Redemption: A Novel

Redemption: A Novel

by Howard Fast

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When the love of his life is accused of murder, a university professor will stop at nothing to prove her innocence
On a late night drive home, Ike Goldman, a retired Columbia University law professor, saves a woman from killing herself by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. The woman’s name is Elizabeth Hopper, and Ike, a widower, unexpectedly finds himself falling in love. But everything changes when Elizabeth’s estranged husband, a rich Wall Street executive she claims abused her, is found murdered, and Elizabeth is the prime suspect. Now Ike must uncover the truth, even as he fights to protect the woman he loves. Fast-paced and suspenseful, Redemption is one of Howard Fast’s last novels, and a remarkable story of love and loyalty amid the most harrowing of circumstances. This ebook features an illustrated biography of Howard Fast including rare photos from the author’s estate.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781453238707
Publisher: Open Road Media
Publication date: 12/27/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 228
Sales rank: 455,028
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Howard Fast (1914–2003) was one of the most prolific American writers of the twentieth century. He was a bestselling author of more than eighty works of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and screenplays. The son of immigrants, Fast grew up in New York City and published his first novel upon finishing high school in 1933. In 1950, his refusal to provide the United States Congress with a list of possible Communist associates earned him a three-month prison sentence. During his incarceration, Fast wrote one of his best-known novels, Spartacus (1951). Throughout his long career, Fast matched his commitment to championing social justice in his writing with a deft, lively storytelling style.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Wall Street

May 25, 1996

It had been a quiet night in the detectives' squad room at the first precinct of the New York City Police. Sergeant Hull and Detective Flannery, homicide's midnight shift, sat at facing desks. Flannery was doing a crossword puzzle on the computer and Hull was typing a report on an ancient Underwood typewriter; and both men yawned, first one and then the other, as if the act were contagious. Hull was a tall, skinny man in his forties. He wore reading glasses down at the end. of his long nose. Flannery was chubby, pug nose and red hair, and enthralled with their new computer, which Hull stubbornly refused to use. "You're a Luddite," he once said to Hull—to which Hull replied,. "What in hell is a Luddite?." He didn't do crossword puzzles.

    It was Saturday, May twenty-fifth, 1996, and if the midnight shift passed with no lethal violence, both men could look forward to the rest of the weekend off. Since it was now almost one A.M., their chances were good. The station was at 16 Ericsson, at the tip of Manhattan, pretty much closed down now and quiet as a graveyard.

    Flannery frowned at his puzzle and said to Hull, "That new uniform downstairs, Annabelle—you know who I mean—you think she's got a guy?."

    "How the hell should I know?."

    "I thought you might have noticed," Flannery said. "How do you spell restaurant—au or ua?"

    "Au. She's stacked. Good-looking. But with all this harassment stuffgoing around, how do you start?"

    "Ask her for a date."

    The telephone rang. Hull picked it up, listened for a moment, and then said, "OK, Lieutenant. We're on our way."


    "They got us one, and there goes the damn weekend. A banker or something, shot through the head, at Garson, Weeds and Anderson."

    "Who phoned it in?"

    "Your Annabelle. The boss told her to leave everything just as it is."

    "Well, you win some and you lose some," Flannery said. "They're in the Omnibus Building, aren't they?"

    "That's right."

    When the detectives got to the Omnibus, the ambulance was already there. Two tired men with a stretcher stood next to Annabelle, who was twenty-four years old, blond, and six feet tall. A third man identified himself as Alec Prosky, a part of the weekend cleaning staff and the person who found the body.

    "It's on the seventeenth floor," Annabelle informed them, a bit shaken and excited by her first homicide. "Prosky here's a cleaner, one of six in the building. His boss, Goober here, put in the 911." Goober grinned at them.

    "Who's up there?"

    "Kennedy, my partner," Annabelle said.

    The two detectives, Annabelle, and Prosky entered one of the bank of elevators and rode up to the seventeenth floor. Hull asked where the other cleaners were, and Prosky answered that they were working other floors and probably didn't know of the crime. Garson, Weeds and Anderson occupied the whole of the seventeenth floor, and each man in the cleaning team did a floor by himself. He, Prosky, had touched nothing. Hull told Prosky to go down to the lobby and wait for the forensic team and then to bring them up.

    "The building was locked?" he asked Prosky.

    "Friday, it locks up at seven. We have the key and we come in at midnight."

    "And the staff? The concierge and the others'."

    "They leave by seven. Any late people let themselves out and close the front door behind them. We come in at midnight, and we set the alarm system when we leave."

