Bad Twin

Bad Twin

by Gary Troup

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Sometimes evil has a familiar face . . . Paul Artisan, P.I. is a new version of an old breed -- a righter of wrongs, someone driven to get to the bottom of things. Too bad his usual cases are of the boring malpractice and fraud variety. Until now. His new gig turns on the disappearance of one of a pair of twins, adult scions of a rich but tragedy-prone family. The missing twin -- a charismatic poster-boy for irresponsibility -- has spent his life daring people to hate him, punishing himself endlessly for his screw-ups and misdeeds. The other twin -- Artisan's client -- is dutiful and resentful in equal measure, bewildered that his "other half" could have turned out so badly, and wracked by guilt at his inability to reform him. He has a more practical reason, as well, for wanting his brother found: their crazy father, in failing health and with guilty secrets of his own, will not divide the family fortune until both siblings are accounted for. But it isn't just a fortune that's at stake here. Truth itself is up for grabs, as the detective's discoveries seem to challenge everything we think we know about identity, and human nature, and family. As Artisan journeys across the globe to track down the bad twin, he seems to have moved into a mirror-world where friends and enemies have a way of looking very much alike. The P.I. may have his long-awaited chance to put his courage and ideals to the test, but if he doesn't get to the bottom of this case soon, it could very well cost him his life. Troup's long-awaited Bad Twin is a suspenseful novel that touches on many powerful themes, including the consequence of vengeance, the power of redemption, and where to turn when all seems lost. Bad Twin is a work of fiction and all names, characters and incidents are used fictitiously; the author himself is a fictional character.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401384432
Publisher: Disney Press
Publication date: 05/02/2006
Series: Digital Picture Book
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 272
File size: 548 KB
Age Range: 18 Years

Read an Excerpt


Paul Artisan did not expect to need his gun that day, but you never knew. Sometimes things got very personal very quickly.

People reacted strangely when they were caught in squalid little lies. Sometimes their posture drooped and their faces slackened, and they seemed almost relieved to be found out, to have their cheesy deceptions discovered and ended. Other times people seemed almost proud of themselves for being recognized as liars, cheats, adulterers, and frauds; confronted with their sins, they couldn't quite squeeze back sick and twisted hints of smiles, nasty twinkles in narrowed eyes. Look at me. I'm hell-bait!

But sometimes people did get violent. Like cornered animals, they soon ran out of subtle options. If they couldn't slink away and hide, they saw no other possibility but to stand and fight, to the death if necessary. It was better to take the gun.

The problem was how. This was an incognito job. A country-club job. The disguise was tennis clothes. There was no room to stick a 9 mm pistol in a pair of tennis shorts; there was no place to hide a holster underneath a natty, cabled tennis vest. Artisan decided to stash the gun in the zippered bag that held his racquets. This was not ideal-it would take time and a bizarre ruse to free the weapon from a tennis bag-but it would have to do. He called down to the garage to liberate his car, took his cell phone off the charger and stuck it in his pocket, and locked up his tiny office.

It was August, and an excellent day to get out of Manhattan. The air had an unwholesome brownish-orange tinge; a deep breath felt grainy in the nose. The softened asphalt of Tenth Avenue seemed to suck at the tires of Artisan's old Volvo. Heading uptown toward the George Washington Bridge, he used red lights as opportunities to review the small folder that held a photo and some background information on his intended target.

Her name was Sally Handler. Age forty-eight. Occupation: Housewife and investor. Divorced from a midlevel executive in the telecom business. Two grown children. She did not look like a criminal, a would-be perpetrator of a multi-million-dollar fraud. She looked like a lady from Teaneck. Hair a fraudulent blonde, though if that were a crime, the jails would be as crowded as Calcutta. Friendly seeming eyes with some moderate wrinkling at the corners. A bit of thickening beneath the chin. A woman you might meet in any supermarket in America, especially in the aisle where they sold the low-carb crap. Not a crook. Artisan gave his head a small involuntary shake. With human beings you just never knew.

