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Dead Reckoning: A Sam Hill Hard-Boiled Short # 13



Private Investigator

Dead Reckoning

R. Archer

Copyright © 2015. R. ARCHER. All Rights Reserved. This work may not be copied, or distributed without the written permission of the author or publisher. This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any persons living or dead is purely coincidental. Cover art image and images in the text were found in the public domain. If you are the owner of said image, please contact the publisher for removal or credit. Sam Hill Private Investigator, is a part of the public domain. The author has taken creative liberties in drafting this tale.


Summary: Sam is the target for murder, and he thinks it’s Roxy.


Hard Boiled Novels by the Author:

The Case Files of Harvey Valentine Private Dick

p<>{color:#000;}. Gold Digger (pilot novel)

p<>{color:#000;}. The Judge and the Cultist

Ben Casey Crime Reporter

p<>{color:#000;}. The Secret Cabal

The Confidential Cases of Sam Hill


Published by, Hard-Boiled Books. Muskegon, MI.



Hard-Boiled Shorts by the Author

p<>{color:#000;}. Eye of the Lyon – A Jeff Regan Hard-Boiled Short

p<>{color:#000;}. [_ Shayne’s Revenge- A Michael Shayne Hard-Boiled Short _]

p<>{color:#000;}. [_ A Dollar Short and a Day Late- A Johnny Dollar Hard-Boiled Short. _]

SAM HILL Private Investigator

p<>{color:#000;}. The Double Trouble Caper

p<>{color:#000;}. The Sexy Killer Caper

p<>{color:#000;}. The Mad Money Caper

p<>{color:#000;}. The Triple Killing Caper

p<>{color:#000;}. The Camera Killer Caper

p<>{color:#000;}. The Crested Owl Caper

p<>{color:#000;}. The Carnival Killer Caper

p<>{color:#000;}. The Flying Money Caper

p<>{color:#000;}. The Broken Date Caper

p<>{color:#000;}. The Country Club Caper

p<>{color:#000;}. The Killer was no Lady Caper

p<>{color:#000;}. The Client from Beyond

p<>{color:#000;}. Dead Reckoning


The Case Files of Harvey Valentine Private Dick

p<>{color:#000;}. The Forgetful Stripper

p<>{color:#000;}. Witness to Murder

p<>{color:#000;}. Oracle of Baphomet

The Characters-


Sam Hill- Private Dick with an attitude, a sharp wit, smart mouth, and a loaded gun.


Sal Vertoli – Her husband wanted a divorce, but she’d hang on until a snow storm in July.


Lieutenant O’Malley – Old friend of Sam Hill.


Roxy- Secretary of Sam Hill and a little more.



“The guy (Sam Hill) is pretty good with a club,

but he has a heart.”

-Sam Spade


“Sam Hill is a top-notch private dick.”

-Michael Shayne


“Sam Hill is amazing, even off the clock.”

Pat Novak


“He (Sam Hill) has a way with the Dames.

-Phillip Marlowe

Take it from me, you can’t get away with murder. Not a premeditated one, unless you can do it legally! This is the story of how did it in a Caper; I call…


Dead Reckoning


It started in O’Malley’s office at Police Headquarters. The higher-ups were screaming because he’d never been able to get anything on Sal Vertoli. O’Malley had a plan to get the crime boss’ name on a police blotter.

Unfortunately, the plot he’d unfolded included me.

“Look, O’Malley, I’ll admit Sal ought to be behind bars, maybe even in the char. But why, pick on me. I’m expensive bait.”

“You’ve got to help, Sam,” O’Malley said. “You’ll get your stipend and expenses plus the undying gratitude of the police department, and myself.”

O’Malley looked a bit worried; it must be an important case. But just how important to bring in an outsider?

“None of which will do me any good if I’m dead,” I replied and fired up a smoke.

“All right. I’ll admit it’s dangerous, but it’s the only way! Besides, I never thought of you as a pussy.”

“Only in your dreams, O’Malley! Let’s have the rest of the details. You’ve hired a prize sucker.”

I guess I was, but the last time Sal was booked, it was for juvenile delinquency, and he was forty-five, so I listened to the rest of O’Malley’s story to trap him.

