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Lisa Molin Assassin - A Quiet Kill in Interlaken

 

 

Lisa Molin Assassin – A Quiet Kill in Interlaken

 

 

by Mike Ward

 

 

 

Cover photo taken in Jacksonville, Florida by Mike Ward

 

 

Copyright 2016 Mike Ward

Published by Mike Ward at Shakespir

 

 

Shakespir Edition License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your enjoyment only, then please return to Shakespir.com or your favorite retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

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#ExcerptfromTheBankerWithaFaceFullofEvil

 

 

 

 

 

Lisa Molin Assassin – A Quiet Kill in Interlaken

Lisa Molin walked along Höheweg Street in Interlaken in Switzerland. She was dressed fairly conservatively and there was a reason for that. Normally her target had no idea who she was and no knowledge that his death was literally a few hours away. That was not true in this case. Her target didn’t know her name but he knew when she would be arriving and he also knew that she was going to kill him sometime during the day.

The man she was meeting had arranged this hit on himself. The hit was paid for and unless something unforeseen happened then it would go ahead and her target would be dead by nightfall. Perhaps that was why he had suggested that they meet at dawn. It had rained during the night and it was still a little misty. The cars parked in front of the Hotel Interlaken were still wet from the rain. Next to the Hotel Interlaken was the Garden of Friendship which was the first Japanese garden in Switzerland. It had been created in 1995 by landscape gardeners from the City of Otsu which was in Shiga Prefecture in Japan. Otsu was next to Biwa Lake not far from Kyoto the old capital of Japan.

The man Lisa was meeting would be waiting for her in the Japanese garden. At this time she expected there to be only one man in the garden. She walked into the garden and found she was wrong. There was a man in his twenties walking a dog and another older man sitting down. She would be surprised if her target was the man in his twenties so she approached the older man. Her target was Armenian but since he had grown up in Yerevan, the capital of what had then been the Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic then she knew he would speak Russian. Lisa was fluent in several languages but the one she used the most apart from her native Swedish was Russian.

She stopped in front of the man. She did not expect this to be a trap but this was an unusual request so her senses were on high alert. The man had a disarming smile but it did not work in this case. In her head sat four moves which she could carry out in quick succession. If the man sitting in front of her was unable to block those moves then he would lay dead at her feet and the young man walking his dog would be running away pulling his cell phone out as he ran.

“I am looking for Hovhannes Tamrazyan,” she said in Russian.

“I am Hovhannes,” the man said. “I presume that Aleksandr Maksimov sent you.”

Aleksandr Maksimov was the head of the Russian mafia in Zurich and he was the man who had arranged the hit through Anatoly Kazikov in Sweden. “I’m Lisa,” she said. “Maksimov did send me yes.”

The Armenian looked over at the young man walking his dog. He was now about to exit the park and was out of earshot. “I have heard you have killed over one hundred and twenty men in Europe and that you are an expert with the garrote.”

To be having this conversation was bizarre. Normally she just killed her target and that was the end of it.

The Armenian noticed her discomfort and put his hand on hers. She tensed automatically. “Forgive me,” he said. “I am ex-GRU. I know a lot about what goes on in the Russian mafia. I used to work with a lot of these men. I would like to spend the day with you and then I would like a clean and quick death. I would like that death to be as painless as you can make it.”

She was still uncomfortable. Unless he stopped this his death would be violent and messy and it would happen in the next few minutes.

“You see a man who looks outwardly healthy but I am dying. I know how I am going to die and I know roughly when I will die because five years ago I watched my brother die. I will not bore you with the details but I am slowly going to waste away. If we were to have this conversation in a year’s time then I would be sitting here in a wheelchair with a nurse attending and I doubt that she would let you kill me. I cannot let things get to that stage.”

Instantly he had her sympathy. She doubted that he was even fifty years old. She let him leave his hand on hers. She realized she needed to just talk to him about something else. That was what she was good at. This needed to be approached more like a normal hit where she made her target feel at ease and then when she had their trust she would kill them.

“I heard that you sleep with most of your targets before you kill them,” he said.

She held her hand up to stop him. “Hovhannes, if I may call you that. Let’s talk about something else for now. Why did you meet me here in a Japanese garden?”

“There is a district in Kyoto the old capital of Japan which is called Kamishichiken. The word Kamishichiken literally means the Seven Upper Houses and it refers to seven teahouses built from the equipment and material left over from the rebuilding of the Kitano Shrine in Muromachi era. The streets in this area are made up of wooden buildings and are mainly teahouses and geisha houses. Kamishichiken is a quiet area with fewer tourists than other areas of Kyoto and the geisha there are known for being demure and few in number but they are highly accomplished dancers and musicians. When I am in Japan which is not as often as I would like then I go there and I will spend the day in one of the teahouses sometimes in the company of a geisha or geiko as they are known there. I have spent many happy days there and I would like today with you to be like one of those days.”

“I do not know how to play a shamisen,” Lisa said referring to the traditional instrument used by the geisha.

“I was told you were intelligent,” Hovhannes Tamrazyan said. “How do you know about the shamisen?”

Since he already knew all about her there was no point in lying. “I once killed a Japanese businessman in Kyoto,” she said.

The Armenian raised his eyebrows but said nothing. One thing the West hadn’t planned for when they got rid of communism was the rise of the Russian mafia. Now they were in every capital in Western Europe and if you upset them you were gone. He knew that the girl sitting opposite him was a more specialized kind of assassin. Normally the Russian mafia would send a man to kill you but there were some men who were very heavily guarded. When that happened they sent the woman in front of him. Most rich and powerful men played the field as far as women were concerned even if they were married. If a rich man had screwed one hundred women in the last five years and everything had gone well would he really expect the hundred and first woman to kill him in his sleep. Hovhannes Tamrazyan was well enough informed to know that was how many men had died at the hands of this woman. It might even happen to him tonight because he was going to ask her if she would sleep with him before she killed him. There was a slight risk that she might just toy with him and torture him for sport but he had asked about that and been told that it would not happen. He hoped not. He had a fear of ever being at a woman’s mercy but that was precisely the situation he was going to put himself in before the end of the day. He shivered slightly inside at the thought of it but then he thought of his brother and his resolution became firm. He decided to tell her what he had done.

