About the Book
novel that follows the life of hero cop Brian Remy in
the surreal days following a devastating terrorist attack.
About the Author
is the author of three previous novels, Citizen
Vince, Land of the Blind and Over
Tumbled Graves, a New York Times Notable
Book. Also an acclaimed investigative reporter, he is
the author of Ruby Ridge: The Truth and Tragedy
of the Randy Weaver Family, which was made into
a CBS miniseries. He lives in Spokane, Washington.
Citizen Vince, Regan
Land of the Blind,
Over Tumbled Graves,
Every Knee Shall
Bow, HarperCollins Publishers
Excerpt from The Zero by
© 2006 by Jess Walter. Excerpted by permission
of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved. No
part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted
without permission in writing from the publisher.
Remy leaned back in his
seat and tried to breathe through his mouth. The smell
never left him now. It lived in the lining of his nose
and the fibers of his lungs—his whole body seemed
to smell, as if the odor were working through his pores,
the fine gray dust: pungent, flour of the dead. Remy
was surprised at the air’s ferocity down here,
acrid with concrete dust and the loosed molecules of
burned . . . burned everything. It was amazing what
could burn. We forgot that, Remy thought, in our fear
of fission and fusion, radiation, infection, concussion
and fragmentation. We forgot fire.
“You see Durgan’s kid on TV?”
Please be quiet.
“Big. I hadn’t seen his kid since we all
played softball. That’s what I’m talkin’
about . . . seeing Durgan’s kid. I mean . . .
honestly? Better him than me. Right? Come on. Admit
it. Better his kid crying on TV than mine. Or yours.
Remy stared out the window.
“But here’s Durgan . . . dead as an eight-track,
never get to see his kid again. And that could have
been me, right? Except that, instead a bein’ dead,
I ain’t even injured . . . or bankrupt. Or outta
work. I got overtime comin’ out my ass. I got
backstage passes to Springsteen, right? Durgan’s
in pieces out there somewhere and I can’t even
to let me pay for a fuggin’ cuppa coffee no more.
All because I was standin’ here and he was standin’
there. See? I’m just sayin’—”
“I know,” Remy interrupted. “Please.
Paul.” Remy took off his cap and rubbed the stitches
on the side of his head.
Guterak looked over. “Hey, you got your hair cut.”
“Yeah.” Remy put the cap back on.
“What made you do that?”
“I shot myself in the head last night.”
“Well.” Paul drove quietly for a moment,
staring straight ahead. “It looks good
Copyright © 2006
by Jess Walter. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins
Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt
may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in
writing from the publisher.