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  • The Cat Who Played Post Office
    by Braun, Lilian Jackson

    Inheriting unexpected millions has left reporter Jim Qwilleran looking like the
    cat who swallowed the canary. While his two Siamese cats, Koko and Yum Yum,
    adjust to being fat cats in an enormous mansion, Qwilleran samples the
    life-styles of the rich and famous by hiring a staff of eccentric servants. A
    missing housemaid and a shocking murder soon show him the unsavoury side of the
    upper crust. But it's Koko's purr-fect propensity for clues amid the caviar and
    champagne that gives Qwilleran pause to evaluate the most unlikely
    suspects...before his taste for the good life turns into his last meal.
    The Cat Who Played Post Office
  • The Reckoners
    by Durgin, Doranna

    1 Underestimate an angry spirit only if you want to become one. - Rhonda Rose
    Here, little ghosties . . . - Lisa McGarrity Lisa McGarrity eased into the
    brand-spankin'' -new patio home in northern Albuquerque. The ultimate in desert
    chic, still unfurnished and unoccupied . . . she could almost hear her breath
    echo. It also steam. Albuquerque summer night''s heat, and her breath steamed.
    Never a good sign. From within the house, something went plop. There was a gooey
    quality to that sound. Not a sound the average person should be familiar with.
    And since when have you ever been average? Never. Not since Rhonda Rose found
    her. Not since she''d realized she had an inside track on things dead and things
    dying and things that shouldn''t have been there at all. Or that she had the
    responsibility to protect not only the living, but much of the once-living and
    even the never-living. Once upon a time, Rhonda Rose had opened the door to her
    power . . . and taken away her innocence, all in one fell swoop. Once upon a
    time. And now . . .' "I''m getting out," she said over her shoulder. Behind her,
    Lucia Reyes quite sensibly stood just outside the entry of the fancy new home,
    her flashlight bouncing off the high ceiling. In this business, unexpected
    problems often came from above, and Lucia had been on Lisa McGarrity''s team
    long enough to learn that lesson well. Lucia was slender and leggy and gifted
    with exquisite angles beneath Hispanic features, a tidy J-Lo ass, and the
    generous budget to clothe, adorn, and otherwise showcase her attributes. She
    said, "If you''re getting out, you''re going in the wrong direction." She tossed
    back her hair, a naturally haughty gesture, as she glanced meaningfully at the
    doorway. Lisa-Garrie to her reckoner team-raised a self-conscious hand to her
    own hair: dark nut brown streaked with electric blue, short and spiky. Not bad,
    actually, if only those spikes had come from styling instead of her lamentable
    habit of clutching her hair. Inside the house, something else went plop. It
    sounded larger than the first. Lucia said, "Still the wrong direction for
    getting out." "After this." Garrie shot her a quick scowl, extending her
    awareness into the empty house along with her flashlight beam. Penny-ante
    reckoner work-new haunting on new construction. Didn''t mean they could take it
    for granted. "Don''t tell me you didn''t see it coming. This is the most
    exciting gig we''ve had for weeks, and that''s just because we''ve got our
    spooky flashlights." "Well," Lucia murmured, glancing around the spacious house,
    "it''s got the actual ghostie vibes going on. That''s a big step above knocking
    water pipes." "Right. Exactly why I''m getting out." Never mind the twinge of
    guilt as she said it, or the familiar, starch voice of Rhonda Rose reminding her
    This is what you were born to do. But I''m not doing it, Rhonda Rose. I''m not
    doing it. Not really. Lucia was scary-good sometimes. Her tone dry with
    self-awareness, she asked, "And what are you going to do, walk away from
    yourself?" None of them could exactly walk away from their unusual skills,
    Garrie most of all. "Hey, chicas, c''mon." Drew Ely shadowed the doorway just
    behind Lucia, hopelessly geeky in spite of-or perhaps because of-his attempts to
    be oh-so-hip. Lank hair of an indeterminate color, eyes to match, complexion
    just getting over the whole becoming-a-man thing. Of late he''d been
    experimenting with the one-day stubble look, and it really wasn''t working for
    him. But he was a real wizard at reading the history of any given space. And
    he''d just saved Garrie from mustering a response to Lucia, so points for that.
    Cautiously, Garrie moved into the house, making room for Drew to enter with
    Quinn Rossiter on his heels. Garrie, head reckoner: trained by her own personal
    invisible friend from childhood to communicate and influence spirits all of
    natures. Lucia, their spiritual empath. Drew, their historian. And Quinn, their
    memory-gifted researcher, tall and broad-shouldered, eyes a deep clear blue,
    hair a crisp blond that always fell naturally into whatever style he''d chosen.
