An excerpt from the forthcoming Dexter novel
Coming Fall 2011 from Doubleday
By Jeff Lindsay
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Of course there are clouds. They take over the sky and hide that pulsing swollen moon that is clearing its throat above them. The slow trickle of its light is there—but any possibleglimmer is hidden, invisible behind the clouds that have rolled in low, bloated and so very full. Soon the clouds will open up and pour down a heavy summer rain, so very soon, because they, too, are full of what they must do, full to the point of bursting, so very full that they, too, must work to hold back the flood that absolutely must come, and soon. And so the clouds glower and bunch and wait,letting the need build, and the tension grows with it. It will be soon; it has to be soon. In only a few moments these dark and silent clouds will shatter the silence of the night with the unbearable bright omnipotence of their might, and blast the darkness into flickering shards—and then, only then, the release will come. The clouds will open up and all the tension of holding in so much weightwill flow out in the pure bliss of letting go and the clean joy of it will pour
out and flood the world with its oh-so happy gift of light and liberation. A shattering blast of lightning shreds the dark night and shows a large and soft-looking man scuttling across the ground, as if he has felt the dark breath so close behind. Thunder booms and lightning flashes again and the figure is closer,juggling a laptop and a manila folder as he fumbles for keys and disappears into darkness again as the lightning ends. One more burst of lightning; the man is very close now, clutching his burden and holding a car key in the air. And he is gone again in black stillness. There is sudden silence, a complete hush, as if nothing anywhere is breathing and even the darkness is holding its breath— Andthen there comes a sudden rush of wind and a last hammer of thunder and the whole world cries out Now. Now. And all that must happen in this dark summer night begins to happen. The skies open up and let go of their burden, the world begins to breathe again, and here in the newly wet darkness other tensions flex and uncoil so very slowly, carefully, reaching their soft sharp tendrils out toward thefumbling, clownlike figure now scrabbling to unlock his car in this sudden rain. The car’s door swings open, the laptop and folder thump onto the seat, and then the soft and doughy man slides in behind the wheel, slams the door, and takes a deep breath as he wipes the water from his face. And
he smiles, a smile of small triumph, something he does a lot these days. Steve Valentine is a happyman; things have gone his way a lot lately and they have gone his way again tonight. For Steve Valentine, life is very good. It is also almost over. Steve Valentine is a clown. Not a buffoon, not a happy caricature of inept normality. He is a real clown, who runs ads in the local papers and hires out for children’s parties. Unfortunately, it is not the bright laughter of childish innocence thathe lives for, and his sleight of hand has gotten somewhat out of hand. He has been arrested and released twice when parents pointed out to the police that you don’t really need to take a child into a dark closet to show him balloon animals. They had to let him go both times for lack of evidence, but Valentine took the hint; from that point on nobody has complained—how could they? But he has notstopped entertaining the children, certainly not. Leopards do not change their spots, and Valentine has not changed his. He just got wiser, darker, as wounded predators do. He has moved on into a more permanent game, and he thinks he has found a way to play and never pay. He is wrong. Tonight the bill comes due. Valentine lives in a run-down apartment building just north of Opa Locka Airport. The...
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