When I got back to the office, Roxy was there.

“C’mon, Baby,” I said entering the office. “Call it quits, and we’ll tip a few down at Eddie’s.”

“Sam, I never knew you were a drinking man,” she said.

I’m not but on a rare occasion; I’ve been known to take a sniffer or two of bourbon. But this was part of the plot and so was Roxy, only she didn’t know it yet.

We were nursing a drink at Eddie’s when a fella who looked like he’d had too many at the bar walked over to our table. He didn’t seem to care that I was sitting there with Roxy.

“Hi, beautiful,” he said to Roxy, leaning over her chair. “I bin washin you! You don seem to be havin mush fun here o wit tis guy.”

His words were slurred and barely understandable.

“You’re not going to have any if you don’t beat it loser!”

“Tink you tough, huh? I’ll…”

I never gave him a chance to finish his sentence; I don’t take kindly to assholes hitting on Roxy in my company.

“Tough enough to handle your sorry ass! Get back where you came from,” I stood up and gave him a push in the chest. He stumbled back and fell.

He landed against the bar, knocking over the bottle he’d been drinking from then he picked it up and came at me in a wobbling rush.

“Nobody can push me aroun,” he raised the bottle over his head like a club.

The bastard just committed an attempted assault and battery on me. I did the appropriate thing, I doubled up and knocked his lights out.

He dropped to the floor and didn’t get up.

The guy put on a good act!

Somebody called an ambulance, but before it arrived, O’Malley was on the scene with the Medical Examiner.

“The man’s dead!” the examiner said like he was ordering a burger. No emotion or feeling.

It didn’t’ take them long to hustle me to a jail cell, where I spent the night. The next day, Roxy came to visit me. She was worried, but, more than that, puzzled. I’d never been trigger happy before.

“I lost my head, Baby, that’s all,” I said staring at her from behind the bars. My ass was sore from sitting on the bench all this time. And I had a feeling that it could use to it. “The guy was Ed Kent, a reporter for the Daily. The way they’ll crucify me I’ll be lucky to get life.”

“But Sam, it was self-defense! They can only charge you with manslaughter.”

“It’s hard to prove I didn’t mean to kill him I pulled a gun. They’ll charge me with second-degree murder.”

But they didn’t. I was allowed to plead guilty to manslaughter and “because of law enforcement record of the prisoner” the Judge suspend my sentence. Don’t think he was being nice, because he wasn’t. He was a bigger dick than I was.

“However, Mr. Hill,” said Judge Sheitbottom. “A license to carry is not a license to kill! Therefore, I order that yours be revoked with your license to practice as a private investigator.”

The Judge affirmed his order with the ruling of his gavel on the bench. I was free of jail but pissed; I’d lost my license to carry and to practice my profession. Roxy was there to take me home.

“Well, that does it, Baby. The Private eye has been closed, permanently!”

“It’s all right Sam,” Roxy said with a tenderness to her voice. “You’re smart. You’ll think of something. We’ll get along.”

I couldn’t believe her. “We? Look, Doll,” I said. “I don’t have a job. That puts you out of work. Go find yourself a guy who can pay you a salary.”

“You’re just tired, Sam. Go home and get some sleep, but remember, I’m sticking with you.”

My faithful Roxy was going to be the gum on my shoe.

I had to ditch her so that night I moved to a cheap boarding room house on the west side.

“That’ll be five dollars in advance and no parties,” said the landlady.

She was a pinched face broad, a little hefty for my tastes, and with a scowl that would scare a Pitbull.

“Maybe you better inform the cockroaches!” I said.

She showed me to my room and gave me one last evil look before she went back to her cats.

I began to frequent the opium dens and whorehouses where Vertoli’s goons hung out. One night I followed a couple of them into a speakeasy and pretended to get tight, but I had underestimated Roxy, she found me at the height of the act.

“Sam! I’ve been looking everywhere for you. I have some wonderful news.”

‘Okay, so you found me. What happened, somebody bump off Lieutenant O’Malley?”

I Knew Vertoli’s boys were watching me, so I put on a show.

“Bob Grane, the Stag Film Director, said he was looking for a big dick for his upcoming film, and I told him you were one.”

