I live in Florida with my wife Lidia, reaching college chemistry and happily wandering the beaches. Read more about Arthur on his website www.ArthurMDoweyko.com
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About the Book
Applegate Bogdanski returns from Vietnam with a missing leg, a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart. A fair trade, he thinks, for a coward, whose only remaining passion is to dull his grief with morphine. He stumbles through each day working at an obscure Newark, New Jersey bookstore, looking forward to nothing and hoping it would arrive soon. Enter Angela, who claims to be his guardian angel. Neither one is an angel, but together, they uncover a conspiracy which threatens to undo humankind itself.
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Keep reading for an excerpt:
She reached into her oversized patent-leather purse and pulled out a manila envelope. A black-and-white eight-by-ten glossy slid out onto the desk. “I believe you know why I am here.”
Jason stiffened. “That picture… that picture doesn’t belong to you.”
“I’ve come for the rest. There must be more, and don’t forget the negatives.”
“Did the monsignor send you?” His voice shook. Only the monsignor knew about the pictures. “I thought he was coming here himself… with the money.”
“Money? He didn’t say anything about money.”
“That was our agreement. These pictures prove the monsignor’s suspicions.”
“Oh? And what were they?”
Jason knew he had said too much, but there was something about the woman that made it hard to keep quiet. “I can’t tell you. That’s between the monsignor and me.”
Her smile sent ice-cold fingers tapping across his abdomen. “Oh, didn’t you hear? Monsignor Touhy passed away this morning—something to do with his heart, I believe.” Her teeth, gleaming white, seemed to erupt from her crimson lips. “Where are they, Jason?”
Jason began to tremble as she rose from his chair. “You’re the one… with the cardinal in the photos.” He stood, teetered, then braced himself on the desk with both hands. “There aren’t any other pictures. My deal was with the monsignor.”
“Perhaps you don’t understand.”
Jason saw only a blur—a brief passing of a shadow between them. Something moved on the desk—a pear rolled out of his lunch bag and split into two halves, the freshly cut pieces see-sawing.
“How did you do that?” Jason’s eyes were locked on the rocking fruit. His bowels started to quiver.
The pitch of her voice descended. “Where are the negatives?”
“Your stupid magic trick doesn’t scare me, and you can tell your cardinal boyfriend to screw off. If the monsignor is really dead, I’ll be going to the press. That’s what he’d want me to do. Now scram.” Jason edged toward the door.
A sharp pain stabbed at his right hand. He jerked it up, leaving a trail of bright-red oval droplets along the doorjamb. His eyes widened. The tip of his right forefinger was gone. Squealing half in anger and half in terror, he pinched the bloody stub with his other hand.
“Bitch! What the hell?” His eyes darted to his desk. The Smith and Wesson might as well have been a thousand miles away. He didn’t see a knife. His knees began shaking.
“Jason, calm down. Tell me where the negatives are, and this unpleasantness will end.” She held up his fingertip, wiggled it at him, and tossed it into her mouth.
“Son of a bitch.” Jason ran into Viola’s office. Surely there would be someone in the hallway. Several paces short of the door, his head lurched forward. His hands flailed at his neck. He was lifted off his feet and dragged back.