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Authors: James Raven

Brutal Revenge

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BRUTAL
REVENGE

 

A
THRILLER

  
  

 

BY
JAMES RAVEN

Published
through

Global
House Publishing

Copyright
2012 James Raven

All
rights reserved. This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual
persons living or dead is purely coincidental

Dedicated
to Mum and Dad

By
the same author

Rollover

Urban
Myth

Stark
Warning

Arctic
Blood

http://www.james-raven.com/

ONE

The
urge to satisfy his own curiosity was really what made Parker come to Glasgow.

It
certainly wasn’t because he needed the money, not with the bundle from that
last blag still gathering dust in a safety deposit box in London. No, it was
simply that he wanted to know what that old rascal Andrew Maclean was up to.

It
had been three years since they had last worked together, and Maclean’s email,
which had arrived two days ago, had come out of the blue. Being brief and to
the point it had left a thousand questions unanswered.

“If you’re still
in business Parker, get in touch. I’ve something wild in mind and I’m pretty
sure you’ll want in. Andrew.”

So
Parker had responded, regardless of the fact that he’d been planning to spend a
few weeks at the apartment in Marbella before embarking on another caper.

On
the phone Maclean had refused to be drawn on the details of what was going
down. He’d said only that it would be worth Parker’s while to make the journey
north.

“Trust
me, Phil,” he’d said. “You won’t be disappointed.”

Only
now, standing in a shop doorway opposite the entrance to that dingy hotel, did Parker
begin to question the wisdom of his decision. Three years is a long time and
men change. Perhaps Maclean had changed. Perhaps he was no longer the impetuous
young Scotsman whom Parker remembered as being sufficiently blessed with an
abundance of both common sense and unquestioning nerve – truly a rare
combination of qualities in a man whose chosen profession had been crime.

Perhaps
now Maclean was nothing like the man Parker had come to admire during their
brief acquaintance, when they had been part of a team that had held up three
security vans in London during a single summer.

These
days Maclean ran an antiques business, but Parker had heard that he was still a
pretty active villain. Maybe he was having a rough time of it and had come up
with some hair-brained scheme to make some serious dosh. Times were tough,
after all, and it was becoming harder to steal money without taking huge risks.
At thirty six Parker wasn’t keen to take too many chances for fear of ending up
inside again. Life was too short to piss it away in some dingy cell.

It
began to rain, and whatever traces of ageing dignity the street had possessed
were washed away with the slime. All that was left was a drab collection of
dilapidated buildings, shabbily plastered with corrugated iron sheets and large
wooden boards that should have displayed For Sale signs, but now issued crude
threats in shiny black paint to any young thug from another district who dared
to venture beyond them.

What
a shithole, Parker thought. Worse than the ugliest manors in London. Both
cities had been hammered by the recession, but by the look of it Glasgow would
take much longer to recover.

The
hotel was one of only three buildings in the whole street that seemed to be
occupied, and light from the entrance and ground floor windows fell as carpets
across the pavements.

No
light was offered by the innumerable street lamps. At some time in the past
these had been rendered impotent by a proficient sniper whose grudge against
light bulbs must have been pathological in its intensity.

It
was because everything here was so decrepit – like a war-torn ghetto – that
Parker had begun to have second thoughts.
 
Maybe he was wrong to satisfy curiosity merely
for the sake of it. Maybe Maclean had been talking out of his arse when he’d
told him it would be worth his while to come here.

Parker
took a long, resigned breath and shook his head. Frankly there was no point
turning back now. He might as well have the meet and sus it out. If he didn’t
like the set-up he’d just walk out and get a train back to London. It was as
simple as that.

He
looked again at the hotel, an unprepossessing place that seemed to be still
standing solely by virtue of the fact that it was sandwiched between two other
buildings. Had it been detached at birth, Parker felt sure it would have
crumbled to the ground long before now. Far beyond it, where the cloud cover
ended over the Clyde, the high concrete peaks of the city merged with the
molten colour of the evening sky.

He
pulled the collar of his raincoat up around his neck and hurried towards the
hotel entrance. He chose an inopportune moment to do so, for just then the
clouds decided to spend their lot all at once and it came down in a torrent
that formed instant puddles in the road.

He
was drenched when he went into the hotel and it took only a moment for him to
form a puddle of his own on the linoleum floor of the small, grubby reception
area.

 
The proprietor, a big man of about forty-five
with a square face and an unsightly five o'clock shadow, was reading a
newspaper behind the desk.

He
looked up, regarded Parker for a moment, and said, “You must be Parker.”

“How’d
you know?”

The
guy shrugged. “Because I’m not expecting anyone else and believe it or not we
don’t attract much passing trade.”

“You
surprise me,” Parker said.

The
man cleared his throat. “Mac's expecting you. He’s upstairs. If you'll just
wait a minute I'll call him up on the house phone and tell him you're here.”

