"That’s the secret to performance: conviction. The right note played tentatively still misses its mark, but play boldly and no one will question you. If one believes there is truth in art—and I do—then it’s troubling how similar the skill of performing is to lying. Maybe lying is itself a kind of art. I think about that more than I should."
"Deborah cleared her throat. “I, uh,” she said and cleared her throat again. “I had a, um, an idea. A different idea. About trying something in a slightly different direction.” She said it like it was in quotation marks, and indeed it was. All my careful coaching couldn't make her sound natural when she said it, but she had at least stuck to my carefully worded politically correct phrasing. LaGuerta raised an artificially perfect eyebrow. “An idea? Really?” She made a face to show how surprised and delighted she was. “Please, by all means, share it with us, Officer Ein—I mean, Officer Morgan.” Doakes snickered. A delightful man.
Silence. Utter, dumb silence. The silence of the cows. They didn't get it, the brickheads, and Deborah was not making them see it. She let the silence grow, a silence LaGuerta milked with a pretty frown, a puzzled glance around the room to see if anybody else was following this, then a polite look at Deborah. “Refrigerated . . . trucks?” LaGuerta said.
But LaGuerta just nodded. “That's a very . . . interesting thought, Officer,” she said. She put just the smallest emphasis on the word officer, to remind us all that this was a democracy where anybody could speak up, but really . . . “But I still believe that our best bet is to find the witness. We know he's out there.” She smiled, a politically shy smile. “Or she,” she said, to show that she could be sharp. “But somebody saw something. We know that from the evidence. So let's concentrate on that, and leave grasping at straws for the guys in Broward, okay?” She paused, waiting for a little chuckle to run around the room. “But Officer Morgan, I would appreciate your continued help talking to the hookers. They know you down there.” My God, she was good. She had deflected anyone from possibly thinking about Deb's idea, put Deb in her place, and brought the team back together behind her with the joke about our rivalry with Broward County. All in a few simple words. I felt like applauding."
"Athos didn’t resent that his father expected him to play chess. He didn’t even resent that the late Count gloried in winning games over his small son. What he resented—the memory that still made the bile rise at the back of his throat—was that the rules of the game had never been explained to him. Night after night, he’d sat there, and learned all the moves by trying them the wrong way first. Night after night, day after day, he’d brooded on the losses. And every night his father smiled at him, with the exact same smile that the Cardinal was now giving him. Something to the movement of the Cardinal’s eyes made Athos realize he’d been inching his hand towards his sword, and he pulled it back by an effort of will.
But he pushed a smile onto his lips, and what he hoped was a pleasant expression into his eyes, and looked up at the Cardinal. “Do you truly mean, your eminence,” he said, filling his voice with wonder, “that I know more than you do?” There was a dark shadow beneath the Cardinal’s gaze, just like the first time that Athos had managed to take Father’s queen. "
"He did not know the truth of me, yet he had perceived something true about me that no one else had ever noticed. And in spite of that—or perhaps because of it—he believed me good, believed me worth taking seriously, and his belief, for one vertiginous moment, made me want to be better than I was. I was a fool to let myself feel that. I was a monster; that could never change. I almost snapped at him, almost played the monster in earnest as only I could play it, but something stopped me. He wasn’t some dragon, coldly observing me. He was offering me something true about himself in return. It shone like a diamond. That wasn’t trivial; that was generous. If I knocked this gift out of his hand, I wasn’t getting another. I inhaled shakily and said, “Thank you, but …” No, no buts. “Thank you.”"
"“There are no sins in pleasure.” It was something Dmitri had once said to him, a sardonic twist to his mouth, the mockery directed inward. Mahiya’s soft laugh changed the words, turned them sensual and playful. “I think I shall make that my motto when I am free, and live the life of an unabashed hedonist.”"
"The woman in front of him had an intricate pattern to her heart and emotions he might never fathom, didn’t have the ability to fathom. All he could do was watch for cues others took for granted, put those cues together to form a picture of her emotions. He knew that wasn’t how the rest of the world did it, knew his inability to connect to those around him on that level was a lack in him."