So Nude, So Dead
Ed McBain, Richard Marsten
Novel originally published as The Evil Sleep! by Evan Hunter and reprinted in 1956 as So Nude, So Dead by Richard Marsten.
He'd been a promising piano prodigy, once. Now he was just an addict, scraping to get by, letting his hunger for drugs consume him. But a man's life can always get worse - as Ray Stone discovers when he wakes up beside a beautiful nightclub singer only to find her dead... and 16 ounces of pure heroin missing. On the run from the law, desperate to prove his innocence and find a killer, Ray also faces another foe, merciless and unforgiving: his growing craving for a fix...
felt the lines of her body through her dress, taut and firm, slender as a willow. “Ray,” she murmured, “Ray baby, poor baby, poor baby.” A look crossed her face then, and he stared at her curiously. It was an age-old look, the look of the eternal woman, a look of possession and desire, of submission and triumph. “I want you to give up the drug,” she said. Her voice was strangely harsh. “Do you understand?” He didn’t answer. “You’re my man, Ray,” she said. “You’ve been mine for a long time
did that mean? Was it her way of saying she’d throw herself into his arms the minute she got back? Or did she mean something else? He shrugged the thought away. Where the hell would she get heroin? But maybe that’s what she did mean. He wet his lips. Maybe she was going to bring him a deck. Maybe two. He’d wait. He’d wait if it took her ten years. He walked back into the bathroom and looked at his face in the mirror. The puff under his eye had gone down, leaving a multicolored area the size of
hasn’t? Assault with a deadly weapon, wasn’t it?” “She was a tramp,” I blurted, “and he was a punk. I should have killed him. I should have killed the louse. I should have…” She was taunting me now, her hands on her hips, her chest thrust out. “You couldn’t kill a corpse,” she said. “You couldn’t…” I lashed out with the open palm of my right hand, catching her on the side of her jaw. The blow knocked her halfway across the room, but she came back like a wildcat, leaping onto the bed, her
and saw the loud sports shirt drifting toward the front door. I gave him a chance to reach the street, and then I started after him. With that shirt, you could have tailed him in a snowstorm. It was yellow and green, and it stood out like a beacon for foundering ships. I kept walking after him, quickening my pace when he did, never taking my eyes from the shirt. He turned a corner after we’d walked three blocks, and I ran to the corner, anxious not to lose him. I rounded the corner at a trot and
opposite wall of the alley and shoved the sole of my foot against it. When my shoulder hit the door, it splintered with a rushing crack of old wood, and I stumbled into the room, fighting for balance. I felt around for a light switch, finally located a pull chain. I yanked it, and a dim bulb splashed some feeble light into the small room. D’Allessio was curled up against the wall, on the bed. This wasn’t the D’Allessio I’d seen in the wallet. The same long nose was there, and the same pale