestselling author William Lashner is the author of seven suspense novels that have been published in more than a dozen languages throughout the world. A graduate of the University of Iowa's Writers' Workshop, he lives with his family outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Read an Excerpt
A Killer's Kiss
They came for me in the nighttime, which is usually the way of it. They knocked so loudly the walls shook. Two men in ties and raincoats. I could see them through the peephole in my door. They weren't wearing fedoras, but they might as well have been.
"It's late," I yelled without opening the wooden door. "And I don't need any magazines."
"We're looking for Victor Carl."
The shorter one leaned toward the door until a walleye filled the peephole. Then he pulled back and reached into his jacket. The badge glinted like a set of freshly sharpened teeth.
"I'm naked," I said.
"Then put something on," said the guy with the badge. "Our stomachs are strong, but not that strong."
In the bedroom I slipped on a pair of jeans and a shirt. I knew who they were before the badge was flashed. I had seen the two of them prowling the corridors of the Criminal Justice Building, where I plied most of my trade these days, defending the riff and the raff. You can always tell the cops in the courthouse, they're the ones laughing and rubbing their hands, talking about where they are going to eat lunch. While they waited in the hallway, I took the time to put on socks and a pair of heavy black shoes with steel tips. When dealing with the police, if you don't protect your toes, they are sure to be stepped on.
I closed the bedroom door behind me before I opened the front door. They strolled in like they were strolling into an art gallery, hands behind their backs, leaning forward as they examined the walls.
"Nice place," said the one who had shown mehis badge.
"No it's not," I said.
He stopped and looked hard at me. He was slim and sharp-faced, with clever eyes. "You're right. I was just being polite. But the furniture's not bad. My wife's looking for some new pieces. Is that couch leather?"
"Pleather," I said.
"Well, you certainly can't tell unless you look. You mind if I sit?"
"I'm Detective Sims," he said as he carefully lowered himself onto the couch and lifted one leg over the other. Sims's suit was freshly pressed, his shoes were shiny and thin-soled. "This is my partner, Hanratty."
"A pleasure," I said.
"He's big, isn't he?" I said to Sims.
"But a surprisingly nimble dancer for his size," said Sims. "You alone?"
"Why is your water running?"
"I was about to shower when you guys knocked."
"We'll wait while you turn it off."
"It's all right. You won't be staying long."
"I don't know," said Sims. "Hanratty might want some tea."
"Do you want some tea, Hanratty?" I said.
Hanratty stood like a block of cement and glowered. He was the size of a linebacker, with thick knuckles and a closely mowed patch of blond hair. The bridge of his nose was crushed like a beer can. I tried to imagine him dancing nimbly and failed. But he sure could glower. I got the feeling if he smiled, his face would shatter.
"Where were you tonight, smart guy?" said Hanratty. Each syllable was like a punch to the kidneys.
"Home," I said. "I don't get out much."
"Spend your nights on your pleather couch, do you?" said Sims. "Eating cheesesteaks, watching that big television set you got there. That's a lonely kind of existence for a man your age."
"Not as lonely as you would think. Every once in a while a couple of cops stop by and chat amiably about my taste in furniture. What division within the department did you boys say you were in?"
"We didn't," said Sims. "You wear any rings, Victor?"
I lifted my hands and showed him. They were free of jewelry.
"How'd you get the cut between your forefinger and thumb on your right hand?"
"I was slicing onions."
"Care if I look at it?" he said.
"That's not necessary. I'm sure it will heal on its own."
"Give him the hand," said Hanratty.
I stared at him for a moment, saw the violence behind his eyes, and then brought my right hand closer to Sims. Sims grabbed it, examined both sides, brought it up to his face as if to kiss it, and then took a sniff.
"That was weird," I said after I jerked it away.
"Yet strangely thrilling," said Sims. "I smelled soap. Always lather up your hands before you shower, do you?"
"Cleanliness is a virtue," I said.
Sims looked around at the disordered mess that was my apartment. "Ever been married, Victor?"
"Good for you. Trust me when I tell you, it's not all it's cracked up to be. Ever been engaged?"
"It didn't work out."
"Care to spill the details?"
"Still hurts, is that it?"
"Oh, six or seven years is not that long a time. McDeiss says you were pretty broken up about it."
A chill shivered up my spine at the name. I tried to work my jaw but it was frozen. McDeiss was a homicide detective. I put a hand to my jaw and rubbed it back to life. "McDeiss?" I managed to say. "You guys work with McDeiss?"
