When he began his one-man assault on the Mafia, ex–army sniper Mack Bolan imagined it as a war of attrition. Kill enough button men and underbosses, made guys and capos, and the international crime syndicate would finally collapse. But when he learned that the Mafia was planning a full-scale takeover of the US government, the Executioner realized attrition would not be enough. The Mafia must be destroyed, and the place to do it is Chicago.
The battle for Chicago starts with a single shot when Bolan pulls the trigger and ends the life of underboss Louis Aurielli. In a city where every politician, businessman, and cop is on the mob payroll, he will have nowhere to hide. But that’s okay with Bolan—sometimes it’s better to fight in the open.
Chicago Wipeout is the 8th book in the Executioner series, but you may enjoy reading the series in any order.
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The Executioner, Book Eight
By Don Pendleton
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1971 Pinnacle Books
All rights reserved.
In a matter of seconds, Bolan knew, the Chicago War would be on. The face in his crosshairs was the one he had been patiently awaiting for two hours on this crisp winter afternoon beside Lake Michigan. Faces had come and gone through the hairs of the 20-power, but this was the one he had wanted. Once it might have been handsome, or at least it might have possessed a potential for comeliness. Now it showed the indelible tracings of an inner rot, of power and greed too long unrestrained—a face that had seen death and brutality and atrocity far too many times to remain comely in the mirror of humanity—and, yes, this was a face to launch the War for Chicago.
For a second The Executioner hesitated. Some deep uneasiness over this hit was gnawing for a quick mental review of the situation. Two days of patient and cautious recon had failed to produce any intelligence which would dissuade him from making the strike at this particular time and place. The big lakeshore estate was reasonably secluded. There was no evidence of a hardset defense—the staff of this Mafia joint appeared both modest and relaxed-a small force of hardmen. Bolan had counted only four identifiable gunbearers—one at the gate in front, one acting as a doorman, the other two alternating on relief. The inside crew was made up of a cook, a bartender and a waiter. The guests seemed to bring their female companions with them; there was no whore-corps in residence. The two-story joint had six bedrooms on the upper level. The lower level was taken over by the kitchen and dining room, lounge, game room, and a large library that probably served as a conference room.
Bolan could find no reason for his uneasiness. His own position had been carefully selected and was as good a drop as he could reasonably expect to find. He was comfortably situated in the garage apartment of an adjoining estate which had been closed for the winter. He had the wind at his back and a bird's-eye, unrestricted view of the target area. His line of withdrawal provided several acceptable alternate routes of retreat, and he would be firing along a three hundred-meter range—well beyond any effective retort from handguns.
So why the uneasiness? Simple fear, maybe. Or an instinctive recognition of ... what? Bolan shook away the feeling. The flash review had crowded his mind for only an instant and the long-awaited image of evil was still crowding the vision field of the sniperscope. The target was standing beside the vehicle from which he had just emerged, his face thrust aggressively into the raw wind slanting in from the lake, and he was evidently giving some instructions to his driver. His woman had already gone inside—a luscious blonde in a fur coat who displayed a wiggle that promised everything.
The intense magnification of these big scopes created a distortion of reality; Aurielli's face seemed to be just hanging there—discarnate, a blob of humanity that had somehow managed to insinuate itself in the lens. And, yeah, a war was waiting. Last minute fears or not, the moment had arrived.
Bolan sighed, and his finger knew no compunction as it caressed the trigger of the big Weatherby. The high-powered rifle thundered into the recoil as the .460 Magnum missile tore along the one-second course. Bolan grimaced and rode the recoil, his eye flaring into the scope in the effort to maintain target continuity as the image disintegrated in a frothy implosion of blood and bone and tissue—and Louis Aurielli, Mafia underboss, suddenly ceased to exist in the space-time world.
The bolt-action moved swiftly and smoothly as the Weatherby immediately swung a few degrees left and the long barrel elevated an inch or two to acquire the next target. The dumbly-dismayed visage of Aurielli's pretty-boy bodyguard, one Adonis Sallavecci, hung there for a frozen instant in the framework of doom as it contemplated the inexplicable behavior of a disintegrating boss. The sound-wave bearing the rustling report of that first round reached the target area at about the same instant that the second Magnum mushroomed into Sallavecci's once-pretty face, and another target was fragmented and flung beyond the vision field of the sniperscope.
Again the bolt-action ejected searing metal and the trained eye of the marksman rode the jolting weapon to the next preselected step of the rapid-fire triple punch, and again the tightening finger of death dispatched an emissary of war. As swiftly as three ticks of a clock, three victims of sudden death lay crumpled in the drive of the lakeshore estate that corruption had built.
