Muscle Memory (Brady Coyne Series #16)

Muscle Memory (Brady Coyne Series #16)

by William G. Tapply

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A Boston lawyer copes with a client who lies compulsively—and then disappears just as his wife is found dead: “A pleasure . . . solidly plotted” (Publishers Weekly).
As a power forward for the Detroit Pistons, Mick Fallon distinguished himself with an unerring ability to hit late-game free throws. Years after his retirement, the passion and focus he once put into basketball have been repurposed for something less admirable: gambling. A secret, crippling addiction has emptied Mick’s savings, ruined his marriage, and may be threatening his life. When his wife demands a divorce, Mick turns to Brady Coyne—a lawyer with ethics—with a seemingly simple case that turns out to be one of the nastiest this Boston attorney has ever encountered.
Mick doesn’t want a divorce—he wants his wife back. When she is found savagely murdered in her living room, Mick is the natural suspect, but he has disappeared. To prove his client’s innocence, and save his own life, Brady must learn something every ballplayer understands: To survive, you have to know how to hustle.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781480436299
Publisher: Road
Publication date: 08/06/2013
Series: Brady Coyne Series , #16
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 257
Sales rank: 445,391
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

William G. Tapply (1940–2009) was an American author best known for writing legal thrillers. A lifelong New Englander, he graduated from Amherst and Harvard before going on to teach social studies at Lexington High School. He published his first novel, Death at Charity’s Point, in 1984. A story of death and betrayal among Boston Brahmins, it introduced crusading lawyer Brady Coyne, a fishing enthusiast whom Tapply would follow through twenty-five more novels, including Follow the Sharks, The Vulgar Boatman, and the posthumously published Outwitting Trolls.
Besides writing regular columns for Field and Stream, Gray’s Sporting Journal, and American Angler, Tapply wrote numerous books on fishing, hunting, and life in the outdoors. He was also the author of The Elements of Mystery Fiction, a writer’s guide. He died in 2009, at his home in Hancock, New Hampshire.  
William G. Tapply (1940–2009) was an American author best known for writing legal thrillers. A lifelong New Englander, he graduated from Amherst and Harvard before going on to teach social studies at Lexington High School. He published his first novel, Death at Charity’s Point, in 1984. A story of death and betrayal among Boston Brahmins, it introduced crusading lawyer Brady Coyne, a fishing enthusiast whom Tapply would follow through twenty-five more novels, including Follow the Sharks, The Vulgar Boatman, and the posthumously published Outwitting Trolls.

Besides writing regular columns for Field and Stream, Gray’s Sporting Journal, and American Angler, Tapply wrote numerous books on fishing, hunting, and life in the outdoors. He was also the author of The Elements of Mystery Fiction, a writer’s guide. He died in 2009, at his home in Hancock, New Hampshire.  

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I had swiveled my office chair around so I could gaze out at a sun-drenched April morning. My window onto Copley Square looks east across the plaza to the dark-stoned, dour old Trinity Church, which crouches in the shadow of the sleek, glass-sided John Hancock Tower rising behind it. The old and the new Boston in counterpoint.

    The view from my office window takes in a lot of concrete and steel and glass and enterprise. It barely qualifies as "outdoors," but on a pretty spring morning it's good enough to get me daydreaming about casting dry flies to rising trout, which is what I was doing when Julie buzzed me.

    I rotated back to my desk and picked up the phone. "Yes, boss?" I said.

    "There's a Michael Fallon on line two."

    "What's he want?"

    "He says he needs a lawyer. You're the lawyer around here. Why don't you ask him?"

    "Good plan." I hit the blinking light on my telephone console and said, "Mick? How're you doing?"

    "Not good," he said. "Not good at all. Actually, I am one miserable old jockstrap, Brady. I gotta talk to you, man."

    "What's up?"

    I heard him sigh. "It's Kaye. My wife. She's... well, she says she wants a divorce, and she tells me I better get myself a good lawyer, because she's got one, and..." He fell silent.

    "Mick?" I said after a minute.

    "Yeah, I'm here."

    "I'll be happy to represent you," I said.

    "The thing is," he said, "Idon't want a fucking divorce. I don't want a lawyer. I just want my wife."

    I glanced at my appointment calendar. "How about lunch? Say twelve-thirty?"

    "You gotta help me fight it, man."

