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by Ed Goldberg
Description: New York PI Lenny Schneider agrees to protect a revenge-thirsty Holocaust survivor from killing the concentration-camp guard he seeks. Lenny is caught-up in a web of lies and violence mixed with baseball, great food and music. His story is told in a hip, sometimes bawdy voice, filled with puns, quips and hilarious one-liners. Before he's done, he finds more than just a murderer hiding in New York's Jewish community.
eBook Publisher: Uncial Press, 2007 West Coast Crime, 1994, Berkley Prime Crime, 1996
eBookwise Release Date: August 2007
3 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [209 KB]
Reading time: 128-179 min.
"Every line is a pip of a quip--deadpan one-line zingers and truly literate insults."--Waterville, ME, Sunday Sentinel
"Writer Ed Goldberg can lob a hard-boiled phrase with the deftness of any Raymond Chandler on the block ... [Lenny Schneider has] a great sense of humor, ranging from openly bawdy to wisely ironic, all of it delivered in the clipped, blunt style that works so well with urban fiction ... taut and compelling."--Arizona Jewish Post
I headed west, toward the subway, avoiding puddles as I went. I never step in puddles in New York. They are as likely to be piss or blood as water, and the water is nothing to trust.
Before I got a block, I was braced by a large man in a ragged suit. He was not quite the size of a Clydesdale. His nose was spread over his ruined pug's face. His single eyebrow was split by a fine white scar. One ear was twice the minimum daily requirement of cauliflower, and the other was half-missing in action. If this guy's face were a road, 4-wheel drive couldn't hack it. I expected a panhandler. I didn't expect an expert blow to the solar plexus.
I can defend myself pretty well and this galoot was not too fast. But the gut-punch winded me and hurt very effectively. So I back-pedaled, flying to retain my balance.
I found my feet, sucked in a painful breath, and smashed the son of a bitch as hard as I could in the middle of his chest. His piggy eyes widened, and he whooped in air. I knew I had slowed him down. I reached into my pocket for a black-taped roll of nickels I keep for these emergencies, and cocked my fist.
He lumbered toward me on instinct and I caught him flush on the flattened schnozz with a punch that started somewhere in Canarsie. I saw his eyes go out of focus. Then I saw a red flash and a number of stars as something heavy came down upon my head, like Maxwell's silver hammer. I went down, not out, but not precisely conscious either.
As I lay on the sidewalk, I dimly saw a greasy nerd, horn-rim glasses held together at the bridge of the nose by a flesh-colored Band-Aid. In his hand was the lid of a steel 55-gallon drum, with a head-shaped dent in it. He smiled a snaggly smile, and spat on me.
"You Jew fuck! You ruined my sister's life, and I'm gonna ruin you."
Given my state of mind, I had no clue what he was talking about. I sure didn't recognize him. He gave a nod to his companion, and the thug started to kick the living shit out of me. As I writhed this way and that, I caught an occasional glimpse of my neighbors, who were watching this with the detached air of Olympic judges. I expected them to hold up cards reading "9.6".
Greaseball began a clenched-teeth commentary as his friend attempted to put me through the uprights. The gist of it was that I had somehow developed evidence that put his sister in the slam. That the client I did it for was a fucking Jew bastard, and that I fit the description as well. And that when his friend was finished I would be eating gefilte fish through a tube for the rest of my pain-wracked life.
Suddenly, a cop car careened around the corner, and the two toughs took off through a nearby alley. This is one time I was happy to see the heat.
They checked me out, and called for an ambulance. I assured them that I had no idea who had done this, but it seemed to be a grudge.
The ambulance crew arrived, gave me a quick look-see in the vehicle, and decided that I was not damaged enough to waste more of their time, or a hospital bed.