“My brother begged me to kill him before he died. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. He looked after me when I was young. Our parents were useless alcoholics. He joined the GRU before I did and when he did that there was more food in the house and my sister and I could eat. He begged me to kill him for three days and on the third day we sat and talked for hours. When he had made his peace with God I kissed him on the forehead and then I put a pillow over his head.”

The woman in front of him looked a little shocked which surprised him. He stood up deciding to change the subject and the mood of the conversation. “Please take my hand and walk with me round the garden. The rest of the day should be about joy and relaxation. I am interested to hear about you and I hope you are interested to hear about me. Let us talk about interesting things.”

Lisa Molin held her hand out and he took it. His grip was firm. She wondered how long he had left before this wasting disease he talked about took hold of him. Then his grip slackened for a few moments before tightening again and she realized that whatever the problem was it was already on him. They walked around the Japanese garden together. The garden was not huge but it was relaxing to be in there. It was still very early in the morning and there was hardly anybody about. They walked along some stone steps with the pink Hotel Interlaken taking up a good part of their field of view. On their left was a beautiful tree with red leaves. Hovhannes pointed to the Shinji pond and told her that it was meant to be a representation of Lake Thun and Lake Brienz which were the two lakes surrounding Interlaken. He told her that the islands in the pond showed a crane and a tortoise and that they represented eternal youth and longevity in Japan.

They left the Japanese gardens and crossed Höheweg Street walking towards the Hotel Royal St. Georges. Three years ago she had stayed in a hotel near there for three days before killing a businessman from London in another part of Interlaken. His widow had had no idea that like many men on business her husband made a habit of taking women back to his room. She had found out the hard way when her husband had been garroted in his hotel room. The local police had been as tactful as they could but a British paper had not and they had somehow managed to get hold of a copy of the police files on the case plus the photographs taken by the police photographer. The British paper had also made a big point that the condoms found in the British man’s hotel room had been a British brand and not a Swiss brand which meant that he had intended to sleep with other women before he even left on the trip. The hit had been arranged by Aleksei Rogoza who was the head of the Russian mafia in London although she had no idea why the businessman had been hit.

“Do you want to get breakfast?” he said.

“Yes I do,” she said. On impulse she kissed him. It was still quiet and there was nobody about. He looked at her in surprise and then he kissed her back. There was something about this man and she was enjoying his company. This was totally different from her usual hits. She clamped down fast and hard on that thought. Lisa had an ability to compartmentalize things. That was one of the things that made her so successful as an assassin. Until she opened the compartment in her brain marked “kill” she was to all intents and purposes just an ordinary woman having a good time with a man she had just met. He kissed her again and this time it was a full on kiss. She responded even though to anyone walking past the kiss was not something that should be done at that time and on that street.

She laughed and held his hand tighter. “I enjoy your company,” she said. At that moment she meant it, a part of her wished that she could spend a week with this man. She could tell by the look on his face that he was thinking the same thing. For a moment she almost put the thought into words but then she held it back.

“What did you do when you were in the GRU?” she said.

He laughed. “Ah such fun I had in those days,” he said. “They taught me how to speak Greek and then they sent me after the wives of British and American diplomats. Those women were always suspicious of men who looked Russian but I am Armenian. I could pass for a Greek but never a Russian. I was always a Greek student studying for a postgraduate degree at the University of Berlin or Paris or whatever city I was stationed at. Wives who are turned are far more valuable than mistresses who are turned. A man working in an embassy will tell his wife things he will never tell his mistress. When I suggested we went back to my room they would always come with me. Of course my room was full of concealed cameras. I was taught to be good at oral sex and when we showed those women the films of them lying there with a Greek man’s head between their thighs we knew we had got them.

“Who was easier? The British wives or the American wives?”

“The wives of the American diplomats were more cautious. I just got the British women drunk and then they were usually up for sex. We would usually have three sessions before they met with the woman and showed her the film.”

“Did any of them go to their embassies?”

“Sometimes they did but usually not. If they did then we passed a copy of the film onto a newspaper back in their local country or we’d send a copy to people they knew. Nowadays there are many more women working as diplomats so now they target the husbands. Interestingly the women and the men we use to target the diplomat’s husbands are more successful with American men than they are with British men so it is the exact opposite of the women.”

“How long did you do that?”

“For five years until the British sent a team to shoot me. They almost succeeded. They killed the man in the apartment below mine by mistake.”

“Holy shit. That was a bad mistake to make,” Lisa said.

“They hushed it up as they always did. It didn’t make it into the newspapers. The official cause of death was a heart attack even though the man was only forty-two years old.”

“How did they kill him?” Lisa was always interested to hear how other assassins operated.

“Four British agents broke into his apartment while he was in the shower. When he came out of the shower they were sitting in his bedroom waiting for him. He managed to break the nose of one of the British agents before they killed him.”

“How do you know that?”

“A double agent at the British Embassy in Vienna sent us the confidential report on his death. The British report said that it was basically a complete mess. They hadn’t cleared the hit with the Americans either and they got into real trouble over it. The guy who planned the hit was demoted and sent back to Britain. The British said that the only redeeming thing about the hit was that the victim had no family so there was nobody who had to identify the body. The GRU killed two members of the British team involved within three months of it happening. It was important to send a message.”

“Why did they try to kill you?”

“I was much more successful than the other Russian agents operating, especially with the British women. Somehow I was able to charm them.”

He was right. There was something about him. Lisa could see it in him. They walked further down Höheweg Street and then they found somewhere to have breakfast. She asked him to tell her about the most interesting place he had been on Earth and he told her about camping in the high altiplano in the central Andes Mountains in South America. He said that you could camp up there overnight and when you woke all the water in the streams would be frozen but the sun was so powerful that the ice would melt and you could watch the streams start to flow again. She asked him which was his favorite city in South America and he said it was Buenos Aires in Argentina although he liked Montevideo in Uruguay and Santiago in Chile too.

