Blood of the Assassin (Assassin Series 5)

BOOK: Blood of the Assassin (Assassin Series 5)
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Blood of theAssassin

Russell Blake

 

Copyright 2013 by Russell Blake. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used, reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage or retrieval system, without the written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law, or in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For information, contact:

[email protected]
.

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Features Index

Blood of the Assassin

Author’s Notes

About
JET

Excerpt from
JET

About the Author

 

 

Author’s Notes

Blood of the Assassin
is the fifth installment in the Assassin series, consisting of
King of Swords
,
Night of the Assassin
,
Revenge of the Assassin
,
Return of the Assassin
, and now,
Blood of the Assassin
. The series chronicles the exploits of
El Rey
, also known by his professional moniker “The King of Swords,” who is the most lethal and notorious cartel assassin in Latin America – now retired after a series of misadventures culminating in his being forced to work for CISEN, the Mexican intelligence agency.

Blood of the Assassin
can be read as the fifth in the series, or as a stand-alone. It was written so that if it’s the first Russell Blake book you’ve ever read, it’s coherent and complete, while if you’ve followed the
Assassin
novels to this point, it offers another
El Rey
adventure that is, perhaps, among the most satisfying. If you’ve read the others, skip the background paragraph that follows. If this is your first experience with the
Assassin
tomes, read on.

Blood of the Assassin
finds
El Rey
waiting for his next CISEN assignment. The world thinks he’s dead, which is just as well, as his former employer,
Don
Aranas, the leader of the Sinaloa cartel (one of the most powerful criminal syndicates in the world), is testy about his final contract having ended in failure and has put a ten-million-dollar price on
El Rey
’s head as retribution. Captain Romero Cruz, the chief of the Federal Police anti-cartel task force, and the man who ultimately captured the super-assassin and put him behind bars, has been told that the killer received a full presidential pardon for his past crimes, so
El Rey
is now a free man whose sins have been expunged. Cruz’s number two man, Lieutenant Briones, who was instrumental in the assassin’s capture and who took a bullet from
El Rey
’s gun, is also a key player in
Blood of the Assassin
, as is Dinah, Captain Cruz’s young wife (and the daughter of
El Rey
’s former facilitator, who died at his hands).

Blood of the Assassin
picks up a few months after
Return of the Assassin
left off.

It has been one of my favorite in the series to write, and I hope that you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed penning it.

 

Blood of the Assassin
is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents, other than those clearly in the public domain, are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, either living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

 

Chapter 1

Sweat streamed down Heinrich Vogel’s face in spite of the chill air gusting through the Berlin streets. The crisp wind sliced through his suit trousers, the heavy overcoat he hugged tight against his slim frame of little use. His footfalls echoed dully off the three a.m. façades of the gray apartment buildings framing both sides of the darkened
Obenstrautstrase
, the ponderous branches of the surrounding trees rustling overhead as he made his way from shadow to shadow, clinging to the night like a lover. He felt his mind playing tricks on him – no surprise after twenty-four hours like those he’d just had. At the next intersection, he paused, ears straining for any hint of pursuit. Nothing. It was all in his imagination.

A noise from down the block froze Heinrich in his tracks. Logic said it was impossible that he’d been followed – he had been meticulously careful, except for the one calculated risk he’d been forced to chance in order to get the information.
A risk that may prove to be my undoing
, he thought grimly.

When his informant had turned up dead of an apparent heroin overdose that morning, only hours after their meeting, he’d been immediately suspicious, although the police were treating it as just another dead junkie in a city battling an insidious wave of drug abuse among its former East German population. Unemployment was endemic in whole segments of the demographic, and an entire generation had grown up without prospects after the Wall had come down, leaving Berlin with a lasting legacy of intravenous drug use and crime.

But Heinrich knew that for all his informant’s faults, he hadn’t been a junkie. Perhaps it had been the only vice the man hadn’t embraced. The death had therefore served as an early warning to Heinrich – it was without question a murder, and the timing was too coincidental for him to brush off. After hearing the news, he had spent all day going about his business, filling out tedious reports, the hours crawling past in seeming slow motion in the busy offices of the metropolitan police where he worked as a civilian staffer. When it hit quitting time, he had stayed late, waiting until the day shift disappeared, and then had made his way to a quiet restaurant a few blocks from the huge building that housed his offices, as he did most nights – he was single, no steady relationship, so nobody waiting at home for him with a hot meal and a warm smile.

He’d been pushing the food around his plate and sipping at his Bitburger pilsner for ten minutes when he’d spotted another solitary diner at the far end of the restaurant, who had seemed completely uninterested in him – except for a telltale glance over his book when he’d thought Heinrich wasn’t watching.

That had been enough.

