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The Death List

The Death List

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The Death List

240 pages
3 hours
Jun 26, 2012


A kingpin loses his little black book, and every pusher in the city will kill to find it

His name is Mr. Church. He is a drug kingpin whose empire stretches across six cities in the Northeast. And he is about to die. A rival dealer hires a gang of corrupt cops to end Church’s reign—not just to get him out of the way, but to get ahold of his list. This small notebook holds the names of the couriers, suppliers, and crooked politicians who make the international drug trade run smoothly. The hit comes off, but the list vanishes. Whoever finds it will become one of the richest criminals in the country—assuming he lives to collect his first payment.

Refereeing the melee is John Bolt, a narcotics agent with a hair trigger and a moral compass that’s pointing him right at the heart of this war. Finding the list could mean the biggest bust of his career, and he doesn’t mind killing to get his hands on it. 

Jun 26, 2012

Despre autor

Marc Olden (1933–2003) was the author of forty mystery and suspense novels. Born in Baltimore, he began writing while working in New York as a Broadway publicist. His first book, Angela Davis (1973), was a nonfiction study of the controversial Black Panther. In 1973 he also published Narc, under the name Robert Hawke, beginning a hard-boiled nine-book series about a federal narcotics agent. A year later, Black Samurai introduced Robert Sand, a martial arts expert who becomes the first non-Japanese student of a samurai master. Based on Olden’s own interest in martial arts, which led him to the advanced ranks of karate and aikido, the novel spawned a successful eight-book series. Olden continued writing for the next three decades, often drawing on his fascination with Japanese culture and history. 

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The Death List - Marc Olden

The Death List

Narc #3

Marc Olden

A MysteriousPress.com

Open Road Integrated Media


Chapter 1

THE STOCKY, POCKMarcED POLICEMAN said, We’ll kill him for you. We’ll take the contract on Mr. Church. Twenty thousand cash and that’s twenty thousand for each of us. Sixty thousand altogether, oh, and another thing.


Why do you want him dead?

Frank Spain smiled at the three New York plainclothes cops, his handsome black face looking like a young Errol Flynn right down to the thin moustache and black wavy hair.

He dies and I’m number one, said Spain, a thirty-year-old major New York heroin dealer like the man whose murder he had just arranged. The victim was to be Jesus Santa Maria, a forty-five-year-old Cuban taking in over $2,000,000 a month from dealing heroin, cocaine, and pills to six major American cities. In the dope world he was called Mr. Church because of his first name.

Frank Spain also made a lot of money dealing dope, but not as much as Mr. Church. Spain wanted more money and he was tired of waiting for something to happen to Mr. Church.

Blowing Mr. Church away won’t necessarily make you top man in this here town, said the stocky, pockMarced cop. He’s got an organization, you know? Lieutenants and people hot to step into his shoes. I mean you gotta know that, being in the same business and all.

Spain touched a manicured thumbnail to his perfumed moustache, saying, They can’t take over if they don’t know how.

None of the three hard-faced cops said anything. They thought about what Frank Spain had just said and wondered if that meant the rumor was true. For months, everybody on the street—pushers, junkies, whores, informants, cops, narcs—all had heard or talked about Mr. Church’s list. A super fucking list. It was supposed to have down on paper sources of supply that were the best, both in Europe and in South America. Heroin, cocaine, liquid hashish, even that potent Brown Sugar, the super brown heroin that could hook anybody permanently in ten days. The list told where you could buy it all.

That was just the beginning of what was on the list, went the rumors. Favored and, above all, trusted customers in more than a dozen cities, guys who bought big and kept quiet about it. The names of top, top cops in those cities, plus some judges and district attorneys who could be bought. Smuggling routes from Europe, up from South America and Mexico and down from Canada.

The list also was supposed to have the addresses and names of top chemists in Europe and in South America, men whose extraordinary skills changed the raw opium poppy and coca leaf into heroin and cocaine powder.

And there was said to be one certain name on the list, a man high in the United States government, a man paid a lot of money for doing special favors, like smuggling dope in on government planes that were never given a good toss, never inspected at all.