"You're pretty close with him, from what we hear."
"You've broken bread together, haven't you? Worked a couple of cases together." "On different sides."
"He's the one who suggested we stop by, ask a few questions, see what you—Wait. Did you hear that, Hanratty? The water just turned off. All by itself."
"The water pressure in the building is erratic," I said.
"Maybe our friend here is not as lonely as he lets on. Why don't you invite your guest out so we can have a little party?"
"Maybe you should mind your own damn business."
"Getting testy, are we, Victor? Got something to hide? Embarrassed by your partner? Or maybe your visitor is somebody's wife."A Killer's Kiss. Copyright © by William Lashner. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the 7th book in the Victor Carl series. It kept me interested, and it had a good plot with many twists and turns.Victor may be rekindling a relationship with his ex-fiance (who cheated on him with, and married a urologist). Just when things start to get good, police come knocking at Victor's door. He is a suspect in the murder of this urologist. Everything points to Victor, and the cops don't seem to be trying very hard to find the truth, so Victor does his own investigating. Will he clear his name, will he save his new relationship with his ex?I am indifferent about this book, it is the first I've read in the series, but I am not excited to read more. I really did not like the character very much, and formed no attachment to him. If I stumble upon another book by this author, I would probably pick it up (it was entertaining), but I won't go out of my way to read more.
Seventh in the Victor Carl, Philadelphia criminal defense lawyer, series.Carl finds himself defending his First and Only True Love, Julia, against a charge of murdering her husband.This is a plot that stands or falls on Lashner¿s ability to write about obsessive love--and he mostly fails.There is practically nothing to this plot, and Lashner¿s trademark twists are not terribly interesting. Starting with the previous book, Carl¿s internal monologue about himself and his motives, which in the earlier books gave depth and texture to the plots started wearing thin, and with this book, it¿s downright boring. What you realize is that through 7 books, Carl has not really developed. In each book, he seemingly has some revelation about himself that almost always seems to have disappeared by the next one. And so he continues to be ever grasping after money--big house in the rich suburbs, nice Jag, cute wife--and it¿s now old.At the end of the book, Lashner says that he and Carl are going to take a couple of years off, and I agree--they both need a rest. When a new Victor Carl comes out, I¿ll probably buy it, but rather warily--Lashner may not know how to take this series to the next stage.Well, it was terrific while it lasted.
There¿s nothing easier than falling in love with an old girlfriend. That¿s what Philly lawyer Victor Carl finds out when he hooks up again with a femme fatale who¿s definitely bad for his health.In the middle of the night, a knock on Victor¿s door can only mean trouble. Two cops invite themselves in, asking where Victor has been. They also ask him about a doctor named Wren Davis. Victor sends them packing. As soon as they leave, a beautiful woman steps out of Victor¿s bedroom, a towel around her naked body. "Who was that?" she asks. "The cops," says Victor. "What did they want?" she asks. "To tell me that your husband is dead."Her name is Julia. She¿s ridiculously lovely. Women like her date athletes and marry tycoons. They don¿t hang out with second¿rate lawyers on the edge of insolvency. But back in the day, Julia had agreed to marry Victor Carl. Then she deserted him, running off to marry a doctor. Now she¿s back and she¿s trouble with a capital T. Her husband has been murdered, Julia¿s incriminated, and there are big bucks at stake. Naturally, Victor is on the case.
I was hoping for a new fabulous thriller writer, had read the reviews and purchased. Not much at all.... Very poor writing style I felt, compared to my hero thriller writers as Deaver, Cussler, Thor, Coben, Gerritsen, Mike Palmer, Child, etc. I archived it....
Although Philadelphia defense attorney Victor Carl's fiancée left him for another man, the flame for her has never completely diminished. When she steps back into his life, claiming regret, Victor once more finds himself falling for a woman who never reveals much about herself. When her husband is murdered, the evidence initially points to Julia, but Victor becomes a person of interest because he was with Julia the night her husband was killed. It isn't long before the case takes a serious turn as more evidence is garnered, with Victor now the primary suspect. Victor's goal is to prove himself and Julia innocent, but his efforts are hampered by a Russian thug and his hit man, who want Victor to find the 1.7 million dollars Julia's husband stole from them. This seventh installment of the Victor Carl series is as entertaining and fun to read as the first. Victor Carl is a man of cynicism and wit, with a high sense of self-awareness as to his flaws, yet who is not invested in changing his, at times, unethical behaviors. Lashner inserts the usual cast of quirky characters in a plot that moves at a fast pace and is amusing throughout. This reviewer is disappointed to read this series is going on hiatus while Lashner pursues other writing endeavors. Hopefully, fans will see Victor Carl in print again soon.
