When his brother is kidnapped, the Executioner goes berserk
When the Pittsfield Mafia destroyed Mack Bolan’s family, the only survivor was his brother Johnny—a wide-eyed teen not prepared for life on the front lines of a war against the mob. Before he began his assault on organized crime, Mack sent Johnny into hiding along with Mack’s fiancée, Val. Now they’ve been kidnapped by an enterprising thug who thinks he can use the Executioner’s family against him. The Boston mob will pay for his mistake.
The city’s Mafia has splintered into factions, and Bolan is about to blow them wide open. He starts by marching into a few mob hangouts, killing the man in charge and demanding his brother back. When he learns that Johnny and Val might be dead, he loses it completely. When he’s being cautious, the Executioner is the deadliest man in America. Angry, he’s more trouble than an atomic bomb.
Boston Blitz is the 12th book in the Executioner series, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
The Executioner, Book Twelve
By Don Pendleton
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1972 Pinnacle Books
All rights reserved.
At about two o'clock on a broodingly overcast Monday afternoon in Boston's North End, a tall man with peculiarly icy eyes descended upon the modest billiard parlor owned by small-time Mafioso Julio LaRocca.
Marty Cara, presiding over the beer bar at the front of the pool hall, was taking advantage of a business lull and preparing for the usual late-afternoon rush.
Two older citizens of the neighborhood nursed beers and talked quietly at the end of the bar.
At the rear, two pool tables were in noisy use by a party of North End youths who should have been in school.
Proprietor LaRocca, a squatly built man of about 35, was quietly pursuing a solitary game of billiards at the opposite side of the house.
Bartender Cara looked up expectantly at the entrance of the new arrival, then reacted visibly with a nervous movement toward the rear of the establishment.
The visitor wore a conservatively tailored business suit and a light topcoat, rubber-soled shoes with ripple threads, no hat. The topcoat was open in front and flapping to the sides as the man walked. He halted Cara with a scowl and an almost imperceptible movement of the head.
The bartender jerked to a frozen stop and, in a voice with absolutely no air pushing it, inquired, "Yessir?"
The tall man issued a single, cold, command. "LaRocca."
"He, uh, what's that, sir?"
The man said it again. "LaRocca."
Cara threw a panicky glance toward the billiard section. "Back there," he whispered.
The tall man with the icy eyes said, "Let's go."
Bartender Cara reluctantly led the way, walking stiffly several paces ahead of the caller. He ignored a crack from one of the kids at the pool tables and made a careful turn into the billiard area, halting across the table from the boss.
"Guy here to see you, Mr. LaRocca," he breathlessly announced. LaRocca deadpanned a shot off the cushions; then, without looking up from his game, replied, "So?"
"I guess you better talk to 'im."
"I don't better talk to nobody, Marty," the "beast of Richmond Street" reminded his employee.
"He's, uh, right here, boss."
"So I'll be with him in a minute, right here," LaRocca said.
He was lining up the next shot when a small metallic object fell to the green felt directly behind the cue ball.
LaRocca's shoulders hunched slightly. He glared at the intruding object, then something kindled deep within suddenly flaring eyes and he froze there, poised into the shot and staring at the military marksman's medal which had joined the game—and which could have but one significance.
A frigid voice above him suggested, "Finish the shot, Julio. A bucket of blood says you don't make it."
The chatter at the pool tables directly opposite abruptly ceased. A youthful voice over there gasped, "Isn't that ... is that ...?"
Someone else whispered, "Shut up!"
LaRocca was still frozen by the marksman's medal. Time moved sluggishly on, and the silence became a living presence. Presently, in a heavily thickened voice, the Mafioso growled, "Whatta you want here with me?"
"Figure it out," the ice man suggested.
LaRocca straightened suddenly and threw the cue stick at the visitor's head, scrambling away in the same motion in a desperate run for life.
The tall man seemed prepared for the move. He swayed back in easy avoidance of the cue stick and immediately a black autoloading pistol appeared in his hand, seemingly from nowhere. It was equipped with a silencer, and it quietly coughed out two sighing little reports of death on the wing.
