Next: 25, 26, 27
Chapter Twenty-Two The Ten of Swords
Gabriel flies to D.C., and on the way reviews the photos of the contents of Nelson’s box. He finds different IDs and souvenirs. Some research leads him to the conclusion that Nelson has been changing identities. He figures out Nelson’s original identity and talks to people who knew him when he was Eirik Rane in Minnesota. Clearly, Nelson is a con artist of significant success.
Later, Gabriel talks to Danny, and assures Danny he will help with Danny’s project. Gabriel also speaks to Alex, who is trying to reconcile with him. Gabriel is uncomfortable with revealing Joel’s existence. And then Joel calls to offer his support. He’s going to follow Toni and see what she’s up to.
Gabriel visits Kent, and has a pleasant day with him. Eventually Kent begins his long story about how he got involved with this conspiracy in the first place, and about the Tertullians. Kent mentions an important source he’d like to introduce Gabriel to. Gabriel senses some tension. Kent is also cautious about his contact. He wants to give Gabriel a copy of his notes, which are written in a form of Gregg shorthand, and urges Gabriel to copy his notes at a local FedEx while he deals with his contact. Gabriel does so, and then receives an alarming text from Kent.
Chapter Twenty-Three The Devil
From the perspective of Nelson. He’s angry at his superiors in the TS. He feels he is smarter and deserves more. He is taking illegal narcotics that appear to be affecting his rational thinking. He’s pleased about what he was able to do to Raymond in tricking him and killing him, but he’s frustrated by his lack of success with Gabriel. His thoughts are interrupted by Toni coming to visit. He’s planned for that.
Toni is accusatory and angry. Nelson attempts to placate her by denigrating Gabriel and offering her help. Ultimately, despite being under influence herself, she spurns him. Nelson changes tactics and tells her that Raymond was investigating someone and he, Nelson, was afraid to talk about it. He convinces her to listen to him, and accept a glass of wine. That will be her last one.
Chapter Twenty-Four The Two of Pentacles
Gabriel attempts to contact Kent but no answer. He rushes back to Kent’s apartment. He can hear someone inside trashing the place. He sees someone inside through Kent’s open door–and Kent’s apparently dead body. The attacker sees Gabriel, and Gabriel is on the run. He’s down in the Metro, and someone attempts to stab him. He eludes this and gets back to his hotel room and then a taxi to a mall where he can catch a bus. He’s injured, but not badly. Joel calls him while he’s cleaning up. Joel tells him that he trailed Nelson into Brooklyn, where Nelson dumped Toni’s body. Gabriel is horrified to hear Toni has been killed.
Gabriel catches a bus into NYC, and Joel picks him up at Port Authority, the two commiserating over what happened.
I’m getting back in the swing of recaps, this year has been difficult personally for myself and my S/O. However, as I work on Hard Core, seeing what happened before is important. Each book really has a different atmosphere and feel, and I’m reminded of how something written only five years ago can seem strange. Nonetheless, it’s the foundation, so to speak. The murders are huge, Kent and especially Toni–Gabriel has guilt over that despite Toni making her own choices. Nonetheless the biggest thing to me is Kent’s story and his notes. These are not a McGuffin, a device to serve as the thing the characters are chasing, Hitchcock-style. These are the man’s life. I like Kent and I’m sorry to see him go, my fictional reflection of Danny Casolaro. Gabriel wants to respect what Kent was doing and keep his work and do something with it. Respect and remembrance of persons passed is very vital to life and responsibility of the living.
These sections have some suspense for Kent’s big reveal. For that, I’ve always liked Massive Attack’s Unfinished Symphony. It was used in Sliver, a movie I’m not proud to have actually paid to see, and wasted Tom Berenger’s talents. Anyway, it has the sort of trip-hop tension that works in Gabriel’s World. Also, as I read in Jezebel, founding member Robert Del Naja may possibly be Banksy, and that would be delightful.
Copyright 2012-202 Alex Fiano
Page updated 8/6/2022