    "Meet me at Skeeter's," I said. "We'll grab a booth and talk about it."

I left a little after noon for the familiar twenty-minute walk to Skeeter's. Newbury Street was swarming with lunchtime shoppers, and I was pleased to observe that the female secretaries and lawyers and college students had broken out their springtime outfits—short skirts, pastel blouses, flowered dresses. On the Common, the ancient beeches and stubborn old elms were leafing out, the pigeons were flocking, and even the bums on the benches who were feeding them seemed high-spirited. Ah, spring.

    No matter how many time I saw Mick, I was always surprised at how big he was. The booth at Skeeter's seemed kindergarten-sized with Mick wedged into it. When he played for the Pistons back in the seventies, they'd listed him as six-nine, two-thirty in the program. Actually he was closer to six-seven, but the weight had been about right. He'd put on thirty or forty pounds since then.

    I slid in across from him. He was hunched over with his forearms on the table. His catcher's-mitt hands dwarfed the mug of draft beer they were cradling. The beer was untouched.

    He looked up. "Thanks for coming."

    I held out my hand to him. "It's good to see you again, Mick."

    He took my hand in his huge paw. "I know plenty of lawyers," he said, "but this..."

    I nodded. I refuse to accept clients I don't like, but I liked Mick, considered him a friend. I haven't found that friendship gets in the way of serving my clients. "Tell me about it," I said.

    At that point Skeeter sidled up to our booth. Skeeter, as usual, was wearing his old Red Sox cap. He was a little self-conscious about his bald head. He looked from Mick to me, nodded as if he could read Mick's mood, and instead of his usual friendly greeting, he simply said, "Lunch, fellas?"

    "Just bring me some coffee, Skeets," I said. "We'll eat in a little while."

    Skeeter nodded, glanced at Mick's full beer mug, and left.

    I turned back to Mick. "So...?"

    "It's hard, man. It hurts bad."

    "Of course it does."

    "Will you help me?"

    "Sure. We just—"

    "We've got to bring her to her senses, Brady. I don't want a divorce. She can't really do this to me, can she?"

    "I'm afraid she can, Mick. Here in Massachusetts, at least, if one party wants a divorce, and if it gets that far, the court makes the assumption that the marriage isn't working. The court aims to dissolve bad marriages fairly, not repair them. That's how the system works."

    Mick stared at me for a minute, then dropped his chin onto his chest. "So what'm I gonna do?" he mumbled.

    "I guess it depends," I said. "Why don't you start at the beginning."

    He nodded. "We, um, separated a year ago January. Right after the holidays." He shook his head. "Some holidays."

    "So you've been separated for—what, almost a year and a half now?"

    "Not separated," he said. "Not legally. Just... not living together."

    "I didn't know that," I said. "You always led me to believe you were happily married."

    He flapped his hands. "It was easier to pretend, that's all."

    I nodded. "Sure. Okay. It doesn't matter. Continue."

    He talked down into the circle his big arms made on the table, staring into his untouched mug of beer. "It was Kaye's idea. I mean, I had no idea she..." He looked up at me. "She just said she needed some space for a while. Erin and Danny were both off to college, and it was just me and Kaye. I'd been kinda looking forward to it, you know? I mean, we have—had—a great family. We always had a good time. All four of us. So when she told me she wanted us to split, I didn't know what to think, Brady. I asked her if it was something I'd done, and she said no, that it was just her and she felt like she needed for us to be apart for a while. She needed space." Mick shook his head. "What the fuck is this space shit, anyway? I—"

    He glanced up. Skeeter was standing beside me holding a mug of coffee.

    "Thanks, Skeets," I said as he put it in front of me.

    Mick watched Skeeter leave, then turned to me. "I didn't like it, Brady. It wasn't what I wanted. Hell, I just wanted my family. But what was I gonna do? She said she'd move out if I wanted, but I said no, I'd find someplace." He shook his head. "I figured it'd be a few weeks, she'd miss me, and I'd move back in and everything would be okay. So I found a shitty little furnished apartment near Union Square in Somerville, took my toothbrush and some clothes over there, and waited for her to figure it out."

    "I didn't know any of this, Mick."

    "I didn't want anybody to know. Like I said. It was easier to pretend. I guess the only person I was fooling was me." He lifted his mug, took a sip, put it down, and wiped his mouth on the back of his wrist. "You've never met Kaye."

