Read The Dead Yard Online

Authors: Adrian McKinty

Tags: #Witnesses, #Irish Republican Army, #Intelligence service - Great Britain, #Mystery & Detective, #Protection, #Witnesses - Protection, #Hard-Boiled, #Fiction, #Intelligence service, #Great Britain, #Suspense, #Massachusetts, #Thrillers, #Suspense Fiction, #Terrorism, #Terrorism - Prevention, #Undercover operations, #Prevention

The Dead Yard

BOOK: The Dead Yard
4.45Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub


The solid sequel to 2003’s explosive, lyrical Dead I Well May Be catches up with young Michael
Forsythe as he chafes at the restrictions of life in the federal witness-protection program,
which is where he ended up after crippling the New York Irish Mob operation that sponsored his
trip from the old country. Incautious about what he wishes for, Forsythe soon finds himself
conscripted into a joint British-U.S. intelligence operation to infiltrate a Boston-based IRA
splinter group that’s out to sabotage the Irish peace process. He may have the skills of an
assassin and the soul of a poet, but, as usual, Forsythe displays lousy women judgment, becoming
simultaneously entangled with a British agent and the daughter of the splinter group’s leader.
Mc-Kinty hooks readers early with vivid action sequences and brutal bits of foreshadowing— “
Could Kit kill me? Could I kill her? Before the week was out, I’d know the answer to both those
questions” — and then delivers a shocking climax of survival and revenge that whets the appetite
for what appears to be a promised third chapter in the Forsythe saga.

Book 2 of the Dead Trilogy
Adrian McKinty
Copyright © 2006 by A. G. McKinty
My sweet enemy was, little by little, giving over her great
But Death had his grudge against me and he got up in the way, like an armed robber, with a pike
in his hand.
—J. M. Synge,
Poems and Translations from Petrarch

Dawn over the turquoise shore of Africa and here, under the fractured light of a streetlamp,
brought to earth like some hurricaned palm, I woke before the supine ocean amidst a sea of glass
and upturned bus stands and the wreck of cars and looted stores.

The streets of Playa de las Americas were flowing with beer and black sewage and blood. Smoke
hung above the seashore and the smell was of desolation, decay, the burning of tires and fuel
oil. The noise of birds, diesel engines, a dirgelike siren, a helicopter, voices in Spanish over
a loudspeaker—all of it more than enough hint of the breakdown in the fragile rules of the social

I was sitting up and adjusting to the light and the growing heat when a kid hustled me under
cover and the riot began again.

Five hundred British football hooligans, three hundred and fifty Irish fans, all of them on
this island at the same time for a "friendly" match between Dublin’s Shamrock Rovers and London’s

A riot.

I wouldn’t say I’d been expecting that but I wouldn’t say I was that goddamn surprised

Some people go through their lives like a mouse moving through a wheat field. They’re good
citizens, they pay their taxes, they contribute to society, they have kids and the kids turn them
into responsible adults. They create no stir, cause no fuss, leave no trace. When they’re gone
people speak well of them, sigh, shrug their shoulders, and shed a tear. They avoid chaos and it
avoids them.

Perhaps most people are like this.

But not me.

You’d notice me in the wheat field. You’d notice me because the field would be on fire or the
farmer would be running after me with a gun.

The Bible says that man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. Well, trouble followed me
like sharks trailing a slave ship. Even when I tried to get away it was there swirling in a
vortex around me.

Even when I tried to get away. Spain. Tenerife, to be exact, the largest of the Canary Islands
off the coast of Morocco. It’s a hell of a long flight from Chicago but the FBI won’t let me go
near Florida or the Caribbean. Seamus Duffy, the head of the Irish mob in New York City, has had
a contract out on me for five years for killing his underboss Darkey White and testifying against
Darkey’s crew.

With that in mind you can’t be too careful about where you take your vacation. So O’Hare, JFK,
and seven hours to Tenerife for a wee bit of R & R and of course this is what bloody

"Brian, are you all right?" the English kid asked. Pale skin, sunburned, wearing a Millwall
shirt and white jeans.

I stared at him. My name had been Brian O’Nolan since I’d moved to Chicago in January. It
still didn’t seem right.

"I’m ok," I said. "I must have fallen asleep. What the hell is happening?"

"The riot’s starting up again. Those Irish bastards have all gotten ball bearings from

I gave him a look.

One of those looks.

My speciality.

"Oh, by Irish bastards, I meant, uh, I meant no offense by the way," he stammered.

I didn’t say anything. I almost felt more American now than Irish. I ducked as stones and ball
bearings landed in the shop fronts. Pieces of dark lava and Molotov cocktails flew back from the
English side.

The London lads were drunk and the Dublin boys had taken off their shirts, looking like ghosts
flitting nervously behind the barricades.

The riot progressed. A shop window caved in under a big rock, a roof collapsed, a car went up
in flames. A big English bruiser trundled along a wheely-bin filled with gasoline and halfway
down the hill, he burned some scrunched-up newspaper and tossed it after. The bin exploded and he
caught fire. He rolled on the ground and the cops grabbed him and dragged him off to a police


The colors fused: green banana skins, inky smoke, crimson blood, the blue Atlantic and iodine
sky merging in the west. Over by the dunes amazed surfers were wondering if the town was on fire,
and later it was, as the hotel burned and the surfers and the other noncombatants decided to be
long gone.

At dusk the Spanish police finally got their act together and turned fire hoses on the two
sides. The Micks started an out-of-date football chant: "Francisco Franco is a wanker," and the
English side trumped that with "What Happened to the Armada?" Singing was general over the lines
now and each song was echoed back and as full night fell, everyone got teary-eyed and
guilt-ridden and we had a truce, the impromptu leaders meeting up in one of the main squares
under a flag of armistice.

The shadows lengthened and there was a toast. A drink. A parley. And it was agreed then that
whatever differences existed between the Irish and the English soccer fans, here, fifteen hundred
miles from the British Isles, the story wasn’t terrorism or the Famine or Enniskillen or Bloody
Sunday. It was August 1997 now, there was a new British prime minister, and a new IRA cease-fire
brewing that extended even unto football hooligans. Aye, we could see that out here with our
fresh perspective. Here in Tenerife under the black sky of Creation, where Columbus set out to
enslave half the world, where Darwin came on the
where Nelson lost his arm, and
where they still made the same dark Canary drunk by Falstaff and Sir Toby Belch. Where we were
all away from gloomy Albion and we could accept a new vision of a new Earth with sunshine and
cheap food and Swedish girls and where we could see the folly of doing evil unto one’s brother.
The drunken leaders deciding that harmony would reign forever between kinfolk and that the riot
between the Brits and Paddies was over; and from now on we would concentrate on the real enemies:
German tourists and the Spanish police.

So began the second phase.

This time, though, I wanted no part of it, especially when I saw the big NATO war helicopters
landing beyond the cliffs and out of them pouring scores of paramilitary cops from Madrid—tough
bastards who came with machine pistols and gas and billy clubs that they used up in the Basque
country against the ETA guerrillas. Me and the kid, an eejit called Goosey, slipped away from the
drunken insurgents under the cover of darkness. We negotiated our way through the abandoned
holiday villas and the half-built outlying hotels and the pink-shaded small pensions where a few
British expats hid in the dark, having retired to Tenerife to escape the bad weather and
(ironically) the growing yob culture of England.

Goosey, it turned out, was a bit of a mental case from some East London shitehole who wanted
us to do a
Clockwork Orange
–style burglary on some of the pensions, nicking things and
hurting people and generally raising a bit of hell, but I would have none of it. They might have
shooters, I told Goosey, and Goosey thought this was entirely plausible and got discouraged from
the idea.

