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Political Poison (1993)

von Mark Richard Zubro

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
1021216,750 (3.11)3
Political Poison ONE I''m going to slide on over to our witness on Fullerton and then head home," Buck Fenwick announced. In the Chicago Police Department the detectives never "drove" anywhere. Usually they "slide," sometimes they "drift" over. The last Chicago cop who drove anywhere was a rookie three years ago, and he simply didn''t know any better. Paul Turner nodded at his partner and glanced at the clock over the rumbling radiator. For the first time in two weeks he''d be going home from Area Ten headquarters at four-thirty, exactly on time. Minutes later Paul drove home straight down Halsted, through Greektown, skirted the University of Illinois campus, then west on Taylor Street. Two blocks later he turned right and into his garage. In the kitchen he gulped down a large glass of orange juice.He heard the thump of feet down the stairs and moments later his son Brian appeared in the kitchen doorway. His seventeen-year-old wore white socks, faded jeans, and a white t-shirt that bulged over his chest and shoulder muscles. Soon the boy would catch up with his dad. Brian whispered, "You better talk to Jeff." "Why are you whispering?" Paul asked. "I''m serious, Dad. Something''s bothering him, and he won''t tell me what." Jeff, Turner''s eleven-year-old, worshipped his older brother. Their rare fights were quickly over and forgotten. "When did it start?" Paul asked. "I thought it was because he tripped on his way into the house. He swung his crutch at me when I tried to help him up." Jeff had spina bifida, a birth defect that the three of them had come to terms with, though it had taken many years of struggle. These days Jeff was to the point of handling the occasional falls and frustrations of maneuvering on crutches and in wheelchairs with a grimace and a shrug. "He hit you?" Paul asked. "It''s not a big deal, Dad, but I''m worried about him. He wouldn''t talk to me. He tells me stuff he doesn''t tell you, but I can''t get a word out of him." Paul found Jeff in the den in front of the Nintendo set. Jeff frequently beat both his older brother and his father at a wide variety of electronic games. The screen showed the beginning of the Tengen edition of the Tetris game, which Jeff preferred to the Nintendo version. The screen finished the opening explanation of how to play, but Jeff didn''t click the controls to begin. Late April afternoon sunlight streamed through gauze curtains, continuing to fade the spot under the window. Paul knelt next to the worn, golden overstuffed chair and touched his son''s arm. Jeff flinched, and he wouldn''t make eye contact. "What''s wrong, Jeff?" he asked. No answer. Paul asked, "Did something happen at school? Should I call your teacher?" "No," Jeff murmured. "Are you physically hurt? Should I call the doctor?" Jeff shook his head. Paul waited a few moments, trying to figure out what he could say to get his son to talk. He said, "You aren''t playing your game. I''ve got time for a couple tries." Jeff shrugged. "You hit your brother. You can''t do that, Jeff. You know it''s wrong." Jeff glanced at his father. Paul saw a tear in the boy''s eye. "I didn''t mean to hit him," he whispered. "Is he mad at me?" Paul put his arm around his son. The boy didn''t flinch, but Paul could feel tension in the slender shoulders. He said, "No, he loves you. He''s concerned about you. So am I. What''s wrong?" Jeff gulped and drew a deep breath. He reached a hand for his dad''s arm. Paul caressed his son gently. Jeff said, "Dad, are you going to die?" The question startled Paul. Carefully considering possible responses, he finally asked, "Why do you ask?" Jeff hesitated and then all the words came out in a rush. "At school today one of the kids said all gay people are going to die of AIDS and on television all the gay people have AIDS and they all die. You aren''t going to die, are you, Dad?" Paul had told both his sons about his sexual orientation when they were ten years old. He wanted to be honest, and to tell them before they heard it from someone else. He and Brian were closer than most fathers and sons, and Paul always put down a large part of this to his honesty about his sexuality. He''d told Jeff last year, and he thought the boy was handling it well. Today''s question was something new. Paul knelt in front of his son. Tears flooded the boy''s eyes. Paul brushed the hair back on his son''s forehead, placed his hands on the boy''s arms. "Television shows are just pretend, aren''t they?" Paul asked. The boy sniffed and nodded. "And we''ve talked about how your friends don''t always have accurate information?" Jeff