They finished breakfast and then they walked round Interlaken. Both of them had been there before and each wanted to show the other one their favorite places. His favorite place was actually the Japanese gardens although he liked Interlaken Castle too. She had never been to the castle before so they toured it and spent some time there. She took him to the Catholic Church near the Hotel Interlaken. She had always had it in her head that when her time came she was going to book the priest in the church for one full day so that he could hear her confession. She didn’t tell Hovhannes that as it would be tactless considering that he would die today.

They went for lunch and while they sat at the table he handed her a letter and asked her to read it. He told her that the letter gave full instructions for how he would like to die. He excused himself and said he was going to the bathroom. He told her that if she didn’t agree with what he had written then she should leave the letter on the table, otherwise she should put it away and not speak of it. She opened the letter as he left the room. In it he explained that he would like her to behave as though they were lovers who met just once a year. He wanted her to make love to him and then to kill him after that. In that way he would take good memories with him to the next world. He suggested that she kill him in the same way he had killed his brother and put a pillow over his head. He even went so far as to suggest that she kiss him on the forehead in the same he had kissed his brother. He would tell her when he was ready but it would very likely be shortly after they had made love. His letter also said that he was sure he would fight her and so she should tie his hands before they made love and would that be a problem? It would not be a problem. She had never tied a man up before killing him, normally that would just not feel right to her but in this case since he knew it was coming she could do it. She put the letter in her handbag just before he returned to his seat. She saw that he noticed that it was not on the table but he did not mention it. In fact, he seemed more relaxed now. To her the rest of the day suddenly became more precious and she could see that he felt the same way too. She played the part he wanted her to play and they strolled along like lovers with their arms around each other. She liked the feel of his arm around her waist.

The afternoon went far too fast and as dusk fell he led her to an apartment that the Russian mafia from Zurich had rented for the weekend. After she had killed him a doctor in the pay of the mafia would certify that he had died of heart failure. If she used a pillow as he had requested then there would be no ligature marks around his neck although she would keep her garrote close in case she needed to use it. She was surprised to realize that this thought bothered her. In the apartment they sat together by the window and watched the world go by and then when he was ready they went into the bedroom. She was a skilled seductress and she stripped him naked and then took her own clothes off. He told her that they would make love either once or twice depending on how he felt and when he was ready he would tell her. His letter had said that he would lie on his back and she should tie his arms to the bed and then mount him. She tied his arms first and then spent more than an hour on foreplay. By then he was so turned on that he came almost immediately and she lay on top of him body to body and they spent several minutes just kissing each other. Then they lay and talked until he was ready to go again. She mounted him and this time it lasted a long time. When he came he kept his eyes open and he looked into her eyes until his orgasm subsided.

He told her he was ready and she kissed him once on the forehead and then she was seized by a moment of doubt. The compartment in her head that was marked assassination had failed to open as it normally did. She looked at him and stroked the side of his face with her hand.

“Are you sure this is what you want,” she said.

She knew as soon as she said the words that she should not have said them. Perhaps she said them because she had seen doubt in his eyes as they were making love.

His eyes changed and became hard. “You are an assassin,” he said. “Do your job. Do what I paid you for.”

Before he had even gotten all the words out the compartment in her head flipped open. The pillow was already in her hands and she pushed it down on his face. He fought her and he bucked and writhed beneath her. He twisted his head from side to side and she had trouble keeping the pillow over his face. She put her full weight onto her hands and moved forward so that her thighs were either side of his chest. She wrestled two or three times a week sometimes with women but usually with men and her thighs were strong from the times when she had to grip her opponent. Once she had her thighs either side of his chest she was able to pretty much stop him moving and she pushed hard down upon the pillow. He stopped moving after two minutes. She kept his airway blocked for her standard twenty minutes and then she lifted the pillow. He looked at peace and she leaned forward and kissed him once on the forehead. As she did this a single tear ran down the side of her face.

 

 

Naira Tamrazyan looked around at the faces at her brother’s funeral until she found the one she was looking for. The woman she was looking for was standing next to Aleksandr Maksimov. Naira Tamrazyan had followed both her brothers into the Russian GRU. After the funeral she walked up to Aleksandr Maksimov and the woman. She knew Aleksandr well from their days in the GRU and she greeted him warmly. They spoke in Russian and Maksimov introduced her to Lisa Molin.

“I am told that you were very kind to my brother on his final day and that his last day was very much a happy day. I appreciate what you did for him,” Naira Tamrazyan said.

This statement left Lisa Molin unsure how to respond. She did not know how much the woman in front of her knew. “I am sorry that your brother had to die that day,” she said.

“Don’t be sorry,” Naira Tamrazyan said. “I watched my eldest brother Vilen waste away over a long period. Both Hovhannes and I knew what awaited him. He discussed what he had planned with me and I was in full agreement with his decision.”

She leaned forward and embraced Lisa. Lisa hugged her and the woman kissed her on the cheek. Automatically she kissed her back.

Aleksei Rogoza, the head of the Russian mafia in London walked up and shook hands with Lisa. “Hovhannes was a good friend of mine. I was there when the British tried to shoot him. I heard what you did for him and I thank you for it.”

Normally nobody knew when Lisa Molin hit someone except for Anatoly Kazikov who arranged all her hits and the local mafia boss who coordinated the hit. It appeared that things were different this time. When Gennadiy Teplov who was the head of the Russian mafia in Barcelona walked up and thanked her for sending his old friend on his way she began to wonder if she had a big sign on her back saying assassin for hire. In a few minutes she expected the priest to walk up and tell her that he was having trouble with the altar boy who he had given a good seeing to last month and could she take the boy into the vestry and dispatch him quietly before he caused any trouble.

This was the first time she had ever been to the funeral of anyone she had killed and it was an unusual experience. Anatoly Kazikov had been surprised when she had asked him if he would accompany her to the funeral. She did not give a reason but the fact was that although she had only known Hovhannes Tamrazyan for less than one full day he had had a profound effect on her. She wished in some ways that he did not have to die but she knew that if she had a disease like that she would want to go in her prime and not have a nurse attending to her every need in her last days. She shuddered slightly at the thought.

