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c Century London Published by Century 2007 2468 10 9753 1 Copyright © Belfry Holdings, Inc 2007 John Grisham has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work This novel is a work of fiction. Names and characters are the product of the author's imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirelycoincidental. This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition, including this condition, being imposed on the subsequent purchaser. First published in Great Britain in2007 by Century Random House, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London SW1V 2SA www.rbooks.co.uk Addresses for companies within The Random House Group Limited can be found at: www.randomhouse.co.ukoffices.htm The Random House Group Limited Reg. No. 954009 A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library HB ISBN 9781846053689 TPB ISBN 9781846053696 The Random House Group Limitedmakes every effort to ensure that the papers used in its books are made from trees that have been legally sourced from well-managed and credibly certified forests. Our paper procurement policy can be found at: www.rbooks.co.ukenvironment Mixed Sources v_ -J rndMgnwinmotllHMwnd ~ f" hnntAotoonlnlMtoSat TC-c;-- mnLfccof! c«nno.TKOC21M Printed and bound in Great Britain by CPI Mackays, Chatham, ME5 8TDThis book is dedicated to my longtime publisher, Stephen Rubin, a great lover of all things Italian--opera, food, wine, fashion, language, and culture. Perhaps not football.

Also by John Grisham

A Time to Kill The Firm The Pelican Brief The Client The Chamber The Rainmaker The Runaway Jury The Partner The Street Lawyer The Testament The Brethren A Painted House Skipping Christmas TheSummons The King of Torts Bleachers The Last Juror The Broker The Innocent Man

Playing for Pizza

CHAPTER 1
It was a hospital bed, that much appeared certain, though certainty was coming and going. It was narrow and hard and there were shiny metal railings standing sentrylike along the sides, preventing escape. The sheets were plain and very white. Sanitary. The room was dark, but sunlight wastrying to creep around the blinds covering the window. He closed his eyes again; even that was painful. Then he opened them, and for a long silent minute or so he managed to keep the lids apart and focus on his cloudy little world. He was lying on his back and pinned down by firmly tucked sheets. He noticed a tube dangling to his left, running down to his hand, then disappearing up somewherebehind him. There was a voice in the distance, out in the hallway. Then he made the mistake of trying to move, just a slight adjustment of the head, and it didn't work. Hot bolts of pain hit his skull and neck and he groaned loudly. "Rick. Are you awake?" The voice was familiar, and quickly a face followed it. Arnie was breathing on him. "Arnie?" he said with a weak, scratchy voice, then he swallowed."It's me, Rick, thank God you're awake." Arnie the agent, always there at the important moments. "Where am I, Arnie?"

"You're in the hospital, Rick." "Got that. But why?" "When did you wake up?" Arnie found a switch, and a light came on beside the bed. "I don't know. A few minutes ago." "How do you feel?" "Like someone crushed my skull." "Close. You're gonna be fine, trust me." Trust me, trustme. How many times had he heard Arnie ask for trust? Truth was, he'd never completely trusted Arnie and there was no plausible reason to start now. What did Arnie know about traumatic head injuries or whatever mortal wound someone had inflicted? Rick closed his eyes again and breathed deeply. "What happened?" he asked softly. Arnie hesitated and ran a hand over his hairless head. He glanced at...
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