Parker
glanced around the reception area, which didn't say much for the owner's
concept of decent living. The range of types to be impressed by the peeling
wallpaper, the rickety stairs and the musty smell, would be limited indeed.
Whores and their horny customers probably formed the bulk of the business.

“He's
on his way down,” the proprietor said, replacing the phone and returning to his
paper without another word.

Barely
a minute later Parker heard the familiar high-pitched voice behind him and,
turning, saw Maclean at the bottom of the stairs, grinning.

“Well,
well,” he beamed at Parker. “Long time no see.”

Parker
noticed immediately that three years had done little to change the man. At
least on the outside he was the Andrew Maclean Parker remembered. He was about
thirty and looked lean and fit. He retained the confident swagger that Parker
remembered so well. There was also the air of insolence and the familiar look
of perpetual amusement on his thin, ruddy face. He stood roughly six feet tall
– the same height as Parker - and was wearing a cardigan over polo sweater and
jeans.

He
shoved out a hand. “Good to see you, Phil. I've been looking forward to working
with you again. What is it now? Three years.”

Parker
returned the greeting, adding, “Don't jump the gun, Andy. I'm here to see what
it's all about. That's all.”

The
ever-present grin widened into an elaborate smile that conjured up a network of
laughter lines around the eyes and mouth. It occurred to Parker that this
precarious profession of theirs rarely allowed a person's sense of humour to be
preserved in such a fine old state of health.

“Course,”
Maclean said. “Didn't think otherwise. But as I said on the phone, I guarantee
that you'll be interested.”

“Well
I fucking hope so. It’s a long way to come just for a chat.”

Maclean
dropped his voice. “Any problems getting away at such short notice?”

Parker
shook his head. “I’ve got nothing on the go right now. In fact I was on the
verge of buggering off to Spain when you got in touch.”

“What
about the wife? She can’t have been too happy?”

“We
got divorced a year ago,” Parker said. “I live alone.”

“Sorry
to hear that.”

“Don’t
be. It’d been a long time coming. We pissed each other off big time and the
last straw came when I found out she was shagging someone at work.”

“Ouch!
That must have been painful.”

“Yeah,
it was, but it didn’t take me long to get over it after she left.”

“Did
she move in with the other bloke?”

“No
way. He’s married with kids. She went back to live with her mum in Brighton.”

“Life
sucks,” Maclean said.

Parker
shrugged. “Enough of the small talk. Anyone else involved in this caper?”

Maclean
nodded. “Two more bodies. You might even know them.”

“Where
are they?”

“Upstairs.”

Maclean
turned to the guy behind the desk who was still absorbed in his newspaper.
“Make sure we're not disturbed for the next couple of hours, Donald,” he said.

TWO

Maclean
led the way to a first floor room. It was pretty small and contained a round
table and a lumpy leather sofa.

A
bare light bulb hung from the ceiling and emitted a dull orange glow.

“We
use this place for poker sessions,” Maclean said. “But everyone’s skint so
there’s no action this week.”

There
were two men sitting at the table. One of them Parker recognised instantly as
Pat Hodge. They had never met but he had been pointed out to Parker at a party
once.

Rumour
had it the guy was a genuine grade-A psycho, and Parker could see why such
speculation was rife.

There
was that calm, unnerving expression and those wide staring eyes that belied his
boyish looks and made one wonder if it was not the devil himself looking out
from behind a mask. He had the kind of deadpan face that deters women from
parking themselves in the same railway carriage.

His
reputation was not unknown to Parker. Hodge once shot dead a security guard
during a wages snatch in Birmingham, an achievement that had earned him the
nickname The Cowboy. He was never charged with the murder even though the cops
were convinced he was responsible. His alibis were watertight and there were no
witnesses to finger him.
 
It was common
knowledge in the trade that he did it. But knowing it and proving it are two
very different things.

Maclean
introduced Parker to Hodge first and Parker was thankful that the latter did
not feel obliged to get up and shake his hand.

Hodge
simply looked up from the table, nodded almost imperceptibly, and said, “I've
heard a lot about you, Parker.”

“I've
heard a lot about you, too,” Parker said.

Hodge
tried his hand at smiling, but the effort behind this gesture was fairly
evident.

“Whatever
you've heard it's all lies,” he said. “I'm really a little angel at heart.”

“I’m
sure you are.”

Hodge
was a Scouser and Parker judged him to be in his early thirties. He was tall
and athletically built with a shock of black wavy hair. There was a two-inch
scar beneath his right eye and one high up on his forehead.

In
a way he reminded Parker of himself as he was some years ago. He too had
shouldered a reputation for being a hard bastard, and with each new
acquaintance he struck he had sensed the other man's cold, almost scornful
appraisal of him.

It
was the reason he had got involved in so many scraps. There was always some
young head case on the scene who wanted to prove that he was harder and
tougher. Luckily for Parker his scars weren’t visible until he bared his torso,
which was why he rarely did it in public, even around the swimming pool in
Spain. The damage to his stomach and chest caused by two knife attacks was not
a pleasant sight.

BOOK: Brutal Revenge
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