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“Next to Sam Hunter, Dirty Harry looks like Mother Theresa.” —New York Daily News

Los Angeles is a hot town. Hot women. Hot clubs. And, when private eye Sam Hunter is involved, hot tempers.

Sam doesn’t take kindly to threats, so when a street thug busts up his office and warns him to “Stay away from Domingo,” he might as well draw Sam a map pointing where to swing his fists. Soon, Sam finds himself racing around L.A., dodging bullets and ...
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The Big Enchilada

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“Next to Sam Hunter, Dirty Harry looks like Mother Theresa.” —New York Daily News

Los Angeles is a hot town. Hot women. Hot clubs. And, when private eye Sam Hunter is involved, hot tempers.

Sam doesn’t take kindly to threats, so when a street thug busts up his office and warns him to “Stay away from Domingo,” he might as well draw Sam a map pointing where to swing his fists. Soon, Sam finds himself racing around L.A., dodging bullets and spiraling deeper and deeper into a world of sex, drugs and danger. A teenage porn star, an heiress and some spoiled rich brat lead Sam to the Black Knight club, a place dark enough to hide heroin and sleaze from the bright lights of the law. What will he find when he finally reaches Domingo? Big rewards or a deadly end?

From Edgar Award-winning L.A. Morse, author of THE FLESH EATERS and THE OLD DICK, comes the thrilling story of pimps, pushers and porn that will hit you in the chest like the kickback of a Colt .38 Special.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781497610637
  • Publisher: Open Road Media
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Series: A Sam Hunter Mystery , #1
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 206
  • Sales rank: 127,165
  • File size: 2 MB

Meet the Author

L. A. Morse won a Best Paperback Original Edgar Award from the MWA (Mystery Writers of America) for his first novel, THE OLD DICK, an homage to the classic detective tale with an 80-year-old working detective. He went on to publish two novels in an over-the-top re-take on the private-eye style mystery, SLEAZE and THE BIG ENCHILADA. Under a pseudonym, Runa Fairleigh, he switched sub-genres and created a perfect example of the classic cozy mystery, AN OLD-FASHIONED MYSTERY. In a complete change of styles, he then wrote a period thriller based on the historical character Sawney Beane, the notorious and legendary cannibal killer of Highland Scotland, called THE FLESH EATERS. 
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Read an Excerpt

The Big Enchilada

A Sam Hunter Mystery

By L.A. Morse

Open Road Integrated Media, Inc.

Copyright © 1982 L. A. Morse, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4976-1063-7


It was another stifling hot summer day. A sulphurous yellow haze hung over most of Los Angeles. From my window I could see the cars backed up about two miles at one of the freeway interchanges. Down below the winos were shuffling around looking for some patch, of shade where they could escape the sun. Even the packs of kids that would usually be breaking windshields or ripping antennas off of parked cars were not on the streets today. It was that hot.

As I watched my old fan rotate and attempt to push the hot air from one corner to another, I thought it would be a good idea to take a vacation from all of this for a while. A couple of weeks on a beach in Mexico, and the worst of the hot spell would probably be over, and I would be able to get some work done. If it got a little bit cooler, I might also have some work to do.

The lettering on the door said SAM HUNTER, INVESTIGATIONS, but there had not been much to investigate lately. The law about no-fault divorces had cut into my business, and the same with all the computers they were using for credit, checks. But it could have been worse. There were still nasty people who wanted dirty jobs done. They wanted the goods in order to get an especially juicy alimony settlement or to do a little civilized blackmail. And that was fine with me. The nastier and the dirtier they were, the more I would charge them, and they didn't have any choice because I usually turned up just as much dirt on them. So I was working less, but my income was just about the same. It wasn't one of your noble callings, but most of the time it suited me all right, and best of all I was on my own, I didn't have to account to any son of a bitch for what I was doing, and if I wanted to tell someone to fuck off, I did just that.

