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Extreme Justice by Don Pendleton released on Aug 01, 2008 is available now for purchase.
Read an Excerpt
San José, Costa Rica
Mack Bolan held the rented Ford at a nerve-racking fifty miles per hour, staying with the flow of traffic that jammed Avenida Central without ever seeming to slow its pace or stop for red lights. He kept a sharp eye on the drivers around him, many of them seemingly intent on suicide, while flicking hasty glances toward his rearview mirror, watching for police cars.
Bolan didn't even want to think about what local law enforcement might say about a gringo driving through their capital with military hardware piled up in the backseat of his rental car.
"How much farther?" Bolan asked his navigator.
Blanca Herrera was a thirty-something knockout, her angel face framed by a fall of glossy jet-black hair, above a body that could grace a calendar.
Herrera checked the city street map, measuring with slender fingers. "Two kilometers, perhaps," she said at last. "Turn right on Calle Quarentaor Fortieth Street, you would saythen drive north to Avenida Cinco."
Fifth Avenue. Unfortunately, they weren't going to a fashion show at Sachs.
"If I may say again"
He cut her off. "No calls. No warnings."
"But I wouldn't have to speak."
"Hang-ups are worse. We can't do anything to spook him now."
The lazy shrug did interesting things inside her clinging blouse. "Ah, you know best. But if he is not home when we arrive "
"We wait," he finished for her. "Find a vantage point and settle in."
"However long it takes?"
"Unless you know some way to read his mind and tell me where he's gone."
"No," Herrera replied. "I can't do that."
"This gringo is muy importante, yes?"
"Muy importante, right."
"But you expect to find him home alone? No bodyguards?"
"Gil Favor likes his privacy," Bolan replied. "Besides, he's paid your government for years to keep him safe and sound."
"Some individuals, perhaps," she answered somewhat stiffly.
"The police, the prosecutors and at least one president."
"Ex-president," the sultry woman corrected him.
"Whose squeaky-clean successor hasn't made a move to change the status quo where Favor is concerned."
"Are you forgetting that we have no extradition treaty with your country?"
"Nope. Neither is good old Gil. That's why he didn't need a troop of heavies. Until now."
"And you believe he will be unaware of any recent danger to himself?"
"I've got my fingers crossed," Bolan replied.
That was the rub, of course. The FBI and U.S. Marshals Service had been sitting on the WITSEC murders, pulling every string available to maintain a media blackout, but any form of censorship had limits and the voluntary kind was typically as leaky as a sieve. Even without the press or television, Favor would have contacts in the States to warn him of a shift in climate, someone turning up the heat.
What would he do? Sit tight or run for cover with a new identity established in advance? Was he already running, gone before Bolan could corner him?
Or had the others, those who wanted Favor dead, already come and gone?
We'll see, Bolan thought. It wouldn't be much longer now.
"I've been here once before," he said. "But farther south."
"A job like this one?"
"I am sorry," Herrera informed him, face diverted to scan shops and restaurants. "It's not my place to ask such things."
She knew better, but they'd run out of small talk after ten or fifteen minutes. "If we find Favor at home"
"We'll find him."
"When we find him, what approach will you be using?"
"Short and not so sweet," said Bolan. "Someone wants him dead. His best chance of survival is to hop a flight with me and put his enemies where they can't do him any harm."
"Will he believe that? Knowing who and what they are?"
Gil Favor wasn't stupid. He was something of a genius, in fact, where numbers were concerned, and he was also as crooked as a swastika. He'd realize that locking up the man in charge, even inside a death row cage, wouldn't remove the price tag from his own head. Whether Favor testified or not, his chances of survival on the streetor anywhere outside protective custodywere slim to none.
"Why should he help you, then?"
"It's my job to persuade him," Bolan answered.
"And may I ask how you intend to do that?"
Bolan frowned, making his right-hand turn, dodging a motorcyclist who seemed to think lane markers were an optical illusion. His answer was curt and to the point.
"I'll let him flip a coin."
"Give the man a choice," Bolan elaborated. "He can deal with me right now, or with someone else's shooters down the line."
"I see. And if he's not persuaded by your logic?"
"Favor's coming with me one way or another," Bolan said. "This time next week, he'll be in New York City, on a witness stand."
"What happens if you take him all that way and he refuses to cooperate in court?"