She often thought that mammals had been short changed when it came to aging. Captain James Cook had presented the King of Tonga with a giant tortoise on his voyage in 1777 and that tortoise lived until 1965 and had been estimated to be one hundred and eighty eight years old when it died. How could a tortoise live to be one hundred and eighty-eight years old when a mouse lasted just three years? There was an inconsistency there somewhere that could not be explained by the standard explanation that people and animals aged because their bodies slowly decayed. Somewhere in the body there must be a clock and if that clock existed then there was a possibility that it could be stopped or even reset.

She had listened to the priest when he had summarized the life of Hovhannes Tamrazyan. It appeared that Hovhannes had packed a lot into a short time. She had thought he was under fifty but in fact Hovhannes had been fifty-two years old. She felt sorry for his sister Naira, she had lost two brothers she loved.

Later after all the mourners had left the funeral, Anatoly Kazikov stood and waited for Lisa while she spent a few quiet minutes at the grave of Hovhannes Tamrazyan. Lisa Molin was a complex woman who in many ways was a cold hard killing machine but in other ways had an amazing sensitivity. Kazikov watched his protégé. Sometimes he wondered what she would have been if she had not come to him when she was twenty-two years old and asked to be an assassin for the Russian mafia. When she sat in his office that day he had planned to kill her just for even being there but she had talked him around and when they had fought just one hour after the meeting started he had been amazed at her abilities. He had known then that she could go far. When their relationship had first started Kazikov had been very much the dominant partner but he had known even then that sooner or later she would outgrow him. However, he had also known that she would always need someone to be her connection to the Russian mafia and he had known that with careful planning he could always be that man. Now their relationship was more as equals who had a mutual respect for each other. He knew that one day he might well send Lisa on a mission that would get her killed but if that ever happened then the person who killed her would die a horrible death. He hoped that she would do the same for him. He had enough confidence in their relationship to know that she would. He knew that Lisa longed to be a mother and he found it strange in that she who had taken so much life off Earth was desperate to bring life back onto it.

When Lisa stood up there were tears running down her face. Kazikov took her hand and as they walked away he put his arm around her. Five years later she was still putting flowers on the grave of Hovhannes Tamrazyan. She did it twice a year, once on his birthday and once on the day of his death.

 

 

 

The End

 

 

Lisa Molin Assassin Series

Lisa Molin Assassin – A Kind and Gentle Assassination in Geneva

Lisa Molin Assassin – One Hell of an Execution in Tallinn in Estonia

Lisa Molin Assassin – One Hell of an Execution in the Frisian Islands

Lisa Molin Assassin – The Execution of a Spaniard in Ibiza

Lisa Molin Assassin – The Execution of a Man From Stuttgart in Hawaii

Lisa Molin Assassin – The Night Train from Switzerland

Lisa Molin Assassin – The Execution of a Vice President in Sweden

Lisa Molin Assassin – The Execution of a Drug Dealer Dressed as Saddam

Lisa Molin – A Hit Ordered by a Woman from London

Lisa Molin – A Quiet Kill in Interlaken

The Banker With a Face Full of Evil – Scandinavian Crime Novel with Lisa Molin as one of the main characters

 

 

If you enjoyed the short story about Lisa Molin then you may enjoy my short stories about serial killer Jacksonville Jack. Jacksonville Jack has murdered thirty-three women in four cities. In previous existences Jacksonville Jack has been Seattle Sidney, St. Louis Lenny and Baltimore Bertie. Although the names sound like a joke this man is anything but a joker. He kills ten women in each city and then moves on. It is two months since Jacksonville Jack killed his last victim and he is due to strike again as his average is 63 days between victims. Seattle, St. Louis and Baltimore are all bigger cities than Jacksonville and they couldn’t catch Jack. FBI agent Pete Neal has a big problem. Unless he can catch Jack before he moves then Neal will always be known as the man who failed to catch Jacksonville Jack.

 

 

 

 

Jacksonville Jack Series

Jacksonville Jack

Jacksonville Jack 2 – Moonrise

Jacksonville Jack 3 – Helen in Georgia

Jacksonville Jack 4 – Susan in Mandarin

Jacksonville Jack 5 – A Lesson for Molly Syracuse

Jacksonville Jack Goes Hunting on Skyline Drive

 

 

See below for the first part of Jacksonville Jack – Susan in Mandarin:

 

 

Jacksonville Jack – Susan in Mandarin

 

 

Jacksonville Jack was sitting in his apartment. He had two Acer netbooks. One was a normal netbook that he used everywhere and it had full internet connection. The other one had never been connected to the internet and never ever would be. There was a good reason for that. If the FBI had run a check on Jack’s private netbook they would have found the names of quite a few women who had been found dead in four cities over the last ten years. If they looked further then they would have found pictures on the netbook too and then they would have had their “Oh Christ” moment. Jack knew he was taking a risk with the netbook but sometimes he just liked to pull out some of those pictures and look at them. There were four main directories marked with the names of his four personas. He went to the directory called “Seattle Sidney”. It wasn’t a picture of a woman he was searching for this time, it was a picture of a man. That man’s name was Daniel Brody and he was in a sub directory called Linda Ryan. Daniel Brody had been Linda Ryan’s boyfriend and he had had the audacity to disturb Seattle Sidney while he was having a little party with Linda. Sidney had been much more savage than Jack would ever be and Sidney had really lost his temper with Daniel Brody. Jacksonville Jack clicked on a picture and it came up. Daniel Brody sat on an armchair, he was holding “Tent Life in Siberia” by George Kennan. Brody’s eyes were glazed over, you could see that in the picture and that might be enough to tell you that Brody was dead, especially if you were used to seeing dead bodies. However, if you missed the look in Brody’s eyes then the big fucking ice pick sticking out of Daniel Brody’s left ear would give away the fact that he was almost certainly dead. Jack could still remember doing that. Daniel Brody had been lying on the floor still stunned from the four or five massive blows Seattle Sidney had given him with a stool. As Brody lay there on his right side Sidney had rammed an ice pick through his ear and into his brain. For a moment Jack could feel Sidney’s rage and he wondered if Sidney was still in there. Jack worked always planning to be disturbed and then if it happened he was ready but Seattle Sidney had not worked that way. Sidney had been completely surprised when Daniel Brody walked through the door and he had erupted into rage. There had been nothing else Sidney could do, Linda Ryan had been lying naked on the floor when the key went into the lock and Sidney had been shaving the tiny hairs off her thighs. Daniel Brody had not been expecting that scene and he had been paralyzed when Sidney had charged him with a stool in his hands.

