Vengeance. Mystery Writers of America Presents B00A25NLU4

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Book: Vengeance. Mystery Writers of America Presents B00A25NLU4 by Lee (Ed.) Child Read Free Book Online
Authors: Lee (Ed.) Child
sprouted some cellulite lately but still looked great for a woman closing in on thirty-six; or even her smile, which could turn the heads of an entire cocktail party if she entered the room wearing it.
    Her hair trumped all of it. It was the dark of red wine and fell to her shoulders. When she pulled it back, she looked regal. When she straightened it, she looked dangerous. When she let it fall naturally, with its tousled waves and anarchic curls, she looked like a wet dream sent to douse a five-alarm fire.
    She told Kineavy, “He hits me mostly on the head because the hair covers the bruises.”
    “And you can’t just leave him?”
    She shook her head and admitted something that shamed her. “Prenup.”
    “And you like living rich.”
    “Who doesn’t?”
    Nicole had grown up in the second-floor apartment of a three-decker on Sydney Street in Savin Hill, a neighborhood locals called Stab-’n’-Kill. Her parents were losers, always getting caught in the petty scams they tried to run on their soon-to-be-ex-employers and on the city and the welfare system and DSS and the Housing Department and just about anybody they suspected was dumber than they were. Problem was, you couldn’t find dead fucking houseplants dumber than Jerry and Gerri Golden. Jerry ended up getting stomach cancer while in minimum-security lockup for check-kiting, and Gerri used his death to justify climbing into a bottle of Popov and staying there. Last time Nicole checked, she was still alive, if toothless and demented. But the last time Nicole checked had been about ten years ago.
    Being poor, she’d decided long ago, wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Plenty of people had nothing and didn’t let that eat their souls. But it wasn’t for her.
    “What does your husband do?” Kineavy asked.
    “He’s an investment banker.”
    “For which bank?”
    “Since the crash? Bank Suffolk.”
    “Before the crash?”
    “He was with Bear Stearns.”
    Finally, some movement in Kineavy’s face, a flick in his eyes, a shift of his chin. He lit another cigarette and raised one eyebrow ever so slightly as the match found the tobacco. “And people call me a killer.”

    S HE THOUGHT ABOUT it later, how he was right. How there was this weird disconnect at the center of the culture around various acts of amorality. If you sold your body or pimped someone who did, stuck up liquor stores, or, God forbid, sold drugs, you were deemed unfit for society. People would try to run you out of the neighborhood. They would bar their children from playing with yours.
    But if you subverted federal regulations to sell toxic assets to unsuspecting investors and wiped out hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of jobs and life savings, you were invited to Symphony Hall and luxury boxes at Fenway. Alan had convinced the entire state of Arkansas to invest in bundled sub-primes he knew would fail. When he’d told Nicole this, back in ’07, she’d been outraged.
    “So the derivatives you’ve been selling, they’re bad?”
    “A lot of them, yeah.”
    “And the CD, um, whatta you —”
    “Collateralized debt obligations. CDOs, yeah. They pretty much suck too, at least a good sixty percent of them.”
    “But they’re all insured.”
    “Well . . .” He’d looked around the restaurant. He shook his head slowly. “A lot of them are, sure, but the insurance companies overpromised and underfunded. Bill ever comes due, everyone’s fucked.”
    “And the bill’s going to come due?”
    “With Arkansas, it sure looks like it. They bundled up with some pretty sorry shit.”
    “So why not just tell the state retirement board?”
    He took a long pull from his glass of cab. “First, because they’d take my license. Second, and more important, that state retirement board, babe? They might just dump those stocks en masse, which would
ensure
that the stocks would collapse and make my gut feeling come true anyway. If I do nothing, though, things might —
might —
turn out all

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