Forty ThievesBook - 2016
Sid and Ronnie Abel are a first-rate husband-and-wife detective team, both retirees of the LAPD. Ed and Nicole Hoyt are married assassins-for-hire living in the San Fernando Valley. Except for deadly aim with a handgun, the two couples have little in common--until they are both hired to do damage control on the same murder case. The previous spring, after days of torrential rain, a body was recovered from one of the city's overwhelmed storm sewers. The victim was identified as James Ballantine, a middle-aged African-American who worked as a research scientist for a prestigious company and was well liked by his colleagues. But two bullets to the back of the head looked like nothing if not foul play. Now, with the case turning cold, Ballantine's former employers bring in the Abels to succeed where the police have failed, while the Hoyts' mysterious contractors want to make sure that the facts about Ballantine's death stay hidden. As the book races toward ahigh-octane climax, the Abels must fend for their own lives as they circle ever closer to the truth.
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“What’s different about a professional?” “He’s killed people before. He knows a body contains about five quarts of blood, and that it doesn’t clean up well, so he doesn’t try. He knows in advance that he’ll need an alibi, a way of getting out unseen, a place to get rid of the weapon, a way to get far away before the body is found. And he’s left nothing at the scene that can lead to him— objects, fingerprints, or DNA.”
“My arms are so tired. I don’t think I could lift them again if I had to.” “That’s good too,” he said. “When you’re fighting, use everything you have. Don’t save anything. There’s not going to be a better use for your energy later.”
The couple looked like a pair of high school teachers, the sort who had seen everything at least five times, and hadn’t been particularly disturbed by it the first time.
“We’re supposed to be following them. A fox doesn’t look over his shoulder to see if he’s being stalked by chickens.”
The Figueroa was a private club, founded many years ago by a group of people who had shared a belief in after-hours drinking, and free enterprise that often included the exchange of goods and services that were not supposed to be for sale. It had retained that character long after many of those activities had gone out of style and been replaced by something worse, or become legal.
Men were astoundingly simple. They were motivated by sex and greed.
At 5: 00 a.m. the streets of Los Angeles were already filling up. There was never a time when the roads were empty, but a change of people occurred before dawn, with the last of the night people giving up and going indoors to sleep until their next chance occurred at sundown, and the day people charging out to take their turn.
We’re natural sinners. Nobody had to tell me how to go about any of this. I just knew.
The drive from Las Vegas to Los Angeles was 270 miles, and it always made Nicole a little bit nervous. It was at least four hours of driving with the least risk-averse group of travelers ever to be on a public highway. The fact that most of them had just had a lesson in the folly of optimism only made them impatient, and a few of them mean.
“ … ready. Just take a minute and help me understand the plan.” “There is no plan,” Ed said. “He’s there, he’s alone right now, and that means right now is when we have to do it. No choice.” … He was betting on getting through this on sheer audacity.
“ … whoever he was working for just happened to know some Russians. Or if these guys were members of a gang.” “Well they weren’t a bunch of wedding planners.”
“Do you think we should tell Miguel Fuentes what we found?” “We don’t know if we found anything, or just helped the guy clean his house.”
“Well, now we’ll have another try in a new country. It’s amazing that so many made it out of that place. I’m never going back there. The whole country is inhabited by criminals.”
QUILLIVRAY AN EQUESTRIAN NEIGHBORHOOD. PLEASE USE CAUTION. Ronnie said, “It just means watch what you step on.”
“We’ll go over the border to Mexico.” But she really didn’t want to go to Mexico. The whole country was full of drug cartels with armies of killers, and the extra killers who were temporarily out of work made a living kidnapping people. Everybody else in the country was willing to swim rivers, climb steel walls, and crawl through deserts to get out of it.
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