To Bury the Dead

To Bury the Dead

by Craig Spector

Paperback(Mass Market Paperback)


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780380793051
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 12/15/2000
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: (w) x 6.75(h) x (d)

About the Author

Craig Spector is a bestselling novelist and screenwriter whose books include The Light at the End and Animals. He lives in Los Angeles, where he is working on his next novel.

Read an Excerpt

Dondi wiped blood from his arms as Paul Kelly smoked, impassive. "Bleeders," Dondi muttered. "Christ, I fuckin'hate 'em.

Paul blew a smoke ring and said nothing, leaning on the back bumper of the rig as Dondi stripped off thin rubber surgical gloves and changed into a fresh shirt, his third of the night. The air was cold and clear, stars faintly visible through the backwash of urban illumination. They were parked butt-in to the ambulance bay of St. Anthony's Medical Center, the harsh glare of sodium vapor lamps casting sickly green shadows around them.

Tom and Joli were still inside, dragging ass under the guise of paperwork as they scoped the graveyard shift's new booty count-word was there was a new nurse on tour, a tight little Dominican named Liza, who could give rigor mortis a whole new meaning. If Paul had been in a better mood, he would have been inclined to joke that the only sheets his two crewmates would ever share with her was the one she'd pull over their heads, should they ever even try.

Paul said nothing. The gloves went into the medical waste bin recessed into the rig's inner wall. The discarded shirt was blotched and spattered, powder blue stained Rorschach red courtesy of a multiple stab wound off the industrial crack-ho section of Elizabeth Street in Glendon.

"You know," Dondi continued, "I don't mind the hours, the stress, the bullshit, every damned thing. But this—" He pulled a fresh shirt out of his gear bag, his last. It was powder blue, well-worn, with an embroidered patch emblazoned on the left sleeve and chest: GLENDON FIRE/RESCUE, in little red and gold letters. Dondi stashed the wadded ball of cloth in a baggie behind thedriver's seat and donned the clean shirt, then slipped on his dark blue nylon bomber, still bitching. "Man, Connie's gonna shit," he said. "'Fuckin'bleeders. They're the worst."

"What about floaters?" Paul spoke at last, blowing another blue ring of smoke and chilled air. His tone was soft, droll. "Last night you said floaters were the worst."

"Them, too," Dondi groused. I swear to God, between the bleeders and the floaters, I don't know what to tell ya.Least he didn't puke on me." Dondi checked his arms forstray spillage; Paul glanced up offhandedly.

"You missed a spot" he said.

"Where?" Dondi craned his neck, peering into the reflective surface of the wall. It was clean. "Very funny." Dondi scrutinized his reflection, then pulled another premoistened antiseptic towelette from one of the recessed metal supply drawers and wiped himself down anyway. "Shit," he grimaced, "fucker probably gave me the AIDS."

Paul shrugged as Dondi grunted and buttoned up. His grousing was as familiar as the claustrophobic confines of the wagon, a nightly ritual; mental kevlar, staving off emotional shrapnel. And gallows humor aside, Paul knew that it was a fair enough concern—fully one-third of their street calls these days were HIV-positive, if not full-blown cases. Addicts, mostly—-people who'd started out using a needle or a pipe, and ended merely used up, pinballing from lockup to detox to rehab and back again, their humanity evaporating into a greasy residue. But working fire/rescue was like that; you seldom saw the best people, or the ones you did at their best.

In Glendon these days, doubly so—the blue-collar outlands west of the industrial wastebelt rimming the Big Apple were gradually sinking under a steadily rising tide of junkies, homeless, and third-generation working class trash.

Paul thought back to this evening's latest casualty: a lonely little thirty-seven-year-old Russian immigrant named Eddie, who cruised the barren stretch of parking lots that ringed the Jersey Transit station in the bottom-feeder section of downtown. Eddie made his rounds in a blue Suzuki Sidekick, offering rides and blow jobs to hapless commuters who failed to snag one of the smatterings of after-hours gypsy cabs that lurked at the base of the platform. He had even picked Paul up one sub-zero December night years ago, as Paul trudged home with an armload of Christmas presents for Julie and Kyra, over streets iced thick from storms until it lay like urethane. He'd mistaken Eddie for a gypsy cab, found out too late that Eddie had other destinations in mind. Eddie mumbled to his hopefuls with a thick, Slavic tongue and kicked-puppy eyes: "Eye-am lookeeng for sumvun: Paul had wished him luck and gotten off at the next corner. He'd seen him literally dozens of times since, a puttering sexual scavenger, slump-shouldered and leering, but harmless enough.

