Skin Trade (Artie Cohen, Book 4)
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Previoiusly published as Sex Dolls.
Artie Cohen's long-time girlfriend Lily Hanes, has been found beaten up, raped and left for dead in an empty Parisian apartment. In the wintry French capital, where drugs are sold like fries at Macdonalds and the hookers are trucked in with the vegetables, Artie goes after Lily's attackers and finds himself drawn in to a web of sex, death and deceit, struggling with the all-too personal implications of the case as Lily lies in a coma.
A brilliantly concieved plot moves Artie from Paris through Europe to Vienna and then, finally, back to his native New York on a roller-coaster ride where there is no return ticket.
“What’s that?” “You carrying, Artie? You have a weapon? It’s not allowed in France. This is not the Wild West, OK? We’re not in Texas.” I didn’t answer. I didn’t have a gun, not yet. “Momo?” “What?” “Lily’s hair. When you found her, how was her hair?” “Short,” he said. “Her hair was short.” “There was hair at the scene? Her hair?” He didn’t answer. “Tell me.” “Yes. I don’t know why. I don’t know what the fuck this means, but something happened to her hair. We found chunks of her hair
me. I have a different fix on the Russkis given I grew up there. I was even offered a freebee one night in New York. The girl said I resembled a poet she once knew. Hip hop, she said, I resembled a hip-hop poet, a white guy, but cool. She was wired. I bought her a glass of Champagne and went home. Clearly, Katya “Strogonoff” was one of them, a deluxe Super Natasha. “Hello?” Katya was waiting. “Sorry. I was thinking about something.” “Surely.” I offered her a pack of smokes. Instead, she
small apartment in Moscow and there’s his parents’ big dacha in the countryside where they still live; otherwise, he’s pretty much quit Russia. I don’t look too close at Tolya’s business. He got roughed up pretty bad, financially, physically, when he got out of line helping me. Sverdloff covers my ass when I’m in trouble. I step in it, he bails me out. He has the contacts and the dough. I was never sure who he was or how he moves so easily between what’s legit and what’s illegal. I never knew
“Everything’s going to be OK. It will. I promise.” “Artie?” “Yes, sweetheart?” “The woman who got pushed from the wheel, you don’t believe me.” “Tell me what you think you saw.” “I think it was supposed to be me.” PART ONE 1 They found Lily two days later in an empty apartment in Paris. The apartment near the rue de Rivoli had high ceilings, gold-colored curtains streaked with filth, and a distant view of the Louvre Museum with the weird, alluring glass pyramid out front. Before I got
Austria means there’s bigger money here than I figured. A lot bigger. It’s an honor to host the meeting.” “And no one does anything?” “What can you do? They look like businessmen. They act like businessmen. They behave very nice.” “You think our guy is tied in?” “Yeah, now I’m sure he’s tied in, but Zhaba’s not in their league. He’s low-level, some kind of asshole enforcer, pimp, muscle. Like we said, like we knew. These guys are the money.” He finished his drink and got up. On the way out