    The three of them were the support team to Garrie''s reckoner muscle, giving her
    the information she needed to work fast and clean. Or not so clean. From out of
    thin air, a glob of sticky, stinky ghost poop landed on Garrie''s cheek. "Gah,"
    she said, and swiped it off, flinging it away with the casual skill of long
    practice. Since her midteens, she''d been doing this. And with Rhonda Rose at
    her side, most of it had been a lot more exciting than . . . Ghost poop.
    "Someone''s mad," Lucia said. "Please don''t tell me you had to use your
    superpowers to figure that out." Garrie moved cautiously into the great
    room-beamed ceiling far above, corner fireplace way down there somewhere,
    arching rounded doorways to bedrooms, open into the kitchen. If there was ghost
    poop, there was anger. "This place is phat," Drew decided, just behind the curve
    in cool factor as usual. "I bet you could get a deal on it after we clear it."
    Garrie didn''t answer. She had her own perfectly good condo, smack in the middle
    of the city''s university area. Everything she could possibly want within
    walking distance and plenty of eccentric, benign spirits to keep her company.
    "You guys pulling in any clues?" "The whole angry thing," Lucia offered. Drew
    shook his head. "The history is muddled to the max." Garrie could understand
    that. "All this new construction material, pulled in from all over the place."
    She took a deep breath, inhaling that peculiar scent of disgruntled spirits that
    only she could perceive. "I know you''re here," she said out loud, words to
    focus the unspoken communication she broadcast to the house. "Get real, everyone
    knows you''re here. Quit throwing spit-balls and let''s talk." The
    straightforward approach. Rarely successful, but always worth a try. This time
    it netted her a faint but definite spiritual glower, as though impotent pieces
    of power had mustered righteous offense. No more effective than being hit with
    pats of soft spiritual butter. "Ooh," she muttered. "Eeek." Quinn moved into the
    room, circling around and squinting at the walls-visualizing the structure,
    running his mind over all the possible connections and influences. "It''s not
    all new," he murmured, touching the textured wall paint. Somewhere in the house
    a door opened. The reckoners, as one, turned to look at Garrie. She shrugged.
    "Just supposed to be us." She thought this particular batch of spirits had
    thrown their drama quota into the ectoplasmic yuck, so that left something more
    earthly. But . . . "There''s way more than one," she realized out loud,
    distracted from the noise of the door. She felt it plainly enough, now that
    she''d puzzled it out-the weird fractured pieces, a kaleidoscope of
    personalities. All of them annoyed, but none of them truly powerful. Not
    dark-side entities, just disturbed echoes of those who had once lived in the
    flesh. They needed her help as much as the man who''d hired her. Down the hall,
    shadows in shadow . . . something moved. Yet a deeper layer of shadow, flashing
    along the wall. Quinn said, "I think-" and then stopped short at the screeching
    yowl that cut the night. Drew jumped, whirling, his flashlight painting wild,
    bobbing patterns of light across the walls and archways. "Shee-it!" "Toucheee,"
    Lucia murmured to Garrie. She could afford to be complacent. She was the one who
    always walked away without a single splot of ghost poop on her person. The only
    one. Garrie slanted her a silent cut the kid a break and reached down the hall,
    pushing out her bubble of awareness. Nothing. "Cat," Quinn said, matter-of-fact
    and preoccupied with his walls. And there it was. Loitering at the end of the
    hall, tail held high and undulating smugly enough that even Garrie, the noncat
    person, could see its self-satisfaction. "Who let it in?" Silence from her team.
    Loud silence. Until a voice not at all familiar to any of them said, "I did."
    They all startled. Ghosts didn''t vocalize. The occasional whispery noise, the
    faintest of moans . . . not deep, strong voices. And they didn''t appear at the
    end of the hallway, solid and tall in the shadows. The cat ran to the new
    arrival, wound briefly between his ankles, and faded away into a corner. Garrie
    didn''t hesitate-she lifted her flashlight so the beam shone directly on the
    man''s face. He can''t be for real. Not with a black leather duster over a shirt
    with leather panels and crisscrossed lacings, pants with front panel styling
    that might have been stylish a hundred years ago, calf-high boots much scuffed
    and secured by a row of outside buckles. But he was also far too solid to have
    come with this particular house. And far too reactive to the flashlight-a pained
    squint, a futile effort to fend off the light with one hand. Of course he had
    half-finger gloves to complete the picture. Of course he had thick straight hair
    past his shoulders, shorter front strands
    The Reckoners
  • Shadowshow
    by Strickland, Brad

    The horrifying tales at the ShadowShow Theater are unique. Under new ownership,
    the theater delivers terrifying scenes of violent sex and gore that pack the
    theater in the small town of Gaither, Georgia each night. New owner Athanial
    Badon never tells the people who push into these midnight movies that it will be
    themselves acting out these horrors on the screen. But when the lights come on,
    the nightmare continues.
    Shadowshow
  • Microserfs
    by Coupland, Douglas

    From the acclaimed author of Hey Nostradamus! comes a wonderful comic novel with
    'more one-liners than a decade of Woody Allen films' (Guardian), about the
    scramble for love and success in a brave new world... Bill is wise. Bill is
    kind. Bill is benevolent. Bill, Be My Friend... Please! At computer giant
    Microsoft, Dan, Susan, Abe, Todd and Bug are struggling to get a life. The job
    may be super cool, the pay may be astronomical, but they're heading nowhere, and
    however hard they work, however many shares they earn, they're never going to be
    as rich as Bill. And besides, with all the hours they're putting in, their best
    relationships are on e-mail. Something's got to give...
    Microserfs
  • The Cardinal Sins
    by Greeley, Andrew M.

    Cardinal Sins, The BOOK I THE FORTIES CHAPTER ONE 1948 Patrick Donahue had been
    my closest friend since as long as I could remember. We were inseparable all
    through grammar school and our three years at Jesuit High. He''d been a little
    guy, much shorter than I, until we were freshmen. Then he shot up and out almost
    overnight. Grown-ups thought he was adorable when he was litt≤ now they
    were charmed by his poise and his mature courtesy. Older girls once said he was
    "so cute" with his towhead, long eyelashes, and silver-blue eyes. Now that he
    was seventeen, women of all ages thought he was magnificent. Two years before,
    at fifteen, Pat was tongue-tied and embarrassed with girls; now he seemed to
    have nothing else but girls on his mind, even when they were only well-developed
    freshmen like my "cousin" Maureen Cunningham. It was said by everyone in those
    days that Pat looked like Guy Madison, a comment that will make sense only if
    you can remember those days or if you watch very late television movies. Guy
    Madison or not, his laugh was contagious, and his sense of fun made him the
    center of any group of which he was a part. Pat was not as good a student as I,
    and not a leader, either. He was--and it is important that I note this--much
    more devout than I. It was an erratic kind of devotion, marked by
    closedretreats, sustained periods of daily mass and rosary recitation,
    complicated reforms of his moral life, and then dramatic relapses into drinking
    and girl-chasing: the Irish approach to spirituality, my father assured me,
    disapproving of my more even and casual approach to the deity. Early on a
    Saturday morning in the humid July of 1948, Pat was walking next to me, talking
    about my cousin Maureen, when a gray Packard rolled over in the ditch across the
    road from us and exploded. Pat''s courage and quick reaction saved their lives.
    I stood there glued in the summer dust, waiting for an orange ball of flame and
    smoke to devour the car. Still, I got the credit. I had been walking down the
    hill behind the village on my way to church. Pat was climbing up the hill, his
    handsome face and cheery smile undimmed by a night of merriment on the beach. He
    offered to walk back down to church with me, mostly, I think, because if we came
    home from church together, my mother and father might not ask any questions
    about how he had spent the night. I should have been angry with him; he was my
    guest, and I was responsible for his spiritual and physical welfare. But Pat''s
    laughter and high spirits, especially in those days, made it hard to be angry at
    him. "Not much in the way of serious necking," he said, grinning complacently.
    "Not even enough to keep me from Communion at mass." "Beer after twelve breaks
    your fast," I said primly. "You already sound like a monsignor." Pat walloped me
    on the back in great humor. "Kevin, they''re going to ordain you a monsignor."
    "At least a bishop," I said. "Maybe even a cardinal." "Kevin Cardinal Brennan."
    He laughed. "I like the sound of it. Make me a papal knight or something?" The
    asphalt on the road was soft from the heat. I dreaded the walk back after mass.
    It was going to be another miserably hot day. "And Maureen a papal dame. Dame
    Mo. I like the sound of that!" "She is some dame." Pat shook his head
    appreciatively. "I know she''s your cousin, but for a freshman she''s got the
    hottest lips on the beach." "Not really a cousin," I pointed out. "Our fathers
    have been law partners for so long that we call each other ''Cousin.'' So those
    hot lips aren''t off limits to me, either." "That''d be the day. Kevin Brennan,
    the pillar of piety, necking all night on the beach." The thought of Mo''s lips
    pressed against mine was far more appealing than I was willing to admit. "Where
    is Maureen? Too hung over to walk up the hill? Or just too spoiled?" Pat
    shrugged his shoulders. "Marty Delaney is going to drive them back up in his
    Packard. I wanted the exercise. Told them you would be angry if I didn''t stay
    in condition for the basketball season." "It''s your scholarship, not mine." My
    reminder sailed by him unnoticed. Pat needed the scholarship to go to college.
    The Brennans were wealthy enough that money would never be a worry for any of
    us. I suspected Pat thought it was unfair. I thought it unfair that he possessed
    ten times as much charm as I did. Before we could say anything more, the Delaney
    Packard roared around the final curve separating the hill from the village.