I had a few cases going on, but they were strictly back burner stuff for a while. If I took off for a couple of weeks, that would probably be just enough time for them to come to a boil, and I could finish them off quick. I don't care how messy an assignment is, it's the waiting around for something to happen that gets to me.

So I had pretty well decided that I would go somewhere south of Mazatlán and was considering if I should take Maria with me. She'd been with me about eight months as my secretary, and so far I didn't mind having her around. She was dynamite to look at, and she had the good sense to keep her distance until I wanted her for something. What she had to do, she did right, and she didn't try to do any more. She didn't try to dig herself in and get a stranglehold on me and the office. There were women who had tried to do that to me, who thought they could improve upon the way I did things, but they didn't stay around long. So far Maria was okay. She also spoke Spanish and was not a bad lay, so I thought I might as well take her with me.

I was about to call Maria in to tell her we were going to Mexico when I heard her say something like, "You can't go in there."

Whatever she had said was obscured by the door to my office flying open and slamming against the wall. Even though the door was unlocked, my visitor had not bothered to use the doorknob but had pushed it open with such force that the jamb had splintered and the door itself had nearly been ripped off its hinges.

It happened so quickly that I had no time to react when the doorway filled with the biggest, ugliest man I had ever seen. He must have been more than six-eight and weighed nearly five hundred pounds. His shoulders touched either side of the door, and he must have been sixty inches around the chest and seventy-five around the waist. All of his features were grotesquely over-sized except for his eyes, which were little black slits nearly lost in the masses of flesh of his overhanging forehead and puffy cheeks. His forehead and jowls were covered with dozens of ugly red warts, as were the backs of the largest hands I have ever seen. They looked like giant yellow sponges on the ends of his arms. They were so large that at first I didn't even notice that he was carrying a gun in his right hand. It was a police .38, which is a fairly large weapon, but it looked like a child's water pistol in his giant fist.

He moved into the center of the room, his vast bulk dwarfing everything in it.

I had stood up by this time, angry at the way he had entered my office, angry as hell at him pointing a gun at me, and getting madder every second looking at his ugly hog's face.

Before I could say anything, a kind of gurgling sound came from somewhere in his face, and I heard, "Stay away from Domingo."

"Who are you and what do you want?" Not the best line, but it was all I came up with.

His expression remained unchanged, but that same gurgling voice coming from far away, deep inside all that flesh, said, "You heard me. I had a message to give. I gave it. Stay away from Domingo."

I was really angry then. As others have learned to their misfortune, I do not take kindly to orders, no matter who gives them. This time, however, the size of my visitor, and the size of his gun, suggested that some caution was in order. Especially if I was going to find out what the hell was going on. I had never heard of any Domingo, but obviously Domingo had heard of me. Figuring that subtlety would be lost on the ape in my office, I was very straight.

"I don't know what you're talking about. I don't know any Domingo. Who sent you with the message?"

He had not moved an inch from where he had settled in the center of the room, but he seemed to be tensing his muscles for the effort of turning his body around. I noticed that his lips hardly moved when he spoke.

"Last time. If you want to stay healthy, stay away from Domingo."

He slowly turned and started to move toward the door.

I moved quickly around my desk and started to grab his arm.

"Listen, you ugly son of a bitch—"

Before I could finish my sentence he had whirled around with a speed I thought impossible for him. With the thumb and first two fingers of his left hand, he grabbed me at the base of my jaw. With seemingly no effort he lifted me about a foot off the ground so that I was slightly over his head. He looked up at me with the small black slits in his face, and a sound came from inside him that I suppose was meant to be a laugh. Then, as though he was tired of the sport, he threw me through the air for about ten feet, where I crashed into the wall. I hit with the back of my shoulder, and it felt like I'd been slammed with a sledgehammer. I went momentarily numb, and then my back started throbbing.

Now, I'm more than six foot three and weigh more than two hundred pounds, but he handled me with no trouble at all. In fact I don't think he was even straining. As if to make that point, he put two fingers under the edge of my desk. With about as much exertion as you would use to brush away a fly, he raised his hand. The desk flew three feet in the air, flipped, and crashed upside down with a splintering sound. The desk was a large one, of solid oak, but he treated it like it was cardboard.

