Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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p. ix

The author is also grateful to his colleagues, fellow writers, and friends who have supported his work throughout the years: John Coyne, David Hassler, Katy Ryan, William O’Rourke, Valerie Sayers, Howard and...

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The Bridge

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pp. 3-40

Standing at the north end of the Main Street Bridge, Sheriff John Lewis saw, no more than fifty feet in front of him, a man and a woman hoist themselves from the pedestrian walkway...

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This Man, This Woman, This Child, This Town

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pp. 41-78

The teachers have left the front of the two-story brick building, where they’d gathered to greet students and parents on the first day of classes. Only Martin Williamson— Mr. W. to everyone...

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A Map of the Forbidden

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pp. 79-96

After his eulogy, after the last prayer, Tim Kovitch found himself alone in a corner of the Hotel Sherman ballroom. He was about to turn and look out the window, although he knew he’d see nothing more interesting than the brick..

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Security

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pp. 97-124

The day before Sonya was to leave for South Africa with her two-year-old son and sixteen-year-old stepdaughter, her husband said he had something important to discuss with her. It concerned Gia, who he knew wouldn’t be content to...

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If Laughter Were Blood,They Would Be Brothers

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pp. 125-144

Paul shows up at Harlem Tropic at ten, his first visit since he was last in Ryeville, in August. Stephanie isn’t here. There’s a wedding party in the club, which is wood-paneled and smells of oranges, and the bride and groom are dancing...

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Afterwards

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pp. 145-170

After Ray Perkins made his statement, Peter Marcello asked two of the three officers in the room to leave. The remaining officer— six months from retirement, with bad hearing—sat in the corner, shaking dandruff onto his blue-uniformed...

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The Boy behind the Tree

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pp. 171-182

My father and I were on the third tee at Wildwood when a boy in a red golf shirt stepped from behind an oak tree next to the ball washer. “Mind if I join you?” he asked. He was about my age, fifteen, although there was a toughness about him—the squint in his eyes, the wiry muscles in his neck..

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The Incurables

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pp. 183-208

When Adam “Drew” Drewshevsky, a.k.a. Dickie De- Long, returned to his hometown of Sherman, Ohio, his old friend Barry Borkowski took him out for a beer at Don’s Underground and raised a glass to the Prince of Porn. There was truth..

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I Return

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pp. 209-222

I’d always vowed that if I died young—any age shy of senility—I would return to earth as a ghost to look after my wife and children. My love was this strong, I was certain. Stronger than death. Strong enough to cross from the hereafter...

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Classmates

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pp. 223-233

You suspect the lawn hasn’t been mowed since sometime in the summer; it is full of weeds and intrudes onto the concrete walkway from both sides. The house is in a similar state. Its gray vinyl siding was doubtless once white, and a section..