    "No," I said. "But I feel like I know her."

    Mick smiled. "I'm always bragging on her, I know." He shook his head. "Anyway, after I moved out, we'd sometimes meet for lunch or supper, and it'd be like nothing was wrong. She'd chatter on about the kids or her bridge games or something in the neighborhood, telling her dumb jokes—flirting with me, for Christ sake—and I'm sitting there thinking, This is nuts. This is my wife, the woman I love, and we're not living together, and she's telling me about how Alma Crynock's fucking dog had puppies?" He waved his hand in the air. "The thing about Kaye, see, if she doesn't want to talk about something, there's no way you can make her talk about it. She hates to argue, and if there's something you don't agree on, she just keeps talking about something else until you give up. I've been married to her for twenty-two years, and I've learned to wait her out. Eventually she'll bring it up, whatever it is, and that means she's ready to talk about it. So I kept waiting for her to be ready to talk about the only thing that was on my mind, which was when I could go back home." He shrugged. "She never did. Then she called me last night."

    "Saying she wanted a divorce," I said.

    He nodded.



    "Why'd she say she wanted a divorce?"

    "She didn't."

    "She gave you no reason?"


    "There's always a reason, Mick."

    He flapped his hands, shrugged, and shook his head.

    "Her lawyer will be calling me, then?"

    "Yeah, I guess so."

    I took a sip of coffee, then lit a cigarette. "Mick," I said, "I've got to ask you some questions, okay?"

    "I never cheated on her, if that's what you mean," he said. "I never hit her, I always supported her, I took care of the kids. Maybe she—she's got a boyfriend or something, I don't know." He shook his head. "Christ," he muttered, "that would kill me." He lifted his head and peered at me. "I haven't done anything wrong, Brady. I don't get it."

    "Everybody's done something wrong," I said. "Look. Marriages wear out. People change. It happens, and it's nobody's fault. It happened to me. I loved my family, too, and I got divorced. Life goes on. If that's what this is, okay, we'll just have to deal with it. Kaye wants a divorce, and unless she changes her mind, that's what'll happen. Meanwhile, you've got some homework to do."


    I nodded. "If you and Kaye proceed with the divorce, there will be issues of alimony, child support, division of assets. So I need you to put together a complete listing of everything you and Kaye own, both together and separately. Bank accounts, investments, real estate, insurance, pension plans, cars, furniture, jewelry, paintings, heirlooms. Everything. Your old trophies. Her mink coat. And your debts, too. You've got kids in college, so I need to know what that's costing you. I'll have Julie mail you a worksheet."

    Mick was looking at me. "Jesus," he said softly. "You make it sound so..." He shook his head. "This isn't about money, Brady."

    "Actually, that's exactly what it's about," I said. "Her lawyer wants to talk to me because we'll have to work out a settlement. Your children are grown, so there are no custody issues. Money is the only thing it's about."

    "You don't get it," he said. He looked up at me and smiled. "See, I don't care. She can have it all."

    I shook my head. "I won't let that happen," I said. "My job is to watch out for you, even if you don't think you care. One, two, five years from now you'll care. That's when you'll be glad you hired yourself a good lawyer."

    Mick took a sip of beer, which had to be warm by now. "All I care about is Kaye."

    "Kaye's lawyer will take care of her," I said. "You didn't happen to get her lawyer's name, did you?"

    He shrugged. "No. Why? Does it make any difference?"

    I smiled. "It makes all the difference."

Three days later Mick called me. "I talked to Kaye," he said. "She asked for your name. Know what? I didn't want to tell her. I figured if I refused to tell her my lawyer's name, they couldn't do anything." He laughed quickly. "I know, I know. Dumb. Anyway, I told her. So I guess you'll be hearing from them."

    "Okay," I said. "I hope you've been thinking about what you want out of this. Long-term marriages like yours, it'll be a fifty-fifty split of assets. But there are lots of different ways of dividing them. This is what her lawyer and I will be negotiating. If we can come up with a settlement that's acceptable to both you and Kaye, we can avoid a trial, and believe me, we want to avoid a trial if we can."

    "A trial," murmured Mick. "Jesus."