On the Jersey side of the river, he found his way past shopping malls and town-home developments to the Palisade Pines Golf and Tennis Club. The club was miles from the Palisades and Artisan did not see any pines. Then again, there hadn't been any towns where the town-homes were. What there were, on this weekday morning in the parking lot of this midlevel suburban club, were a lot of Acura and Lexus SUVs, the usual sprinkling of BMWs and Benzes. Retired men in unforgivable trousers bent painfully to retrieve their golf clubs from their trunks. Knots of chattering ladies adjusted their visors so as not to squash their beauty parlor hairdos. Artisan slung his unnaturally heavy tennis bag over his shoulder and headed for the door.

Inside, a chipper desk clerk wished him a good morning, tentatively reached a towel in his direction, then asked if he was a member.

The simple question allowed Artisan to do one of the things he was very good at, namely, gain admission to places where technically speaking he did not belong. The scary part was how easy this usually was. In recent years, people had gotten crazy about security, but security tended to be yet another fraud, at best a comforting illusion. Put a bouncer at the door. Give him a stun gun and a walkie-talkie. So what? Even locked doors had to open now and then. There were plenty of ways to get past the velvet rope. Bribes still worked, though they were crass and seldom necessary. Usually all it took were a few magic words suited to the particular occasion and said in a calm, unthreatening manner.

For example, Artisan now confessed that he was not a member. Then he said, "I'm new to the area. Still seeing what's available. I've booked an eleven o'clock lesson with Ryan."

New to the area was a magic phrase. It conjured images of initiation fees, a nice commission for the membership rep, a few bucks for the clerk who'd made first contact. Booked a lesson was a magic phrase. It meant some poor bastard of a teaching pro would make seventy-five bucks on a Tuesday morning when things were generally dead.

"Ah. Welcome!" said the clerk, and extended the towel. "If you don't mind, there's this liability form-"

"No problem." Artisan knew from liability. He filled out the form, even signed his real name.

The clerk stuck the paper in a drawer and looked at a clock behind him. "It's only ten thirty. Would you like to have someone from Member Services show you-"

"Maybe later. I'd really like to hit some serves. Little rusty."

"Sure, sure. Have a good hit."

With that, the clerk gestured beyond the little pro shop to the tennis courts. And Paul Artisan, whom no one knew from Adam, and who had a 9 mm pistol nestled in his tennis bag, went out to find his quarry.

He had no doubt she'd be there. The papers from her own lawsuit confirmed she was a member of this club; one of her lies was that she could no longer use the facilities for which she'd already paid. She had a doubles game at 10 a.m. Ryan the teaching pro had in all innocence confirmed that when Artisan told him he wanted to schedule his lesson so he could say hello to her, as she was a friend of a friend. Didn't people realize how easy they were to find, how readily they could get nailed?

The tennis courts were arranged in a double row, with low wooden bleachers in between. Artisan strolled down the middle aisle, glancing left and right. There was a fair bit of suburban tennis going on; it wasn't pretty. Bandy old men with giant racquets, slicing and dicing and making bad calls. Matronly foursomes sending lob after lob into the humid Jersey sky. As at every club, a macho guy in too-tight shorts, trying to play like he'd seen on television.

Sally Handler's court was the last one on the left. Very casually, Artisan sat down on the bleachers that faced it. The women briefly looked up at him. Idle curiosity: a new man at the club. Then they went back to their game. Artisan put his tennis bag on the bench beside him; he partly opened the zipper to the compartment that held the gun.