Sometimes when Jack thought back he was surprised that Sidney had never been caught, he was much more thorough and much more careful than Sidney had ever been. Sidney had been subject to fits of rage but that just didn’t happen with Jack. If Jack had smoked then now would have been the time to light a cigarette while he sat back and thought about things. It was inevitable that he would be caught one day but then again was it? If he walked down to his local library there was a big rack of missing person pictures. Some of those people looked a little unstable but many of them looked perfectly normal. Where did all those people disappear to? Obviously there were some serial killers who went completely undetected, there had to be. The question was, did the FBI miss just a few per cent of the serial killers in the United States or did they miss a significant percentage? Of course Jack was different, they knew he existed all right because Sidney had gotten into the habit of emailing pictures of his victims to everybody in their address books. Somehow they’d all carried that one on, St. Louis Lenny had done it, Baltimore Bertie had done it and now Jack was still doing it. However, there was a problem. When Jack had killed Janice Holden he had emailed pictures of her to everyone in her address book. That was the last thing Jack had done before leaving Janice Holden’s apartment and he had blended in with the morning rush hour, even driving past the FBI building on Gate Parkway just after he left Janice’s apartment. Before Jack was even past the FBI building one of Janice Holden’s friends had seen the pictures of Janice on her brand new Samsung phone and hey presto the cops were on the way. Jack knew that because as he was driving along Gate Parkway six cop cars had come screaming past him. Six fucking police cars and he had been gone literally five to six minutes from the apartment. There had been four people in the parking lot as he walked out of Janice Holden’s building just looking like a normal commuter. All four of them were busy tired commuters about to go for another hard day’s work and since the police took six minutes to arrive and they were all rushing to work then all four would have been gone when the cops arrived. But what if one of them hadn’t been gone? What if all the cops from the first five police cars went running up to Janice’s apartment but the other one looked around the parking lot and one of those four people was still there. What if that cop got a good description of everyone that person had seen in the parking lot and one of them was tall, dark, clean cut and good looking? That one was Jack and later that day the cops would have gone round the apartments matching descriptions with apartment occupants. They would have found everyone except the tall, dark, clean cut guy and bingo they would have just narrowed down the search.

He went to the new directories. There were twelve of them and there was a woman in each directory. The directories were named with the women’s first names and areas of the city. There was one called “Susan in Mandarin”, another called “Jennifer in Fleming Island”, a third called “Rachel in Southside” and so on. He called up Jennifer in Fleming Island and began to go through the file. Jennifer was 42 and she was a senior manager with a Fortune 100 company. She traveled to many cities and was missing from her house quite often. If she became a target then Jack would be waiting for her on a Friday night when she arrived back from Jacksonville International Airport. Jack had a problem with the word “international” in the airport name as last time he had checked you couldn’t catch an international flight from Jacksonville. They had added San Juan in Puerto Rico to the list of destinations but that was hardly international since it was an American Protectorate. It was one of two Spanish speaking destinations you could fly to from Jacksonville with Miami being the other one as sixty per cent of Miami’s population had their first language as Spanish. If Jack was going abroad he always flew from Orlando, Fort Lauderdale or Miami. The area around Miami Airport had been extremely unsafe at one time but Jack had stayed in the Hampton Inn down there and it had seemed safe enough to him. On that same trip though he had gone into a gas station nearby when a very expensive car had pulled into the garage. The man had looked like a Cuban or a South American and while he got ready to fill up his girlfriend had gone in to pay for the gas. The station attendant had asked for a credit card and the girl didn’t have one so the station attendant asked for a twenty dollar bill and she didn’t have one of those either. Jack had been interested at this point and was actively paying attention to the conversation, one reason was because the woman was hot as hell, the other reason had been that he was curious just how the girl was going to pay for the gas. Then she had opened her purse which was packed full of one hundred dollar bills, pulled one out from the stash and given it to the attendant and her boyfriend was able to fill up his tank. Although the station attendant was standing beside a sign that said there was less than twenty dollars in the safe there was actually at least four thousand dollars in cash in the store right at that moment, it just wasn’t in the till.

Jack looked out of the window, it was early November and the weather was perfect in Jacksonville. It had been a long, hot summer but the weather had flipped and they were into those halcyon days where the sun was hot but the air was cold and Jacksonville was the place to be. You could still fry if you spent the whole day on the beach but you wouldn’t fry in one hour which was what happened at the height of summer. For a moment he thought about going to the pool in the apartment complex but he was engrossed in what he was doing on his netbook and he didn’t want to take that down. Jack was friendly and always said hello and he knew quite a few people in the complex although he didn’t spend time with any of them. The last thing he needed was to be on his netbook down by the pool and have somebody come up and ask what he was working on. For a moment an image came into his head of him looking up at one of the people down at the pool and saying “Look at these twelve names here, they’re all local women. I’m gathering data on them and then sometime later this month or early December I’ll kill one of them, probably on a Saturday night.” He was sure the guy would laugh and tell everyone what a funny guy Jack was and everything would be fine until the woman actually did turn up dead in the middle of December and then all hell would break loose.