With that display he turned and left the office.

I was standing up, still a bit dazed from being thrown against the wall, when Maria rushed in and threw her arms around me with a sob.

She was shaking and badly frightened, but that only served to make her more attractive. She had some Indian blood in her which gave her a light olive complexion, and she had shiny black hair which she wore long. She had a full, rich body which she displayed to good advantage. That day she wore a very short skirt that showed almost all of her long, well-shaped legs. She had on a thin blouse that was open except where it was tied beneath her large firm breasts. She was wearing no bra—she never did—and her dark nipples were easily visible beneath the semi-transparent material.

Holding her close, I felt the musky scent of her hair begin to have its effect. She was still crying, and I could see she was badly frightened, but that was all right. I've found that nothing makes a woman readier for sex than a good scare.

I turned her head up so that she was looking at me.

"Sam, are you hurt?" she said between sobs.

I didn't answer her. Instead I kissed her hard on the mouth. After a second she responded, and my hands went to the knot in her blouse, untying it. I covered her magnificent melon breasts, feeling the nipples grow hard in the palms of my hands.

I felt her hand slide up my leg. She quickly unzipped my fly and put her hand around me.

I put my hand under her skirt and felt the heat rising off her. I put my hand under the flimsy material of her panties and tore them from her.

I entered her quickly and took her standing up against the wall. I bounced her roughly into the wall, my hands squeezing, digging into her breasts.

Soon the nature of her sobs changed. She was no longer frightened. Her fear turned into mindless ecstasy as I slammed her again and again.

When I was through I let her down slowly. She slid down the wall until she was sitting on the floor, skirt above her waist, legs spread wide, totally spent.

I zipped up my pants and left the office.

I wanted to get something to eat.

I also wanted some information. About Domingo. Whoever or whatever that was.

My vacation would have to wait. Until after I found Domingo.

At the very least, Domingo owed me a new desk.


Sitting in the back booth of Luis's burrito place, I was feeling a bit better. I had eaten a couple of one-pound chile relleno burritos that were so hot they drained my sinuses, scalded my throat, and temporarily turned the tendons in my elbows and knees to water. But they filled up my belly and helped to clear my head. A couple of Dos Equis beers, and the fire in my mouth had died down, and my initial anger had also cooled.

I gave it some thought. Did I really care about what had happened? My office and my dignity had been messed up, but neither of those were worth a hell of a lot. At least my office sure wasn't, and my dignity wasn't such a precious commodity either, but—shit—there was something at stake.

When I was a young kid my father once sat me down for a serious talk, probably the only one we ever had. He looked at me for a long time, and I remember thinking he seemed kind of sad. "Don't let them fuck you over," he said, "don't ever let them fuck you over. There are a lot of assholes out there who, because they've got more money or more muscle or more fire power, think they can make everybody play their game. And mostly they're right, and everybody does play their game, but there's no way that they can deal with the man who doesn't give a shit about their game—who plays his own game in his own way. They're so used to getting their own way that when someone doesn't jump when they say jump, they don't know what to do. If he doesn't drool when they shake the carrot, they can't run him. The man that won't jump is a dangerous man because he's his own man. It's not a question of manhood or pride or any of that shit; it's a matter of survival. If you let them stick it to you once, then you're theirs, and you're playing their game. But the man who won't take any shit—and who doesn't give a shit—is a free man, no matter what happens."

My father was a straight man in a crooked town. A week after he talked to me he was killed. I don't know if he died a free man or not, but I do know he died. Besides his last advice, his legacy to me consisted of a dog-eared copy of Moby Dick and a book on how to win at poker. I wasn't sure what happened to the books, but I always remembered what he said. For a long time I never really understood it—what kid would?—but then I went to Viet Nam.