For a couple minutes he watched them play, and he felt almost bad about what he was about to do. They seemed like nice ladies. They made little jokes between points. There was something sweet and heartbreaking about the little pleated skirts encircling tummies that were no longer flat; about the pastel bloomers stretching around soft thighs struggling to run; about the wristbands on plump arms trying so hard to be strong. They were just regular people of a certain age wanting to enjoy their lives. How had one of them turned out to be a would-be criminal? Was her ex-husband a total deadbeat? Was one of her kids in trouble or sick? Had she just messed up with her own investments, put herself in jeopardy of losing the modest privileges and comforts she'd forgotten how to live without? It was sad, but sympathy was a different thing from justice.

Finally it was Sally Handler's turn to serve. Artisan took his cell phone from his pocket.

She moved to the service line. He gently snapped open the phone. She bounced the ball in front of her, once, twice, three times. With a practiced lack of hurry, Artisan raised the phone toward his ear but then subtly shifted it in front of his face and focused it on Sally Handler.

With her left hand she tossed the ball a few feet above her head. Her right arm lifted, dropped into a backswing, then came up high above her visor and her hairdo to strike the yellow ball. Artisan snapped the picture at the moment of contact.

And that was it. That was the end of Artisan's workday and it was the end of Sally Handler's fraudulent five-million-dollar suit against her orthopedic surgeon. She'd had her rotator cuff 'scoped just under a year ago. Her suit alleged that the doctor had screwed up and she could no longer raise her arm beyond the level of her shoulder. Did she really expect not to be found out? Artisan would now send the photo to the orthopedist's insurance company. The company, most likely, would forward the image to Sally Handler's lawyer with a terse note saying they were not inclined to settle and would gladly meet her in court. Sally Handler would drop her case and Artisan would receive his day rate of five hundred bucks from the insurance company.

The detective slid the phone back into his pocket and secured the zipper of his tennis bag. He hoped to slip away without a confrontation, and he more or less succeeded. As he rose from the bleachers, Sally Handler's gaze locked onto him and irresistibly drew his glance in return. Their eyes locked only for an instant of mutually abashed communication. Sally Handler's eyes told him she knew that she'd been photographed; that she didn't want her tennis-lady friends to know what she had done. Artisan's eyes sent back the lame message that it was nothing personal.

Then he walked away. It was just after ten thirty when he got back to the front desk. He actually had time to take the lesson he had booked. But he didn't feel like it. He felt bad for Sally Handler. He felt bad, also, for himself. He paid for the lesson and he left the club.

Excerpted from BAD TWIN by Gary Troup. Copyright (c) 2006 Touchstone Television. All rights reserved. Published by Hyperion.

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Bad Twin 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
As long as you don't go into reading BAD TWIN thinking you're going to solve the mysteries of the hit television show Lost, then you should be okay. BAD TWIN, on its own, is an intriguing mystery featuring twin brothers--one a bigwig in the family business, the other a ne're-do-well who has gone missing.

Oh, sure, there are a few references in the actual storyline to make you go "hmmm"--the philosopher John Locke, a trip to Australia aboard an Oceanic flight, the totally hyped numbers showing up as the twin's birthday, and the family name of Widmore. But besides those few basic tidbits, this book won't tell you squat. It really has nothing to do with Lost.