 

 

End of excerpt from Jacksonville Jack – Susan in Mandarin by Mike Ward – if you enjoyed this excerpt you can download the book from your favorite ebook retailer

About Mike Ward

Mike Ward was born in Glasgow, Scotland and currently lives in Florida, United States with his wife and two children. He is the author of two novels, two non-fiction books and four series of novellas. He is the author of the Stephen Haggerty Assassin series, the Jacksonville Jack series, the Lisa Molin Assassin series and the Dangerous Scotsman series. He is also the author of 24 short stories and novellas. Read Mike’s Shakespir Interview at https://www.Shakespir.com/interview/Mike773

 

 

 

Other books by Mike Ward

Please visit your favorite ebook retailer to discover other books by Mike Ward:

 

Novels

The Banker With a Face Full of Evil – Scandinavian Crime Novel

The World Jumpers

 

Non-fiction

How to Attack Type 2 Diabetes Like a Viking and Win

 

Short Story Books

SHORTS 1 – Five Short Stories

SHORTS 2 – Five Short Stories

SHORTS 3 – Five Free Short Stories

SHORTS 4 – Five Free Short Stories

 

Lisa Molin Assassin Series

Lisa Molin Assassin – A Kind and Gentle Assassination in Geneva

Lisa Molin Assassin – One Hell of an Execution in Tallinn in Estonia

Lisa Molin Assassin – One Hell of an Execution in the Frisian Islands

Lisa Molin Assassin – The Execution of a Spaniard in Ibiza

Lisa Molin Assassin – The Execution of a Man From Stuttgart in Hawaii

Lisa Molin Assassin – The Night Train from Switzerland

Lisa Molin Assassin – The Execution of a Vice President in Sweden

Lisa Molin Assassin – The Execution of a Drug Dealer Dressed as Saddam

Lisa Molin – A Hit Ordered by a Woman from London

Lisa Molin – A Quiet Kill in Interlaken

 

Dangerous Scotsman Series

A dangerous Scotsman in Afghanistan

A Dangerous Scotsman in Tajikistan

 

Assassin Stephen Haggerty Series

Assassination in Washington D.C.

Assassination in Miami

Assassination in Anchorage, Alaska

Assassination in Detroit

Assassination in Jacksonville, Florida

Assassination in Orlando, Florida

Assassination in Annapolis

Assassination in Los Angeles

Assassination in Portland, Oregon

Assassination in Toronto

 

 

Jacksonville Jack Series

Jacksonville Jack

Jacksonville Jack 2 – Moonrise

Jacksonville Jack 3 – Helen in Georgia

Jacksonville Jack 4 – Susan in Mandarin

Jacksonville Jack 5 – A Lesson for Molly Syracuse

Jacksonville Jack Goes Hunting on Skyline Drive

 

 

The Beach at the End of Time Series

The Beach at the End of Time

My Lady Clarissa Saves the Day

Incident in the City of the Blue Spires

 

Individual Short Stories

An Artist in This Life

Blowback

Cardiac Golf

Chinese Armageddon

City of the New South

Come Hunt a Rich Man

Darkworld 1 – Will Black’s Story

Dead Man’s Switch

Dreaming of a Greek Beach and a Handsome Man With Fire in his Heart

England is the Property of New Delhi

I sold my soul to the Devil

Judgment Day is Today and it Begins in Miami

Parallel Reality Man

Roman Time Coordinator

Scottish Island Festival – An Erotic Story for American Women

Siberian Shamans

Sometimes Women Want Revenge

Storming the Compound of a Rich Man

Summoning the Wrath of God

The Civilization of the Ravens

The Conquest of France AD 2023

The Death of Antonio Vargas by the Evil Rich People of the World

The Devil Came Down to Georgia

The Ferryman and the Riverlyn

The House That Collected Realtors

The Order of the Holy Assassins

The Russian Conquest of France

The Vampire Who Sold Houses

Two Thousand Years Later

Your Mission is to go Back in Time and Kill Saint Paul on Malta

 

 

 

Connect with Mike Ward

I really appreciate you reading my book! Here are my social media coordinates:

 

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Michael56984009

Favorite my Shakespir author page: https://www.Shakespir.com/profile/view/Mike773

Email me at: MikeWard32 at GMX dot com

Visit my website: www.sites.google.com/site/michaelwardwriter

 

 

 

 

Go to the next page for an excerpt from The Banker With a Face Full of Evil, a Scandinavian crime novel by Mike Ward. Coming soon to your favorite ebook retailer.

 

 

Excerpt from The Banker With a Face Full of Evil

Dieter Köhler sat in his rental car on Nybrogatan in the Östermalm district of Stockholm. Köhler had been in Sweden for precisely four days. Tonight he planned to kill a man. He looked up the street. Fifty meters away was the gleaming façade of the Zetterstrand Investment Bank, the largest investment bank in Scandinavia and the sixth largest in Europe. Köhler’s target was Martin Ingvarsson, the CEO of the bank.

Dieter Köhler was tall with short dark hair, steel blue eyes and horn rimmed glasses. He was in his forties, worked out regularly and was extremely fit. He was an ex member of the East German Stasi, the security police and had done extremely well under communism. Capitalism, however, had been a totally different ball game and the once well connected Köhler had floundered under the new system. Things had gone from bad to worse until one day he had called an old Russian friend who knew another Russian, who knew a third Russian and within a short period Köhler had found himself as an assassin for hire.

Dieter Köhler lived a modest life in the suburbs of the city of Stuttgart in southern Germany. Had the German tax authorities taken a look at his finances they would have found a man in very good financial shape. Köhler had 70,000 Euros in various bank accounts in Stuttgart and another 300,000 Euros in a retirement account. What the German tax authorities wouldn’t have found would be the 2.3 million Euros that Köhler had stashed in an account in Zurich in another name that matched the name on a Russian passport he never should have owned. The Russian passport listed him as Mikhail Kaspersky, a citizen of the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, which up until 1945 had been part of Germany at which time Stalin had annexed it for Russia. On paper Köhler was the kind of fine upstanding citizen that Germany loves to have as part of their country. In reality he was a screwed up relic of the Cold War, a gun for hire, a man who brought chaos into the lives of those he touched.

