Not that I have anything against cats…
“Family Matters” will be coming off the Amazon exclusivity list in a couple of days. This is the final opportunity to pick up this book, my favourite, for free. Zilch. Zippo. Goose Egg. Act now, or forever hold your piece. Or peace. Your choice.
“Every time I thought I had it figured out there was another twist.”
“Family Matters” exists in the same universe as “Book ‘Em – An Eamonn Shute Mystery”.
Miami PD Homicide Detective Dan MacCready has two dead bodies, four pissed off and slightly crazy mobsters, a sofa-surfing brother and a green-horn FBI Agent to babysit.
And some of them want to kill him. Life is peachy.
“This stereotyping of all Russians as mobsters must stop NOW!” ~ V. Putin
“It wasn’t this fun when we were on the beat.” ~ Crockett and Tubbs
“Now this is a South Florida I could really enjoy.” ~ E. Hemingway
Below is the prologue, action which occurs three weeks before the body of the story.
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‘Gentlemen, I want to thank you for gracing me with your presence.’ Rico Trattori sat at the head of a table in a private room at La Loggia on Flagler. At the far end of the table sat an extremely dapper Vladimir Petrovski. To Rico’s left, Tony Montana, scowling into a mug of beer. And to his right, the typically taciturn Ivan Smimov. Between their chairs sat various thugs, armed security for their bosses.
‘You have tremendous balls inviting us all to a restaurant across from the courthouse.’ Vlad smiled as he rolled the ash off his cigar. ‘But this food,’ he waved at the remains on the table, ‘is delightful. Why are we here?’
Rico sat back in his chair, his considerable weight stressing the workmanship to its limit. ‘The economy is not, as you are all aware, in the greatest of shape. And while we are all in ostensibly recession-proof areas of business – ’
Tony had his hand up.
‘Os – , os – , what?’
‘Ostensibly. It means, “to all outward appearances”. Or, “as far as anyone else could tell from the outside”. May I finish?’
Tony nodded, waved his hand to continue, and pulled at his beer.
‘Thanks. Where was I?’ Rico dabbed a piece of garlic bread in the tomato sauce on his plate. ‘While we are all in ostensibly recession-proof areas of business, things have been tough for each of us.’
Ivan belched. ‘Speak for yourself.’
‘Really? I can read the papers. You’re under considerable pressure from the Federals. Maybe not you personally, but I know the names of your men, and they’re quite popular across the street. Gambling receipts are off. People don’t have the money they used to. For Christ’s sake, they’re walking away from their houses.’
Rico paused, took a sip of wine and nodded at Tony. ‘How’s the ice business?’
He shrugged. ‘It’s been better, I guess, but not totally in the shitter. What are you getting at? I don’t like talking about my private business around these guys.’
Ivan grunted. ‘I am vanting to agree with the crazy Mexican. I disagree with Vladimir, though. This food is not so good.’ He pushed himself back from the table. ‘I am wasting my times here. I will leave now.’
‘Wait a couple more minutes while I explain my proposal. I think you might just like it. It will benefit all of us.’
Ivan scowled. ‘I do not think so, but I will listen. Do not waste any more of my time though.’
Rico nodded. ‘I’ll get right to the point. The four of us all operate in non-competing areas, both geographically and in our primary areas of business.’
Tony held up his hand.
‘Just listen and save the questions. I think you’ll get the gist of it. For example, starting with me first. I’m based in Tamiami. I handle everything west of 874. I control most of the gambling and prostitution. I wholesale drugs, but don’t deal, that’s for you Vlad. And if anyone wants guns they go to Homestead.’
Tony smiled. ‘That’s me.’
Rico nodded. ‘You own the south. If somebody wants guns of any description or quantity, you are the man.’
Tony grinned, spaghetti sauce staining his thin beard, gold tooth glinting in the light.
‘And the primary source of meth in South Florida, also you.’
Tony saluted him with a crust of bread.
Rico continued. ‘Ivan, Hialeah and area is yours. The races, cocaine, heroin, even the really good pot comes from you. Your compatriot, Vladimir, further north in Opa-Locka, is doing some very creative things with money-laundering for each of us for a substantial, but fair, fee.’
‘Wasting my time, still. We all know what each other does. I am to leaving now.’ Ivan rose to his feet and pulled his jacket off the back of his chair.
‘What if I were to suggest we combine our operations, an even share for each, and form a conglomerate? We operate as equal partners, cover the entire region, combining our expertise.’
There was a brief silence, then all spoke at once. Rico let it roll for a minute before ringing his spoon against his wine glass. ‘One at a time, please. I want an open discussion.’
‘And why should we even be discussing this with you, an upstart in this business?’ Vlad smoothed his tie and sucked smoke out of his cigar. ‘You’ve been here less than five years.’
‘Let’s just say I’m progressive. We would be large enough to muscle out some of the more established organizations in South Florida, take over their operations, grow to be the dominant force in Florida.’
‘Even shares for each of us?’
‘Yes, Tony. Twenty-five percent each.’
‘But I know for a fact that my meth and my guns bring in a helluva lot more green than your businesses, and I’ve been growing my business for over ten years. Almost fifteen actually. Don’t seem that fair.’
Vlad nodded. ‘I agree. I propose, if we go forward with this – and that’s still a very big if – that the ownership is a fair division based on current business sizes.’
Rico tossed the crust of bread on his plate. ‘Oh, for fuck’s sake. And how about we get Price Waterhouse Coopers to audit our books. Brilliant fucking idea, boys. No, we can’t have a dominant partner in this. It needs to be a four-way partnership or it won’t work.’
‘Then it is not going to be working, and I will still leave now.’ Ivan nodded to his muscle and made his way to the door of the private room. ‘Oh and Rico, if you come sniffing in my house for a scrap or two, I will personally carve you up like a Christmas ham. Dasvidaniya.’ He and his three bodyguards left, the rest of the room in silence until they were gone.
‘This isn’t going so well for you.’ Tony looked at his watch. ‘I’ve got a helluva long way to go tonight, so I’m outta here. Stupid plan. Admire the cajones, but it’ll never work.’
Vlad watched Rico’s face as Rico watched Tony leave. ‘You still think you can amalgamate our organizations. You don’t look disappointed. You expected them to turn you down. What about me?’
‘They are two of the biggest idiots I’ve ever run across. They rule with fear and intimidation. Replacing them with someone as ruthless, but sympathetic to my plans, would not be very difficult. You, on the other hand, are too smart for that. I expected you to stay.’
‘So you think I’ll go along with this plan.’ It wasn’t a question.
‘With the right incentives, yes.’
Vlad shook his head. ‘I’m not convinced. I do thank you for the excellent meal, though. I haven’t been here before, what with the proximity to the courthouse. I’ll have to come back someday.’ He stood and dropped his napkin on his plate. ‘Be careful. I think you may have made a couple of enemies tonight. You will regret that, I think.’
“Family Matters” is available as eBook for Amazon Kindle: US | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES