Can't wait until the next episode to get your Grimm
fix? Don't worry, we've got an exclusive excerpt from the latest novel set in the Grimm
universe, titled "The Chopping Block," written by John Passarella.
Here is a synopsis for the novel:
A cache of bones is found in a shallow grave in local woods... Meanwhile missing persons cases in Portland seem to be on the increase. As more bones are discovered, Portland homicide Detective Nick Burkhardt and his partner Hank Griffin investigate - but there seems to be no connection between the victims.
Intrigued? Check out our exclusive excerpt from the novel to see what happens when Monroe meets up with an old friend.
Grimm: The Chopping Block - Excerpt
If Monroe hadn't returned to Shemanski Park Market after his morning grocery shopping run-to pick up some artisanal wine and cheeses for a planned romantic evening at home with Rosalee-he probably would have missed Decker.
Reusable grocery bags once again full, Monroe turned his attention away from the outdoor farm stands sheltered under white canopies and navigated his way through the milling crowd, retracing his steps to where he'd parked his Volkswagen Super Beetle. As he stepped around a mother with her young daughter looking at a plastic container of filet beans and a wicker basket overflowing with red bell peppers, Monroe spotted a familiar face in the crowd, heading in the opposite direction, and pulled up short.
"Decker?" he called. "Is that you?"
"Monroe?" the other man said. He stopped and shook Monroe's hand in a powerful two-handed grip. Physically imposing whether in full woge or not, Decker had two inches and forty pounds on Monroe. Wearing a black knit watch cap over a riot of curly brown hair, a distressed black leather jacket, ripped jeans and scuffed work boots, he seemed a bit out of his element among the aisles of organic produce. "How the holy hell are you, brother?"
The young mother gave them both a wary and disapproving glance as she quietly steered her daughter away from the red bell peppers to the next farmer's display. Monroe gave her a little friendly wave, hoping to convey a reassuring message: Don't worry, ma'am. I'm harmless. Mostly.
"Actually, I'm doing well, you know," Monroe said to Decker. "Things have been sane for me. Calm. Living the straight and narrow. No complaints."
Decker looked around and seemed to realize for the first time where he was.
"Oh, man, that's right. So it is true, what I heard. You're living in denial."
"I guess, you could say that, in a manner of speaking," Monroe said, taking Decker's arm and leading him a little farther away from any potential eavesdroppers.
Decker had never embraced the concept of discretion. He'd been a fixture in Monroe's past, before he'd reformed, before he'd given up his savage lifestyle and become a Weider Blutbad. And just as it wasn't safe for a reformed addict to hang out with those currently using, Monroe had had to separate himself from his more fearsome brethren, lest he backslide into the old ways.
"I'm convinced-denying some things opens you up to experiencing other things," Monroe explained. "For instance, a healthier lifestyle. Less rage, bloodshed and blackouts. You should try it."
"Ha!" Decker exclaimed boisterously. "Where's the fun in that, brother? I remember when you used to run. We used to run. Back when you hung out with-what's her name?-Angelina! That's it. And her brother, Hap. You see them much?"
"No. Not anymore. Not for a while," Monroe said, feeling a pang of guilt over Hap's death. "That didn't end well."
"No worries, brother," Decker said, clapping Monroe's shoulder. "Eyes forward, right? Full bore, no regrets."
"Hey, man, if that works for you," Monroe said. "No judgments here. Live and let run, I always say."
Decker took in his surroundings again. "It is peaceful."
"What brings you here?"
"Yes, okay, that too, but, well, here," Monroe said. "This market."
"Passing through," Decker said. "Rolling stone, you know? Figured I'd spend a week or two and move on."
"And this market?" Monroe pressed, sensing something his old friend wasn't telling him, at least not in so many words. Decker had always talked a lot while saying little, a stream of conscious rambling that Monroe had learned to tune out now and then.
"Someone? Really? What kind of someone?" Decker looked at him blankly for a moment, then chuckled.
"Just someone, okay. Casual. It's not a thing."
"Do you want it to be a thing?"
"I don't know, man," Decker said. "It's always a short shelf life for me. No time to commit." "Right," Monroe said. "Mr. Rolling Stone."