    "Real smart," Flannery observed. "So there's no alarm system while the cleaners are here."

    Prosky shrugged, went into the elevator, and the doors closed. The three were in the reception room—eighteenth-century colonial wallpaper, leather upholstery, and walnut walls. A cherry-wood desk for the receptionist, and on the floor a large, pale blue Aubusson rug, matched by a specially woven runner that carpeted a long hallway. "He's at the end of it," Annabelle said, and led them down the hallway past several offices, a huge room of desks, telephones, and screens, then through this room to another corridor leading into more offices. Kennedy, Annabelle's partner, was waiting for them. He was a man in his late forties, weatherworn enough to do away with Flannery's fear of competition. The door to the office behind Kennedy was open.

    "Cold as ice," Kennedy said. "He must have been put down hours ago."

    "You didn't touch anything'." Hull demanded.

    "Would I? I felt his cheeks."

    The plate of the door said WILLIAM SEDGWICK HOPPER.

    "He's been in the news," Annabelle said. "Something of a world figure. Two gold medals in the seventy-two Olympics. Lately, he's been involved in some kind of con. No charges and no arrest."

    Hopper's office was businesslike: a desk, three telephones—each with multiple lines—a computer, and a comfortable desk chair facing the door, away from a fine view of the upper bay and the Statue of Liberty. Paneled walls, no pictures, three Signer-style chairs, and a couch. A door on the left led into a small bathroom with a liquor bar beneath the sink. The entire room was carpeted in rich mossy green.

    Hopper was slumped forward on the desk, a fountain pen still clutched tightly over a checkbook in his right hand, and a trickle of blood down the back of his neck from a small hole at the base of his skull. He wore a shirt—collar open—a vest, and no tie. On the desk was a length of paper torn from the fax, about eighteen inches long. On the bottom of this sheet lay a twenty-two automatic Colt pistol, and printed on the paper, above the pistol, in red block letters: SWEET JOURNEY, BILLY.

    Carefully Hull drew the checkbook from under the clenched hand. A check—still in the book. with no notation on the stub to identify it—was made out to cash, for the sum of one hundred thousand dollars. The check was unsigned.

    "This is a doozy," Flannery said. "Whoever wasted him wanted the kill more than he wanted the money."

    Standing at the doorway, Annabelle said, "Forgive me, Detective. Not 'he'—she."

    Looking at her, curious, Hull asked, "Why 'she'?"

    "Because the cheerful good-bye note was written with lipstick."

    "You're sure, Officer?"

    "Pretty sure."

    "Could you tell us the name of the lipstick?"

    "Maybe. I could make a guess. Devlon's Autumn—very big last season."

    "You got to be kidding," Flannery said.

    "It's just a guess. I'm a blond, so I use that color. I've tried it, and it's just right. It goes better with a fair-haired woman—blue eyes, blond hair. You know, you try them all until you find one that fits your taste."

    "Interesting," Hull admitted. "That would mean she stood behind him with the gun and watched him write the check. Then, before he could sign it, she decided to pop him. Either she's as rich as God or she hates his guts."

    "A hundred thousand clams are a lot of hate," Flannery said.

    "Cash. What the hell good is a check drawn to cash? He could stop it first thing Monday morning. Or maybe a man decided to use his wife's lipstick. This is one large, good-looking stud ... blond hair—we got to find out a little about him, but that will wait for tomorrow. Forensics will match up the lipstick; and we'll find out about the women who work here."

    "The blond hair's a rinse," Annabelle said.

    Flannery regarded her with appreciation.

    "So he was a happy hunter," Hull said. "Manhattan South will send their fingerprint team along with forensics, but my guess is she wore gloves. You agree, Officer?" to Annabelle.

    "I would think so."

    Flannery took a piece of tissue from the box on the desk, then picked up the gun and smelled it. "Still stinks. It's got its registration mark, so it's probably stolen and resold. We got to talk to Prosky. How many did he say were on the cleaning team?"

    "Six," Annabelle said.

    "I don't think there's anything there," Flannery said, touching the dead man's cheek. "They come in at midnight. My guess is that he's been dead at least five, six hours."

    This was for the benefit of Annabelle. Hull did not contradict Flannery, and Flannery decided to ask Annabelle whether she had a steady boyfriend.

    Her answer cheered him, and he decided to ask her about the two gold medals.

    "I follow sports," Annabelle replied. "Javelin and shot put."

    "Oh." Flannery was not quite certain what a javelin was. "Some kind of spear?"

    "Some kind of spear," Annabelle agreed.

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