The first bullet plowed into LaRocca's head, just behind the ear, and the second splattered into the temple. The beast of Richmond Street hit the floor in a skid which he never felt and came to rest in a growing pool of blood which he would never miss.
Someone in the background exclaimed, "Jesus!"
Marty Cara was transfixed at the side of the billiard table, eyes glazed with horror and staring at the ugly black weapon in the killer's fist. His chin dropped and he stammered, "I'm not-honest, I'm not ..."
The tall man commanded, "Tell them! I'm here. Tell them somebody knows why! Tell them!"
Cara's eyes remained on the weapon. He licked his lips and replied, "Yessir, I will, I'll tell them."
The icy eyes raked the witnesses at the other side of the room. Two of the boys tried smiles that failed. One carefully put down a cue stick and pointedly showed that both hands were unencumbered.
The man addressed that side of the house. "Spread the word." Then he sheathed his weapon in a rig beneath his coat and walked away from there.
Cara slumped against the table and weakly passed a hand across his face.
Several of the boys ran to the front of the building to cautiously peer through the window.
Two others haltingly approached the remains of Julio LaRocca.
"Did you see that fuckin' Beretta?" one asked in awed tones.
"Yeah, but Julio didn't," the other replied. "He never saw nothing!"
One of the oldsters from the bar had moved up beside Marty Cara to stare unemotionally at the interrupted last game of billiards. He reached over and picked up the marksman's medal and rubbed it between thumb and forefinger.
"That was Mack Bolan, wasn't it?" the old man asked in a quiet Italian accent.
Cara took a shuddering breath. "Yeah. The Executioner. Never saw him before, Gino, but I knew it was him the minute he stepped in here. Something—I don't know, the way he walked, the way he looked at me. I just knew."
"Wonder what he wants here."
The bartender again shuddered. "Can't you see? Hell, can't you see what he wants?"
A few minutes after the hit on the Richmond Street pool hall, an excited runner burst into the back room of a small bakery in the same neighborhood—Boston's "Little Italy" section.
This was a "numbers shop" operated by Antonio "Gags" Gaglione, lottery king of the North End. Five men were present, including two neighborhood runners, a bookkeeper, Gaglione himself, and his ever-present gunbearer, Willie "Tumbler" Pacchese.
The bookkeeper had just completed a routine math problem on a pocket calculator while the other men stood a quiet vigil above him.
As the sixth man burst into the room, the bookkeeper was announcing, "Better lay off a couple hundred on the two-eight combination, Gags. We could get burned bad on that one."
Gaglione threw a disapproving glance at the new arrival as he replied, "Yeah, okay, I'll try to spread some around Chelsea and Revere." Then he turned full attention to the disheveled man who had just lurched into the room. "Whattaya mean running in here that way?" he growled. "What ten-year-old kid is chasing you now?"
The runner had no breath to waste and he was not spending it on elaborate explanations. "Somebody just hit Julio LaRocca!" he gasped. "Marty says it was Mack Bolan!"
Gaglione turned abruptly away and hauled a cigar from his breast pocket. "What'd you say?" he muttered.
"Yeah yeah, shut up. What gives Marty the idea he knows Bolan from Boston beans? Julio's really dead, though?"
"God you oughta see him, I guess he's dead enough!"
A strained quietness descended and ruled the numbers shop. Tumbler Pacchese produced a snub-nosed revolver from a shoulder holster and silently inspected it.
"Put that thing away," Gaglione commanded softly. His gaze fell on the bookkeeper. "I thought Bolan was out West somewheres," he said, as though speaking only for his own benefit.
"He was tearing up Frisco just yesterday," Pacchese put in sourly. "That's a long jump—Frisco to Boston."
"Maybe he heard about airplanes," a runner snickered.
Pacchese gave the man a hard stare. "You find something funny?" he snarled.
The runner spread his hands and turned away, muttering, "So let's all have a good cry."
A seventh presence entered that back room at that precise instant and the runner found himself turning directly into a voice of coldest steel.
The single word was spat out quietly but it carried throughout the room and with absolute authority.
