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GW Recaps–Chapters Thirty-One, Thirty-Two, Thirty-Three

Previous: 31, 32, 33

Next:  Two-Faced Woman: Prelude, Chapter One, Chapter Two

Chapter Thirty-One The Ace of Cups

Joel is amused to learn of Zest when Gabriel tells him what is going on. Joel is more impressed by the fact that Gabriel is confiding him him when he’s not told anyone else the truth. They have a tough back and forth over Joel’s intention to get back with Gabriel. Later, Gabriel does some research on a theory that Nelson took Raymond’s body somewhere, and discovers property Nelson likely owns in rural Westchester County.

The next day, Nelson calls Gabriel. He wants to meet. Gabriel doesn’t tell Alex, who stayed over with him, but gets Joel to help him. Nelson wants to meet at Solstice Park, a creepy spot in Westchester. Gabriel meets him in an overgrown area. Nelson tries to get Gabriel on his side and admits he killed Raymond–but blames it on Jacobs. He discounts Gabriel’s suggestions on what to do. He does give Gabriel a hint as to where Eleanor is, and says he got help in Raymond’s murder from a man in the Medical Examiner’s office he was blackmailing. But when his actions get threatening, Joel shoots at him from a hidden location. Nelson is outraged that Gabriel brought Joel into this, and leaves. Gabriel and Joel leave too, discussing what to do next. Gabriel plans to check out the warehouse in Westchester that Nelson owns, to search for evidence Raymond was there. They agree that Gabriel will swing by Joel’s apartment to pick him up in a couple hours. However, when Gabriel arrives, he can tell Joel has been abducted.

Chapter Thirty-Two Judgment

Gabriel’s instinct is that Joel’s been taken to the Westchester warehouse. He’s proved right when on the way there, Nelson calls to bait him with Joel, and demanding that Gabriel meet him at a location Gabriel knows is near the warehouse. Since Gabriel has a jump on time, he gets there quickly and sneaks in through an air vent. He is relieved to see Joel dazed but alive, with his hands tied and on his knees on the first floor space. Gabriel tricks Nelson to reveal Nelson’s location. Nelson is infuriated and aims his gun at Joel. Gabriel jumps at him and knocks the gun away.

Gabriel gets Nelson in a grip and has his gun out ready to shoot Nelson in the face in the heat of anger. But then, Zest speaks out of nowhere and asks Gabriel to wait. Nelson and Zest each try to talk Gabriel into being on their side. Zest appeals to logic–he has a team outside who will kill Gabriel if he leaves without Zest’s signal. Gabriel is not scared, but when he sees Joel struggling under sedation (although Zest has helped by freeing him from his bonds) he considers it. Zest adds that killing Nelson is for him, Zest, to do, not Gabriel. He says he knows Gabriel is no longer a threat to the Tertullians. In a difficult decision, Gabriel leaves Nelson to Zest and takes Joel away from the warehouse.

Chapter Thirty-Three Temperance

Gabriel races away from the warehouse, with Joel. He watches over Joel for the rest of the day to ensure he’s okay.

The next day, things begin to happen. Mankiewitz calls Gabriel to say an anonymous tip was given to the police saying Nelson was responsible for Raymond and Toni’s death, and that Nelson was found hanged in his shower, an apparent suicide. Gabriel gives him a tip about the man in the ME’s office. The real toxicology report turns up on Raymond. Gabriel finds out where Eleanor is, and he, Veronica, and Joel rescue her. Gabriel updates Herrmann, who tells him that the Nazi was tracked down in Bolivia, and was the victim of an accident–probably the Tertullians cleaning house. However, Herrmann’s contacts were able to get a DNA sample that proved who he was, and found out how he stole art assets and smuggled them from Europe.

Gabriel stays in touch with Adam, Toni’s son, and helps with Toni’s memorial service. At the service, Cheng greets him, and even Dr. Cole speaks to him to say he understands what Gabriel went through. Apparently, the Tertullians recently threatened him as well when he tried to investigate further. Finally, Joel catches Gabriel before Gabriel leaves the service. He tells Gabriel that they share a world that Alex never can. Gabriel resists that idea, but he is agreeable that Joel should continue to help him on his work.


Scents–Gabriel is very aware of the awful cologne that Nelson uses. Scents can cause a strong visceral reaction, and the wrong scent can add to a negative impression. Nelson’s scent also gives him away, an olfactory signifier.

Yes, the air duct thing is reminiscent of Die Hard and Alien(s). Some commentators on those movies have suggested such use of a duct is an urban legend because it could never work, but so what. Ducts are great!

The line I like out of Chapter 31 is when Joel says, as a smartass, “A lesser man might think that you don’t care if I’m exposed to danger.” When Gabriel hastens to say that’s not the case, that he trusts Joel, Joel says, “I do know, because I’m not a lesser man.” His take on Gabriel’s confidence in him is justified by Gabriel’s determination to rescue him. They have a deep bond regardless of their relationship status.

Interesting Outside Concepts

One of the great things in researching things for writing is coming across stories I wouldn’t likely have caught otherwise. At the time of writing THM, I read about the problems with the medical examiner’s office in New Orleans. Since then other medical examiner scandals have turned up in Mississippi and elsewhere. ProPublica, an excellent news outlet, has reported on such cases extensively.

Questions for Readers

Joel feels the bond between him and Gabriel is in essence a shared world–he and Gabriel have a connection that Joel believes Gabriel could never have with Alex. That world is one from hard choices–from sacrifice in doing the right thing. Choices aren’t made lightly. Although we don’t know a lot about Joel right now, we know he has all the empathy for what Gabriel has done through.

Do you have someone who knows you, knows you so well you cannot hide things from them? What are the positives and challenges with that level of knowledge?

Playlist: Blondie, Dreaming. Blondie was the first punk/new wave band I was into, and I crushed on Debbie Harry big-time. Debbie in that sky-blue top is iconic. The surreal sound of the melody and intense drumbeat stuck in my head–the Eat to the Beat album was one of the first I ever bought (ordered from Columbia House back in the day). According to Wikipedia, Chris Stein said the song was a take on ABBA’s Dancing Queen. The Best of ABBA was also in my first order from Columbia House (“12 records for a penny!”)

For the closing chapters of THM, Dreaming has a wistfulness to it and a flip side of intensity. I can feel Debbie’s words in Joel’s attitude.

Copyright 2012-2022 Alex Fiano

Page updated 8/6/2022

Published in Recaps