Dieter Köhler was armed with a magnum 37 for which he carried a silencer. He also carried a wicked looking knife in his jacket pocket and another smaller knife strapped to his right ankle. Köhler was expecting Martin Ingvarsson to walk right past him sometime during the next hour on his way to Östermalmstorg Tunnelbana. If Ingvarsson was on his own then Köhler would either shoot him in the back of the head or cut his throat from behind depending on which seemed the best option at the time. If the man had security guards with him then Köhler would dispatch the guards first and then send Ingvarsson on his way to the next world immediately afterwards.

The German knew nothing about Martin Ingvarsson except what was in the file he had been given. If asked he would have had no idea of the difference between an investment banker and an ordinary run of the mill banker. Dieter Köhler was not a well read man. He was not an intelligent man nor was he particularly unintelligent. He went where he was told, he did the job he was supposed to do and then he went home and kept a low profile until the next time. He would have been surprised to know that he was very highly regarded by the organization that employed him. That is why what happened next would have been unexpected by all concerned.

Köhler heard a beeping sound and the locks on his rental car doors popped open. He was reaching for his gun when the rear door was opened behind him. He had pulled his gun out of his jacket, flipped the safety off and was moving his arm to aim the gun over his shoulder when the first bullet went into the back of his head. The first shot paralyzed the right side of his body and his gun went off as his fingers closed in a reflex motion. The bullet from his gun went through the car roof and completely missed the person behind him. Two more bullets hit Dieter Köhler in the back of the head and then he began to fall forward towards the steering wheel. The person behind him leaned into the car and shot him twice more in the head and once in the back of the neck severing his spinal column.

Dieter Köhler died quickly. He was in extreme pain and he was partially paralyzed but he had time to feel one last emotion. His last emotion was astonishment. He had glimpsed the person who shot him in the side mirror as he was aiming his gun. He was astonished and also dismayed to realize that he had been killed by a woman.

 

 

Inspector Håkan Arvidsson turned off Riddargatan left onto Nybrogatan. He parked his car just past the Asian Restaurant and walked up to the police cordon showing his pass to the police officer on duty to gain entry. Inspector Linn Brexner was already at the scene, he could see her black shoulder length hair as she talked to one of the officers at the scene. Arvidsson checked the time on his phone, it was 9:15pm. The car containing the victim was just ahead with all four doors open. A police pathologist was leaning into the car examining the victim.

Everyone in front of him was intent on their work and nobody had noticed him. Arvidsson stood in the background surveying the scene. He didn’t know much as yet. A man had been found dead in his car. There was a single bullet hole in the window but when the first police officers had arrived at the scene they had discovered what seemed like a professional hit. Arvidsson liked to speculate before he investigated. Sometimes it didn’t work, sometimes it served him well.

A rental car stood at the side of the street. That was not speculation, the first officers at the scene had run the registration. The man inside was dead, Arvidsson knew that. The word on the radio was that he had been shot multiple times. Linn Brexner looked up and registered his presence but he held a hand up and indicated he didn’t want to be disturbed. She nodded and went back to what she was doing. They worked well the two of them. Although Brexner was technically his assistant, in reality they worked more as equals and he let her make a lot of decisions on the team. She had strengths in different areas than he did and rather than feeling threatened by that as a lesser man might have done, Arvidsson welcomed her abilities on the team. He knew there would be a time when she would lead her own team and he was already preparing the ground for that by making favorable comments about her to his superiors.

There was a fair amount of blood both in and around the car. Whatever had happened to the man in the car it had certainly been traumatic. In the background Arvidsson could hear a woman bystander talking loudly, her voice so loud that it impinged on his thoughts. He tried to shut her out and return to the scene. She was talking about a little swimsuit that she had bought the previous summer. It was definitely not the weather to be talking about swimsuits. One thing was certain, the man in the car would not have the chance to see the woman behind him in her new swimsuit.

Arvidsson saw fluid under the car but it wasn’t gasoline. He recognized the color of antifreeze in the fluid under the car. If that was the case then the vehicle’s radiator had been ruptured. Since somebody shooting at a car from the front was unlikely to fire as low as the radiator, Arvidsson wondered if a bullet had gone through the victim and then gone through the radiator. Arvidsson’s breath steamed in the cold air. He wondered how long it had taken the man in the car to die and if he had felt the cold while it happened. As Arvidsson looked at the car a small amount of blood dripped off the driver’s door onto the road. At these temperatures Arvidsson knew that the blood would freeze quickly. He breathed in thoughtfully, holding the cold air in his lungs and letting it out slowly. There was no inspiration this time so he walked towards the vehicle.

Frank Kjellström, the pathologist turned towards him. He nodded at Arvidsson and began speaking. “He was shot in the head multiple times, death was quick but not instantaneous. He had time to suffer.”

Arvidsson had a good imagination, that one would come back to him when he lay down in bed tonight. Judging by the scene in front of him it would be a while before he made it to his bed. “What angle was he shot from?” he said.

“Somebody leaned in behind him and shot him in the back of the head. He had time to react because he pulled his own gun and fired it once. You can see the bullet hole in the roof of the car.”

Arvidsson immediately lost some sympathy for the victim. If he had his own gun then he certainly wasn’t an innocent victim. What Linn Brexner said removed all thoughts that the victim might have had any innocence about him.

“The victim had a silencer on his gun.”

“He had a silencer?” Arvidsson said.

“Yes and it wasn’t in his pocket, it was screwed onto the gun which has to mean he was waiting for someone.”

That was poetic justice Arvidsson thought. Here you are in your quiet little assassin’s world happily waiting for your victim and then someone leans into your car and shoots you in the back of the head. It would have been interesting if the assassin’s last thought before he died was to wonder where the police were when you needed them. Interesting he thought, he was already thinking of the man in the car as an assassin. He most certainly was, there was no doubt about that. The question was who shot him.