On its own merits, though, it's an engaging mystery that I read in one day, and if Gary Troup was an actual person (which he isn't), and had actually written anything else besides BAD TWIN (which he hasn't), I wouldn't hesitate to read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I mistakenly purchased this book (at full price) thinking it was linked to my favorite show 'Lost'. The plot was loose at best, and aside from a few name and location similarities, had zippo to do with the show. Wait for the paperback, if you must read this one. Would like a refund on time lost.
readabook66 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
How very strange. Fiction, by a fictional writer. Too bad it's a gimmick - I actually liked the characters.
blackberry_jam on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was okay. I was hoping for more actual tie-in to 'Lost', but there was mainly just hints and passing mentions.
PirateJenny on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The author was on doomed Oceanic flight 815. Suspicious as this book centers around the Widmore twins, isn't it? And poor Sawyer will never get to find out the end, since Locke burned the final pages of the manuscript Troup had on the flight. I was disappointed not to find out more about Hanso, since they've condemned him and the book so loudly. Perhaps I'll have to check out the Hanso site again.
Ashleysailvt on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I know it's just a marketing tool, but I really liked this book.
DaveFragments on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A tie-in to the LOST TV show. A nice mystery, nothing special.
sturlington on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I only read this because I am a fan of Lost. It was not particularly well written, and it didn¿t add anything to my understanding of the TV show. Now I know why Gary Troup was sucked into a jet engine in the pilot episode.
avhacker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
AMAZING BOOK! lots of inside info of lost hidden messages all that good stuff!! didn;t really undertand the ending and there could have been more lost refrernces but a great book for even a non lost fan!
Sunflower6_Cris on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Okay read but don't expect muchIf you aren't expecting to solve the mysteries of the TV show LOST, then you should be okay. While there are some vague references to the LOST TV series, that is all there is, a vague reference and nothing more.The story itself is a mystery about twin brothers, obviously one good and one bad. The book was an okay read and while it was a short story it felt a bit dragged out and then rushed at the end.
Carstairs38 More than 1 year ago
PI Paul Artisan is hired to find a missing twin. However, what is his new client hiding? I enjoyed this as a mystery novel with occasional nods to Lost, the TV show it was supposed to tie into. However, if you were looking for more connected to Lost, you'll be disappointed. Read it for the mystery and nothing else.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sunflower6_Cris More than 1 year ago
I agree with "Teens read too", If you aren't expecting to solve the mysteries of the TV show LOST, then you should be okay. While there are some vague references to the LOST TV series, that is all there is, a vague reference and nothing more.

The story itself is a mystery about twin brothers, obviously one good and one bad.

The book was an okay read and while it was a short story it felt a bit dragged out and then rushed at the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am definitely not a fan of the trite TV series 'Lost' so the reference in the book is just that, a passing comment. I thought the plot development had enough possible conclusions to leave the reader guessing to the very end. The characters were plausible and entertaining. I did feel the ending was a little twisted and rushed but overall, I enjoyed this book and would give it an B+ .
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked Bad Twin, it was really interesting and I couldn't put the book down at times. It was incredibly suspenseful, and I liked the characters a lot. If your looking for a book that will give you clues to the show 'Lost', then you'll be slightly disappointed... it mentions a few things from Lost and it does tie into the world of Lost. But I don't think it gives any clues, still its a really good mystery:' 5 stars in my opinion, I'd definitely read it again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Total joke. The author and Hyperion must have made a deal with the devil to hook this mess of a book up with Lost. It throws some vague references onto a mundane, trite rehashed story that makes little sense and contains some of the worst dialogue I have ever read in my life. I hope people in the Marketing Dept. lose their jobs over this one. Lost is a tremendous show and this book doesn't even belong on the same planet with it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The named author was on Oceanic Flight 815 which departed Sydney and was LOST at sea en route for Los Angeles. Apparently Stephen King actually wrote this book which fictionalizes parts of the TV show 'Lost'. It is a pulp-noir mystery with a P.I. taking on the case of a missing twin and a family inheritance. There's murder, redemption and philosophy galore.. as well as just enough tantalizing references to the show LOST to keep fans like me guessing for months.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a big fan of the television show lost! I decided to read Bad Twin becase I thought it would be somewhat related to the show. The first chapter was very interesting, unfortunately the rest of the book could not keep my interest.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bad Twin took me about a week and a half of on and off reading to complete. When I die, I want back that week and a half. It's not that it was a bad book (pretty close though) I just felt that if this book were to be made into a movie, Lifetime would pick it up, add a bad director and bad actors to create a 'Bad' Bad Twin. The 'made-for-TV' writing is coupled with a very unengrossing plot line and an even poorer ending. I just felt gald when I finished. If you are hoping for a stroy as involved and complex as the Lost TV show, then this book really misses the mark.