nodded. He''d been through a lot with kids and even adults with misinformation and ridicule about his birth defect. "We''ve talked about AIDS, haven''t we?" Another sniff and nod. "You know I was tested and the results were negative. That means I don''t have the antibodies and that I''m okay." "Then why do they only put gay people who are sick on television?" the eleven year old asked. "Television doesn''t put very many gay people on its programs." "Why not?" his son demanded. "I don''t know, Jeff. They just don''t, but there''s lots of gay people. Uncle Ian, Ben Vargas. You know them. They aren''t dying and neither am I." Paul looked into his son''s brown eyes, the thick dark eyelashes which showed his Italian heritage. "Feel better?" he asked. The boy visibly relaxed. He put his arms around his dad, and they hugged. They played three games of Tetris. Paul insisted they quit when Jeff reached level ten. Over dinner Paul told them about an incident earlier in the day at a jewelry shop on Wabash Avenue in the Loop. He''d been part of a foot chase that ended up at Buckingham Fountain. "Did you get shot at?" Jeff asked. "One of the crooks some other detectives were chasing fired one shot in their direction. Nobody got hurt." He could havelied or told them nothing, but the incident would very likely be on the evening news. He''d rather they hear it from him. "Did you have your vest on?" Jeff asked. "I sure did," Paul said. He ruffled his son''s hair. "Don''t I always do what you tell me?" "Sometimes," Jeff said seriously. Bulletproof vests were not mandatory for detectives on the Chicago police force but Paul usually wore his just to be careful. They''d discussed the possibility of his getting shot before. Both boys worried about it. Paul soothed their fears as best he could. As a single parent, he wanted to assure his sons as much as possible that he would be there for them. Their mother had died giving birth to Jeff. When Paul finished, Jeff said, "The kids make fun sometimes because you''re a cop. I tell them to bug off." This was one of the hazards of living in a newly upscale neighborhood. A lot of the old ethnic families still remained, but the new condos and town homes were filled with yuppies and their sometimes arrogant kids who looked down on less well-off families. "Do you want me to talk to the teacher?" Paul asked. "Nah. It''s okay. If it gets bad, I tell them Brian will beat them up." Brian, the star athlete in the neighborhood, had a reputation of toughness and looking out for his brother. Such threats carried weight. After dinner Paul cleaned up as he prepared to go out. He thought of shaving again, he often did before dates, but Ben, the guy he''d been dating for nearly six months, said he liked the heavy beard. Brian popped his head in his dad''s bedroom as Paul was pulling on a gray University of Illinois sweatshirt. "Dad, can I have Charlette over to study tonight?" "Charlette, the pretty one from over in the town houses on Harrison?" "Yeah, you met her last week. Dark hair, nice looking." "All the girls you date have dark hair and are nice looking." "Come on, Dad, I need help with my English." "And Charlette is just the expert you need." "Well, she gets A''s all the time." "I vaguely recall your report card the past three semesters had A''s in English." "Dad!" "No dice. If Mrs. Talucci''s at home and she agrees, you can study over there, but you have to take your brother with you." Brian considered his options. He thought of trying whining, but that often backfired into extra sets of chores. Brian said, "Jeff''s here, nothing''s going to happen while he''s around." "Jeff is not going to start chaperoning you at this stage of his career, much as he might relish the opportunity. Mrs. Talucci or nothing." Rose Talucci lived next door. Paul loved her. She cared for Jeff every day after school whenever Paul or Brian couldn''t be home. She often wound up giving the boys and their dad dinner. This was prearranged on a weekly basis. For several years after it started, she refused all offers of payment. Being neighbors and nearly family precluded even discussing such things. One day Mrs. Talucci couldn''t fix a broken porch. Paul offered. Since then he''d done all the repairs on her home and had even done several major renovations. Mrs. Talucci lived on the ground floor by herself. On the second floor lived Mrs. Talucci''s two daughters and several distant female cousins. Mrs. Talucci at ninety-one ruled this brood, her main concern being to keep them out of her wa… (mehr)
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In this police procedural from the early 1990s a Chicago alderman and professor of English literature is poisoned and detectives Paul Turner and Buck Fenwick are ordered to investigate.

