The Graves: New Excerpt

The Graves by Pamela Wechsler
The Graves by Pamela Wechsler
In The Graves, former prosecutor turned television writer Pamela Wechsler delivers a tense and enthralling Boston-set thriller about the intersection of power, privilege, and justice (available May 2, 2017).

Abby Endicott, the chief of the District Attorney’s homicide unit in Boston, returns in the heart-racing follow-up to Mission Hill. Things are looking good for Abby: she’s top pick to be the next District Attorney, and her musician boyfriend Ty has moved in, despite her upper crust family’s objections. But a serial killer is on the loose, and with two college-aged girls dead and another missing, time is running out. When the sons of a prominent government official are linked to the murders, Abby pushes back, stopping at nothing to find justice for the girls. This time, the killer could be right under her nose, and she may be the next victim.

Chapter One

Ten years in the district attorney’s office has taught me to never let down my guard, even here on Beacon Hill. Walking on West Cedar Street, I detect the first signs of danger—footsteps and cigarette smoke. No one from this neighborhood smokes anymore, at least not in public. It could be a stray tourist, checking out the gas lanterns and cobblestone streets, but I reach in my tote and search for my canister of pepper spray—just in case. A gloved hand covers my mouth. I start to pivot around but someone yanks my shoulder and pulls me in.

“Give it up,” he says.

I’m relieved. It’s just a mugging. The man doesn’t even seem to be armed. I palm the pepper spray and surrender my tote, which he passes to a second man, who rifles through it and tosses the contents. The key to my Prius lands under an iron boot scraper. A bottle of Chanel No. 5 shatters and splatters on the brick sidewalk.

The second man opens my wallet and pulls out the bills.

“Twenty-five bucks? You gotta have more than that,” he says.

“Take the bag, it’s Prada,” I say.

“It’s probably fake.”

“It’s real, worth over a thousand dollars. I have a Rolex, too.”

The first man takes the bait. As soon as he loosens his grip on my body and twists my wrist to inspect my watch, I aim the pepper spray at his eyes and press down hard on the nozzle. Nothing happens. The can is empty, something neither of us expected.

I run into the street but only make it a few steps before my heel catches on a jagged brick. I fall forward, directly into the path of an oncoming bike messenger, and we both go down hard. The cyclist looks at me and adjusts his helmet. He hesitates, shrugs, and climbs back on his bike. I watch him speed away.

I look up, see my attacker’s face for the first time, and he sees mine. I don’t know who’s more surprised.

I’m furious. “Freddie, what the hell are you doing?”

He’s mortified. “Ms. Endicott? Oh, man, it’s not what you think.”

Although I haven’t prosecuted Freddie Craven before, many of my colleagues have. He’s a midlevel drug dealer who moonlights as an informant. He was a witness for me last year, in one of my murder cases. Freddie is not the most upstanding citizen, but prosecutors don’t get to choose our witnesses. In most cases, we’re lucky if we have witnesses at all.

“Freddie, we talked about this,” I say.

“I didn’t know it was you,” he says.

“That’s not the point.”

He puts his arm under my elbow and helps me to my feet. There are specks of blood on the hemline of my slate-gray skirt, my stockings are shredded, and pieces of gravel are embedded in my knees.

Freddie activates the flashlight on his phone, and we search for my belongings. My prescription for Ativan blew into a planter full of purple pansies. My gold badge landed on a sewer grate.

“You have to stop mugging people,” I say, “at least until our case has gone through the appeals process.”

“I wasn’t. I won’t. I swear,” he says.

The second man pipes up. “Hey, I know you. You’re that lady district attorney.”

“You remember my cousin Martin.” Freddie introduces us as though we’re colleagues at a cocktail party. “You met him that time you came by my mother’s house in Dorchester.”

“Martin, you’re on probation,” I say. “You still have two years hanging over your head.”

“You gonna lock us up?” Martin says.

“She can’t,” Freddie says. “She’s not Five-O. She’s a lawyer.”

“I should report you both, but I’m not going to let you screw up my murder case, or my evening.”

“Sorry about all this.” Freddie takes my tote from Martin and hands it back to me. “It was just like a misunderstanding. You know what I’m saying?”

“Go home,” I say. “A detective will be by in an hour to check on you. Be there.”

“Sure, it’s all good.”

Freddie and Martin shuffle toward the Park Street subway station. I brush myself off, apply a fresh coat of lipstick, and continue toward the Liberty Hotel, where my boyfriend, Ty, and a glass of Malbec await.

 

Copyright © 2017 Pamela Wechsler.

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Pamela Wechsler grew up in the Boston area and is a graduate of Tufts University and Boston University School of Law. After spending seventeen years as a criminal prosecutor at the local, state and federal levels, she moved to Los Angeles to work as a legal consultant, writer, and producer for network television shows. Her credits include: Law and Order; Law and Order: Criminal Intent; Law and Order: Trial by Jury; Conviction; Canterbury's Law; Doubt; and Bull. She is now the author of Mission Hill and The Graves.

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