By Jeff Lindsay

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All right,' she said, reaching for a napkin off the table and blotting at her nose and eyes. ' Sniffle. Honk. ' 'That's the ticket,' I said. ' 46 Rita blew her nose a last, long time. 'Sometimes I couldn't tell that you're being funny,' she said. She stood up and kissed me on the top of the head. ' Of course, if she really knew me as well as she thought, she would stab me with a fork and run for her life, but maintaining our illusions is an important part of life's work, so I said nothing, and breakfast went on in its wonderfully soothing monotony.

EIGHT The Greater Miami Convention and Visitor's Bureau was in a high-rise building on Brickell Avenue, as befitted its status as a very important organization. The full majesty of its purpose was reflected in the view from its windows, which showed a lovely slice of downtown and Government Cut, a swathe of Biscayne Bay, and even the nearby Arena where the basketball team shows up from time to time for some really dramatic losses. ' Very few of the Bureau's employees seemed to be enjoying the view today, however.

And that is how, only a few minutes later, I happened to be sitting in the back room in front of a computer terminal. Beside me at the keyboard was Noel, a preposterously skinny Haitian American man with thick glasses and severe facial scars. For some reason, whenever there is computer work to do Deborah calls on her brother, Digitally Dominant Dexter. It is true that I am quite accomplished in certain areas of the arcane lore of finding things with a computer, since it has proved very necessary for my small and harmless hobby of tracking down the bad guys who slip through the cracks in the justice system and turning them into a few nice and tidy garbage bags full of spare parts.

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