A few moments passed, and a companionable silence stretched into awkwardness, reminding Monroe that he'd taken the road less traveled and that set him apart from old friends. Most of that had been by design, to avoid temptation and opportunities to backslide into the old ways. He had no regrets about the tradeoff. Besides, he had new friends now-one of them a Grimm, of all things! And Rosalee. He led a calm yet interesting life, with enough romance to keep things spicy. The call of his old life, and the friends who filled those wild days, had become little more than an indistinct echo, words in a language that no longer made sense to him. As long as he kept to his regimen of self-discipline, he could keep his eyes forward.
He clapped Decker on the shoulder and said, "Good seeing you, man. Next time you're in town, give me a call."
As he turned away-wondering if he had meant either statement, or if his own words had been rote sentiments plucked from another time and dusted off for one last insincere farewell-Decker caught his arm. Monroe glanced back, surprised.
"Are you for real?" Decker asked.
Briefly, Monroe wondered if his old friend had sensed the insincerity in his parting words and was calling him out. He almost had to shake off the impression to see the real issue. Monroe's lifestyle.
"Of course. Why do you ask?"
"So it's not a 'go along to get along' situation?"
"It's for me," Monroe said. "My choice."
"You gave up-meat? And running?" When Monroe nodded, Decker added, "Huh! This whole time, I had a different impression. Figured it was for show, you know, an act to fool the natives or something. Like a wolf in sheep's clothing."
"Well, I'm still a-" Monroe scanned the area to make sure they were as alone as one could be in an outdoor farmer's market, then spoke in a softer voice "-Blutbad. But I've cast aside the-let's say- more extreme facets of our nature."
"Wow," Decker said, walking a few paces while shaking his head. He dropped down on a bench as if the thought of giving up the wild lifestyle was too difficult to comprehend while standing.
"How? How do you change? How do you stay changed? I'd crawl out of my skin."
Monroe sat down on the bench, setting his bags down between his feet.
"Do you - Decker, are you thinking about reforming?"
Don't see how that's possible, brother."
"It's possible," Monroe said. "I'm proof of that, right? But you can't do this for someone else." Monroe nodded in the general direction of the market stalls to indicate the "someone" with "thing" potential that Decker planned to meet here. "You have to want this for yourself."
"Okay. What if I did?" Decker said. "Then what?"
"Listen, I only know what works for me," Monroe said.
He ran his thumb and index finger down the sides of his mustache and light beard, considering whether or not he should jeopardize his own reformed status to help a friend. Spending extended time with an unreformed Blutbad presented inherent risks. His last mistake may have cost Hap his life. But Monroe had to believe in the strength of his own convictions, that he wouldn't make the same mistake twice.
"If you want to try, Decker, I'll help. Anything you need. I'll be your support system."
"You mean, like an A. A. sponsor or something?"
"Okay, let's go with that."
"So, if I do this, what's the first step?"
"Cold turkey," Monroe said. "Okay, I can do turkey," Decker said, grinning. "Hot or cold."
"No meat," Monroe said.
"Brother, meat is my only food group," Decker said. "No meat is basically a hunger strike for me."
"You'll get used to it," Monroe said, then frowned. "Someday." No sense making the transition seem easier than it was. "I've had lots of luck with veggie steaks."
"Oh, man, that ain't natural. I'm getting ill at the thought."
"It takes a lot of self-discipline."
"Not to hurl?" Decker said. "I can believe it, brother."
"Pilates works for me," Monroe said. "Every morning. Helps focus the mind. It's not easy, but it's worth it. You'll thank me. Well, not right away. First, there'll be cursing. Yeah, lots of swearing. And breakage. You'll definitely want to break things for a while. But... someday."
"I have doubts about that, brother," Decker said. "Serious doubts. And if you say the word 'tofu,' I may have to kill you." He stood and offered his hand again. "But, I'm in."
Monroe stood to shake his hand, nodding and smiling encouragingly.
"What say we start tomorrow?" Decker said.
"Sounds good," Monroe said.
But his smile faltered a moment later. Monroe wanted to help his old friend join the admittedly meager ranks of the Weider Blutbad. He'd meant what he said: he'd help Decker, as much as possible. And yet, he had his doubts. Self-restraint was as unfamiliar a concept as discretion for the Decker he remembered. How strong was the man's motivation to change his behavior and entire lifestyle? For someone accustomed to indulging every bloody whim, adapting to a reformed life would be pure hell.
And Monroe had offered to lead the way.
Grimm airs on Friday nights at 9pm on NBC.
Image courtesy of Titan Books