EXCERPT: 'Last Night in Twisted River'

Photo: Book Cover: Last Night in Twisted River: A Novel

John Irving's 12th novel, "Last Night in Twisted River," is the story of a 12-year-old boy and his father, both of whom are forced to become fugitives pursued by a constable across North America.

The two are befriended by a logger.

The decades-spanning tale is filled with humor, loss, tension and drama, rendered in the best-selling American novelist's distinctive storytelling style.

After reading the excerpt below, head to the "GMA" Library to find more good reads.

It wasn't principally "fireworks" that Ketchum brought to Boston, the first leg of his trip. The North Station was in that part of the West End that bordered on the North End. Ketchum got off the train, carrying a shotgun over one shoulder and a canvas duffel bag in the other hand; the duffel bag looked heavy, but not the way Ketchum was toting it. The gun was in a leather carrying case, but it was clear to everyone who saw the woodsman what the weapon was— it had to be either a rifle or a shotgun. The way the carrying case was tapered, you could tell that Ketchum was holding the barrel of the weapon with the butt- end over his shoulder.

VIDEO: The best-selling author talks to Charlie Gibson about his newest book.

The kid who was then the busboy at Vicino di Napoli had just put his grandmother on a train. He saw Ketchum and ran ahead of him, back to the restaurant. The busboy said it appeared that Ketchum was "taking the long way around"—meaning that the logger must have looked at a map, and he'd chosen the most obvious route, which was not necessarily the fastest. Ketchum must have come along Causeway Street to Prince Street, and then intersected with Hanover— a kind of roundabout way to get to North Square, where the restaurant was, but the busboy alerted them all that the big man with a gun was coming.

"Which big man?" Dominic asked the busboy.

"I just know he's got a gun— he's carrying it over his shoulder!" the busboy said. Everyone who worked at Vicino di Napoli had been fore¬warned that the cowboy might be coming. "And he's definitely from up north— he's scary- looking!"

Dominic knew that Carl would have the Colt .45 concealed. It was big for a handgun, but no one carried a revolver over his shoulder. "It sounds like you mean a rifle or a shotgun," the cook said to the bus boy.

"Jesus and Mary!" Tony Molinari said.

"He's got a scar on his forehead like someone split his face with a cleaver!" the busboy cried.

"Is it Mr. Ketchum?" Carmella asked Dominic.

"It must be," the cook told her. "It can't be the cowboy. Carl is big and fat, but he's not especially 'scary- looking,' and there's not much of the north country about him. He just looks like a cop— either in or out of uniform."

The busboy was still babbling. "He's wearing a flannel shirt with the sleeves cut off, and he's got a huge hunting knife on his belt— it hangs almost to his knee!"

"That would be the Browning," Dominic said. "It's definitely Ketchum. In the summer, he just cuts the sleeves off his old flannel shirts— the ones that have torn sleeves, anyway."

"What's the gun for?" Carmella asked her dear Gamba.

"Maybe he's going to shoot me before Carl gets a chance to," Dom inic said, but Carmella didn't see the humor in it— none of them did. They went to the door and windows to look for Ketchum. It was that time of the afternoon they had to themselves; they were supposed to be eating their big meal of the day, before they started the dinner service.

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