I wanted to like this book but 2/3 of the way in I had to admit I didn't really care who did it. The book only really gained interest halfway through the penultimate chapter. And I don't really get why that particular question made the murderer confess. I'll give him another chance with the next in the series but my series junkie juices aren't flowing. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Jul 28, 2015 |
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Political Poison ONE I''m going to slide on over to our witness on Fullerton and then head home," Buck Fenwick announced. In the Chicago Police Department the detectives never "drove" anywhere. Usually they "slide," sometimes they "drift" over. The last Chicago cop who drove anywhere was a rookie three years ago, and he simply didn''t know any better. Paul Turner nodded at his partner and glanced at the clock over the rumbling radiator. For the first time in two weeks he''d be going home from Area Ten headquarters at four-thirty, exactly on time. Minutes later Paul drove home straight down Halsted, through Greektown, skirted the University of Illinois campus, then west on Taylor Street. Two blocks later he turned right and into his garage. In the kitchen he gulped down a large glass of orange juice.He heard the thump of feet down the stairs and moments later his son Brian appeared in the kitchen doorway. His seventeen-year-old wore white socks, faded jeans, and a white t-shirt that bulged over his chest and shoulder muscles. Soon the boy would catch up with his dad. Brian whispered, "You better talk to Jeff." "Why are you whispering?" Paul asked. "I''m serious, Dad. Something''s bothering him, and he won''t tell me what." Jeff, Turner''s eleven-year-old, worshipped his older brother. Their rare fights were quickly over and forgotten. "When did it start?" Paul asked. "I thought it was because he tripped on his way into the house. He swung his crutch at me when I tried to help him up." Jeff had spina bifida, a birth defect that the three of them had come to terms with, though it had taken many years of struggle. These days Jeff was to the point of handling the occasional falls and frustrations of maneuvering on crutches and in wheelchairs with a grimace and a shrug. "He hit you?" Paul asked. "It''s not a big deal, Dad, but I''m worried about him. He wouldn''t talk to me. He tells me stuff he doesn''t tell you, but I can''t get a word out of him." Paul found Jeff in the den in front of the Nintendo set. Jeff frequently beat both his older brother and his father at a wide variety of electronic games. The screen showed the beginning of the Tengen edition of the Tetris game, which Jeff preferred to the Nintendo version. The screen finished the opening explanation of how to play, but Jeff didn''t click the controls to begin. Late April afternoon sunlight streamed through gauze curtains, continuing to fade the spot under the window. Paul knelt next to the worn, golden overstuffed chair and touched his son''s arm. Jeff flinched, and he wouldn''t make eye contact. "What''s wrong, Jeff?" he asked. No answer. Paul asked, "Did something happen at school? Should I call your teacher?" "No," Jeff murmured. "Are you physically hurt? Should I call the doctor?" Jeff shook his head. Paul waited a few moments, trying to figure out what he could say to get his son to talk. He said, "You aren''t playing your game. I''ve got time for a couple tries." Jeff shrugged. "You hit your brother. You can''t do that, Jeff. You know it''s wrong." Jeff glanced at his father. Paul saw a tear in the boy''s eye. "I didn''t mean to hit him," he whispered. "Is he mad at me?" Paul put his arm around his son. The boy didn''t flinch, but Paul could feel tension in the slender shoulders. He said, "No, he loves you. He''s concerned about you. So am I. What''s wrong?" Jeff gulped and drew a deep breath. He reached a hand for his dad''s arm. Paul caressed his son gently. Jeff said, "Dad, are you going to die?" The question startled Paul. Carefully considering possible responses, he finally asked, "Why do you ask?" Jeff hesitated and then all the words came out in a rush. "At school today one of the kids said all gay people are going to die of AIDS and on television all the gay people have AIDS and they all die. You aren''t going to die, are you, Dad?" Paul had told both his sons about his sexual orientation when they were ten years old. He wanted to be honest, and to tell them before they heard it from someone else. He and Brian were closer than most fathers and sons, and Paul always put down a large part of this to his honesty about his sexuality. He''d told Jeff last year, and he thought the boy was handling it well. Today''s question was something new. Paul knelt in front of his son. Tears flooded the boy''s eyes. Paul brushed the hair back