Aurielli's Cadillac lurched forward, moving head-on toward Bolan's distant position—a purely instinctive reaction of flight. The Weatherby sent it careening out of control on an instantly deflated front tire, then Bolan swung the scope aside for a broader view of the developments down there. His unencumbered eye caught a glint of something in motion at a dormer window atop the joint—the window raised and a figure leaned out to shout something at the hardman at the door, and the upstairs man was pointing in Bolan's general direction. At that same moment he saw a flash from another gable window and instinctively dropped to the floor a split-second before a projectile tore away his own window-facing. Two others came in quick sucession, heavy sizzlers that sent showers of rotting wood flying through the garage apartment.
And Bolan knew now why the uneasy feeling. His recon had not been good enough. The joint was a hardsite; they had defenses there that not even a two-day watch had revealed ... and these Chicago clowns were no clowns—their response had been instantaneous and effective. The reports of several high-powered rifles were blending in a concerted and rapid return fire; they were concentrating on the window areas, keeping Bolan down and ducking while their comrades on the ground below found cover. Heavy calibre slugs were tearing into the building with ominous thumps and the sounds of splintering wood.
Okay, so Bolan knew that game too. They were working a bracketing pattern, intent on keeping him down and clear of those windows. He grimaced and snaked along the floor toward the door, the opening of which was set at a right angle to the line of fire. He lay in the doorway and sent three quick rounds into the grounded Cadillac, then immediately rolled back to his original gunport at the window, smiling with grim satisfaction as the doorjamb began to splinter under the same ferocious counterattack previously accorded the window areas. Three seconds was all Bolan desired ... three seconds of diverted fire. He could see the flashes from two weapons on the roof across the way and just below these, a weapon at each of the dormer windows. Make it four seconds.
The sniperscope was back in place and he was scanning the ridges of the roof. A target came into sharp focus, a face in dark concentration as it fought the rapid recoils of a semi-automatic rifle. Bolan squeezed off a shot and moved the scan onward, allowing no time to verify the hit, smoothly working the bolt-action and immediately acquiring another target, squeezing-off and moving on to the dormers.
The desired four seconds were not forthcoming; his opponents at the windows had already become aware of the maneuver and were retargeting. The shadow of a man in a face-on confrontation appeared in the vision-field, a scope-mounted semi-automatic foregrounded and spitting flame. Something thwacked into the wood beside Bolan's head as he cooly squeezed off, then rode the recoil into the next target and again sighed into the pull; this target he hung into and watched as it was punched backwards into the distant room. Then he backtracked in a verification of the first three hits, realizing already that this phase of the firefight had ended. A warm trickle of blood was oozing down his cheek. He wiped it away and withdrew the splinter of wood that was producing it, realizing also that he had been that close to death.
In a delayed reaction to the doorway fusillade, the Cadillac suddenly erupted into flames with a whooshing explosion that lifted the rear end and resettled the heavy vehicle at an angle to the drive.
People were running about down there, amongst the trees, and someone was shouting instructions. A moment later a lone figure appeared through the hedgerow separating the two properties. He was a dark, thickset man with a Thompson chopper, and Bolan did not need the scope to read the ferocity on that scowling face. Their gazes met in simultaneous discovery and the Thompson began its upward swing. Bolan had to rise to his feet to get the proper depression for the Weatherby; he did so, firing from the hip in the same smooth motion, and the beginning gutteral chop of the Thompson was instantly eclipsed by the rolling cra-ack of the Weatherby.
The guy staggered backwards into the hedgerow and was momentarily supported there by the thick bushes, the now silent weapon hugged to his chest and turning crimson, then he toppled forward in a crumbling fall. The excited voice of a man somewhere in the background of action cried, "Christ, he got Blackie!"
Bolan placed a marksman's medal on the shattered windowsill, then whirled and ran for the door. No ... these were definitely not clowns. The Executioner was beginning to feel like the largest clown of all for walking into a hardset like this one. The enemy was present in force and knew how to respond to a hit. The question now uppermost in Bolan's mind concerned his ability to successfully withdraw. He slung the Weatherby from his shoulder and hit the doorway at full gallop, flinging himself through and over the metal railing of the small porch to drop in a plummeting arc to the frozen ground below, a descent of some fifteen feet. He landed in a shock-absorbing crouch and continued the motion with a rebound toward the protection of the building.
His Beretta was clear of its leather and filling his hand as he rounded the corner of the garage and made a run for the hedgerow. When confronting a superior force, Bolan had learned that confusion and the unexpected were the best equalizers. They would be expecting him to flee; therefore he must charge.
Charge, hell, I'm just retreating to the front!
His maneuver caught three of the enemy in flatfooted indecision as he descended upon them along the hedgerow, the Beretta coughing its chilling little message of defiance. The return fire was disorganized, ineffective, and very brief as two of the Mafiosi went down under the assault. The third, a skinny youth with mottled skin and very frightened eyes, stood quietly staring into the full extension of the black Beretta, his mouth open and his own weapon dangling impotently toward the ground. The gunhand was rapidly turning red under a flow of blood from a shoulder wound. The gunner's eyes flicked briefly from the bore of the Beretta to the icy gaze of The Executioner, then skittered away to fasten on the dead man lying at his feet.
