By John D. MacDonald
(Originally released in 1954. This variation has an creation through Dean Koontz.)
A tv famous person wilting less than the limelight. An adman with a stiff top lip. A emerging manhattan artist. A determined housewife. All are sufferers of a merciless puppet master—and now, in John D. MacDonald’s riveting whodunit, considered one of them is a killer.
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Extra resources for All These Condemned
They don’t think this is strange, either. It’s just the kind of good luck they’ve grown used to over the course of their lives. Barry thinks of mentioning the black Beetle he notices parked at the opposite end of the street, one with a fellow cramped into it whose face looks a lot like the concierge’s. But his stomach is upset by the jarring start of the taxi, and the fact is he doesn’t feel much like talking anymore anyway. Only Bates kisses his girl good-bye. O boat, the Ana Cassia, is a good deal smaller than the Presidente Figueiredo, the one that the Canadian Minister of Foreign Aﬀairs and his gaggle of “oﬃcials” are to travel on.
But it delivers a pleasure all the same, cheap and mindless, like speeding in summer with the windows down. When he first stands up, Barry and Bates assume that Wallace is going to order more drinks. He moves through the vivid light with his white boy hip-hop swagger, but with more lubrication in his joints than usual. A scuﬄing, buttock-pouting sort of walk, as though the referee had just ejected him from the game and he is making a leisurely show of removing himself from the field. Not the walk of an athlete but of someone who has watched enough pro sports on TV to simulate the attitude.
One must fall short of outright lying, of course. But if both sides can’t understand each other, and whatever’s lost in translation is lost forever, what’s the harm in a fib or two to keep things going smoothly? As Lydia and I drive oﬀ in the taxi back to the Tropical, the others ask themselves what they should do with the rest of their evening. It is clear that whatever it is, it should involve further drinking. A whiﬀ of trouble might be nice. The kind of recreations you just can’t get at home.