That was the rumor. Mr. Church and the list. People talked about it on the street, but no one knew for sure. Only Mr. Church knew, and he wasn’t about to walk up to cops or narcotics agents and admit he had such a list or that it even existed.

Frank Spain said, They can’t do shit without that list. And the list does exist. It’s the key, and whoever has it rules this jungle.

Leaning his head to the side and narrowing his eyes, the stocky cop stared at Spain and said nothing. Turning slowly, the other two cops looked at each other, each man moving a corner of his mouth in more of a smirk than a smile. Hell, if the nigger wanted to lay out sixty big ones for a hit, okay, but no one on the street, not even a junkie with his brains fried on that fine white powder, really believed Mr. Church had any goddam list.

Frank Spain’s quick brown eyes took in all three men, as he leaned his handsome head back and said, Everybody on the street has been talking about that list. But it’s all been bullshit because they’ve been guessing, passing on rumors and junkie dreams to each other. But as sure as your asses are sitting on those chairs, Mr. Church’s list is real. That I can tell you for sure. Someone has seen it, checked it and—

Holding his breath, the stocky cop interrupted. Who?

Who what? said Spain.

Who saw the list?

Chewing his lip, then grinning, Spain again touched his moustache with his thumbnail and said, That’s my business and that’s why I’m paying for this hit. Just take my word for it. I’ve spoken with someone I trust, someone I know to be telling the truth. That someone has actually held Mr. Church’s list in their hands. It’s a black leather notebook, six inches long, three inches wide, less than fifty pages and each page worth millions of dollars.

Taking his brown hat off and slowly turning it around on his left hand, the stocky cop said, You believe this, this whoever it is?

Enough to invite you gentlemen to Harlem on this fine spring night, said Frank Spain. Enough to invest money in Mr. Church’s retirement from dope dealing and enough to stand ready to take on his associates once they learn he’s suddenly stopped breathing.

The atmosphere in the small kitchen was now changed. Frank Spain was known to be a careful man, shrewd and able to walk the dope dealing jungle without getting a smudge on his $150 white leather shoes. Spain was smart, very smart.

So was the stocky, pockMarced cop who had insisted on a face-to-face meeting once he learned that Spain wanted to see him about a hit. This wasn’t the same as riding shotgun for a dope delivery or breaking somebody’s fingers for not paying Spain money owed. These cops had done that. They had done contract killing too, but never a hit as important as this.

Reaching under the yellow table, Spain picked up a new brown leather attaché case with shiny gold locks. Laying the case flat on the table, he stood up and said, I’ll call you soon, maybe later tonight, for certain no later than tomorrow afternoon. Mr. Church is planning a party, a Tortilla. I’ll be told when it’ll be, then I’ll let you know. You’ll have help from the inside, that’s all I can say about that. Handle it your way, I’d prefer not to know the details. Good evening, gentlemen.

Spain stepped toward the kitchen door leading into the restaurant, then stopped and turned to the three cops. About the list. It’ll be there, you shouldn’t have any trouble finding it because Mr. Church always keeps it near him. No safes, no safety deposit boxes. He likes to have it on or around him, though not even his men know exactly where. As soon as you get it, please call me and we’ll make arrangements to get together. Upon delivery of the list, I’m paying you a bonus. Five thousand more a man.

Smiling at them, the handsome black man nodded his head and walked through the faded yellow door, shutting it behind him.

No one said anything. Then the stocky cop said softly, My, my.

Yeah, said one of the other two, smiling and shaking his head slowly from side to side.

Mr. Spain is making us rich, said the third cop. Twenty-five big ones for hitting a guy no court or cop, or narc for that matter, has been able to stop. There’s something almost legal about it.

Pursing his lips, the stocky cop looked at them both, then grinned, pulling the brown new attaché case toward him. Thumbing open the two gold locks, he lifted up the top and raised both of his eyebrows as high as they could go, turning the case around so the other two cops could see. Neat stacks of crisp new green bills, stacks of fifties, twenties, tens and fives.

