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From the Dead

288 pages
Rennie is in Uruguay when his cousins discover a secret cache at their dead grandfather’s cottage. Thousands of dollars in foreign currencies. A mystifying notebook. Multiple passports, some obviously fake. A gun. A disguise. And a photo of some Nazis. Rennie’s mission: to find out whether there was more to the old man than anyone knew. Was he a spy? If he was, what did he do? And for whom? Did he help a Nazi war criminal escape justice? Rennie’s quest leads him to Argentina and then to Detroit, where he finds more questions than answers and more than one gun pointed, and fired, in his direction.
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Norah McCliNtoCk From the Dead
Norah McCliNtoCk
From the Dead
Copyright ©2014Norah McClintock
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Library and Archives Canada Cataloguing in Publication
McClintock, Norah, author From the dead / Norah McClintock. (The seven sequels)
Issued in print and electronic formats. isbn 9781459805378 (pbk.).—isbn 9781459805385 (pdf).— isbn 9781459805392 (epub)
I. Title. ps8575.c62f76 2014jc813’.54 c20149015453 c20149015461
First published in the United States,2014 Library of Congress Control Number:2014935394
Summary:Rennie finds out more than he ever wanted to know about his grandfather’s past when he investigates Nazi war criminals in Argentina and Detroit.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund and the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council and the Book Publishing Tax Credit.
Design by Chantal Gabriell Cover photography by Getty Images, iStock, Dreamstime and CG Textures
orca book publishers poBox5626, Stn. B Victoria,bcCanada v8r 6s4
orca book publishers poBox468 Custer,wa usa982400468
www.orcabook.com Printed and bound in Canada.
To A.O. and B.R., for the gift of time.
to sEE all of thE CousiNs’ travEls ChECk out this oNliNE Map.
too sEE how all of thE CousiNs arE CoNNECtEd, ChECk out this faMily trEE.
If anyone had told me I’d be standing, by choice, ankledeep in snow and ice in a crummy neighbor hood in Detroit four nights after Christmas, I would have said they were crazy. First of all, I don’t know a single person in Detroit. Second, who in their right mind would choose Detroit as a destination, espe cially in winter? Third, who would choose to land in a neighborhood that, as far as I can see—which isn’t far because there are no streetlights—is on the downward slope to oblivion? Finally, who in his right mind would choose to subject himself to cold, dreary, depressed Detroit because of something that happened half a
Norah McCli NtoCk
century ago and that no one—well,almostno one— remembered or even cared about? But here I am, and it’s all my cousin Adam’s fault. I’ll get to that. Right now I’m standing across the street fromthehouse—the one I have the address for, the one that may (or may not) be the key to this whole thing. An old man and a dog are shuffling around a corner out of sight. I’m shivering in my jacket and a marked down redandwhite Santatype tuque that ordi narily would make me feel as conspicuous as an alligator in a wading pool. But the house I’m looking at, two stories, paint peeling off its clapboard siding, porch sagging, wooden steps barely visible beneath snow and ice, is the only litup place on the whole block. That’s because it’s also the only nonaban doned, noncondemned place on the block. It’s weird.I’m in the heart of a city. If this was Vancouver or Toronto, there would be houses on either side of the one I’m looking at, and houses next to them too, all the way down the block and around the corner. Same thing across the street. That’s what you expect in an urban neighborhood. But where I am right now is whatused to be an urban neighborhood.
froM thE dEad
The sidewalks are still here, although I bet they’re all cracked and broken under the thick layer of hard packed snow, which no one has bothered to clear. The lampposts are still standing, but, as I said, the lights aren’t on. Most of the fixtures don’t even have bulbs in them. Intact bulbs, I mean. There’s a fire hydrant halfway down the block. I see its top peeking out of a heap of snow. There’s also a big metal container that looks like a mailbox, but it’s lying on its side and has been kicked so many times that there’s hardly a flat surface left. The only way I can see any of this is because there’s a clear sky overhead, and without the usual ambient light of a big city, a zillion stars are visible, along with a wedge of moon. Since I’m here, I decide to get on with it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? I cross the street and climb the porch steps, gripping the hand railing so I don’t slip and fall. I make it to the top and almost wipe out on an ice patch on my way to the screenless screen door that does nothing to protect the scarred inner door. I feel around for a doorbell but don’t find one. So I knock. The sound—sleevewrapped knuckles on wood—is muffled, so I slide an already cold hand out from the protection of my jacket and
Norah McCli NtoCk
rap again, harder this time. My knuckles sting from the cold and the contact. No one answers. There’s a light on. It’s the only one, as far as I can tell, and it’s right inside the door. But when I go up on tiptoe to peek through the tiny window near the top of the door, all I see are the front hall and a staircase to the second floor. There’s no sign of life. I knock again. I tell myself no one’s home. I tell myself I’ll come back tomorrow. But I can’t resist shifting to the right to peek in through the livingroom window. At firstI don’t see anything. It’s too dark inside. I press my nose against the glass and cup my hands around my eyes. That’s when I see it: a body lying on the livingroom floor. I’m pretty sure it’s a man. In the light from the front hall, I see that he’s wearing a robe and pajamas. I also see a walker—one of the ones with wheels and a little basket attached to the front, the kind that old ladies shuffle behind at the mall. This walker is lying on its side, which makes me think its owner—an old man, or maybe a disabled man—fell down and is in trouble. Either that or he’s dead. He’s definitely not moving.
froM thE dEad
I have a cell phone in my pocket. I could take it out and dial 911. But—don’t laugh—I did my homework before I came up here, and I know that it takes an average of thirty minutes to get a response from a 911 call in this town. It used to be different, but what used to be isn’t going to help me now.I wrench open the screen door and twist the handle of the inner door. It’s locked. So I apply my shoulder to it, you know, as in I throw myself against it, like a cop on atvshow. Bad idea. If my shoulder could scream, it would wake the neighborhood. I stumble backward, massaging what will prob ably turn into a massive bruise. That’s strike one, but I’m still at bat. I check out the door. It’s as decrepit as the rest of the house. And I happen to be wearing my favorite Docs—laceups with heavy soles and heels. So I aim my foot at the area to the immediate left of the door handle and kick it karate style. The doorframe splinters. The door flies open. I race inside. The man on the floor—now that I’m up close, I see that he’s as ancient and rundown as the house—is