on his son''s forehead, placed his hands on the boy''s arms. "Television shows are just pretend, aren''t they?" Paul asked. The boy sniffed and nodded. "And we''ve talked about how your friends don''t always have accurate information?" Jeff nodded. He''d been through a lot with kids and even adults with misinformation and ridicule about his birth defect. "We''ve talked about AIDS, haven''t we?" Another sniff and nod. "You know I was tested and the results were negative. That means I don''t have the antibodies and that I''m okay." "Then why do they only put gay people who are sick on television?" the eleven year old asked. "Television doesn''t put very many gay people on its programs." "Why not?" his son demanded. "I don''t know, Jeff. They just don''t, but there''s lots of gay people. Uncle Ian, Ben Vargas. You know them. They aren''t dying and neither am I." Paul looked into his son''s brown eyes, the thick dark eyelashes which showed his Italian heritage. "Feel better?" he asked. The boy visibly relaxed. He put his arms around his dad, and they hugged. They played three games of Tetris. Paul insisted they quit when Jeff reached level ten. Over dinner Paul told them about an incident earlier in the day at a jewelry shop on Wabash Avenue in the Loop. He''d been part of a foot chase that ended up at Buckingham Fountain. "Did you get shot at?" Jeff asked. "One of the crooks some other detectives were chasing fired one shot in their direction. Nobody got hurt." He could havelied or told them nothing, but the incident would very likely be on the evening news. He''d rather they hear it from him. "Did you have your vest on?" Jeff asked. "I sure did," Paul said. He ruffled his son''s hair. "Don''t I always do what you tell me?" "Sometimes," Jeff said seriously. Bulletproof vests were not mandatory for detectives on the Chicago police force but Paul usually wore his just to be careful. They''d discussed the possibility of his getting shot before. Both boys worried about it. Paul soothed their fears as best he could. As a single parent, he wanted to assure his sons as much as possible that he would be there for them. Their mother had died giving birth to Jeff. When Paul finished, Jeff said, "The kids make fun sometimes because you''re a cop. I tell them to bug off." This was one of the hazards of living in a newly upscale neighborhood. A lot of the old ethnic families still remained, but the new condos and town homes were filled with yuppies and their sometimes arrogant kids who looked down on less well-off families. "Do you want me to talk to the teacher?" Paul asked. "Nah. It''s okay. If it gets bad, I tell them Brian will beat them up." Brian, the star athlete in the neighborhood, had a reputation of toughness and looking out for his brother. Such threats carried weight. After dinner Paul cleaned up as he prepared to go out. He thought of shaving again, he often did before dates, but Ben, the guy he''d been dating for nearly six months, said he liked the heavy beard. Brian popped his head in his dad''s bedroom as Paul was pulling on a gray University of Illinois sweatshirt. "Dad, can I have Charlette over to study tonight?" "Charlette, the pretty one from over in the town houses on Harrison?" "Yeah, you met her last week. Dark hair, nice looking." "All the girls you date have dark hair and are nice looking." "Come on, Dad, I need help with my English." "And Charlette is just the expert you need." "Well, she gets A''s all the time." "I vaguely recall your report card the past three semesters had A''s in English." "Dad!" "No dice. If Mrs. Talucci''s at home and she agrees, you can study over there, but you have to take your brother with you." Brian considered his options. He thought of trying whining, but that often backfired into extra sets of chores. Brian said, "Jeff''s here, nothing''s going to happen while he''s around." "Jeff is not going to start chaperoning you at this stage of his career, much as he might relish the opportunity. Mrs. Talucci or nothing." Rose Talucci lived next door. Paul loved her. She cared for Jeff every day after school whenever Paul or Brian couldn''t be home. She often wound up giving the boys and their dad dinner. This was prearranged on a weekly basis. For several years after it started, she refused all offers of payment. Being neighbors and nearly family precluded even discussing such things. One day Mrs. Talucci couldn''t fix a broken porch. Paul offered. Since then he''d done all the repairs on her home and had even done several major renovations. Mrs. Talucci lived on the ground floor by herself. On the second floor lived Mrs. Talucci''s two daughters and several distant female cousins. Mrs. Talucci at ninety-one ruled this brood, her main concern being to keep them out of her wa

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