Ain’t you glad you’re a cop? said the stocky one.

The other two were silent. Then one nodded his head up and down, saying, Bet your ass, man.

Divide it, ordered the stocky cop whose name was Benvenuto Madonna. He was thirty-three years old, five-nine and 190 pounds, and his long, swarthy face was pitted with acne scars that looked as though someone had jabbed it repeatedly with a fork. He had been a cop twelve years.

Reaching in the attaché case and removing stacks of new bills was Farren Dover, with receding red hair, watery blue eyes, and, at twenty-eight, a face already rounded with decay. Watching him was George Tudor, a forty-year-old plainclothes cop whose reputation rested on two large fists and six-feet-four, 220 pounds of muscle and meanness. Sixteen years of being a cop in New York City had brought George Tudor up in front of a review board on brutality charges nine times.

Sixteen years had also given him enough friends to have the charges dismissed every time.

Madonna kept the attaché case for himself, first counting his money to make sure the $20,000 was there. Tudor stood up, looked around the small kitchen, then walked over and picked up a stained, damp dishtowel. Making a face at the towel, he walked back and laid it on the table, put his $20,000 on it, and wrapped the dirty, damp rag around the money.

As Madonna calmly looked at him, Dover stuffed money in his suit pocket, then crammed some into his pants pocket. Looking down at the lumps on the front of both of his thighs, Dover said, Man, this shit bulges.

Stupid, said Madonna softly, his teeth gently gripping a thin brown cigar. Leaning his head slightly to the right, Madonna said, Over there. Cornflakes box. Dump it out, put the money in that.

Cornflakes box? said Dover.

Better than going through the streets looking like you got a grapefruit in every pocket, said Madonna, blowing a thin, gray column of smoke at the dirty white ceiling.

Too much, said Tudor. That damn list really exists. Hard to believe, except that Spain is a smart dude. Always has been. Wonder why he didn’t send his own boys in, waste Church and grab off the list himself.

Rolling the thin cigar in the fingers of his right hand and staring at it as though it had something to say, Madonna spoke without looking at Tudor or Dover. He wants it to look like an imported hit, remember? Like it was done by outsiders. If it looks like he did it, he’d have a war on his hands. Church’s boys would come down on his ass and there’d be blood all over this town. This way, it’s outsiders, maybe somebody who got burned in a bad dope deal. Revenge, right?

’Nother thing, said Dover, tossing the cornflakes box up and catching it. Maybe somebody will think one of Church’s boys did it to get the list and take over. Happens all the time. Dealer gets his head blown off and the guy under him steps up.

Madonna looked at Dover as though he were a child who had finally said something sensible after a lifetime of trying. Nodding his head, the swarthy pockMarced cop said, Yes, Dover. It can go down that way.

What happens when the list turns up in Spain’s hands? asked Tudor.

Taking a huge drag on his thin cigar, Madonna let the smoke out, looked at them both and smiled. It won’t turn up in Frank Spain’s hands, he said.

Neither man answered him. But they had begun to think and Tudor smiled and said, Hey, hey.

I don’t get it, said Dover.

You wouldn’t, said Madonna, "but here it is. Forget about starting at the bottom. With that goddam list, you start at the top."

You mean— began Dover.

"I mean," said Madonna, we keep the list. We make the hit, we get the list, we keep it. We can sell it to a lot of people, a fucking lot of people. To whoever comes behind Mr. Church, to maybe that government man whose name is on the list and who I bet doesn’t want that fact advertised.

We can even sell it to Frank Spain, said Tudor, laughing and slapping a huge palm down on the yellow table.

Way to go, said Madonna. And my fellow officers, the price on that list is a very cool, easy to remember— he hesitated, watching their faces. Then a short laugh came from Madonna’s throat and he said, Three million dollars. Three mil, six zeros. Three million fucking potatoes.

He stopped talking, grinned, then put the thin cigar back between his lips.

Dover and Tudor stared at him as though he had just told them the earth was really flat and, what’s more, had proven it. They were open-mouthed, stunned, and hardly breathing. Finally Tudor said, Even split?

