For Val Haines, dying may be the chance of a lifetime.
Awakening in a jail cell and bleeding from his head, Val Haines remembers nothing. Not even his name.
As his memory slowly begins to return, Haines discovers that the world thinks he's dead. If his nightmares ring true, it may be for the best. Around him brews a conspiracy of embezzlement and murder for hire, fueled by the rage of personal vendetta. As he searches for a safe haven, enigmatic Audrey beckons, but can she be trusted?
With nothing but a few personal belongings and a sizable amount of cash, Haines must run. With his past behind him, he'll do anything to claim a new life for himself. Or die trying.
|Publisher:||Nelson, Thomas, Inc.|
|Product dimensions:||5.44(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(d)|
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He did not know where he was, only that he was returning from a far, dark place. The smell was the only thing he was sure of. He used it like a rope, pulling himself hand over mental hand back from the pit. There was a sharp familiarity to the smell. He knew he had been in a place before that had worn this appalling odor like a badge. In this addled moment, that knowledge was all he had.
He arrived back to a point where he could open his eyes.
He lay on a concrete floor under a cold fluorescent sun. Pain attacked with the return of sight. His head thundered. Every inch of his body cried out. His mouth felt gummed shut.
A bellowing thirst drove him to move. Testing each motion before committing, he managed to roll over. Next to him sprawled a snoring mountain of beard and leather and stink. He crawled around the other man and searched for water.
"Well, lookee here. The dead is commencing to rise."
The words were meaningless. But he knew the tone. It fitted into the blank puzzle of his brain. It connected to the smell. He spotted a sink in the corner. He used a bench that was bolted to the floor to push himself to his feet. Only when he started shuffling across the yawning distance did he realize he had no shoes.
Bending over the sink almost dislodged his skull. The faucet creaked open. He stuffed his mouth under the flow and groaned as he drank. He doused his head, then used his one remaining jacket sleeve to dry his face. The other sleeve appeared to have been torn off. Colored threads dangled over his shirt like military braid. If only he could remember the battle!
He blinked through the sheen of moisture. Two sides of the chamber were the same grey-painted concrete as the floor. The other two were floor-to-ceiling metal bars. He shared the lockup with perhaps a dozen other men. More than half were still sleeping. Two youths in shiny athletic gear argued in words that he could not piece together. Only one man, perhaps the largest in the cage, met his eye. His weather-beaten features and flat, dark gaze had once probably sparked with intelligence, but now were merely aware.
The stranger waved him over. "You come on over here and sit yourself down."
"You heard me. Get yourself on over here."
He shuffled over. The stranger waited until he was seated, then turned to the youths and said, "Give the man back his shoes."
One youth responded with a curse.
"You want to get on the wrong side of me? That really what you want?"
"What are you, his mama?"
The other youth said, "No, man, it's just fresh meat. The dude's looking after his own self. Wants to get the meat all close and cozy. Ain't that right, meat?"
The man said, "I'm not asking you again."
The youth took off the soft black loafers and threw them. Hard. "Wait till your honey drifts off, meat. I'll be watching."
"Don't you listen to him. Put your shoes on."
"I'll be watching," the youth repeated. "Got me a blade with your name on it."
The man eased forward a trifle. The youth was suddenly blocked from view. "The difference between y'all and me is, I know what I'm in for. I made a mistake. Again." The giant spoke with a steady monotone. As if he'd been over this terrain a billion times. "I fell. Again."
"Like I care."
"When I fall, these days what I do is I drink. After that, I got a problem with my anger management. So you two best hush up while you still can. Otherwise I'll have to spend time on my knees for smashing you like a couple of shiny bugs."
The mountain let the silence hold a moment before turning around. "Do you know your head is bleeding?"
He reached up and touched the spot that thundered the loudest. His fingers came back red. But when he spoke, it was about what worried him the most. "I don't know who I am."