    "So I want to be able to present a proposal to them," I continued. "Let them react to it. Keep in mind, too, that assuming you've been the main source of income, you'll be paying child support until your kids are out of college. That's pretty much cut and dried. 'The state uses a formula based on your income and your assets and the kids' ages. There'll be the matter of alimony, which we will negotiate as part of the settlement. This can be pretty easy and clean for you, Mick. That is how you want it, isn't it?"

    "All I want is—"

    "I know," I said. "You want your marriage. But it doesn't look like that's going to happen. Why not make it easy on everybody? Let your lawyers do their jobs and maybe you and Kaye can end up as friends, at least. Okay?"

    "Friends, huh?" he muttered. He blew out a breath into the telephone. "Okay. Sure."

    "Did you get her lawyer's name?" I said.

    "Oh, yeah. It's, um, Cooper. Barbara Cooper."

    "Oh, shit," I muttered before I could stop myself.

    "What'd you say?" said Mick.

    "Nothing, Mick."

    "Do you know this Cooper broad?"

    "By reputation only," I said.

Know your enemy. Good advice for generals and baseball managers and lawyers. All I really knew about Barbara Cooper was that she'd opened a one-woman law office in Lexington a couple of years earlier, that she was young and attractive and smart, and that she'd won some big divorce settlements for her female clients.

    I'd heard other things about her, too, but I try not to place too much stock in second-hand reputations.

    So after I hung up with Mick, I called a few of my friends to see what I could learn about Barbara Cooper. Some of them would say only that she was tough, relentless, and single-minded, which are not bad qualities for a lawyer.

    Those who'd actually opposed her called her an unscrupulous bitch, a real ballbuster. The word around the divorce courts was that the proper pronunciation of "Barbara Cooper" was "Barracuda."

    "I'm looking for a trial date in July," she said when she called me a week later. "That okay with you?"

    In most divorce negotiations, scheduling a trial date did not mean the lawyers expected there would be an actual trial. Our aim would normally be to bring a settlement with us when we went to court that day, so that if we'd done our job well, Judge Elliot Kolb would ask a few perfunctory questions and then sign off on the agreement, and ninety days later it would become the divorce settlement by which the couple lived the rest of their lives.

    But my sources had warned me that Barbara Cooper had no compunction about going to trial, that she didn't mind accruing hundreds of billable hours trying to negotiate a settlement, and when the dust finally cleared and you thought you had everything worked out, she'd refuse to settle.

    "I've met with my client several times," I told her on the phone. "I'll fax a proposal over to you by the end of the week."

    "For starters, my client wants the house," she said.

    "That's certainly negotiable," I answered. In fact, Mick had told me he wanted Kaye to have the house, but I wasn't going to divulge that to Cooper. "My client was hoping your client would agree to counseling."

    "Forget it," she said.

    Over the next few weeks, I met with Mick several times. Barbara Cooper and I back-and-forthed proposals and counter proposals, and by the third week in May, it looked like we were closing in on an agreement.

    So in spite of the warnings I'd received, I was not prepared for Cooper's phone call.

    "I'm going to have to depose your client," she told me.

    "Really?" I said.


    In divorce cases, a lawyer normally takes a deposition from her client's spouse only when she believes the spouse is lying or withholding relevant information. A deposition is a form of discovery that requires the deponent to answer all questions truthfully and fully at the risk of legal sanction, just as if he were in an actual courtroom. Responsible attorneys do not seek depositions on a whim. They are expensive and time-consuming and particularly for the deponent—in this case, Mick Fallon—stressful.

    I'd been trying to remain open-minded, but I wasn't convinced that Barbara Cooper was a responsible attorney. If she was in fact a ball-buster, as I was beginning to think, she'd enjoy putting Mick on the hot seat.

    I was hoping she might hint at what she was after—if anything—although I didn't expect it.

    She didn't. "Can you have all the documents in my office by, say, next Tuesday?" she said. "I'll fax you a list of what we want."

    "Better make it Friday," I said.

    "No," she said. "I want all of it Tuesday. We'll take the deposition in my office the following Thursday—that's the twenty-eight—at ten o'clock. I hope that works for you."

    "I'll have to check with my client," I said.

It emphatically did not work for Mick, and when I told him on the telephone, his reaction reminded me of his old basketball reputation as a hothead, a guy who clutched and grabbed and used his elbows liberally and got kicked out of games for fighting. The Mick Fallon I'd seen drag two reputed hitmen out of Skeeter's and throw them into the alley.