With the first few pages of the seventh crime tale starring Victor Carl readers may well be tsk-tsking, thinking, 'He should have known better.' Right, he should have, but lapses in judgment are very much a part of his charm. Carl is a Philadelphia DA, not at all short changed when it comes to smarts but who also makes the worst decisions. He's a bit of an idiosyncratic hero, and therein lies some of his attraction. Readers pull for him and turn pages to find out what in the world he's going to do next. With A Killer's Kiss we immediately know what he did first. As Carl says, 'Old love doesn't disappear it is too potent an elixir for that. Instead it burrows deep into bone, like a parasite, waiting until just the right moment to reassert itself and sabotage your life.' So, when ex fiancé Julia shows up at his apartment apparently wanting to relight their former fire, he doesn't waste any time. He forgets that she abruptly dumped him for wealthy Rolex wearing Dr. Wren Denniston. However, this brief recapturing of what once was or perhaps never was is interrupted by a pounding on his apartment door. Two detectives are there to tell him that Dr. Denniston has just been murdered and, quite obviously, he's a suspect. Coincidence? Clearer minds would not think so. But for Carl logic flies out the window as far as Julia is concerned. He suddenly finds himself having not only to clear himself but also determines to prove Julia's innocence. That in itself is a monumental task but enter a crazed criminal and his attendant goons demanding some missing millions. They not only make matters worse but very nearly do away with Carl. With picture perfect descriptions of Philadelphia areas, A Killer's Kiss is one more robust, rousing, riot of a tale from the inexhaustible Lashner. To carry the alliteration further, it's steamy, suspenseful, stay-up late reading. - Gail Cooke
Philadelphia Attorney Victor Carl wakes up one morning in the vestibule of his apartment building, his suit disheveled, socks missing, and the name Chantal Adair inscribed on his chest. Victor can¿t remember what happened the prior night and is on a quest to find out, along with who Chantal Adair is. But his efforts are waylaid by a stubborn Greek woman on her deathbed, demanding he bring her son Charlie Kalakos home in return for a favor Victor¿s father owes her. Charlie is wanted by the District Attorney¿s Office and the FBI for stealing a Rembrandt painting from a museum. Charlie wants to return home to tell his mother goodbye but Charlie¿s partners-in-crime would prefer he stay gone. While negotiating with the authorities as well as considering a shady offer by an art dealer/mercenary named Lavender Hill, Victor hires his own investigator to find Chantal Adair. To his surprise, a young girl with the same name disappeared the night Charlie and his gang stole the Rembrandt. Could the two crimes be connected? Each outing with self-deprecating Victor Carl is a treat for readers who like a good mystery with wacky characters and a narrative voice that entertains throughout. A flawed man who thinks worse of himself than he actually is, Victor is tempted by fame and money with an internal monitoring system that allows him to step outside the bounds of law, but just barely. Victor, who seems to remain in a self-identity crisis, is joined this time by his partner, Beth Derringer, the moral gauge of their partnership. Lashner¿s excellent style offers plenty of humor enmeshed within a good story and characters that just can¿t be matched. This series is a hard one to top.
Late at night in Philadelphia, two PPD detectives visit District Attorney Victor Carl at his house. Someone shot and killed Dr. Wren Denniston at his home in exclusive Chestnut Hill a million plus dollars is missing. The two cops know that the victim¿s wife Julia was Carl¿s former fiancée.------------- Already a person of interest, Carl¿s alibi turns him into the prime suspect as he is courting Julia at his apartment. Stunned Carl wonders if his beloved Julia has set him up to take the fall though when it comes to her he still thinks with his lower head. Although officially he needs to stay out of the investigation, Carl makes inquiries not to prove to the cops he did not commit the crime but to establish her innocence soon he develops a long list of people including his Julia at the top with motives to kill Denniston.----------------- Julia is terrific as a femme fatale who plays Carl perfect in this superb thriller. The story line is fast-paced driven by Carl who begins to conclude that all she needs is love to set him up yet cannot stop himself from making mistake after mistake when it comes to her. Filled with twists and red herrings, William Lasher provides a great character study mindful of classic tales like the Maltese Falcon and DOA. Carl needs to believe that Julia came to him out of love although the evidence when his brain receives enough blood overwhelmingly speaks otherwise.------- Harriet Klausner