Flicking the ash off the cigar, Madonna nodded. Even split.

Dover was smiling, shaking his head side to side in disbelief, murmuring over and over, Oh, man, oh, man, oh, man …

Standing up, Madonna said, Work to do. Tudor, take my locker key and go to the stationhouse. Get four guns, two from my locker, two from yours. Be careful, don’t let anybody see you. Then go home, stay there and wait until you hear from me. Dover, go with him, get the caliber of each gun, then get the ammunition. Now listen carefully, Dover, ’cause if you fuck up, I’m coming down hard on your head and you won’t like it. Dover knew he wouldn’t. Madonna was the meanest bastard he knew, on either side of the law.

Buy the ammo yourself, said Madonna. Don’t use informants, a junkie, or a fence. Get it at different stores. I don’t want rumors hitting the street after the hit. The guns, no way anybody can trace them.

The guns were weapons taken from captured criminals, guns to be destroyed after trials, but Madonna and Tudor, like other cops, managed to hold on to a few, to sell or keep for their own reasons.

Why four guns? asked Tudor.

Tell you later, said Madonna. Let’s get out of this stink hole. We got to kill us a dope dealer and, besides, with a name like Jesus, he belongs with the angels anyway.

Sure wish I could get to see the Tortilla, said Dover.

The Tortilla. Popular with Cuban drug dealers. First it starts out as a lesbian orgy, three women, or five, or seven, all making love to each other with their husbands or boyfriends watching. Then when the men can’t be satisfied with just watching, they strip and join in, picking out whatever woman they choose, no matter whose woman she was at the beginning of the evening.

The Tortilla. No one knows for certain how the name started, but it’s known for certain that every major Cuban drug dealer in America, the Caribbean, and in South America, digs the Tortilla.

Jesus Santa Maria, Mr. Church, was no exception.

The three white cops left the tiny kitchen, walking through the Harlem restaurant, waving to one or two black men sitting at the tables. The blacks knew the white cops were there for a payoff, just what kind of a payoff was something else again.

No one got excited or bitter over their being there. It was a fact of life.

Outside on the sidewalk, they split up, each going in a different direction.

At eleven forty-three that night, as Benvenuto Madonna was watching a late-night television talk show host and telling himself he could do what that joker was doing and do it a lot better, the telephone rang.

Picking up the receiver, he said, Yeah?

Tomorrow night, said Frank Spain. Penthouse on the East Side, corner of Sutton Place and Fifty-fifth Street, red-and-white canopy out front. Our man, a lieutenant plus two Cubans up from Florida on business. Four women inside, two men on guard out front in the hall. Starts at eight o’clock.

About that help you mentioned? said Madonna.

One of the entertainers will draw the men outside inside, said Spain. Should make it easy for you to get close. The package we’re looking for will be somewhere near our man. You won’t have to go far. Call me when everything’s taken care of.

Looking at the talk show host, now in a black dress and an old lady’s gray wig, Madonna said, Sure, and hung up.

Leaning back on the couch and staring up at the ceiling, Madonna said softly, twisting his mouth, Sure, I’ll call you, Mr. Spain.

Chapter 2

WHAT THE HELL’S WRONG with getting laid? said Rexford Bryce, his blond Prince Valiant haircut framing his twenty-five-year-old face.

Nothing, said John Bolt, fingers lightly touching the scar running diagonally from the corner of his left eyebrow over to the center of his forehead and up into his dark hair.

So why did you mention it? said Bryce.

Bolt sat behind the wheel of the ’72 Mercedes, his eyes on the front of the Sutton Place apartment house. Because you’re a federal narcotics agent, he said, and you’ve got to think about that when you start throwing the meat to a gal you’re probably going to throw in jail very soon.

Shit, said Bryce. You’re a narcotics agent and I bet you’ve jumped a few broads you’ve ended up busting.

Turning to the young narc and grinning, Bolt said, I know what I’m doing. You’re still learning.

Bryce was new to D-3, the Department of Dangerous Drugs, and he imitated John Bolt right down to the Colt .45 Commander

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