Assault with a Deadly Lie
A Nick Hoffman Novel of Suspense
Publication Year: 2014
A novel of suspense set in the academic world, Assault with a Deadly Lie probes the disturbing psychological impact of slander, harassment, stalking, police brutality, and the loss of personal safety. What will Nick do when his world threatens to collapse? How can he reestablish order in a suddenly chaotic life?
Assault with a Deadly Lie, the eighth installment of Lev Raphael's Nick Hoffman Mysteries, propels the series to a new level of danger and intrigue as Nick and Stefan are catapulted out of their tranquil existence by shocking accusations.
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Epigraph
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I confess I’d been watching too much terror TV. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t get enough of 24, NCIS, Homeland, Sleeper Cell, MI-5, and The State Within. I watched them all. I watched the reruns and I rented the DVDs, sometimes more than once. These shows and miniseries drew me the way other people were hypnotized by the corniest disaster movies. You...
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I drank enough
that night to stay awake all summer.
Where was he? Was he in a cell? Was he being
too crazy, too impossible.
But then I reminded myself that Vanessa was at the jail too, and would be protecting him somehow. Wouldn’t...
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to try and sleep because
I was afraid
and he needed
sleep more than I did.
But honestly, I also didn’t want to see him in his current state, awake or asleep. My strong, athletic partner was handsomer in middle age than he’d ever been before, and I wasn’t prepared to witness his collapse. Not when I was so shattered myself. It...
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begun to munch on a second
donut when Vanessa
said, “I need to warn you about something.”
I started laughing. She and Stefan both gawked at me as if they were afraid I was succumbing to hysteria.
“I’m sorry,” I sputtered. “That just made me think of that movie—you know which one!—where Isabella Rossellini gives people a potion...
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Even in my renewed state of shock, the small park of just about two acres worked on me like a massage, easing the tension out of my body, clearing my mind. A light breeze made the willow fronds sway as languidly as if they were underwater plants. On his retractable leash, Marco wandered and sniffed just as much as I’d let him. This was always a quiet...
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Marco and looked
at me, eyes bleak and angry. The call
had been brief, but the sound of that voice was as dismal
as the stench
and I felt my mouth go dry.
Marco headed out of the kitchen, possibly searching for someplace saner and quieter. It crossed my mind then to say to Stefan that we should quit our jobs, sell the house and...
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We spent the rest of Thursday watching the Bourne Trilogy again, ordered Domino’s Brooklyn-style pizza for dinner, and killed two bottles of Chianti. We’d enjoyed the films before, but this time I think both of us connected viscerally to Jason Bourne floating in the sea, getting picked up by that Italian trawler, not knowing who he is or why he remembers...
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For a moment,
it was like having
an out-of-body experience
and I could
see the two of us sitting
in my office,
I felt weirdly, calmly distant from the scene, noting the surprisingly sharp cut of his suit, the gray above his ears that was starting to soften the coppery red of his hair. Valley waited for me to say something, trying...
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I loved Ludington,
of that creep in one of my favorite
Situated on Lake Michigan, Ludington was a scenic little town, with a touch of New England charm to it—in my eyes, anyway. It had once been the hub of the Michigan lumber industry and a major port on the Great Lakes. Nowadays its business...
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Since the day he’d torn into Stefan’s essay and sent the abusive email, I’d developed a mental image of Stone angrily typing away in some dank New York basement apartment like an unsavory conspiracy theory blogger afraid that his coffee pot was bugged. Sure, I’d seen some publicity photos of him, but I imagined him grungier, unshaven and...
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Sunday morning, we had breakfast at our favorite place, Sophie’s Lakeside Café, another easy walk from the condo. The bacon was crisp, the omelets were runny the way we liked them, the coffee strong and continuous. I loved everything about this neighborhood hangout: the nautical wallpaper border; the lighthouse prints and vintage photos of...
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Feeling shaky, I left him alone, went down to the kitchen, called Marco and sat outside on the patio, trying to relax and enjoy the garden. Marco sat by my feet and I closed my eyes, leaned back in the zero gravity recliner I’d come to rely on for stress management. I listened to the breeze stirring the leaves high above us. You couldn’t hear much traffic where...
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Lucky’s neighborhood was very different from ours, studded with rambling, run-down Tudor homes that housed fraternities. The lawns were drier, the trees were newer, and the single family houses were all small and undistinguished-looking, as if trying to avoid attention. This neighborhood had to be pretty noisy on weekends, given all the students, which...
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We had espresso
in the living
room and it heartened
me that Marco
leapt onto the couch where Vanessa
his back and head. Maybe I was naïve, but when he liked
“Do you have dogs?” I asked.
“Not now, my hours are too crazy, but I grew up with them.” It...
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So what was I supposed
to do now that I had crossed
in my life I’d never expected
to cross? I went to the gym. I didn’t
to stop at home first because
kept an extra set of workout
in a small gym bag in the car just in case.
Michigan Muscle was heaven or hell depending on your perspective. Veterans loved it, newbies...
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They say you should
never go to bed angry when you’re
in a relationship,
but we did anyway
that night. I took some Benadryl
me out in minutes.
Wednesday morning I found Stefan in the kitchen pulling open drawers and cabinets, banging plates and cutlery, generally making as much noise as he could without actually breaking anything while he put...
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I should have taken some time to just sit in my car in the gun range’s parking lot and try to absorb what had happened that afternoon, but I didn’t. I drove away elated. It’s not as if I was going into a gun battle or even owned a gun yet, but discovering that I had this unexpected talent made me feel less afraid, much less vulnerable. It was all as mysterious as...
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I left campus
in a daze and drove around
to go home
where I’d have to tell Stefan
about this new outrage.
He’d been through
more than enough
the cops and Valley
would be like letting
go of someone’s
arm when you’d been dragging
him out of quicksand.
How could he not sink?
So I drove. But...
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Since the night last week our lives had been torn apart, my sense of time had been completely disrupted, and while I waited for Stefan to tell me what he’d been hiding, I realized once again how I had been cut adrift from the very ordinary markers I took for granted: regular meals; watching our favorite TV shows; walking and feeding Marco the same...
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In my car, I texted
that I’d found out it was Detective
the last week of horror,
and then I drove straight
wife had revealed
But could I believe Pat Silver? Hadn’t Stefan told me Casey said both his parents were harsh?
Upstairs, when I exited the elevator on the third...
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The toll at Parker Hall was five dead, one wounded. Quinn had killed two history professors on the first floor near the entrance, one of whom had tried to tackle him after the other was shot. On the floor below ours, he’d shot a graduate student before he could successfully barricade himself in the copy room. On our floor, he had killed poor, texting...
Author's Notes, Other Works by the Author
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If you enjoyed
this book, please
Even a short review
makes a difference
and would be appreciated.
Word-of-mouth is crucial
You can read what Lev has to say about writing and publishing at his blog “Writing Across Genres” (http://www.levraphael.com/blog/).
Feel free to drop by and chat. You can also follow Lev on Twitter...
Page Count: 189
Publication Year: 2014