    Marty must have been driving sixty miles an hour. He would have made the turn
    with a few inches to spare if old Doc Crawford''s Buick, on its way to the yacht
    club, hadn''t turned the corner from the opposite direction. Delaney
    swerved--instinctively, I suppose--to avoid the big red car, skidded towardthe
    side of the road where we were walking, then back across the slippery asphalt
    and into the ditch. The Packard rolled over like a turtle at the end of a stick,
    its wheels spinning helplessly in the air. Pat raced toward the car. "Let''s get
    them out of there," he shouted. My feet felt as if they were cemented in the
    ground. I finally trudged after him, each stride taking an eternity. Inside the
    car, people were screaming. Pat wrenched the door open. "Give me a hand, Kevin,"
    he yelled to me. We pulled Marty Delaney out from the driver''s seat. His face
    was a mask of blood. Sue Hanlon was next to him, unconscious, her dress torn and
    her slim legs twisted beneath her at an unnatural angle. I helped the battered
    but conscious Delaney to the side of the ditch as Pat gently set Sue in the
    dust. We were dragging Joan Ryan and Joe Heeney from the back seat when the fuel
    tank blew. The force of the explosion knocked all of us into the ditch. Joan''s
    thin dress caught fire, and she wailed hysterically as the flames leaped to her
    long, blond hair. Joe lay silently by the side of the road. For a moment I
    thought we were all going to die. Then Pat knocked Joan down and rolled her over
    in the dust, extinguishing the fire, and I carried Sue to the safety of the
    road. I stood there dumbly while Joan, her hysteria spent and her freckled face
    streaked with dirt and soot, and Pat dragged the two boys away from the
    crackling flames. Doc Crawford, who had managed to stop his car only a few yards
    from the accident, was suddenly next to me, trying to get Sue out of my arms. I
    struggled for a while and then put her down on the grass. I sat next to her
    while Doc probed and grunted and shook his head. Acrid smoke from the burning
    automobile tore at my nostrils and stung my eyes. The State Police ambulance
    arrived after what seemed like hours. Ted Smith, the police lieutenant, and
    Father O''Rourke, the alcoholic pastor of our village church, stood next to the
    smoldering wreck, shaking their heads. "If we had been a few seconds later," Pat
    was breathing heavily, "they all would have gone up in smoke." His face and hair
    were black, his white shirt and slacks ripped and dirty. "And us with them," I
    said. Only then did I realize that Maureen had not been in the car. "None of
    them have a right to be alive," said the lieutenant in a nasal, rural-Wisconsin
    drawl. "Damn fool kids, drinking all night and then doing sixty miles an hour in
    a twenty-mile-an-hour zone. Lucky you were here, Kevin." "You saved their lives
    and maybe their souls, Kevin," added the haggard old priest, rolling up a soiled
    purple stole. "If they''d died without the last rites, after what they were
    doing on the beach, they would have gone straight to hell." "How do you know?" I
    demanded. "Anyway, it was Pat who saved them." They didn''t seem to hear me. I
    saw a spasm of pain cross Pat''s face. "Two of them look like they''re goners,
    the girl especially," said Ted, fingering his trim, Tom Dewey mustache. "If they
    make it, Kevin, it''s all your doing." Still in a daze, I walked back to our
    house, at the top of the hill, vomited the knots out of my stomach, and went to
    my room to sleep away the rest of the day. "They''re all going to be fine except
    the Hanlon girl," my mother said when she woke me for supper, her red hair
    glowing in the rays of the afternoon sun. "Sue Hanlon will probably be crippled
    for the rest of her life." For years I saw Sue''s legs, twisted beneath her, in
    my dreams.Now I can''t distinguish them from the butchered legs of another woman
    who also haunts my dreams. Pat returned to our summer house at the lake the last
    week in August, after the excitement about the accident had died down. One
    afternoon he blew a softball game against some of the local kids; he was the
    tying run coming in from third, and he tried to skirt around a half-pint catcher
    instead of knocking him down. I sulked at supper that night, angry at him for
    losing the softball game, although Pat, as usual, joked with the rest of the
    family. After supper, he asked if he could borrow the Studebaker to see what was
    going on in town. I knew, of course, that he wanted to go pick up Maureen on the
    property next to ours. Mrs. Cunningham thought Pat was a charming young man and
    raised no objections to her daughter''s roaming around southern Wisconsin with
    the son of a sanitation worker. Silently I gave him the keys. "You want to
    come?" he asked tentatively, his face turning the bashful pink that so charmed
    the ladies. "We could find Cunningham and Foley." Ellen Foley, to whom I was
    assigned for the week by Maur
    The Cardinal Sins
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