Black Blade by Eric Van Lustbader

By Eric Van Lustbader

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Nishitsu had a secret life, just as Moravia himself did, and now Moravia had been charged with unearthing those secrets. Dangerous work, undoubtedly, but all the more exhilarating because of it. Moravia watched now as a beautiful Japanese woman, almost a girl, yes, but not quite, brought over a refill of his drink. She had done this without him asking. That was the Japanese way, one of the reasons why he had been so drawn to Japan as a young man. As she sat, naked, beside him in the tiny, windowless room, she became another piece of art with which this room was furnished.

But, no, that was impossible. Still... He put a hand out, over the face, and felt a heat he could not explain. Wolf stood up and, acknowledging Bobby's reluctance to approach Arquillo's corpse, came over to where he stood, shivering. Bobby, in his early thirties, broad-shouldered and strong, with an open Midwestern face, pale-blue eyes and sandy hair, looked like he could use several stiff drinks. Wolf put a steadying hand on his shoulder. ' And, when Wolf nodded encouragement, began again. 'Junior and I saw Arquillo coming down and we identified ourselves.

Swirling precipitation littered the sky. In another, less inimical clime it might have been snow, but here it had picked up so many kinds of noxious hydrocarbons on its way down that the waxy flakes disintegrated on contact with the ancient iron and the pot-holed macadam. Nothing much was happening on the pavement below him. Sirens rose and fell streets - worlds - away, dogs barked, skirmishing with the homeless for scraps of food in the piles of litter along the gutters. Garbage-can fires burned here and there, huddled shapes bent over them, surrounded by supermarket carts piled high with scrounged junk.

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