Dead Man’s Time (Roy Grace, #9) by Peter James Read Online (FREE)
Read Dead Man’s Time (Roy Grace, #9) by Peter James full novel online for free here.
Brooklyn, February 1922
The boy’s father kissed him goodnight for the last time – although neither of them knew that.
The boy never went to sleep until he had had that kiss. Every night, late, long after he had gone to bed, he would lie waiting in the darkness, until he heard the door of his room open, and saw the light flood in from the landing. Then the shadowy figure and the sound of his father’s heavy footsteps across the bare boards. ‘Hey, little guy, you still awake?’ he would say in his low, booming voice.
‘Yep, big guy, I am! Can I see your watch?’
His father would take out the watch from his pocket, and hold it up by the chain. It was shiny, with a big, round face, and there was a winder on the top with a hoop the chain was attached to. In the top half of the face was a section that showed the phases of the moon. The sky behind the moon was dark blue and the stars were gold. Sometimes the moon was barely visible, just peeping out. Other times it was whole, an ochre disc.
Every night the boy would ask his father to tell him a story about the Man in the Moon. His father always did. Then he would tousle his hair, kiss him on the forehead and ask, ‘You said your prayers?’
The boy would nod.
‘You go to sleep now.’
Then his father would clump back out of the room and close the door.
That’s how it was the very last time.
Four men lurched their way up the street towards the house of the man they had come to kill. Three of them were unsteady because they’d drunk too much; the fourth because he had drunk too much and had a wooden leg.
They had been boozing to steady their nerves, to get some Dutch courage, they had reassured each other a while earlier, over clinking glasses and slopping beer and whiskey chasers, in the packed Vinegar Hill bar. The one with a wooden leg wasn’t convinced they were doing the right thing, but he went along with his mates, because that’s what you did when you were part of a gang. You either went along with them or they killed you too.
It was a few minutes to midnight and the street was dark and deserted, steady rain glossing the cobblestones. Each of them had a handgun, and two of them carried baseball bats as well, concealed inside their coats. It was a cold night. Cold enough for Hell to freeze over. They all wore fingerless mittens.
‘This is it,’ their leader said, peering at the number on the front door of the row house. Vapour trailed from his mouth and nostrils like smoke.
Number 21, it read.
‘Are we sure this is it?’