9780345487599

Nemesis

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780345487599

  • ISBN10:

    0345487591

  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 2009-09-29
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
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Summary

In his bestselling legal thrillers, William Bernhardt has explored the dark side of contemporary politics, power, and the law. Now Bernhardt turns back the clock to the city of Cleveland, Ohio, in the fall of 1935. Based on true events and new discoveries about Eliot Ness, Nemesis is a brilliantly told story featuring this legendary lawman's fateful duel with a terrifyingly new kind of criminal: America's first serial killer. In Chicago, Eliot Ness had created "the Untouchables," the fabled team of federal agents who were beyond corruption and who finally put Al Capone behind bars. Now the headline-grabbing Ness has been moved to Cleveland, where a new mayor desperately needs some positive publicity. The heroic, squeaky-clean Fed is the perfect man to become the city's director of public safety, but by the time Ness starts his new job, a killer has started a career of his own. And this man is as obsessed with blood and mayhem as Eliot Ness is obsessed with justice. One by one, bodies are found, each one decapitated and uniquely dissected with a doctor's skill and a madman's bent. The police are baffled, the population is terrorized, and newspaper headlines blare about the so-called "Torso Killer." Though it's not his turf, Ness is forced to cross bureaucratic boundaries and take over the case, working with a dogged, street-smart detective and making enemies every step of the way. The more energy Ness pours into the investigation, the more it takes over his life, his marriage, even his untouchable reputation. Because in Cleveland, there is only one true untouchable: a killer who has the perfect hiding place and the perfect plan for destroying Eliot Ness. From the first primitive use of forensic psychology to a portrait of America battling the Great Depression and a man battling his own demons, Nemesis is a masterwork of mystery, murder, and vivid, dynamic historical suspense. From the Hardcover edition.

Author Biography

William Bernhardt is the author of many novels, including Primary Justice, Murder One, Criminal Intent, Death Row, Hate Crime, Dark Eye, Capitol Murder, Capitol Threat, and Capitol Conspiracy. He has twice won the Oklahoma Book Award for Best Fiction, and in 2000 he was presented the H. Louise Cobb Distinguished Author Award “in recognition of an outstanding body of work in which we understand ourselves and American society at large.” A former trial attorney, Bernhardt has received several awards for his public service. He lives in Tulsa with his three children.

wb@williambernhardt.com
www.williambernhardt.com


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpts

1

September 13, 1935

It was just after three in the morning and the glint of moonlight off the metal barrel of Michael Frescone’s tommy gun told Eliot Ness he was exactly where he wanted to be.

“Let’s get back to the car and radio for backup.”

Ness’s eyes remained glued to the binoculars. “We don’t have time, Sheriff.”

“We don’t have a choice. Those mob guys are serious trouble.”

“They always are.”

“They got guns.”

“They always do.”

“They ain’t afraid to use ’em, neither!”

“That remains to be seen.”

“Some of Frescone’s men are crack shots. Like to brag about how they can hit a Nehi bottle from fifty paces.”

Ness pushed a loose strand of hair back into place, slicked-back and parted in the center. “Well, I’m not so sorry with a pistol myself, Sheriff. Won a marksmanship award at the U.S. Coast Guard range.”

Cuyahoga County Sheriff Ray Potts looked as though he were about to internally combust. “Do you understand what we’re talking about here? There’s two of us and a dozen of them. They’re heavily armed and they’re killers! Frescone has been blamed for at least ten gangland murders. They’re transporting illegal hooch worth thousands of dollars and they’ll do anything to defend it. These are impossible odds, Ness. Impossible!” Ness glanced at his colleague. In the moonlight, his eyes seemed to twinkle. “Sounds like fun. Ready?”

Ness climbed out of the ditch they were using for cover and headed toward the dock. While he crept forward, he put away his binoculars and unholstered his pistol. He was always more comfortable with a handgun than those bulky machine guns. He’d learned to shoot with accuracy, even from a distance, and he preferred that to the spray-everything-in-sight technique of the tommy gun.

The slope was steep. He had to be careful—and quiet. If the smugglers heard him coming, he’d be a goner. His only chance was to catch them by surprise.

The wind coming off the river chilled him, sending shivers coursing up and down his spine. Seemed no matter how many times he did this, the gnawing in the pit of his stomach, the strange combination of exhilaration and terror, never entirely subsided. Probably just as well. If he ever lost that edge, he might get sloppy. The rest of the world thought he was fearless—well, that was fine. Only he need know better. Only he needed to know that he got scared every time. And it supercharged him like nothing else could.

He chose each step cautiously, testing it before he put his weight down, careful to move as silently as possible . . .

“Stay down!” Potts hissed. “If they see you they’ll blow you from here to perdition! Let me tell you—there ain’t nothing scarier than staring down the wrong end of a gangster’s gat.”

“When I worked in Kentucky as a revenue agent, I got shot at six different times,” Ness whispered back. “Those hillbillies holed up in the Moonshine Mountains with their squirrel guns gave me more close calls than Capone’s whole gang put together.”

Ness never wanted to leave Chicago, his hometown, but he was in government service so he had followed orders. After Prohibition ended, he spent about a year working in Ohio, Tennessee, and Kentucky for the Alcohol Tax Unit within the Bureau of Internal Revenue, chasing down backwoods rumrunners. It was tough work. Things had been simpler in Chicago, when the Volstead Act was still in place. Booze was illegal, period. You saw it, you seized it. And you took the criminals to jail. But Prohibition had been repealed in 1933. Ness didn’t object on principle; he enjo

Excerpted from Nemesis: The Final Case of Eliot Ness A Novel by William Bernhardt
All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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