The Night Gardener
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Gus Ramone is "good police," a former Internal Affairs investigator now working homicide for the city's Violent Crime branch. His new case involves the death of a local teenager named Asa whose body has been found in a local community garden.The murder unearths intense memories of a case Ramone worked as a patrol cop twenty years earlier, when he and his partner, Dan "Doc" Holiday, assisted a legendary detective named T. C. Cook. The series of murders, all involving local teenage victims, was never solved. In the years since, Holiday has left the force under a cloud of morals charges, and now finds work as a bodyguard and driver. Cook has retired, but he has never stopped agonizing about the "Night Gardener" killings.The new case draws the three men together on a grim mission to finish the work that has haunted them for years. All the love, regret, and anger that once burned between them comes rushing back, and old ghosts walk once more as the men try to lay to rest the monster who has stalked their dreams. Bigger and even more unstoppable than his previous thrillers, George Pelecanos achieves in THE NIGHT GARDENER what his brilliant career has been building toward: a novel that is a perfect union of suspense, character, and unstoppable fate.
presence, the place had the feel of a juvie hall. Ramone saw kids he recognized, from both the neighborhood and Diego’s football team, and a couple of them acknowledged him with either a “Mr. Ramone” or a “Mr. Gus.” They knew he was police. Some of them did not look him in the eye because of it, but most were friendly and showed him respect. A few of these kids, especially those with a deficient home life, had already gone off the rails. Others were on the edge. Most would do fine. Ramone had
negative.” “I didn’t take it that way. I’m just looking for your impression of Asa.” “I had very little contact with him these past two years,” said Ms. Best. “We spoke only a few times. He was quiet, not a disciplinary problem. I wouldn’t call him spirited. He was neither popular nor unpopular.” “You’re saying, what, he was kind of a nothing kid.” “You are.” “Please, this isn’t for the record. You can speak freely.” “Asa wasn’t the type of student who left a strong impression on me. That’s
began to read it. “The slug was a thirty-eight.” “They’re running it through IBIS?” “Yeah. We’ll see if the markings match to any other murder guns. He died of the gunshot wound to the head, no surprise there.” Left temple, read Ramone. “He wasn’t asphyxiated or drugged or anything else. No foreign substances, alcohol, or narcotics in his body.” “He was killed at the scene,” said Ramone. “Looks like it. Probable time is on there.” Wilkins paused, watching Ramone, seeing his eyes flare and
“It’s okay.” Diego looked out across 3rd. “Everything, this week…” “Come here.” Diego dropped the ball and went into his father’s arms. Ramone held him tightly. He smelled Diego’s perspiration, the Axe he sprayed on his body, that cheap shampoo he used. He felt the muscles of his shoulders and back, and the heat of his tears. Diego stepped out of Ramone’s embrace. He wiped at his eyes and picked up the ball. “Want to play some?” said Diego. “You got me at a disadvantage. You in your
right.” DAN HOLIDAY STOOD IN the community garden on Oglethorpe Street, smoking a cigarette. He had a job later in the day and was dressed in his black suit. He had come because he knew that the answer he was looking for was here. The crime scene had reverted to the state it had been in prior to Asa Johnson’s death. Someone had taken the yellow tape down and disposed of it. A few citizens were out in the garden, idly working their plots but socializing mostly, as full autumn had come to