The numbers' king was frozen in a flat-footed stance, bull head swiveled to the sound of doom. Pacchese's gun hand was grafted to the button of his coat, fingers spread and reluctantly pointing the way to possible salvation.
The bookkeeper was staring at the big guy who was poised just inside the doorway, his fingers gripping the pocket calculator as though he were about to run a computation of life expectancies.
Nothing was moving in that room but tumbling thoughts, racing blood, and thudding hearts.
Gaglione said, "Come on in and let's talk. When did you get to town? Been laid yet?"
Even the bookkeeper knew it was a dumb try.
The tall man with the death face tossed a marksman's medal into the room. It hit the floor and slid across to rest against Gaglione's foot.
The numbers king sighed and bent down as though to pick up the medal, but as he went down he hissed to his bodyguard, "Take him!"
That which immediately followed was somewhat blurred in the memories of the surviving witnesses. One account has a gun in Bolan's hand even before he tossed the death medal into the room; another insists that the Executioner allowed Tumblers Pacchese to make the first break, then beat him to the draw.
The evidence at the scene shows only that Pacchese died of gunshot wounds of the head and heart. His gunhand was also drilled squarely through the middle, the bullet passing on through into the abdomen—this indicating that the bodyguard was not allowed to complete the draw.
Antonio Gaglione suffered a single but massive gunshot wound through the top of the skull, this official coroner's finding substantiating the eye-witness stories that the numbers boss died while bending over to pick up a marksman's medal from the floor.
Again the Executioner left the succinct message to the survivors: "Tell them I'm here. Tell them somebody knows why."
Fifteen minutes after this attack, a plumbing and heating contractor known as "Pipes" Lavallino was gunned down in his upstairs offices near North Station, in the presence of a dozen witnesses. In an almost identical pattern, a marksman's medal and a terse message was left behind.
At four o'clock that same afternoon, an emergency session was convened at Boston's City Hall. An open circuit teleconference was conducted with lawenforcement agencies in California, Florida, New York, and Washington—with the result that "advisory" delegations were immediately dispatched from those agencies for temporary duty assignments with the Boston police.
The official report, rendered by the office of the mayor at six o'clock, concluded with this paragraph:
"Consensus opinion is that Mack Bolan has shifted his operations to this area and that a full-scale Executioner war is in store for this city and suburban communities. The Greater Boston Unified Crime Prevention procedures have been activated and placed under the central coordination of Detective Inspector Kenneth J. Trantham. Program priorities to be shared by two major efforts: (1) apprehend Mack Bolan, dead or alive; (2) ascertain whereabouts of Johnny Bolan and Valentina Querente to publicly produce them alive and unharmed at the earliest possible moment."
Tell them I'm here! Tell them somebody knows why!
By early evening, all of Greater Boston knew that the Executioner was there.
Aside from the police, however, only a small handful of now desperately frightened men knew, for sure, why Mack Bolan had come to town.
He had come to bust that town wide open. He had come to rattle and pound and terrorize until two very dear lives were shaken from the deadly grasp of the most malevolent criminal force in existence.
He had come to rescue his kid brother and the woman he loved from a fate which even Bolan would not contemplate.
And ... if he were too late ... if Johnny and Val were already beyond help ... then only God and the devil knew for sure what Mack Bolan would do to the underworld of Boston.
At that moment, not even Bolan himself could have known.
Tell them I'm here!
Tell them somebody knows why!
It was the message from a desperate war machine, in frenzy mode. It was a message of doom. It was, in every sense, the message from a tortured soul, acting out the only course of action available.
And somebody in Greater Boston know why.CHAPTER 2
She'd been a 26-year-old maiden schoolteacher—never married "or anything"—but a damned pretty and a savvy one and Bolan was a doomed man on the run with his life's blood leaking out of him when he first placed eyes on Valentina Querente.
She had given him first-aid, shelter, then understanding and ultimately she'd given him her love. Reluctantly he had accepted it, knowing that he was doomed, knowing that he could add nothing to her life but anxiety, misery and eventually tragedy.
But Mack Bolan was no superman. He bled like other men, he fell in love like other men and he sometimes made wrong decisions like other men.
