purchase. There are reasons these scenes did not make the finished book--one of the primary reasons is that many contain BAD WRITING!
Here is a scene which is substantually shorter in the finished version. In some form or another it lasted all the way until the last cut--and for all the wrong reasons. I fell in love with my descriptions of a hotel I found fascinating. Of course the passage has no real use to the book other than to show off (as well as I'd wanted the trip through the hotel to be symbolic of their journey with all the twists and turns), and it slooooowwwwwwwwwwed the pace down drastically. So here is its 15 minutes in the light of day:
“Where are we going?” Nadia asked, sitting next to Alfonso.
“To the Hotel Domus Sessoriana”
“Is that far from here?” Andy asked from the backseat. He was barely able to keep his eyes open and was too tired to think. He had heard jetlag had something to do with less oxygen in the blood.
“No it is not long from here.”
An hour into their trip, Andy filed a meek protest that the detective had not told them they were leaving Naples. Alfonso explained that their safety demanded their departure. Andy was too exhausted to fight and too frustrated to doze off.
Soon enough, they were within the walls of Rome.
The sports car zipped through the streets of the city weaving in and out of traffic constantly. He seemed to reverse direction a dozen times. Andy wondered if they were going this way because it was the most efficient route, or if the detective wanted to ensure they were not being tailed. In either case, by the time the car jerked to a halt, his head swirled and his stomach felt like it had just endured a roller coaster ride at Six Flags Magic Mountain.
Out the window, Andy could see Detective Allegretto had parked fifty yards off the nearest street in an open, stone courtyard. A crescent-shaped concrete path connected the piazza to the street. On either side of the stone-tiled area, were expansive areas of green grass and trees. For a moment, he feared that they somehow had been duped into some sort of scam, but what had they to be taken for? Between the couple, they had seventy-eight euro and a coin that no one could identify. Besides, Andy realized, they had stopped in the shade of a large church.
Alfonso calmed him. “Not to worry. Wait, I show you.”
The man leapt from the vehicle and swirled around the sports car. He had opened Nadia’s door before Andy had a chance to pry himself out of the backseat. Alfonso glanced to the left and right, surveying the distant street. It seemed he wished to make obvious to the suspicious couple his attempt to safeguard them.
Across the stone square to Andy’s right, a blue and white sign announced the existence of the “National Museum of Musical Instruments,” but the tourist saw no other structure that would indicate they had arrived at their final destination. He looked up at the massive facade of the church. High above on the roof of the structure, statues of the four evangelists, accompanied by the Emperor Constantine, his sainted mother Helena, and two angels stood watch over the courtyard, if not the entire neighborhood.
“Are you stashing us away in some choir loft?” But he was not heard. Andy wheeled around to see the old man arm-in-arm with Nadia, escorting her through a large doorway to the right of the church steps. As they disappeared into the darkness, he trotted off after them.
An automatic glass door swooshed open as he entered the edifice. He arrived just in time to hear Nadia’s voice echo though the cavernous hotel lobby. “Well, this is interesting.”
A sign welcomed them to the Hotel Domus Sessoriana. The huge, stone walls and marble pillars stood as testament to its history as a monastery. The glass walls that divided the hotel offices from the main lobby, as well as the flashing computer monitors, gave the room the appearance of a world where the past had collided with the future.
Detective Allegretto rattled off something in Italian as he brushed past the man at the front desk who nodded knowingly, “Si, si, cento trenta cinque.”
“Come this way, this way.” He motioned. “Room one-thirty-five. It is safe.”
Climbing a short set of marble steps, Andy and Nadia played follow-the-leader through a narrow passage into a small courtyard that appeared to have no exit until Allegretto disappeared down a short stairway off to the right. At the bottom of that staircase, they turned left, reentered the building, and stood for a moment to behold a white hallway that looked more like more like a tunnel. Paintings by local artists, displayed on portable easels, ornamented both sides of the walkway. Lagging behind the detective’s trail of broken English, they passed “Internet Point,” a room that adjoined the hallway on the left. A dozen steps farther, they made a left turn, and caught up to the old man in a small, brick room with a glass elevator door. It opened at their arrival. Allegretto shuffled in and pressed “1.” Andy and Nadia trailed.
The elevator began its accent. They rose past two huge canvasses that depicted scenes of the Roman army crossing a river. The soldiers brandished swords, their eyes set on killing, dying, or perhaps both. A general riding a white horse led them out of the water. Andy didn’t look at the medallion; it wasn’t the same image.
The detective noticed his interest. “That is Julius Caesar crossing the Rubicon.”
The elevator jerked to a stop and the door behind them opened to a massive wing. The ceiling extended upwards of forty feet but, painted white and reflecting the light from massive, upper windows, it appeared to extend to the heavens. The hallway stretched the length of a football field and was wide enough to allow at least ten men to walk side-by-side. For hundreds of years prior to being converted to a hotel, the wing must have housed monks or nuns. Allegretto began to make his way down the cavernous hallway but, behind him, Nadia appeared to be on the verge of a breakdown.
“Honey!” Her tired eyes pleaded for Andy to put a halt to the journey.
Allegretto assured them that they were almost there, his voice echoing whispered assurances back from the rafters. The promises proved true when, a moment later, they swung left into a narrow passageway and up a short flight of stairs. He opened up the door to room 135. He must have sensed the couple was ready to collapse. One last time, he guaranteed their safety and, after promising to call in the morning, departed.
After surviving a trying day that traversed several time zones, the pair did not even consider their unpacking race; besides, they had nothing to unpack. Instead, they dove under the covers and, in minutes, fell fast asleep.
Neither suspected it would be their final night in Italy.