"Somebody else's problem," Bolan answered. "My job is finished on delivery."
They rode in silence for a time, then Bolan saw the sign and said, "Fifth Avenue."
"Go west," Herrera said. "His house will be the third one on our left."
Bolan followed her directions, thankful that the major rush of traffic was behind them. Fifth Avenue was quiet by comparison, with stately homes on either side.
Here's money, Bolan thought as he counted houses on the left.
"You see it, yes?" she asked. "Just there, the brick and stone."
"I see it," Bolan said. "And he's got company."
Gil Favor didn't simply like his privacy. He craved it, needed to be left alone the same way that he needed food, water and oxygen. It was the bestperhaps the onlyway for him to stay alive.
Throughout his forty-seven years, no single interaction with the other members of his species had left Favor with a sense of what his fellow humans called fulfillment. Granted, he was happy while stealing and spending someone else's hard-earned money, even found release with prostitutes who idolized him for an hour with the meter running.
But as far as anything resembling a normal life?
Not even close.
That was to be expected now, given the circumstances of his present situation. He had millions of dollars in a bank account the U.S. government could never crack, lived well beyond the reach of federal warrants and didn't really mind being a man without a country in his middle age.
He was about to pour himself another after-dinner brandy when the first alarm chimed softly. Nothing to get overwrought about, beyond the fact that any chime at all meant trespassers outside his home.
Now what the hell?
Favor had never been a violent manwell, almost never. He had earned the bulk of his ill-gotten gains by cooking the books and washing blood money for heavy-duty predators, skimming off a portion for himself when the distractions of a thug's life blinded him to what was happening beneath his very nose.
Still, the survival reflex was as strong within Gil Favor as in any other human being who had lived by wits and guile for the majority of his or her life.
A second, louder chime told Favor that his uninvited guests were drawing closer to the house, along the driveway from the street outside. He wasn't expecting any deliveries, but his mind still offered innocent suggestions for the visit.
Fat chance, however.
In four years and counting in his minipalace, he'd never had a salesman on his doorstep. No neighbors visited without an invitation, and he hadn't issued any.
That meant trouble was coming, one way or another.
Favor set down his brandy snifter, rose from his recliner and retrieved the sawed-off shotgun from its hidden cubbyhole beside the liquor cabinet. The first cartridge was rock salt, for a wake-up call; the four that followed it were triple-aught buckshot.
"You should've picked another house," Gil Favor muttered as he left his study, moving briskly toward the parlor and front door.
The occupants of two cars were unloading near the mansion's broad front porch as Bolan passed the driveway, counting heads. He saw no uniforms, no proper suits that would've indicated plainclothes officers.
"They're not police," he said.
"What, then?" Blanca Herrera asked. "Maybe he has a dinner party."
"Doubtful," Bolan said. "You saw them, right? They don't fit with the neighborhood."
"He is a fugitive from justice," she reminded him. "Why would his friends be chosen from the social register?"
But Bolan knew Gil Favor wasn't one for making friends. And if he did, the self-made billionaire would handpick those who best served his camouflage of affluent respectability.
"Why are you stopping?"
"I just want to check this out," Bolan explained. "If they're sitting down to surf and turf, we'll wait and tag him after they go home."
"And if it's something else?" Herrera asked. "What then?"
He nosed the Ford into an alley two doors down from Favor's driveway, switching off the lights and engine. "Then I intervene," he said.
"Against eight men?"
"I'll do my best."
She scrambled out to join him in the darkness, while he was extracting hardware from the larger of two duffel bags on the backseat.
"You can't be serious!"
"I've left the keys," he told her. "If it gets too raucous, or I'm not back here in fifteen minutes tops, clear out."
Herrera gnawed her lower lip, then said, "I'm coming with you."
"No, you're not."
"How will you stop me?"
He pinned her with a glare that made her take a slow step backward. "This is my part of the deal," he said. "You got me here. Now step aside and let me work."
"I'm fully trained," she challenged.
"Not for this."
"How would you know?"
He fought an urge to squeeze her slender neck just hard enough to break her grip on consciousness for twenty minutes, give or take. But what might happen if he left her in the car that way?
"All right," he said through gritted teeth. "You asked for it."
Her smile was fleeting but triumphant. Bolan wondered if she would live to regret her rash choice.