Somehow or other I found myself in military intelligence. Some people say those two words are contradictory, and they may be right, but I had a pretty good time learning how to conduct an investigation and assess information. I had a better time, though, when I wasn't working. I was living with a Vietnamese girl. She was the only woman I ever lived with, and the only one I ever wanted to live with. She was delicately beautiful, serenely composed, and genuinely tender. While physically very different, Maria reminded me of her in a lot of ways, but I tried not to think about that too much.

I had planned to take the girl back stateside with me when my tour was up. At least I had planned that until four army punks got drunk and decided they wanted a woman and she happened to be nearby. She never regained consciousness.

It hit me harder than anything in my life, but I was still playing by the book in those days. I conducted the investigation myself and built an air-tight case against the four punks, but it turned out that one of them belonged to a congressman and another to a general. So, in spite of my protests, the matter was allowed to drop quietly because there was "insufficient evidence," because nobody needed a scandal, and because, anyway, who cared what happened to a slope? I finally got my father's message. The four who did it thought the whole thing was pretty funny ... right up to the time I got to them and made sure they wouldn't ever again think anything was funny.

Then the army started to pay attention to me. They wanted to put it to me but decided it might backfire, and so they sent me home with nothing but an education in the way things were in the world and a cold, hard, empty space inside me. They also made sure I'd have a lot of trouble ever getting a job, and so I decided to make use of all the things they had taught me. It had worked out all right, I guess.

I shook my head. Christ, I thought, being thrown against the wall must have jarred something loose to send me on that trip down memory lane. Fuck it. Whatever the reasons, I knew I couldn't let the episode in my office pass.

I thought about it. Domingo meant nothing to me. I kind of had the nagging feeling I had seen the word somewhere recently, but as hard as I tried to place it, it kept eluding me. I knew there was no point in pressing it. If it was there, it would have to surface by itself.

When Luis brought me another beer, for no particular reason I asked him if he had ever heard of anyone called Domingo.

"Domingo? I do not think so, Señor Hunter. The only Domingo I know is Sunday. That is the Spanish word for Sunday."

"Yeah, Luis, I know. You've never heard of a club or a gang or anything like that called Domingo?"

Luis screwed up his face as though he was thinking real hard, but I knew that all his brains were in his fat belly. "No, Señor Hunter, I do not know anything like that. All I know is cooking, and I do not get into trouble."

"Who said anything about trouble?"

"I know you, Señor Hunter, and if you are looking for someone, there is trouble." He picked up the empty bottles and waddled back to his stove.

I kind of liked Luis. He wasn't very bright, but he sure could cook. And this time he was right, there was going to be trouble. I just didn't know who was involved or what it was about. But I began to think it must be pretty important to go to all that trouble to tell me to stay away from something I didn't even know about. That felt like it meant big money, and that began to look like it might be worth my while.

The more I thought about it, the stupider this whole thing seemed to be. If that gorilla had not come to warn me off, I would have been on my way to Mexico for a few weeks of fishing and screwing. Now, because of that warning, I was determined to find out what the hell it was all about.

Of course, that might be the point of it. A setup of some kind. Get me involved in something that's going to mean trouble for me. Set me up as a fall guy to cover up for someone else or to get revenge for something I had done. It was possible, but I didn't like it. To set me up this way as a fall guy seemed too uncertain. If someone wanted to do that, there must be a dozen surer ways.

Revenge was a better possibility. From Viet Nam onwards I had made more than a few enemies. I didn't keep track, but there were a lot of them. And a lot of them hated me enough to kill me—the ones I had sent to prison, the ones I had smashed up, the ones whose sweet deals I had soured. There were a lot of them, all right, but they'd probably want to get me in a more direct way. A shotgun blast in the stomach, maybe. Or they would have had that ape finish me off. The way things had gone, he could have done it easily, but he obviously had instructions to be gentle. No, it didn't look like revenge was the reason.


Excerpted from The Big Enchilada by L.A. Morse. Copyright © 1982 L. A. Morse, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of Open Road Integrated Media, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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