John Lutz

Librarian’s note: John Lutz published his first short story in 1966 in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine and has been publishing regularly ever since. His work includes political suspense, private eye novels, urban suspense, humor, occult, crime caper, police procedural, espionage, historical, futuristic, amateur detective--virtually every mystery sub-genre. He is the author of more than thirty-five novels and 250 short stories and articles. His novels and short fiction have been translated into virtually every language and adapted for almost every medium. He is a past president of both Mystery Writers of America and Private Eye Writers of America. Among his awards are the MWA Edgar, the PWA Shamus, The Trophee 813 Award for best mystery short story collection translated into the French language, the PWA Life Achievement Award, and the Short Mystery Fiction Society's Golden Derringer Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the author of two private eye series, the Nudger series, set in his home town of St. Louis, and the Carver series, set in Florida, as well as many non-series suspense novels. His SWF SEEKS SAME was made into the hit movie SINGLE WHITE FEMALE, starring Bridget Fonda and Jennifer Jason Leigh, and his novel THE EX was made into the HBO original movie of the same title, for which he co-authored the screenplay.Lutz and his wife, Barbara, split their time between St. Louis and Sarasota, Florida.


Brinda Krishnanje citiraoпре 10 месеци
ice the unobtrusive blue car in his rearview mirror. Plymouths like this were rented by the hundreds in central Florida; that was why Carver had requested one.

Beed steered the Cadillac into the parking lot of the Big ‘n’ Yum restaurant on Talmont Avenue. Carver drove past, parked down the block, and walked back.

He stood across the street and studied the Big ‘n’ Yum. It appeared to be a topless bar at night and a restaurant that served breakfast and lunch during the day. A sign proclaimed the daylight specials to be topless egg-and-sausage sandwiches until 10:00 A.M., then hamburgers on topless buns until 5:00. It was the kind of entrepreneurship Carver admired.

The Big ‘n’ Yum was indeed large, a low brick building with planters along the sills of windows that had been walled up to leave rectangles of newer, lighter bricks. Long vines dangled from the planters, but Carver saw no flowers. There were six such windows and planters on the long side of the rectangular building, bordering the parking lot where Adam Beed’s Cadillac sat among half a dozen other cars and a yellow Isuzu off-road vehicle, all gleaming in the sun as if they were freshly painted.

With so few customers apparently inside, Carver didn’t think he should risk entering the restaurant. He also didn’t want to push things by sitting nearby in the parked car. Unremarkable as the rental car was, Adam Beed might remember glimpsing it near the Heron Tower, or driving behind him this morning.

He bought a Sun Sentinel from a vending machine and sat down on a small stone wall that ran in front of a travel agency that seemed to be closed. A kid about twelve wandered by wearing a Tampa Marlins baseball cap. Carver spun him a tale about being a fan and bought the cap for ten dollars. The kid was astounded and happy. He’d rush home and tell his mom or dad; they’d never figure it out.

Carver sat wearing the billed cap, head bowed, pretending to study the newspaper in his lap. The bill, the covered baldness, made for good camouflage. Even if Beed looked hard, he wouldn’t be able to identify him from this distance.
Brinda Krishnanje citiraoпре 10 месеци
Carver followed him to a restaurant near the ocean and sat sweltering in the parking lot while Beed ate lunch. Then he kept him in sight while Beed drove back to the Heron Tower and jockeyed the Caddy into the concealing shadows of the parking garage.
Brinda Krishnanje citiraoпре 10 месеци
“I don’t know. They’re only rumors anyway, I’m sure. A successful businessman like Mr. Brant, young and handsome in the bargain, and single now, he’s bound to attract the attention of kooks. I thought maybe Wade Schultz had mentioned it to you.” She picked up the lemon wedge that had been stuck on the rim of her glass and that she’d removed and placed on a napkin. Holding her hand to shield him from any wayward spurts of juice, she squeezed the wedge over her glass, then with an odd reluctance dropped it into what was left of her Coke, as if committing a body to the sea.

It struck Carver that maybe Nancy Quartermain didn’t believe for a second that he was really a prospective home buyer. She’d seen him trying to pump Wade Schultz for information and become curious.

“How long have you been with Brant Development?” he asked.

Something in her eyes over the rim of her raised glass told him she knew that he knew. There was a slight smile on her lips as she lowered the glass. She’d play the game. “About three years. Usually I’m in the main office in town, but when we reach a certain stage of a project, I spend some of my time at the site.”

“You like working for Brant?”

“Yes, quite a lot.”

“Do you like Wade Schultz?” He leaned toward her. Soul-to-soul time. Two posers leveling. “I mean, really?”

She pursed her lips, thinking about it. “I don’t like him much, I guess. He’s arrogant.”

“What about Gloria Bream? You like her?”

“She seems fine, what I’ve seen of her. She doesn’t work for Brant Development; but she comes into the office now and then to see Mr. Brant, and sometimes on business.”


“She’s a sales agent for Red Feather Reality. They have the listings on some of the Brant properties. And they drive red company convertibles as a promotional gimmick. That was probably Gloria’s car Mr. Brant was driving today.” Her eyes were thoughtful as she sipped her Coke, buying time to formulate what she was about to say. “What’s this actually about? Are you really a prospective home buyer?”

“Sure. We all have to live somewhere.”

“Uh-huh.” She grinned at him. “I won’t mention it, you know, if you confide in me.”

“There’s nothing to confide about,” Carver said.

“You wouldn’t be with the police, would you?”

“Nope. If I were, would you be honest and tell me Brant might be the type to harass a woman?”

“Nope,” she said, in the same tone he’d used.
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