Wayne is kidnapped by the gang that can almost shoot straight. It was planned to be an easy in and out. It wasn’t. Three teams are on tap for saving him: the police, with the FBI in charge; John’s security people, who don’t trust the lead FBI guy; and John’s friend from the mafia in Las Vegas. It’s a race to see who gets there first. Then backstabbing by network suits causes the cancellation of a top-rated series (New Orleans Blues), and a failing designer clothing line is saved at the last minute by an X-rated fashion show in Frankfort.
John gets his MD and interns at County General. John’s company-owned mine in Africa is nationalized. A team is sent to blow up the mine. In retaliation, the president sends a hit man after John at the hospital. John tells Ira Corn to finish it. Ira contacts the Chameleon for the hit.
John delays marriage to Gloria by joining the army for his residency. Sure enough, he’s challenged again. But he’s lined up a smart army lawyer to take care of it. Against the strong advice of family and his personal security, he volunteers as an army surgeon for the war in El Salvador. He’s in a MASH unit, starts a new band, has an active love life with the nurses, and slowly comes apart emotionally from treating maimed and dying young soldiers. He goes out on a routine scouting patrol that is virtually wiped out and returns to the jungle to save a team member being tortured by the enemy. He’s well trained for combat even though the army doesn’t know it.
John returns to the States, recuperates from the bullet wound, and plays for one year in professional football for the Raiders. Then he retires. So he thinks.
|Product dimensions:||5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 1.00(d)|
Read an Excerpt
Angel of Death
By Jay J. Stemmer
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 Jay J. Stemmer
All rights reserved.
It was a mild summer night in Hollywood. The smog had blown out to sea where it would wait until the morning ocean breeze brought it back and it would again blanket the city.
Jack DiColli, Ed Ramiri, Bobby Czyst and Richie Greenberg were sitting at the kitchen table playing cutthroat hearts. Ed's wife, Marion, was in the kitchen finishing the supper dishes. Richie took the first trick with the King of clubs and calmly punched back the two of spades. "Let's flush the bitch." Richie looking directly at Bobby. Ed played the six without comment. If Richie and Bobby were looking for trouble, he wanted no part of it.
Bobby was 5'8" and built like a bull. He'd had a hard 35 years and his nose had clearly been broken several times. He had a quick temper and been in fights most of his life. He usually won. Richie was a year younger and, although ten pounds lighter, he was four inches taller. He had fought professionally as a Light Heavyweight when he was 19. He was quick and had a good right hand but he cut too easily. The referees stopped his last two fights because of cuts over his eyes. This bothered Richie because he was ahead on points in both bouts. He could have been a champ, he had the skill.
"Are you going to play, or suck on her tit?" quipped Richie.
Bobby glared at him. He felt an instant urge to lunge across the table and punch Richie in the face but he knew better. He had made that mistake once before, five years ago in Vegas.
Bobby and two of his friends were drinking beer in the Sundowner, a no class strip joint, downtown. The stripper looked forty. You could see the stretch marks even in the bad light. Richie, at the next table, made a remark about her and Bobby threw the remaining half of his beer in Richie's face. Not that Bobby owed the girl anything, he'd only slept with her once. But he'd lost 300 bucks in a poker game that afternoon and was in a bad mood. Richie asked him to step outside behind the club. They both knew better than start anything inside. Once in back, Richie proceeded to methodically beat the shit out of him. Worst one-on-one beating Bobby ever had. Spent two days in the hospital.
Bobby looked at Jack, the next to play, as though it would help with his dilemma.
"Come on, Czyst, play!" Richie pronounced the name Sist. "It's C-eye-st," said Bobby, "C-eye-st." and played the ace of spades. Jack threw the Queen in the center of the table with a flip of the wrist.
"Shit." said Bobby as he gathered in the trick.
"Serves you right," said Jack, "you passed it to me."
