- Author: Jake Tapper
Read book online «The Devil May Dance by Jake Tapper (jenna bush book club .txt) 📕». Author - Jake Tapper
This book is a work of fiction. In order to give a sense of the times, some real events and names of real people and places appear in the book, but the characters and events depicted in this book are imaginary and all the names and events are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously.
Copyright © 2021 by Jake Tapper
Cover design by Julianna Lee
Cover photograph by Getty Images
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Hachette Book Group
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First ebook edition: May 2021
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Table of Contents
Chapter One: Glendale, California
Chapter Two: New York City
Chapter Three: New York City
Chapter Four: Hollywood, California
Chapter Five: Beverly Hills, California
Chapter Six: Beverly Hills, California
Chapter Seven: Las Vegas, Nevada
Chapter Eight: Las Vegas, Nevada
Chapter Nine: Los Angeles, California
Chapter Ten: Rancho Mirage, California
Chapter Eleven: Rancho Mirage, California
Chapter Twelve: Los Angeles, California
Chapter Thirteen: Beverly Hills, California
Chapter Fourteen: Los Angeles, California
Chapter Fifteen: Franklin Canyon, California
Chapter Sixteen: New York City
Chapter Seventeen: New York City
Chapter Eighteen: Los Angeles, California
Chapter Nineteen: Anaheim, California
Chapter Twenty: Los Angeles, California
Chapter Twenty-One: Anaheim, California
Chapter Twenty-Two: Anaheim, California
Chapter Twenty-Three: Santa Monica, California
Chapter Twenty-Four: Santa Monica, California
Chapter Twenty-Five: Santa Monica, California
Chapter Twenty-Six: Santa Monica, California
Chapter Twenty-Seven: Santa Monica, California
Chapter Twenty-Eight: Santa Monica, California
Chapter Twenty-Nine: Santa Monica, California
Chapter Thirty: Los Angeles, California
Chapter Thirty-One: Los Angeles, California
Chapter Thirty-Two: Rancho Mirage, California
Chapter Thirty-Three: New York City
Sources and Acknowledgments
About the Author
Also by Jake Tapper
For Alice and Jack
I love you the most
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Trouble just seems to come my way—
unbidden, unwelcome, unneeded.
—Frank Sinatra, 1971
Chapter OneGlendale, California
Frank Sinatra handed the congressman the bottle of Jack Daniel’s.
“These places give me the heebie-jeebies,” Sinatra said, looking around the graveyard. “What about you, Charlie?”
Congressman Charlie Marder paused as he surveyed the small group circling the makeshift bar: stacks of paper cups and bourbon on top of a marble crypt.
“Sure,” Charlie said. “I mean, who likes graveyards?”
“Graverobbers,” said Peter Lawford. A young woman laughed. Her friend, who was a model or actress of some kind, rolled her eyes. They’d joined up somewhere along the way.
“How about maggots?” added Dean Martin in his rich baritone, prompting Ewws from the ladies. Earlier, Charlie had asked his wife, Margaret, if she’d caught the girls’ names. “Betty and Veronica,” she’d replied. “Or might as well be.”
The Rat Pack—which tonight included Sinatra, Martin, Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr., and Shirley MacLaine—and their assorted hangers-on had come to Forest Lawn Memorial Park not to mourn the dead but to rage against death, to celebrate, to drink and be merry. Just a couple of hours earlier, at Puccini—the restaurant Sinatra co-owned with Lawford—they had received word that an old acquaintance, Salvatore Lucania (better known as mobster Charles “Lucky” Luciano), had dropped dead of a heart attack in Naples. It put them in a reflective mood. The news was especially disconcerting because they’d gathered at the restaurant to toast the memory of innovative TV comic Ernie Kovacs, who’d been killed in a car accident two weeks earlier.
It had been pouring the night of Kovacs’s crash, but the skies were clear now. At this moment, before dawn, the heavens twinkled with scattered stars, and the lush grass of Forest Lawn Memorial Park glistened with dew.
“Fill ’er up, Smoky!” said Sinatra to Sammy Davis Jr., using the nickname that was a nod to his four-pack-a-day habit. Sinatra placed his empty glass on the marble crypt in front of Davis, who was holding the bottle of Jack Daniel’s at that moment.
As Davis poured the bourbon, ash from his cigarette drifted onto the rim of Sinatra’s glass. Davis glanced over to see if Sinatra had noticed, then quickly dusted it off. “Clark Gable’s over there,” Sammy said to no one in particular, gesturing up a hill.
“Where?” asked Betty. “I don’t see anyone.”
“He’s been dead for two years, ya quin,” snarled Sinatra.
“Now, Pope,” cautioned Martin.
“Unless I’m mistaken,” said Margaret, “wife number five arranged to have Gable buried next to wife number three.”
“Interred,” said Charlie.
Sinatra rolled his eyes. He’d turned forty-six last month and what once might have played as impish now registered as old-man cranky. The sharp light from the streetlamp near them emphasized the crags in his weathered face, the scar on his neck, the onset of sagging jowls.
“Learn to read a room,” Margaret jokingly advised Charlie.
“Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn,” he replied.
“Classy broad, that Kay Gable,” Davis said about Gable’s fifth and final wife.
“She gave birth to their kid at the same hospital where Clark croaked weeks before,” Martin recalled.
“Look at the memory on Daig,” said Sinatra.
“Ring-a-ding-ding,” said Martin, grabbing the bottle of Jack and taking a swig. “Who wants another?”
“I do.” MacLaine, elfin-looking in her pixie cut and bright red lipstick, raised a hand. “Why would she want her husband to be buried next to another woman?”
“Interred,” Lawford drawled.
“Carole Lombard was the love of his life,” explained Davis. “Kay knew that.”
“Too bright,” Sinatra growled. He was glaring at a streetlamp that cast a punishing white light, washing them all out so it was almost as if they were in a grainy black-and-white