Instead up we went into the lava fields and through the mangrove and the palm trees until we’d
climbed a thousand feet above the town. We slept in a barn among guano and baked hay and the
sleep was the best since the riots had begun two days ago when three Millwall supporters had
attacked some guy from Dublin and the peelers had allegedly beaten the near life out of them down
at the cop shop. It had grown like a tropical storm, stores being looted and cars set ablaze and
the climax came when the local jail had been stormed and the Millwall boys and a team of
time-share crooks were let out and one person got himself shot in the shoulder by a peeler.

The town beneath us five thousand feet and four miles to the west and the paramilitary police
taking no prisoners, using dogs, whips, CS gas, and water cannon and this time the rioters were
being rounded up like sheep. Fires burned and the helicopters came and went and it was ending
now, we could tell.

we asked a herder and he showed us a stream and we followed it another
thousand feet up into the hills where, at a stone wall, it formed part of the boundary of a
hacienda. We vaulted the wall, got about a quarter of a mile before a man in a suit appeared on a
three-wheeled motorbike and asked us what the hell we thought we were doing. And not about to let
Goosey do the talking I explained that we were innocent kids fleeing a riot down in Playa de las
Americas. The man adjusted his sunglasses and said something into a walkie-talkie. He escorted us
up to the hacienda, where a beautiful woman in her forties sat us down at an oak table under pine
beams and gave us water and brandy.

"Muchas gracias, bella señorita,"
I said and the woman laughed and muttered something
to the man in sunglasses and he went back outside and then she said to me in English that she was
married and was no señorita anymore and not even beautiful either. To which I sincerely disagreed
and she laughed again and asked me what exactly had been going on at the beach and I told her,
leaving out our part in the proceedings.

She fed us and gave us directions to the town of Guia de Isora.

By the afternoon our supplies were gone and we were lost in a region that had an uncanny
similarity to the place the NASA robots keep landing on the planet Mars. Rocks, stones, thin red
soil. It grew unbearably hot. Goosey started swaying a bit, and all around us desert, black lava,
and the baking sun. We sat under a rock and decided to move again at night. The sun set, it grew
cold, above us we saw what God had made when he was getting things ready for the Earth. A million
stars. A billion. Blue and red and Doppler-shifted ultraviolet.

I thought for a minute that we were toast, but we fell in the backbone of the night and its
spell guided us safely through the wilderness. The sun rose over the sand hills and in the
morning we were at a wire fence surrounding a banana plantation. We broke in and with comedy
climbed a tree and gorged ourselves on green fruit. Nature was a civilizing influence and Goosey
had given up plans for
Clockwork Orange
rampages and was now all for staying here
forever in the great outdoors. We could build canoes and trade to Africa and be self-sufficient
in meat, fruit, clothes. We could be outlaws and fish and roast our catch over charcoal fires.
Live on the beach and dream our canoes out over the ocean. Steer by wave and swell and the stars
like the Polynesians. His vision more
Coral Island
Lord of the Flies
and I
said I’d write a letter to
The Times
suggesting a scheme whereby lager louts could be
turned into Byronic pacifists just by letting them camp out a few nights in the wilds of
Tenerife. Plutarch had called this place the "Fortunate Islands," Darwin had raved about it, and
two hundred years ago Alexander von Humboldt had had the same thoughts: "Nowhere in the world
seems more able to dissipate melancholy and restore peace to troubled minds than Tenerife."
That’s the real reason I’d come here. Five years in the purgatory of the Witness Protection
Program. The FBI and federal marshals dogging my every movement. I needed a vacation. I needed
out of North America. And I’d been to Tenerife before and liked it, it was mellow and I even
spoke Spanish.

Nice move. I’d been deciding between Spain and somewhere completely off the wall like Peru.
I’d flipped a coin. Heads.

A lot of people were going to get screwed because of that coin flip.

Especially me.

BOOK: The Dead Yard
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