Thirty minutes ago they had found Eddie slumped in the driver's seat, leaning against the horn, his little Japanese shitbox bleating out a cry for help into the late October air, his blood black and steaming on the dash and glass. Eddie had three stab wounds worth mentioning, including one perilously close to the carotid artery, which accounted for the shirt-destroying spray, and a half-dozen superficial lacerations of the face and hands. Defense wounds. Apparently, Eddie was still looking for love in all the wrong places.

Sadly, it was nothing new. There were a lot of psychos out there, and according to the cops Eddie's was a squirrely little loon who thought he was Jesus; the pocket savior swore up and down that he was back from the dead, and he was pissed. Apparently, he hadn't much cared for Eddie's offer to eat of his flesh, either, and had expressed his righteous rage at his latest luckless supplicant with a steak knife. They'd probably sell the story rights, Paul thought, make it into a cheesy Z-grade slasher film. Paul could see the Poster now—INRI: Portrait of a Serial Killer. Morons.

What People are Saying About This

Peter Straub

Deeply gratifying...a vision of tragic inevitability.

Peter Atkins

Bare-knuckle popular fiction—a book that burns like a five alarm fire.

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To Bury the Dead 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For parents who love and cherish their children, it is the most horrific, middle-of-the-night, cold sweat of a nightmare imaginable. Craig Spector¿s tale of freefall helplessness, overwhelming grief, and seething rage is within a razor¿s edge of being too realistic to bear. The main character, Paul Kelly, is a career EMT-Fire Rescue professional accustomed to creeping through burning buildings to save lives. When incomprehensible tragedy strikes his family, Kelly finds his core self melted down by dual raging infernos of anger and anguish to the most base of primal instincts. When the justice system doesn¿t work, when what¿s ¿legal¿ isn¿t ¿right¿, then ¿illegal¿ no longer seems ¿wrong¿. TO BURY THE DEAD is raw, unnerving¿ and sucks a reader in like a vacuum and never lets go. Twists and turns through the plot¿s smoke-filled corridors will keep you from seeing what lies just ahead, yet drive you to flipping pages toward it. A breath-stopping, heart-thumping thriller of a novel. Must-read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Paul Kelly is a hero in every sense of the word. Saving lives and facing down death every day, Paul faces his job as a fire fighter unflinchingly, believing in the system of which he is a part of. Suddenly, death becomes personal. His own teenage daughter is found beaten and strangled- not even his own skill can save her and finding the psychopath that killed her becomes the focus of he and his wife's lives. The system begins to fail them, and when the killer is found, Paul finds no solace. Justice becomes increasingly elusive, but Paul doesn't just want justice- he wants to know why. When the killer refuses to say, and her murder remains a mystery, Paul decides to take the matter into his own hands...leaving the reader to ask- just how fine is the line between justice and sanity? Craig Spector's done it again! In this grisly and gripping novel, we must ask ourselves- how far is too far to go for justice?
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Glendon, New Jersey, Paul Kelly is a model citizen. He regularly risks his life as a firefighter-rescue worker helping to save total strangers. He has been happily married for almost two decades to schoolteacher Julie. The couple has one daughter, sixteen-year old Kyra. To Paul, his world is near perfect even with his beloved child going through a rebellious stage.

While working a case involving a decaying corpse at a motel, Paul¿s partner receives the call that starts the end of Paul¿s life as he knows it. The victim becomes personal. An unknown assailant has brutally beaten Kyra. Paul arrives at the scene in time to enter the ambulance. In spite of his and the emergency crew on board, Kyra says a last word, ¿daddy¿, before dying. Unable to cope with the senseless death of his beloved child, Paul expects the police to catch a brutally vicious looking monster. However his stereotype fails to prove true as the prime suspect seems more like an innocent looking teen. Paul needs to know why the kid resorted to violence.

TO BURY THE DEAD is every parent¿s worse nightmare because no one wants to believe that bad things happen to good people. The story line works because readers understand the needs and relationships of the Kelly family. Augmenting the gloom is the specter of the killer who should look like a deadly animal. This work offers no solace or LIGHT AT THE END of the nightmare. Readers, who want gripping, well-written authenticity in their suspense novels, will ghoulishly enjoy Craig Spector¿s in close thriller.

Harriet Klausner