Exile: a novel

Exile: a novel by Richard North Patterson Read Free Book Online Page A

Book: Exile: a novel by Richard North Patterson Read Free Book Online
Authors: Richard North Patterson
Tags: Richard North Patterson
succeed with an innocent client. The guilty require imagination.”
    Carole gazed at him with a bemusement. “To a simple girl like me, David, you sometimes sound immoral. I see this glint in your eye, and for a minute I’m not sure I know you.”
    The elevator door opened to a cavernous underground garage. “Don’t feel alone,” David consoled her blithely. “My mother never knew me. Not that I knew her, either.
    “But seriously, Sharpe deserved it. She overprosecutes, and she loves convictions more than truth. Lawyers should be forced to take a Rorschach test before we allow them to be prosecutors.”
    They found Carole’s green Jaguar convertible—British, not German, she had emphasized to David. She inserted her key in the ignition, then turned to him again. “Can we talk for a minute? Dad will understand if we’re a little late.”
    “I thought we were talking.”
    “Deploying words isn’t always the same as talking.” She gazed at the dashboard, gathering her thoughts. “Listening to this story, I wonder about your defending criminals—okay, alleged criminals—two years before you run for Congress.”
    “Even if I think they’re innocent?”
    “Even then, unfortunately. You’ll probably get by with this case—at least Ray Scallone didn’t murder that guard. But you’re already on the ‘wrong’ side of the death penalty issue.”
    “Most voters in my district,” David objected, “don’t like executions.”
    “Maybe not. But some do. Most Californians do, and they elect U.S. senators.”
    David smiled at this. “Aren’t we getting ahead of ourselves? Why not president?”
    “The first Jewish president?” she answered briskly. “It’s about time.”
    “I thought you were about to say ‘semi-Jewish.’ Anyhow, criminal law is what I like.”
    Carole touched his hand. “I know. And the Jewish part we can work on. But sometimes, it feels like you think you’re immune to disaster, or even hurt, as if God’s given you a pass.”
    That David knew better, and that a single phone call had reminded him of why, was not something he cared to discuss. “I don’t feel immune,” he told her. “No matter what you think of my charmed life.”
    “Not just charmed,” she countered softly. “Detached.”
    “Don’t you mean ‘in denial’? I know it still bothers you that my parents were Jewish in name only. They barely mentioned the Holocaust, or Israel. They were patrons of the symphony, the opera, and the ballet who preferred a life of intellect and refinement to one of feeling or group identity—”
    “They had an identity, David. They were German Jews, American for three generations. We were Polish Jews, immigrants, the kind your parents would find embarrassing. We even talk about body functions.”
    David smiled at this. But the difference, he understood, went deeper than his parents’ tastes in music, or that her parents’ refrigerator had been crammed with beets and homemade soups, or that Jewish holidays were strictly observed in her family and perfunctorily noted in his. It was that Harold’s family had vanished up the stacks of Hitler’s camps, impelling Carole to remember, even to live for, men and women she had never known. As she had once mordantly put it to David, she was “suffering from secondhand smoke.” It left her with a profound sense of tribal loyalty coupled with an indefinable foreboding that lay beneath her air of confidence and good humor, a sense that mischance must be avoided, not courted.
    “We’re certainly a pair,” David said now. “You and I.”
    Carole smiled a little. She knew what he meant, David suspected. Carole was determined to order the world as she wished it to be, the better to fend off doom. But, like Harold, she had a certain reticence—the sense that power was better exercised in private, in ways less conspicuous than was David’s inclination. So her public ambitions were for him, a melding of their temperaments and needs.
    David

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