If I wasn’t working on something I would be tempted at making a career change, but I said, “I’m a private Dick, Sweetheart. Detective…”

“C’mon, Sam. I’ve sat on your lap a few times. I know what kind of heat you’re packing in that suit.”

“Tell him to get another dick, I’m not interested,” I said. “I’m through with trying to make an honest buck! What’s it ever gotten me except holes in the pocket and now a bad name. Tell your friend that sounds interesting, but no. I don’t want my face plastered on a movie screen.”

“Sam, you can’t mean that,” Roxy said.

“Oh, yes, I do, Sweetheart! And you can stop playing like my big sister. I don’t need you around. Get it?”

Roxy’s face went pale. “Yes. I get you,” she said, turned her back on me and left.

As she left, I could see the sharks rising. I should have felt good, but how could I? I had just used Roxy’s heart for bait.

It didn’t take Vertoli’s boys long to amble over and suggest that Sal could use another “employee.”

“Look, I ain’t promising you nothing,” the Goon said. “All I’m asking ya to do is come along and see.”

I gave a nod and a grin, “Sounds easy enough. Okay, boys, lead the way.”

The pair goons took me to Sal’s office.

But Sal wasn’t so impressed he hadn’t reached the top of the heap by being dumb. He sat eyeballing me suspiciously while his boys told their story. Finally, he spoke.

“So you’d like to see Inspector O’Malley bumped? Maybe you’d be crazy enough to do it, huh?

“Only if he is in my way,” I said. “I’m not out for revenge, just profit.”

“Look, Vertoli, I didn’t ask to be brought here, if you’re looking for killers. I’m not your boy.”

“I glad to hear that, Hill,” Vertoli said. “I thought getting away with a killing might give you ideas.” He lit a fat cigar and continued, “I don’t want trigger-happy gunslingers. And I always have room for a smart man. Matter of fact I have a job in mind.”

“Name it,” I replied.

He did. A little matter of getting “protection money,” out of a guy who owned a gas station.

Sal said, “He’s testing you, Hill. This guy gave “Bull” Thompson a bad time when he tried to collect.”

“A tough guy, huh?” I asked.

“Yeah. Bull ain’t out of the hospital yet,” Sal said.

So I became Sal Verteli’s collection agency. O’Malley had given me an unlimited expense account, and I needed it. The collections started to come in heavier and heavier. Even Sal was surprised.

I was sure I earned the employee of the month award for enforcers. I found myself in Vertoli’s office dropping off a collection.

“But, Sam, the guy only owed two-hundred,” Vertoli said. He was holding three in his tight fist.

“Yeah, but I counted the cars pulling into his joint in ten minutes and decided he could stand a raise.”

“But this is the same guy that put Bull in the hospital,” Vertoli said. “Didn’t he scream?”

“Oh, he screamed all right,” I answered. “Even threaten to call the cops. So I cut the wires, without power, he couldn’t pump gas. All the coppers in the world couldn’t give him back the business he lost. He’s even dying for some of your boards. ”

The punch boards I was supposed to have force on merchants was something else my “expenses” were paying for. The investment in Sal Vertoli was getting bigger and bigger to pay dividends. One day Sal called into his office.

Sam, you should be higher up in the organization, so I’m going to show you my insurance policies.”

“Your what?” he lost me.

He handed me a book from the wall safe. I thumbed through it; the book listed all the unsolved crimes in the state. The dates and names, big names, not only hoods but some so-called respectable citizens of our fair community.

“Every one of them would do a stretch in the pen if they didn’t play ball. That’s how I built up my syndicate.”

“How come you’re showing me this?” I asked.

“Because,” he answered. “You’re dying to see it.”

I heard the hammer pull back on a revolver that I presumed was pointed at the back of my head. There was no doubt that Sal wanted me, higher-up. Up with the angels.

“One of my boys spotted you calling O’Malley. I’m wise to your game, Copper. Now there’ll be another unsolved murder, yours!”

I heard a familiar voice; it said, “Drop that gun!” I was never happier to hear O’Malley’s voice.

Sal whirled, but O’Malley was faster.

“Fucking pigs!” Sal pointed his gun at O’Malley and had it shot from his hand.

