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Read online or Download Lost Lake (Full PDF ebook with essay, research paper)
by Phillip Margolin

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HarperCollins Publishers
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7.32(w) x 4.22(h) x 1.09(d)



On a summer night in Portland, Oregon, violence erupts at a Little League game — and attorney Ami Vergano watches in horror as the quiet, gentle artist she recently befriended does the unexpected and unthinkable . . .

In a cheap motel room in Washington, D.C., Vanessa Kohler — ex-mental patient, supermarket tabloid reporter, and estranged daughter of a powerful general running for president — views a news broadcast of the bizarre incident and believes she's found the only witness to a deadly conspiracy.

Caught between a possible madwoman and a confessed mass murderer, between reality and delusion, Ami races to unearth the terrible truth about dark events that may or may never have happened twenty years earlier in a secluded cabin on Lost Lake.


Editorial Reviews

Janet Maslin
“Lively ... the pacing is brisk, the plot cinematic.”

Related Subjects

  • ">Detective Fiction - Journalists
  • ">Thrillers - Conspiracies & Cover-Ups

    Read an Excerpt

    Lost Lake LP

    Chapter One

    Portland, Oregon -- The Present

    The organizers of the Portland Spring Art Fair had lucked out. It had been a very wet March in Oregon and the weather seers were predicting rain through most of April. But Mother Nature had redecorated in the nick of time, storing away the endless precipitation and gloomy black clouds for another day and setting out sunshine and clear blue skies for the weekend of the fair.

    Ami Vergano had dressed in a multicolored peasant skirt and a white blouse with short puffed sleeves to celebrate the pleasant weather. Ami was just over five-four and still had the solid build of the gymnast she'd been until she grew in high school. She kept her brown hair short because it was easy to care for. Her big brown eyes dominated her face. Circumstances had turned Ami serious, but her wide, bright smile could light up a room.

    Ami was delighted at the large crowds that were taking advantage of the first sunny days of spring to roam the Park Blocks in search of art. Her booth had attracted people since the fair opened, and three of her oils had sold already. She was putting the money from her most recent sale into her purse when someone spoke.

    "I like that. Is it imaginary or did you paint a real scene?"

    Ami turned and found a broad-shouldered man admiring one of her landscapes. His face had the tanned, leathery look of someone who spends a lot of time outdoors. Ami figured him for five-ten and in his mid- to late forties. He was dressed in jeans, moccasins, and a plaid long-sleeved shirt. His long hair was gathered in a ponytail, and he had a scraggly mustache and goatee. He brought to mind the hippies of the peace and love generation in the 1960s.

    "That's a forest glade not far from my house," Ami said.

    "I love the way you've captured the light."

    Ami smiled. "Thanks. You have no idea how long I worked to get it just right."

    "Dan Morelli," the man said, offering his hand. "I have the booth next door. I saw how many people have been going in and out of yours and decided to see what the fuss was all about."

    "Ami Vergano," she said as she took Morelli's hand. It was large and comforting, like his smile. "What are you showing? I've been so busy that I haven't had a chance to look around yet."

    "I build custom-made furniture. Take a peek if you get a chance."

    "I will. Are you from around here? I haven't seen you at our shows before."

    "First time in Oregon," Morelli said.

    "Where's home?"

    "No place, really. I was an army brat. We moved from town to town. I've been living in Arizona, but it's too dry. I like the woods, the ocean."

    "There's not much of that in Arizona."

    "No, there's not. Anyway, I heard about the fair and thought I'd see if I could get a few orders."

    "How's it going?"

    "Good. One fellow who stopped by just opened an accounting office and he wants a desk, bookshelves, and some other stuff. That should keep me busy for a while. Now I just have to find somewhere to stay and a place to work."

    Ami hesitated. She didn't know a thing about Morelli, but he seemed nice. She made a snap decision.

    "You might be in luck. I have an apartment over my garage that I rent out, and my studio is in a barn behind the house. It has plenty of room for carpentry. There's even a workshop and power tools. A student was renting but he had to leave school early because of an illness in the family, so the apartment is empty."

    "I have my own tools, but that does sound just right. Can I drive out after the fair shuts down and have a look?"


    "What's the rent?"

    She told him and Morelli smiled shyly. "I can make that." He stepped out of Ami's booth and looked over at his own. "Got to go. Looks like I have customers. I'd better sell something now that I have to pay rent."

    Ami laughed and waved. "See you around five."

    Morelli ducked out, and Ami wrapped her arms around herself. Finances had been tight since her tenant left. She could use the extra money. And it would be fun to have another artist around the place. Morelli seemed nice. She hoped it would work out.

    Ami Vergano closed the screen door as quietly as she could and stood on the front porch watching Daniel Morelli teach her ten-year-old son how to throw a curveball. They were in the front yard under the aged oak tree that Ami called Methuselah. Morelli was squatting beside Ryan and gently adjusting his fingers on the seams of a badly scuffed hardball that, along with his mitt, was her son's prize possession. Ryan's brow wrinkled as he concentrated on getting the grip right, oblivious of the darkness that was descending at the end of a perfect spring day. Morelli was wearing jeans and a black T-shirt advertising a local microbrew.

    When he stretched out his arm, his biceps, triceps, and forearm looked like coiled rope. For someone approaching fifty, Morelli was in good shape. Ami knew that he ran for miles in the morning because she'd seen him returning to his apartment lathered in sweat when she was leaving for work. Once she'd seen him with his shirt off and had been impressed by the etched perfection of his physique. She had also been surprised to see more than one long scar cutting across his back and stomach.

    "That's right," Morelli said, and Ryan grinned with pride. Her son was an energetic, gawky towhead who played Little League with a passion and loved anything to do with baseball ...

    Lost Lake LP. Copyright В© by Phillip Margolin. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.


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