Without hurrying, Heinrich had slipped some euros under his glass and gone to the rear of the restaurant to use the bathroom. Once he had been out of sight of the dining room, he’d made a quick dash for the rear service door, surprising the wait staff moving into the adjacent kitchen, but he’d bluffed his way through, holding his phone out as though it explained everything.

Once through the heavy steel door he’d found himself in an alley, overflowing garbage cans stacked by the back exits that lined the sidewalks, and he’d hurried away from the restaurant to the more crowded plaza a block north.

Behind him, the restaurant door had slammed shut again, confirming his worst fears – somehow, some way, he’d been blown, and now they would want to discover how much he knew.

He’d picked up his pace, afraid to look over his shoulder, debating his options. He couldn’t chance going to his apartment. It was a guarantee that they would be waiting for him. His bolting out of the restaurant had stripped any veneer of deniability from him – innocent men didn’t run from strangers eating schnitzel among a hundred others.

As he’d turned the corner onto the busy boulevard that fronted the plaza, he’d caught a glimpse of the man from the restaurant a hundred yards down the alley. He’d bee-lined for a fast food restaurant where a throng of teens was loitering, and then had slipped out into traffic, jaywalking to get across to the far curb before his pursuer emerged from the alley’s mouth.

A VW Passat had almost collided with him, but he’d dodged out of the way just in time, the sleek anthracite bumper missing him by inches, and then he’d been on the sidewalk, disappearing into the milling pedestrians at the plaza’s edge. He hadn’t waited to confirm that he’d lost his tail, but instead had made his way across the square to a U-Bahn station and descended the stairs before hurrying to a turnstile and slipping through with a swipe of his card.

Standing in the busy subway station, he’d struggled over which line to take, and then decided on whichever arrived soonest. A whistle of air had come from one of the passageways to his right, and he’d pushed past the slower moving travelers to get to the platform just as the train pulled to a stop, its doors opening with a whoosh and disgorging a stream of tired passengers before he stepped aboard.

His mind had raced over his alternatives. One thing was certain – he needed to get the information he’d been given to his control officer sooner rather than later. But the man hadn’t picked up the phone any of the times he’d called that day or the night before. He probably wasn’t in town. There was no reason for urgency on his part – Heinrich’s windfall bombshell of information had come in completely unexpectedly. Normally Heinrich and his control would communicate once every few weeks, which in the current environment of non-aggression was more than sufficient. Nobody had expected Heinrich to get something this hot dropped into his lap, so there had been no emergency protocol set up.

The train had lurched forward and quickly clattered its way to the next station, and Heinrich had used the lull to consider his choices – none of which had been particularly appealing. He’d need to disappear, which would require money – a lot of money, which Heinrich didn’t exactly have at his fingertips. But surely the information would be worth a fortune – at least a small one, which would be more than enough to take him to a new town and equip him with a new identity. Maybe even get him out of Germany entirely. Somewhere warm, where he could run a bar and spend his days on the beach.

The screeching of steel wheels had jolted him out of his daydream and forced him back into the moment. Yes, perhaps the information would buy him a ticket to somewhere else, but first he would have to pass it to his handler. Based on what he knew, that wouldn’t be easy – people got killed over far less than this every day, and he had no illusions that because he was a low-level police department clerk he wouldn’t be targeted. If he was right, the data was pure dynamite. And as with all highly explosive materials, it would have to be treated delicately.

Four stations later he’d gotten out at Wilmersdorfer Strasse and emerged into the night, moving to the pedestrian thoroughfare, thousands of his fellow Berliners around him, buying him a temporary measure of security. He’d fished his cell phone from his overcoat pocket and dialed his handler’s number yet again, but it had gone to voicemail. He’d left his fourth message of the day, this one more urgent than the earlier ones.

“This is Heinrich. I was followed from work. I think I’ve been compromised. You need to bring me in. Like I said earlier – I’ve got something...big. Really big. Call me. I can’t go home. I’m out on the streets. My phone’s on.”

He’d hung up and stared at the little screen with frustration, and then sighed. It would do no good to get any more agitated. It wouldn’t be much longer until his phone rang, and then it would all be over.

That had been seven hours earlier. His control had finally called a half hour ago and set up a meet, sounding more annoyed than concerned. So now, after as many beers to soothe his frazzled nerves, he was alone on a desolate street in the wee hours, and someone who meant him no good was coming for him.

He heard footsteps echoing down the block – at least two men, moving quickly. His eyes swept the street for possible hiding places. He was still too far from the rendezvous point, so there wouldn’t be any help from that direction. And he was out of options.

Then he spotted it. A black iron gate, maybe seven feet high, but scalable.

The question was whether he could do so quietly enough that they wouldn’t hear him. And if he could, whether there was an escape route on the other side. He peered into the gloom, and then the footsteps picked up their pace, making his decision for him.

BOOK: Blood of the Assassin (Assassin Series 5)
5.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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