Jack was the leader and had called the meeting. Five foot eight and only 140 pounds, he was the only one at the table who had killed anyone. His specialty was stickups. There was a convenience store owner's widow in Atlanta still wondering if they would ever catch the guy that shot her husband. Bobby was a loan shark's collector who liked to break the bones of unfortunates late with their payments. Richie was a con man who used his good looks to seduce older women. If they weren't generous enough, he'd been known to help himself to what ever he could find around the house. It was for services rendered, he figured. Ed was a burglar. Aside from some furniture in the apartment, which came furnished, the TV's, stereos, cameras and kitchen appliances were from his daytime job, as he called it.
Mason "Buddy" Budson was a wheel man and the only one that didn't have a police record. He was 5'10", 15 pounds overweight and had the average type of face that could blend into a crowd. It was his average looks that saved him in the past. He was described to police as average height, average looks, middle aged and a little overweight. The police would say, "that description fits ten million guys" and throw up their hands. Buddy was 44 but looked 10 years younger.
"I had to pass you the Queen, Jack," said Bobby, "I didn't have no cover. And this asshole," nodding towards Ed, "passes me the ace."
A knock at the door announced Buddy's arrival. Bobby answered it, thankful to get away from the cardtable. "About fucking time," he said as Buddy came through the door.
"Hi guys," he said as he bounced across the room. Buddy was in a good mood, but then he was always in a good mood. "What are you guys playing?"
"We're not, now that you're here." said Bobby as he went back to the table.
"Hey Marion," yelled Ed, "come on in and bring a couple of beers."
"Pull up a chair." Jack said to Buddy, moving over to make room at the table.
Jack picked up the cards and slowly looked at each of the guys in turn to be sure he had their attention. "How would each of you like a million bucks?"
"We're going to pull a snatch." Jack said flatly.
"Shit." was all Richie replied.
"I never been in a kidnaping before," said Bobby, "that's big stuff."
"Hey, I don't know about a snatch, man, you get the gas chamber." said Ed.
Buddy was optimistic. "But a million bucks ... each."
"Who do we grab?" asked Richie.
"You guys heard of John Roberts?" replied Jack.
"Big rock star, right?" added Bobby, "I seen him on the Carson show. We going to grab him?"
"No," replied Jack, "we put the snatch on his little brother."
"He's got bodyguards, don't he?" asked Bobby.
"John does. A couple of ex-cops. Big guys." Jack said.
"Does the brother have bodyguards?" continued Bobby.
"Of course he does," said Jack, "but I got a plan. They got an office in Century City and that's where we grab him."
"Wait a minute," said Ed. "He's got a security force and they got their headquarters right there. At the office. I read all about it in People's magazine. Those guys are all ex cops, CIA, FBI and guys like that. Man, those guys are all heavyweights. I don't like this at all."
"But that's the beauty of it. It's the last place they'd expect a snatch. Don't you see," said Jack, "we catch them with their guard down. Snatch the kid and get out before they know anything's wrong."
"So why don't we grab John," said Bobby, "he's the one with the money?"
"Because there's no reason to mess with the bodyguards. My way, there's no gunplay and no shooting."
"But his brother has bodyguards too, right?" said Bobby. "Right, but only to and from the office. Once he's inside, he doesn't see them again till it's time to go home."
"But the guards are right at the office, right? So, how do we get by them?"
"That's the beauty of my plan. I went up to the office last week to check it out."
"Now they're going to know you." said Richie.
"No they won't. I went in like I was looking for a job. I used a phoney name and wore a mustache."
"What kind of job?" asked Ed, "they only got lawyers up there."
"How do you know what they got up there?" said Bobby.
"From People's magazine. Don't you read?"
"You only read it cause your wife gets it." snapped Bobby.
"Enough, you guys," said Jack. "Anyway, I got a layout of the place. And here's the thing, while I'm waiting, a Sheriff and a Marshall come in to serve some papers. They got in, no questions asked. And that's what gave me the idea."