He had made a bad decision regarding Valentina Querente. She had convinced him that, from her point of view, it would be far better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all-that pain and anxiety were every woman's price for love and fulfillment.
All this had happened during the first campaign-at Pittsfield. Bolan had not expected to live beyond that initial engagement. And, yes, there had been a strong element of selfishness in that decision to include Val in his final bloody mile on earth. A woman's love could be a wonderful and reassuring thing to a dying man. Bolan had selfishly accepted Val's love and recklessly returned it tenfold.
And then, miraculously, he had survived the hell at Pittsfield. He saw that victory as a brief reprieve, a mere stay of sentence, and he had sallied out to meet the enemy again on new ground, far away from his beloved Valentina, and he had told her at that time, "I am dead. Bury me, Val. Mourn me if you have to, but make it brief. Then pull your life together and give that bright love of yours to a guy who can give you something valuable in return, something better than a handful of ashes."
Val had not buried Mack Bolan. She had, as it were, ressurected him—via the kid brother, Johnny. Very quietly and with the connivance of sympathetic local officials she'd had herself declared Johnny Bolan's legal guardian, and she had gone with him into hiding.
"Protective concealment" for Mack Bolan's brother had been, of course, an entirely necessary thing. Simple vengeance alone would have been motivation enough for a rub-out of the kid brother. More than vengeance, though, mob possession of Johnny's fate would give them an influence over their hated enemy which could probably never be gained via any other method.
Valentina had voluntarily cast her fate beside Johnny's. There was nothing linking her to the Bolan wars nor to Bolan himself, not until she allied herself with his only surviving relative.
So, yes, Valentina Querente was a very special item in Mack Bolan's heart.
As for Johnny Bolan—the kid had been a mere toddler when big brother Mack had first gone off to war ... that time, in an infinity called Korea. Johnny had grown up with that soldierly image forever in front of him. Mack had written him personal letters, at least once each month, throughout those long years between toddler and teen-ager. He had sent him souvenirs and gifts from exotic lands, and he'd taken the kid camping and vacationing during those infrequent visits home.
Actually, despite the years and miles of separation between the two, these brothers probably had closer bonds of family and friendship than is usually found in a normal home environment.
Mack had forever been the hero in young Johnny's life, always larger than life, perfection personified, the "dream" big brother of every kid who'd ever grown up without one.
Upon leaving Pittsfield that final time, big brother Mack had given Johnny this parting word of advice: "Make something of yourself. Forget the past, forget me. Mom and Pop and Cindy are buried out there in Hillside Gardens. And so am I, Johnny, so am I. So you're the last Bolan. Make it count. For all our sakes, Johnny, make it count."
Johnny Bolan did not, could not, forget. His world had been snatched away from him by forces that he did not control and which he could not fully comprehend. Brother Mack had remained the shining symbol of strength, courage and security in a world suddenly turned hostile and unbelievable.
The kid had kept a scrapbook of the Executioner's adventures against an enemy which was also considerably larger than life, and it must have been a terrible temptation for him to confide his secret to close friends at the private academy which was sheltering him and Valentina-he as a student, she as a faculty member.
Valentina herself had been "agitating" for another meeting with the man she loved. "One hour," the contact had relayed to Bolan just very recently, "she wants one hour."
"I don't have one," was Bolan's curt reply.
Excerpted from Boston Blitz by Don Pendleton. Copyright © 1972 Pinnacle Books. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I discovered this series together with its companion book, Stony Man, in my local Kmart about 15 years ago. Most of them blur together. They are a lot of action just barely held together by the barest pretense of a plot. In some ways it’s like watching a Scooby Doo episode—you know exactly how the story is going to go before you ever start watching. The background is that Mack Bolan’s family has been murdered and he’s decided to wipe out Organized Crime as an act of vengeance. So in the early books like this one he attacks the organized crime in a city and pretty much kills everybody. In this particular novel the author added to the basic plot by having the mafia have gotten their hands on Bolan’s younger brother and his ex-girlfriend. So there’s not much to the novels, but if you just want some senseless violence without a lot of thinking required, this series is fun.