Already armed with a Beretta Model 92, snug in its armpit rig, Bolan retrieved a classic Uzi submachine gun from his duffel bag of lethal gear, spent three seconds attaching a suppressor to its threaded muzzle, filled his pockets with spare magazines to feed the SMG and clipped a flash-bang grenade to his belt.
His overanxious sidekick wore some kind of smallish pistol tucked inside her waistband. From his quick glimpse of its grip and the extended magazine, Bolan surmised either an HK4 or Walther PPK. She didn't ask for anything more powerful as he prepared to leave the car, and Bolan hoped that she would have the sense to simply stay out of harm's way.
Assuming that was possible.
They walked back from the alley to Favor's driveway, Bolan covering the Uzi with his windbreaker. No traffic passed them on the quiet street, but he imagined neighbors peering from their windows, wondering about the sudden flurry of activity at Señor Favor's place.
They wouldn't call for the police right now, but at the sound of gunfire...
Bolan scanned the sweeping driveway and the house beyond, saw no one standing near the cars that had pulled in a moment earlier. Eight men had either gone inside the house or fanned out to surround it, vanishing from Bolan's field of view.
"What now?" Herrera asked. "Do we knock on Favor's door?"
"Not quite," he said. Spotting the motion sensors ranged along the driveway, Bolan added, "Follow me. Stay off the pavement."
She followed without asking questions. Bolan took advantage of the property's strategically located trees as he approached the mansion, moving at an urgent pace. He had discounted booby traps upon discovering that Favor had no gate to keep stray dogs or children from the occacional intrusion. Blowing them to smithereens or crushing tiny ankles in a leghold trap would certainly have caused his stock to plummet with the neighbors.
"Don't you think"
He shushed her with a hiss and kept moving toward the house. They'd closed the gap to twenty yards or so when muffled gunfire echoed from inside the house. A shotgun, by the sound of it, one blast immediately followed by the pop-pop-pop of pistol fire.
Bolan made for the front door, thinking it would be the quickest way to get inside the house. He didn't care if it was locked, already thinking past the first obstruction, wondering if he had come too late and Favor was already dead.
Vengeance was one thing he could definitely handle, but it would mean mission failure and freedom for another predator three thousand miles away.
He reached the porch and found the front door levered open, then pushed shut again by someone who had come before him. Bolan shouldered through it, smelling gunsmoke as he crossed the threshold.
Luis Rodriguez clutched his Ingram MAC-10 SMG and waited for a target to present itself. Nearby, not quite within arm's reach, his point man lay facedown on white shag carpeting.
The gringo had surprised them with a shotgun blast from nowhere that had toppled Paco Obregon before they even glimpsed the man they'd come to kill. It was supposed to be an easy job, and now Rodriguez thought maybe he wasn't being paid enough.
Their target was holed up inside a room no more than twenty feet from where Rodriguez crouched behind a sofa, painfully aware that springs and stuffing would not save him if the gringo kept on shooting. A glimpse had shown Rodriguez books inside the room, perhaps some kind of library. They'd have to rush the gringo soon, behind a wall of lead, and
What was this?
Madre de díos!
Right before his eyes, Obregon was struggling to his feet, gasping and coughing, one hand pressed against his stomach while the other fumbled for his pistol on the carpet.
White shag carpet, without any stain of blood.
Rodriguez watched as Obregon brushed the rock-salt pellets from his shirt, wincing at contact with the bruised flesh underneath.
It was a trick! The damned gringo had tried to scare them off, as if Rodriguez and his men were children. The warning shot would cost the gringo his life.
Rodriguez was about to order the attack, when Paco Obregon retrieved his pistol, snarled a curse and rushed the door alone. A second, louder shotgun blast rang out, and this time there was blood aplenty, spilling everywhere as Paco vaulted over backward, crumpling in an awkward attitude of death.
Rodriguez crouched lower behind the sofa, all thoughts of rushing the door banished from his mind. Yet he couldn't simply wait there and allow the gringo to terrorize him into immobility.
He had six more handpicked killers left, against one man who was accustomed to the soft life, swaddled by his money. Not so soft that he'd forgotten how to pull a trigger, obviously, but it would be shameful to retreat.
Worse yet, it would be fatal.
If Rodriguez failed, it wouldn't be enough to simply return the money. He couldn't just apologize and take a scolding.
The man who had employed him wanted blood.
Rodriguez flashed hand signals at the two men he could see.
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