    "What kind of bullshit is this?" he growled, and then I heard his fist—or maybe it was his head—crash against something.

    "Calm down, Mick," I said. "They just want to be sure they have all the facts."

    "You mean they think I'm lying. God damn it—"

    "Take it easy, man. Calm down. Okay?"

    He blew out a long breath. "She's just trying to bust my chops."

    "Maybe so," I said. "Attorney Cooper—"

    "I don't mean her," he said. "I mean Kaye."

    "It doesn't matter," I said. "If you refuse to be deposed, we'll go straight to trial and she'll ask you the same questions in front of the judge."

    "Fuck it," he said. "Let's go to trial, then."

    "Bad idea, Mick. Listen. I think this is bullshit, too, and it pisses me off. But trust me, if we have the choice between a trial and a deposition, we take the deposition every time. That way, if anything pops up we didn't expect, at least we're prepared for it."

    "What could pop up?"

    "I don't know," I said. "You tell me."

    "Nothing," he mumbled. "It's bullshit."

    "You've told me everything?"

    "Of course I have."

    "Then let's get the damn deposition over with. Okay?"

    He exhaled deeply. "Well, okay. So what do we do?"

    "Attorney Cooper wants copies of all your tax returns for the past ten years, plus all your financial documents since you've been separated from Kaye. Tax returns, bank statements, canceled checks, deposit stubs, credit card and telephone bills. Everything."

    "Then what?"

    "Then we go to her office and she asks you questions."

    "Questions about what?" he said.

    "About anything."

    "Jesus Christ," he growled. "Okay, so how does it work?"

    "You bring in all those financial documents, and I'll copy them and ship them off to Attorney Cooper. Then we meet in her office and she'll ask you a bunch of questions. A shorthand reporter who's also a notary public, an officer of the court, will be there to record it all."

    "Will Kaye be there?"

    "She might. She has the right to be there, but she can't participate."

    "You'll be there, won't you?"

    "Of course."

    "So what'm I supposed to do?"

    "It's easy, Mick. You just keep your cool and tell the truth."

Mick was pacing the sidewalk in front of his apartment building in Somerville when I pulled to the curb around nine-thirty on the morning of May 28. He was smoking a cigar and sipping from a Styrofoam Dunkin Donuts coffee cup.

    He opened the passenger door of my BMW and folded himself into the front seat beside me. His knees pressed against the dashboard.

    "Reach down between your legs," I told him. "You can push the seat back."

    He did. "I'm a wreck," he said as I pulled onto the street.

    "Relax," I said. "The only thing I want you to remember is to answer the questions directly. If it's a yes-or-no question, just say yes or no. Don't elaborate. If you don't know an answer, just say so."

    "What's she going to ask me?"

    "I don't know. Questions about money, I'd guess."

    "I hate this shit," he mumbled.

    He sat quietly besides me while I negotiated the clogged roads through Somerville and Cambridge, and it wasn't until I eased onto the westbound lane of Route 2 that he said, "Can I refuse to answer any of their questions?"

    "Not really. The only time you shouldn't answer would be if you're asked for privileged information, or something that's actually incriminating. I'll be there to watch out for anything like that. But it's not like court. Generally speaking, anything goes at a deposition. That's because there's no judge at a deposition. Later, if we end up going to trial and attorney Cooper tries to bring dubious testimony from your deposition into evidence, I'll object to the question and let the judge rule on it."

    "So I just answer everything," he said.

    "Right. If a question is improperly formed, I'll object to that and let her rephrase it."

    "What the fuck is she after?" he mumbled.

    "I don't know,"' I said. "Maybe she's just busting your balls. We'll find out soon enough."

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Muscle Memory (Brady Coyne Series #16) 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
prpl_reader_services on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Tapply's 16th novel featuring attorney-sleuth Brady Coyne. Quick and solid plot (divorce case turns into a murder mystery) with some swearing and mild sexual undertones. Violence and murder not graphic. Main character/suspect is a retired Detroit Pistons basketball player. Stand alone book in a series.
Kathy89 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really like this Brady Coyne series very much and this was a very interesting entry. A former jock drinking buddy of Brady's from the corner bar has asked Brady to represent him during divorce proceedings. Soon after the wife is murdered. Brady sets out to find the real killer while the evidence keeps piling up against his client.