Coldly, Bolan asked him, "You ready to die, soldier?"
The gunner shook his head in a negative response and the revolver slipped from his hand.
"How many more of you?" Bolan demanded.
"Just me," the youth mumbled. His gaze once more raised to Bolan's cool inspection, then again fell. "And I'm hit," he added dully.
Bolan said, "Count your blessings." He tossed a marksman's medal toward the defeated man's feet. "Pick it up," he commanded. "See that Lavallo gets it. Tell him he's next."
The Mafioso scooped up the medal with his good hand. He inspected it with suddenly expressive eyes and said, "Hell, I guessed it. I figured it must be you. Jeezus, Bolan, I—"
The Executioner's graveyard voice commanded, "Take off." The guy took off, staggering back through the hedgerow without a backwards glance, and undoubtedly counting his blessings.
Bolan stepped over a dead body and strode quickly toward the garage and his waiting vehicle. The mob, he was thinking, would not overlook a challenge like that. The die was cast.
The Chicago Wipe-Out was on.
And maybe something else was on, as well. The mind-blowing blonde with the million-dollar wiggle, whom Bolan had last seen entering the hardsite, was standing beside his Ferrari and breathing hard as she agitatedly watched his approach. Her hair was in a wild tangle, and somewhere she'd become parted from the fur coat—a loss she could hardly afford, considering the costume she had left. The girl was practically naked, and Bolan couldn't decide if she was shivering from the cold or from terror. Either way, something else was definitely on.CHAPTER 2
A FOXY LADY
"I'm on your s-side. Take me with you. Please!"
If she'd looked good in the sniperscope, she was downright edible in the three-dimensional reality as she moved jerkily around to Bolan's side of the car. A tall girl, pushing close to the six-foot mark, but put together in eye-gathering proportions, with those softly alluring contours that are sometimes seen on a budding ballerina who has not yet gone to solid muscle.
The costume would have been a bit much for the classical ballet crowd, though. It was made of red fur, a one-piece bit of fluff with a microscopic bottom that was hardly more than a G-string, and a thin strip stretching up each side to loop about into a decorative but entirely non-concealing swirl across luxurious breastworks. A bushy red tail reaching to her knees completed the picture—except for the head of a leering fox, done in bodypaint and peering out from the soft valley between her breasts.
Discounting the tail, Bolan figured he could hide the costume in his hand. The only other items of apparel were soft, ankle-high moccasins—and the temperature was in the mid-thirties with a stiff breeze raking in from the lake. It was no time to be recruiting a women's auxiliary—but it was also no time for any human being to be prancing about the shores of Lake Michigan in a bedroom combat suit. And she was about to cave in completely-swaying like a reed in the wind fighting to get her breathing and her emotions under control, all the while turning a deeper shade of blue. Bolan silently stowed the Weatherby and debated the question of what to do about the girl. Finally he gave her a reluctant okay with his eyes and she tumbled into the car with a shivery moan of thanks—it was not entirely certain whether she was thanking Bolan or a higher power.
He slid in beside her, snared his topcoat from the rear deck and draped it over her. Silently she bundled herself in it and drew the long, sculpted legs into the seat to cover them also, then went into a chattering case of the shakes.
The girl was still shivering when the Ferrari cleared the scene and took up a casual southward cruise along Lake Shore Drive. Bolan was in no great hurry now. He produced a quart thermos and poured his passenger a slug of steaming coffee. She accepted it with a grateful sweep of the eyes and quickly began to settle down.
When the coffee was nearly consumed Bolan lit a cigarette and handed it to her along with his first words. "You're looking better," he growled.
"Thanks," she said in an unsteady voice. "Feeling better."
A police car with beacon flashing tore past on a northward track, weaving through the traffic on a hot call to Bolan guessed where—and followed closely by a second and then a third. His guest was huddled in the topcoat and working hard at the cigarette, exhaling with audible tremors, but she had also noted the passage of the police. She wriggled about on the seat and murmured, "Thanks for getting me away from there."
He grunted and tried the heater, found it mildly warm, and told her, "Out of the frying pan and into the fire."
"That's you. You picked a hard taxi, lady."
She raked him with sky blue eyes and made a stab at a smile. "I know," she said. "You're Mack Bolan, aren't you?"
"Stretch your feet to the heater," he commanded gruffly.
She did so, carefully arranging the coat to capture the warmth. Then her gaze became fixed on Bolan's profile and he felt it quietly absorbing him. Presently she announced, "I'm a Foxy Lady."
Bolan gave her his full attention for a moment, inspecting her with a sober gaze. He pegged her age in the low twenties. The eyes were luminous and intelligent; under different conditions she would be a girl who laughed easily. Maybe she would be capable of warmth and sincerity. She returned his stare, and nothing more—no invitation, no challenge, no bid for sympathy—simply a frank return of interest.
Excerpted from Chicago Wipeout by Don Pendleton. Copyright © 1971 Pinnacle Books. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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