“I said, drop it,” O’Malley repeated.

Sal didn’t go for his fallen gun; he was smarter than that.

“I’ve had a man tailing Sam,” O’Malley said to Vertoli. “He spotted your boy when Sam made that call, so we knew you were smart. But you weren’t smart to this bug Sam planted. We’ve had a recorder in the next apartment capturing every word you’ve said for the last month.”

So they had Sal Vertoli at last, and a lot of crooks were going to have the book thrown at them. Sal’s book. I asked Roxy over to Police Headquarters; there was somebody I wanted her to meet.

“Honey, this is Ed Kent, he gets a big assist for being the gold in this frame.”

“But,” Roxy said. “I saw blood on his shirt.”

“And a nice exclusive on the story for playing dead.”

“Just some of Eddie’s watery ketchup that I applied in the men’s room before we had our little brawl,” said Ed.

“That’s why O’Malley was Jonny on the spot with the medical examiner. He, the D.A. and Judge were the only others in on it. We couldn’t take any chances.”

“Not even on me?” Roxy said.

I leaned over and whispered in her here, “Not even on you. O’Malley made me promise. I’m even going to have to look for a new office.”

“You’re lucky it isn’t a new secretary. I’ve had some attractive offers.

I’ll be she has, and if I’m not careful, someday she’ll take one of them up.


The End.



























About the Story-


Sam Hill private investigator was the main character appearing in, SAM HILL PRIVATE EYE. A pulp detective comic produced by Close-up Inc. Sam Hill first appeared in 1950. The character is now in the public domain and brought back to life by the author. The author has taken creative liberties when drafting this Sam Hill story. Giving the character even more of a hard-boiled attitude than what he has in the comic. His wise cracks borderline crude and rude, rather than off the cusp remarks. The new SAM HILL is sly, sarcastic, devious, and a bit crude.

Staying to the original story, these new Sam Hill tales take place in the 1950’s. A time when political correctness wasn’t even a thought.

True to the original, Sam has a secretary named Roxy, who as we have learned assists Sam in more ways than one.

The Author


Best Selling Author, R. Archer is a noted Author and writer in the genres of Comedy Horror, Political Satire, Comedy, Erotic Horror and Hard-Boiled Fiction.



A published poet, his poem End of Days, appears in the horror anthology, Hell II, published by James Ward Kirk Fiction. Other published works to his collection include a movie review of Dead Alive, found at Halloween Forevermore.

The Case Files of Harvey Valentine Private Dick in Gold Digger is the first full-length novel the author has written, and the author’s first forte in the mystery crime fiction genre.

The author works as an Independent Paralegal when not writing new works of fiction. He currently is attending college, working on Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. He plans to stay in college several more years, possibly earning a Juris Doctorate. We shall see.

Enjoy SAM HILL Private Investigator?

You can get all the zany and crazy adventures of Sam Hill as penned by R. Archer in 2015 in one Volume. Includes the never before published Kindle short: The Client from Beyond # 12.

And excerpts of Two forthcoming works from the Author: One Million B.C. and Madam Satan: Resurrected.




Dead Reckoning: A Sam Hill Hard-Boiled Short # 13

SAM HILL is a wise-cracking hard-boiled private investigator told in the first person by outstanding author of crime fiction, R. Archer. The author is a noted, best-selling author of Kindle Short Reads. This adventure makes # 13 in the Sam Hill Private Investigator series. Sam Hill Shorts/Singles can be read in any order. Often helping Sam on his mishap Capers is his beautiful redheaded secretary, Roxy. You’ll find fun and tongue in cheek hard-boiled excitement in each episode of Sam Hill. If you have enjoyed these Sam Hill shorts, then you need to get The Confidential Cases of Sam Hill Private Eye, which contains all of the shorts written by the author in 2015, including the never be published short, The Client from beyond #12. In this case, Sam goes undercover to get a mob boss and risks losing Roxy.

  • Author: R Archer
  • Published: 2016-01-05 06:50:08
  • Words: 2852
Dead Reckoning: A Sam Hill Hard-Boiled Short # 13 Dead Reckoning: A Sam Hill Hard-Boiled Short # 13