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Quiver

Cover of Quiver

Quiver

A Novel

One of the most riveting and powerful new voices in crime fiction, Peter Leonard delivers a razor-sharp debut thriller.
Kate McCall's husband has been killed by her son, Luke, in a tragic bow-hunting accident. While Kate struggles with her son's surly guilt, her first love, Jack, an ex-con, reappears, along with a crew of his former "colleagues." While Jack must convince his partners in crime that he really did lose the heist money, his appearance sets into motion a series of events culminating in a life-and-death confrontation with a gang of killers.
Leonard displays remarkable maturity for a first-time novelist in both the plotting of the story and the language of his protagonists. The twists and turns of a love affair, an unrequited crush, and a kidnapping/extortion plot complement a tightly drawn, intimate cast of memorably quick and dim-witted characters.
Quiver marks the breakthrough of a new force in thriller writing—-an explosive and unforgettable debut.

One of the most riveting and powerful new voices in crime fiction, Peter Leonard delivers a razor-sharp debut thriller.
Kate McCall's husband has been killed by her son, Luke, in a tragic bow-hunting accident. While Kate struggles with her son's surly guilt, her first love, Jack, an ex-con, reappears, along with a crew of his former "colleagues." While Jack must convince his partners in crime that he really did lose the heist money, his appearance sets into motion a series of events culminating in a life-and-death confrontation with a gang of killers.
Leonard displays remarkable maturity for a first-time novelist in both the plotting of the story and the language of his protagonists. The twists and turns of a love affair, an unrequited crush, and a kidnapping/extortion plot complement a tightly drawn, intimate cast of memorably quick and dim-witted characters.
Quiver marks the breakthrough of a new force in thriller writing—-an explosive and unforgettable debut.

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  • Copyright © 2008 by Peter Leonard

    Published in May 2008 by St. Martin's Press

    All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited....

    Chapter One

    Kate was standing at the island counter, eyes swollen from crying, makeup smeared across one of her cheeks, staring at the food: platters of cold cuts and bowls of potato salad, plates of cookies, assorted cheeses and fresh fruit. Owen's obituary, half a page in the Detroit Free Press, was folded open next to the sink. A line under his photograph said, "Owen McCall, age 49, October 11, 2006."

    Everybody had paid their respects and taken off, and now she felt exhausted, drained. She poured a glass of chardonnay and lit a cigarette. She was numb, her mind a blur, still trying to come to grips with what had happened.

    Luke entered the kitchen, walked past her, detached, expressionless, the same zombie trance he'd been in since the accident. He opened the refrigerator and grabbed a Gatorade, purple liquid in a plastic bottle called Riptide Rush.

    Kate said, "Come here." She took a couple steps and wrapped her arms around him. "I know you're hurting. I am, too." She could feel Luke, rigid in her embrace.

    "I'm sorry," he said.

    She could see tears in his eyes before he looked down, staring at the floor.

    "You can't blame yourself. It was an accident."

    Luke pushed away from her. "I don't want to talk about it." He moved across the kitchen into the breakfast room and disappeared.

    It was dark when she went upstairs, leaning against the banister, right hand on the smooth polished oak as she scaled the winding staircase. A light in the foyer was on, but she was too tired to go down and turn it off.

    At the top of the stairs, she went left to Luke's room. The door was closed, she knocked and opened it and saw him on his bed staring up at the ceiling. She said good night.

    He didn't move, didn't look at her. Leon, their chocolate lab, was lying next to Luke. He got up, shook his tail and yelped.

    Luke said, "Chill, Leon."

    The dog sat down.

    Kate closed the door and went to her room, walked through into the bathroom and stared at herself in the mirror hanging over the sink. She looked tired. She pulled her hair back behind her ears and turned the faucet on. Cupped water in her hands and washed her face. She glanced over, saw Owen's blue terry cloth robe hanging on the back of the door, went over and lifted it off the hook and hugged it. Now she sat on the side of the tub and wept, letting go.

    Kate walked into the bedroom, pulled the spread down and stretched out on the king-size bed—Owen's side—and smelled his pillow, with its hint of Old Spice.

    There were family photographs on the night table in gold and silver frames. She picked up a sepia-tone picture of Owen with short hair, age seven, wearing a white shirt and a bow tie, a smile on his little face, proud because he'd just made his First Communion. She put it back and picked up another, this one shot on their wedding day, Kate thinking it was one of the few pictures in sixteen years that showed Owen with his eyes open. She held it and remembered the day they met. Ran into him coming around a corner at Farmer Jack's, the store at Lahser and Maple. Their carts hitting head-on with impact and it was so unexpected, it was funny.

    He said, "You okay?"

    "I think so," Kate said, "except for the whiplash."

    He held her in his gaze, maybe wondering if she was serious.

    "I'm Owen," he said. "And you?"

    "Kate," she said, offering her hand.

    He took it in his, looked her in the eye and said, "Kate, you doing anything tonight?"

    "What do you mean?"

    "Can I take you out to dinner? Make up for your injury."

    "Is this how you get dates?" Kate said. "Run into someone with your grocery cart?"

    He grinned. He had a grocery list in his hand, a five-by-seven-inch lined yellow sheet and his...

About the Author-
  • Peter Leonard lives in Birmingham, Michigan with his wife and four children. He is a partner in the ad agency of Leonard, Mayer & Tocco, Inc.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 10, 2008
    A fatal hunting accident propels this disappointing debut set in Detroit and environs from Leonard, the son of legendary crime writer Elmore Leonard. Given that 16-year-old Luke McCall shoots an arrow that passes through a deer and kills his former race-car champion father, Owen, one might expect more focus on Luke’s psychological torment than on the efforts of Owen’s devastated widow, Kate, to contend with a string of unscrupulous suitors, starting with her old lover, Jack Curran, who once rescued Kate from a Peace Corps assignment in Guatemala turned ugly. Curran conceals not only his recent prison stint but also his continued association with a group of desperate and sadistic criminals, including Teddy Hicks, who assaulted Owen several years earlier. A kidnapping engineered by Hicks and company leads to a violent showdown at the McCalls’ hunting lodge. A muddled plot, one-dimensional characters and a predictable ending will leave readers hoping for better things in Leonard’s next novel.

  • Otto Penzler

    "Quiver is a spectacular debut....With a large cast of characters--each presented as meticulously as an Andrew Wyeth portrait--and numerous points of view, all funneling inevitably to a stunning conclusion, you will be holding your breath until the final page. Peter's dad should be proud."

  • Seattle Times "A strong debut that combines a tight plot (about a deadly double-cross in the woods of Michigan) with memorable characters and dialogue--come to think of it, not unlike what Leonard's father, Elmore Leonard, creates."
  • East Lansing Journal "An outstanding debut....Leonard, the son of grandmaster mystery writer Elmore Leonard, deftly utilizes frequent flashback scenes in a tense tale that's easily one of the best crime novels of the year."
  • -George Pelecanos, New York Times bestselling author of The Night Gardener "Quiver's supercharged plot, rhythmic dialogue, and cool-under-pressure characters kept me reading into the night. An impressive, exciting debut from Peter Leonard."
  • - Donald Westlake "Quiver is a surprise and a delight, a twisty deadpan troll through some very devious neighborhoods. I welcome Peter Leonard and look forward to whatever he wants to offer next."
  • -Mike Lupica, NY Daily News columnist "Quiver is terrific. I have to make the corniest admission of all: Couldn't put it down."
  • -Jim Harrison, author of Returning to Earth and Legends of the Fall "Peter Leonard's first novel, Quiver, amply shows that he's the great Elmore's son. This book is a wicked trip with the creeps and pukes that inhabit the criminal world who collide with a convincing heroine. The setting in the rural north of Michigan is unique and engaging. I salute Peter Leonard at the beginning of what will obviously be a fine career."
  • -Edgar Award Winner Thomas Perry, author of Silence "Quiver is a terrific debut. Peter Leonard has a good ear for voices, a good eye for detail, and a talent for bringing together elements that can't do anything but explode."
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