"You got to be kidding." said Richie.
"No, I'm not kidding. Me, Bobby and Richie go in like the cops just going to serve some papers. Just routine. One of the lawyers comes out and we say we have to serve the papers personally and he brings us right to the kids office. We tell the kid to come along peaceful or we have to shoot our way out and a lot of people are going to get hurt and he'll be the first one if the shooting starts."
"But you said no shooting." murmured Ed.
"Right, but there won't be any shooting because the guards won't know what's going on." said Jack. "It'll just be the kid and us. He gives some phoney excuse about stepping out to the hall to say good-bye to us. And when the elevator door opens, we all get in before anyone's the wiser. We go right to the basement where Buddy's waiting for us and we're on the street before anyone even misses him."
"How old is this kid?" said Marion. Her first comment of the night.
"He's 17, Marion. Not a little kid." replied Jack. "We get a garage, where Ed will be waiting and we switch cars."
"Then where do we go?" asked Bobby. "L.A. is going to be hot."
"We go straight out I5 to Bakersfield. Ed's brother-in law is going back east for two weeks and we hole out there. It's a farm, outside of town, so we don't have to worry about nosy neighbors. Marion will already be there and have everything set up."
Marion was looking at her husband. She knew about using the farm but she didn't know why. She was wondering what Ed knew and hadn't told her.
Ed couldn't have told her it was a kidnaping because this was the first he heard of it. Being a burglar, he thought this was going to be a big score. A robbery of some kind and they would need a temporary hideout.
"I don't like us walking in like that" said Bobby, "there's going to be a million witnesses."
"No they won't," replied Jack anticipating this objection. "Didn't you ever notice. All cops look alike, when they got their uniform on. We dye our hair and we'll be wearing hats. And nobody will pay any attention."
"I don't know," said Buddy, finally speaking, "the way you say it, it sounds so easy. So how come someone hasn't already done it?'
"Because nobody's thought of taking the brother," said Jack. "They think about putting the snatch on John and when they see the bodyguards around all the time, they give up. Nobody thinks of the brother."
"So we got to come up with a cop car." said Buddy. "What do we do, steal it?"
"No, better, we buy an old one and fix it up ourselves." said Jack. "There's a used car lot on Olympic and 2 that always has a couple of old cop cars. They sell them off every two years, you know. They got high mileage. This guy buys them at auction for a song and turns around and sells them to the blacks. After he repaints them, they look good and the speedometer says forty thousand miles. The blacks don't know it's really one hundred and forty thousand since the car's only two years old. So, we paint it back to the original color and we have our own Los Angeles Police car."
"Wait a minute," said Bobby, "why don't we get it from the guy before he repaints it, so we don't have to paint it again?"
"And tip him off to what we're doing?" replied Jack.
"Yeah, you're right." said Bobby, feeling foolish.
"How about the plates," asked Ed, "we need police license plates."
"Them, we steal." said Jack. "We take the plates from one cop car and put them on another cop car. Then we keep the plates from the second car. That way, when they look for the missing plates from the first car, they will be on another cop car. The guys in the second car won't notice the number's different, cause nobody looks at their plates anyway. If the guys in the first car ever find the second car, they got to start looking all over again for the third car. Ours. And by that time we'll be long gone."
"When do we take the plates?" asked Buddy.
"The night before." answered Jack and smiled. His plan was perfect and he knew it. The collected faces looked at one another. No one could see any flaws. Seizing on their silence, Jack added, "The ransom is seven million dollars." They looked at him as one and he added, "Two million for me and a million for each of you. I get the two since it was my plan."
There was no dissension. They were thinking about what they were going to do with a million dollars.
Since John was running to school, instead of driving the Ferrari, there was a double team to meet him at the door. Even though the campus was less than a mile away, they knew he would run five miles and the two cars would keep him bracketed. The backup team arrived the same time as Merle and Bob.
