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Don't Ever Get Old

Cover of Don't Ever Get Old

Don't Ever Get Old

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When Buck Schatz, senior citizen and retired Memphis cop, learns that an old adversary may have escaped Germany with a fortune in stolen gold, Buck decides to hunt down the fugitive and claim the loot. But a lot of people want a piece of the stolen treasure, and Buck's investigation quickly attracts unfriendly attention from a very motley (and murderous) crew in Daniel Friedman's Don't Ever Get Old, nominated for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel.

When Buck Schatz, senior citizen and retired Memphis cop, learns that an old adversary may have escaped Germany with a fortune in stolen gold, Buck decides to hunt down the fugitive and claim the loot. But a lot of people want a piece of the stolen treasure, and Buck's investigation quickly attracts unfriendly attention from a very motley (and murderous) crew in Daniel Friedman's Don't Ever Get Old, nominated for an Edgar Award for Best First Novel.

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Excerpts-
  • Copyright © 2012 by Daniel Friedman

    1


    In retrospect, it would have been better if my wife had let me stay home to see Meet the Press instead of making me schlep across town to watch Jim Wallace die.
    I'd known Jim since back when I was in the service, but I didn't consider him a friend. So when Rose interrupted my programs to tell me she'd just got a call from the hospital and that Wallace was in intensive care and asking for me, I said I'd have plenty of time to see him at his funeral.
    "You have to go visit him, Buck. You can't ignore a dying man's last request."
    "You'd be surprised, darling, by what I can ignore. I got a long history of being ignorant."
    I capitulated, though, after I lodged my token objection. I saw no point in fighting with Rose. After sixty-four years of marriage, she knew all my weak points.
    Jim was downtown at the MED, too far away for me to drive. It was getting hard to remember where things were and how they fit together, so my world had become a gradually shrinking circle, with the house in the middle of it. But that excuse wouldn't save me; Wallace's daughter, Emily, offered to come and pick me up, even though I'd never met her before.
    "Thank you for doing this, Mr. Schatz," she said as she backed her car out of my driveway. "I know it must seem weird that Daddy is asking for you, but he's nearing the end, and they've got him on a lot of stuff, for the infection and for the pain, and for his heart. He's sort of drifting back into the past."
    She was a couple of years past her fiftieth, I guessed; the flesh around her jawline was just beginning to soften. She was wearing sweats and no makeup and looked like she hadn't slept in a long time.
    "He's not so coherent all the time, and sometimes, when he looks at me, I'm not sure if he knows who I am." She stifled a sob.
    This was shaping up to be a real swell morning. I made a grunting sound that I thought might seem sympathetic and started to light a cigarette.
    Her face kind of pursed up a little. "Do you mind not smoking in my car?"
    I minded, but I let it slide.
    Visiting people in the hospital was a pain in the ass; I knew going in that they wouldn't let me smoke, and I always worried a little that they wouldn't let me leave. I was eighty-seven years old and still buying Lucky Strikes by the carton, so everyone figured I was ripe to keel over.
    Jim Wallace was in the geriatric intensive care unit, a white hallway full of filtered air and serious-looking people. Despite all the staff's efforts to keep the place antiseptic, it stank of piss and death. Emily led me to Jim's room, and the glass door slid shut behind us and sealed itself with a soft click. Norris Feely, Emily's overweight husband, was sitting in a plastic chair, staring at game shows on a television mounted on the wall above the bed. I thought about asking him to switch it over to my talk program, but I didn't want to give anyone the impression that I was willing to stay for very long.
    "Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Schatz," he said, without looking away from the screen. "Pop has told us a lot about you." He extended his hand, and I shook it. His fingers were plump and sweaty, and he had more hair on his knuckles than he did on his head, but his nails were manicured and coated with clear polish, so they stood out like little pink rhinestones stuck onto some hirsute, misshapen sausages.
    A weak voice from the bed: "Buck? Buck Schatz?" Wallace was hooked up to an IV, a heart monitor, and something I thought might be a dialysis machine. He had a tube in his nose. His skin had taken on a waxy yellow pallor, and the whites of his eyes were brownish and filmy. His breath came in slow rasps and smelled like...

About the Author-
  • DANIEL FRIEDMAN is a graduate of the University of Maryland and NYU School of Law. He lives in New York City.

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    St. Martin's Press
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  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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