"Me, I go by Reuben." Nothing seemed to surprise this man. "I heard the cops talking about you. You were at a bar they had under surveillance. The bartender and his ladies, they had a scam going. They was slipping something in the johns' drinks and rolling them. What you want to be going in a place like that for?"
"I don't remember a thing."
"They brought you in on account of you duking it out with one of their own. Sounds like you might need some of that same anger management yourself."
"I hit a cop?"
"You tried. That's what counts. Looks like they're the ones that connected. Turn around and let me have a look at your head."
When he did not move fast enough, the man swiveled him easy as a doll. Fingers probed the wound. "They gave you a couple of good licks, that's for sure." Reuben held up fingers. "How many you see?"
"Follow my hand. No, don't move your head. Just your eyes." The fingers went back and forth, then up and down. "I used to be an ER nurse. Which is where I got hooked the first time. That place is full of the most awesome drugs. Okay, cross your legs."
Reuben poked beneath the kneecap, making his leg bounce. Then Reuben gripped his chin and the base of his neck and swiveled the skull, still probing. "You getting dizzy?"
"No. But everything hurts."
"It ought to, after what you put your body through." Reuben dropped his hands. "Probably shoulda had a couple of stitches. But you don't seem concussed."
"But I can't remember."
"Weren't you listening? You got drugged, you took a couple of hits with the stick. You're gonna need a while to wake up."
A steel door clapped open as a guard stepped from the bullet-proof viewing station across the hall. "Adams!"
"I told you, I don't know--"
The cop pointed straight at him. "Jeffrey Adams! Front and center!"
The black man helped him rise to his feet. "Ain't everybody gets called back from the pit, man. Question is, what are you gonna do when you find out who you are?"
What People are Saying About This
"Davis is a writer of immense quality. His latest novel, The Lazarus Trap, is a masterpiece. It will keep you on the edge of your seat from page one right through to when you reluctantly finish."
--Eddie Bell, former Chairman and CEO, HarperCollins UK
"The Lazarus Trap grabbed me on page one and propelled me right through to the very last words. It is an adventure in reading of unparalled intrigue, passion and suspense, one that rivals either Ludlum or Grisham. What a thrill to read this excellent author as he spins a tale of betrayal and redemption. An absolutely exhilarating story!! This is a heart-pumping novel that excites and engages the reader. The Lazarus Trap will appeal to everyone who enjoys a good mystery, and is surely to be a major hit in both the CBA and the ABA."
-- Glenn McGinnis, former Chairman, Christian Booksellers' Association
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Val Haines is presumed dead after being caught in an explosion at a bank, and his coworkers are . . . pleased. After all, they knew about the bomb and arranged for Val to be there when it went off. The only trouble is Val isn¿t as dead as they think. Gradually recovering from amnesia and other wounds, Val begins to piece together what really happened. When he discovers the truth, he goes on the run ¿ to England. The Lazarus Trap is a story of corporate intrigue and embezzling, but in the end it deals with much weightier matters. Val¿s personal life has been far from happy and he has every reason to be bitter and angry. Now he has to decide whether life is really worth living; whether he will stand and fight for what¿s right, or just keep on running. This is a good story with characters that are better developed than in many other books of its kind. There is some action and suspense, but it¿s not so intense as to be labeled a thriller. Telling the story through the viewpoints of multiple characters adds an interesting touch. Overall, it¿s worth a read.
The Lazarus Trap captivated me from the first pages, where the settings and characters were already vivid. Throughout this book, author Davis Bunn helped me see hillsides, islands, and boardrooms I had not visited and helped me understand emotions (such as the desire for revenge) I have not felt strongly. Thoroughly enjoyable to read, this story communicates the futility of pursuits that are solely focused on this life, the power of mercy and grace, and the value of legacy. The end of the story, however, was unsatisfying. Although the protagonist realized some truth, his final depicted actions were motivated by vague notions of religiosity and doing good. For this reason, I more highly recommend Bunn’s Gold of Kings, a story in which truth is more clearly realized.