Jack, Richie, Bobby and Buddy were going over the plans again while Ed was giving the police car a final once over. The two car garage was in a residential neighborhood, a block from Pico Blvd., just south of Century City. Four minutes to the underground garage of John's office building. They had a police band on the radio in the van to monitor all the calls and let them know where the police were. Twenty minutes would get them through the San Fernando valley and out to Sylmar. If the coast was clear, they would continue over the grapevine and on to Bakersfield. If the police had roadblocks up, even though unlikely, they would take State Highway 14, just north of Sylmar, over the mountains to Palmdale and turn west at Mojave on State Highway 58 to enter Bakersfield from the rear.
"As you can see, I've thought of everything." smiled Jack. They inspected each others uniforms to make sure everything was in place. Jack was a Sheriff and he was to serve the fake papers. The other three looked like LAPD.
The short drive was uneventful. Buddy stayed in the car, illegally parked close to the basement escalator. Jack managed a smile at one of the secretaries in the elevator on the way to the 12 floor. The girl smiled back and got off at the 10 leaving the three of them alone.
Turning right from the elevator, Jack led the way towards the reception desk. "Pops" Warfield, the hall security guard nodded and smiled at the three police officers as they walked by him in front of the bank of elevators.
"Good morning, Miss. I have some papers for Mr. Wayne Roberts." Jack said, showing her the envelope in his hands.
"You can leave them here, Officer," she said, "I'll make sure he gets them."
"I can't Miss, he has to sign them and I have to give them to him personally."
"All right, I'll buzz one of his aides to come out and escort you."
"Thank you." Jack replied with a smile. Bobby and Richie flanked him, one step to the rear. Jack glanced to his left, through the glass partition. The guard was staring at him.
"Pops" had retired from the Los Angeles Police Department nine months ago after 28 years and a medical discharge for ulcers. He liked being a beat cop because that's where the action was. And he recognized the face of this Deputy Sheriff. He couldn't place it exactly, but he knew something wasn't right.
Jack turned his head back quickly. He'd seen that kind of look before. It was a cop look, trying to place him. What is keeping that aide, he said to himself. He threw a quick glance back to the hall and saw "Pops" coming towards him. Both Bobby and Richie sensed something was wrong and backed up a step. They looked towards the oncoming guard.
Just as "Pops" reached the glass partition, the office door opened and the aide appeared. Then everything happened so fast, it was almost a blur.
"Pops" pointed at Jack and said, "I know you." It was an accusation. "Pops" reached for his gun but Jack was faster and shot him through the middle of the chest at point blank range.
Richie yelled "Grab the door!"
Bobby got to the aide before he could react. Richie grabbed the receptionist by the arm, pulled her up and lurched for the open door. In less than five seconds the three men and two captives were inside the office and the door was closed behind them. All three guns were out. Jack put his gun to the aides head and told him to take them to Wayne Roberts' office or he would blow his head off. The aide had little choice.
In thirty seconds they were all in Wayne's office with the door shut. Jack explained quickly to Wayne, who remained calm at the sudden interruption, that they didn't want to hurt anyone. They wanted Wayne to go with them "peaceful like."
"If you don't, we're going to have to shoot our way out and a lot of people are going to get killed." Jack continued. He knew time was of the essence because the security people must have heard the gun shot. Wayne calmly agreed to go with them. He too had heard the shot and he saw three men far to nervous to be rational.
They quickly opened the door and stepped out of the office with Jack directly behind Wayne. Wayne's secretary was still at her desk just outside the office and had already called security. Staying at her post was a mistake. Jack grabbed her and pulled her into the pack. "We need something between us and the guards, just in case somebody gets trigger happy," Jack said to Wayne. "Don't worry, when we get downstairs, we let them go. They're extra baggage. We only want you." Wayne remained silent.
Excerpted from Angel of Death by Jay J. Stemmer. Copyright © 2016 Jay J. Stemmer. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
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