Nameless Night

Nameless Night

by G. M. Ford

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060874438
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/27/2009
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.86(w) x 4.16(h) x 0.98(d)

About the Author

G.M. Ford is the author of six widely praised Frank Corso novels, Fury, Black River, A Blind Eye, Red Tide, No Man's Land, and Blown Away, as well as six highly acclaimed mysteries featuring Seattle private investigator Leo Waterman. A former creative writing teacher in western Washington, Ford lives in Oregon and is currently working on his next novel.

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Nameless Night

Chapter One

No

body saw it coming. Although, for reasons unknown, unexpected events always seem to bring forth some well-meaning soul who swears he remembers an uncertain slant of light sifting through the trees that morning, or some fearful and fecund odor wafting in the morning breeze. Not on this day, however.

No . . . October 16 was just another cloudy fall morning, a harbinger of nothing more unusual than winter, a gentle reminder provided by nature in the days before the relentless rains return to wash Arbor Street clean of other seasons.

Yes . . . this was the same Arbor Street which had once aspired to grandeur, when, a century earlier, affluent merchants and manufacturers had erected elaborate Georgian mansions along the northern part of the Hill, each edifice grander than its predecessor, as the newly wealthy sought to upstage one another in the all-too-common manner of self-made men.

A century later, what a frozen-fish fortune once procured for the Jensen family had been reincarnated as Harmony House, a long-term residential facility for physically and developmentally challenged adults. Over the strenuous objections of the hastily formed Arbor Street Citizens Committee, the state had purchased the decaying mansion, cut back the shrubbery, renovated the interior, installed an elevator, ramped and handrailed everything in sight, and then painted the whole thing a single shade of dull green.

"Monkey-shit green," as Shirley liked to say.

Shirley said a lot of stuff, most of it funny as hell. Thing was, nobody but Paul could understand her horribly impaired speech, and since Paulhad never been known to utter so much as a syllable, Shirley's witticisms were pretty much destined to remain an inside joke. That Paul was somehow able to hear words where others could not, that he laughed at her jokes and followed her orders, had long since been chalked off as miraculous, like the way Benny the dog could hear thunder coming from a long way off.

At the end of the walkway, Darl stood with his hands thrust deep into his pants pockets. Darl had a problem with decisions. He just couldn't pull the trigger. Couldn't decide whether to go left or to go right. Left alone at an intersection, he'd stand there until either the cows came home or the cops rustled him up and brought him back to Harmony House because his name and address were sewn into his clothes.

As Paul wheeled Shirley along the walk, he smiled, or maybe grimaced. With all that scar tissue on his face, it was hard to tell. Looked like somebody had crushed the front of his skull with a crowbar or something, pushed everything back so far it was both a wonder he was alive and a mercy he wasn't tuned to the same channel as the rest of humanity.

The state of Washington had estimated his age to be between twenty-five and thirty at the time he was discovered, lying near death in a railroad car down behind Western Station. Some bureaucrat had named him Paul Hardy, after a nephew who had died during childbirth. That was seven years ago, so these days Paul was probably somewhere in his midthirties, a strapping two-hundred-twenty-pound block of concrete who spent his days working for Ken Suzuki, a local landscaping contractor. While Paul could not actually be taught anything per se, he could, with a bit of patience, be introduced to simple tasks. Sometimes you had to show him more than once, but once he got it . . . you know . . . "take that bag over there and put it in the pile" . . . once he got it, he was an absolutely tireless worker. Had to be led away for lunch. Funny thing was . . . after lunch . . . you had to show him all over again.

As the wheelchair rolled along, a gust of wind rumbled overhead, shivering the branches, separating the dead from the dying as it sent yet another batch of leaves twirling downward to the moist earth, where ancient roots had corrupted the sidewalk, pushing the stones upward at odd degrees and angles, until passersby were obliged to walk on the grass strip between the sidewalk and the curb or risk breaking an ankle.

As they came alongside the first van, Randall stepped back onto the sidewalk. Paul was forced to wheel out to the right, toward the little wire fence separating the sidewalk from the front yard. The sound of Paul and Shirley approaching snapped Randall's head around. His habitually furrowed brow was more deeply pleated than usual. His square lower jaw worked his gum at a speed unattainable by better adjusted members of society. By the time his brain processed the picture of Paul and Shirley and decided these were people he knew, he was already patting himself down, looking for gifts and offerings.

Ms. Willis said it was a self-esteem problem that made him give things away when confronted by strangers. She said he was like everybody else; all he wanted was to love and be loved, but anybody who'd ever watched Randall strip to the skin trying to gain favor with strangers harbored serious doubts as to just how mainstream Randall could be considered.

Shirley's anxiety concerning seating proved accurate. The sound of the sliding door brought them running. All of a sudden the moment was at hand, and nobody wanted to be left behind. Ms. Willis arrived with Darl in tow. Carman and Roger held hands as they picked their way across the wet grass. That's when Eunice Ponds came trotting out to say she'd changed her mind about wanting to go, and why was she always the one got left behind and why were we bringing old blind Mrs. Dahlberg anyway, wasn't like she could see anything, and why didn't we take her instead, at which point, she staged a tantrum right there on the sidewalk in front of God and a couple of neighbors out walking the dog.

Nameless Night. Copyright � by G.M. Ford. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Nameless Night 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
jdb49 More than 1 year ago
if your not familiar with his leo waterman and frank corso seiries you might not be familiar with one of the best crime writers today.the reason im only giving it four stars is because the first few chapters of his first stand alone novel stretch the imagination a little too much.but for such a gifted storytelller it soon becomes irrelevant.he is such a stylish and confident writer that you cant turn the pages fast enough.his character development suspense overwelm you.i will come back for more.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Seven years ago Paul Hardy was fortunate to survive as he was found near dead in a railroad car behind Western Station his body broken and his mind gone. Some might take exception to the word survive as Paul has not communicated with anyone since the incident while residing at Harmony House for the disabled in Washington State. Paul works for a local contractor doing menial physical tasks as his communication skills are almost nonexistent. He abruptly rushes towards the street and prevents a wheelchair spinning out of control from tipping saving Shirley from harm. However, in doing his heroic deed, a Lexus hits Paul instead of the woman. He is taken to the hospital where he wakes up, but insists he is not Paul Hardy worse the face staring at him from a mirror is not the one he recognizes. Desperate, he follows vague clues floating inside his head in search of his true identity and what happened to him. --- While Frank Corso and the Leo Waterman take breathers, NAMELESS NIGHT is an exhilarating conspiracy thriller starring a fascinating protagonist who struggles to learn the truth with each frustrating clue leading to deeper complications and danger. However, although exciting, the story line turns into the typical war between the FURY of a loner with no chance and the most affluent powerful American cartel with killer pros on their payroll to eliminate pests like Paul. --- Harriet Klausner