Arvidsson looked into the car. The back of the assassin’s head was a real mess and since he had been shot multiple times in the back of the head then that had to mean his face was even worse. Not for the first time Arvidsson realized that although he had no problems being a policeman he could never have been a pathologist. The man’s face rested against the steering wheel. Arvidsson realized that one of the spokes of the steering wheel was broken and hanging loose. That had to be from one of the bullets that had passed through the man’s head. If it did that after it had passed through his head then God knows what that must have been like for the victim. Arvidsson kept his face impassive but that was another one that would come back to haunt him in the night.

Linn Brexner looked at her boss. She knew him well and she had a good idea about the thought that had just passed through his mind. She was more impassive than her boss. In another life Arvidsson might have been a poet but in this century a man needed to keep a roof over his head and poetry as a profession did not pay as well as it might have done a few centuries ago. The man in front of them had been shot five times in the head and once in the back of the neck. It occurred to Linn Brexner that this might well have been a deliberate attempt to cut through the spinal column and paralyze the man, if that had happened then he would have died from asphyxiation if he didn’t die from his injuries first.

Frank Kjellström looked at Arvidsson and Brexner. “You can move him whenever you want. I have all I need here, the rest I’ll do in the lab.

Brexner looked over at Police Photographer Veronica Nellfors. “Did you get everything Veronica,” she said.

“Yes I did.”

Fingerprint expert Anna Strandgård nodded at Brexner to indicate that she had what she needed. Arvidsson and Brexner spent another hour looking around the body and talking about different scenarios. They were both of the opinion that the attacker had opened the door behind the driver, leaned in and shot him. The victim’s gun lay on the floor of the car where he had dropped it after firing one shot. Frank Kjellström had told them that even without a thorough examination he could tell that the victim’s brain would have been so badly damaged that he would have been unlikely to have been able to hold the gun after the first few shots.

They stepped back and watched as the body was removed from the car. Frank Kjellström would go with it and make sure it was put away properly or he might even work through the night on it. He had been known to do that in the past. Now that the body was gone Linn Brexner put some gloves on and opened the drawer in front of the passenger seat. There was blood on the glove she had used to open the drawer. Arvidsson already had his gloves on. There was a European A4 sized envelope in the drawer, she pulled it out and handed it to Arvidsson. There was more in there. He held onto the envelope while she handed him a menu. The menu was for the Hotel Urban in the Plaza de las Cortes and Huertas in Madrid. Arvidsson knew enough Spanish to read a menu, main courses were thirty Euros to sixty five Euros and the gourmet menu was two hundred and twenty Euros. He wondered if the man who had just been taken away had killed anyone after eating at that restaurant. If Arvidsson had eaten a meal that cost that much he would have wanted to savor it rather than walk outside and blow somebody away but the dead man was probably different from him. Arvidsson had seen the prices on the menu and he knew that on his Inspector’s salary even if he were on vacation then he would think twice about eating at a place where the food cost so much. He wondered how much the dead man had made in a year. He might even have made more for just one hit than Arvidsson made in two years. The next thing Linn Brexner handed him was a map provided by the rental company. Arvidsson looked at the map and an address on the map was ringed, Nybrogatan 27. They were on Nybrogatan. Arvidsson looked up the street. There at Nybrogatan 27 was the gleaming façade of the Zetterstrand Investment Bank. Zetterstrand was the biggest investment bank in Scandinavia and one of the biggest in Europe, possibly even in the top ten.

He pointed at the bank. “Our victim’s target very likely works in there,” he said.

“So if he hadn’t been shot dead tonight then we might well have been here investigating the murder of someone else,” Linn Brexner said.

“Correct,” Arvidsson said. “I’d love to open this envelope right now but let’s get it back to a safe location and have a fingerprint expert open it. We have two murders to investigate here, the one that did happen and the one that didn’t happen. The other question we have is when whoever sent this man finds out what happened to him will there be another man sitting in a car this time next week looking to kill the same person the victim was after. We have to find the man who did this.”

“Who said it has to be a man?” Brexner said.

“It couldn’t be a woman,” Arvidsson said. The words were out before he realized how stupid they sounded.

“You’re right Håkan,” Linn Brexner said. “A woman wouldn’t have had the strength to lift the gun used to kill this man.”

Arvidsson opened his mouth to reply and then thought better of it. Actually he had been going to say that a woman couldn’t have been evil enough to kill the victim.

 

Håkan Arvidsson moved his coffee off his desk. Inspector Linn Brexner sat with him. Anna Strandgård had just brought the envelope in that they had removed from the victim’s car. Her boss always thought ahead, it would not do to have a cup of coffee knocked over on this envelope. The chance of that happening was extremely unlikely but Arvidsson was not a man to take chances. It was one o’clock in the morning but both Arvidsson and Brexner wanted to know what was in the envelope. Anna Strandgård would personally have been quite happy to be in her bed at that moment waiting for the morning when she would go in and take fingerprints off the envelope but she had owed Håkan Arvidsson a favor for some time and this was the night he had decided to collect.

Anna laid the envelope on the desk and also the photo that had been inside. The photo was not technically a photo, it had been printed on a printer. Linn Brexner recognized the man in the photo immediately, Arvidsson did not. Having said that the man’s name was printed clearly underneath the photograph, Martin Ingvarsson, Chief Executive Officer of the Zetterstrand Investment Bank.

Arvidsson looked at Brexner. “Put a car outside his house all night whether he wants it or not.”

“Will do.”

As Brexner got on the phone, Arvidsson leaned back in his chair. He was aware of Anna Strandgård leaving the room, her work was done for the night, his was only just beginning. By the time Brexner came off the phone Arvidsson had the website up for the Zetterstrand Investment Bank. He went to the section for the bank’s executive officers and selected Martin Ingvarsson. This was an evening for shocks and at that point he got another one.

Brexner was off the phone and standing behind him. “My God,” she said. “Whoever set up this hit lifted the photo given to the hit man from the bank’s own website. That’s a little audacious to say the least.”

“Let’s see what else is on the web about Herr Ingvarsson,” Arvidsson said. He copied Ingvarsson’s name from the list of executives, opened a new web page and pasted the name into Google. The first result was an article in Aftonbladet about Ingvarsson. Interestingly the picture in the paper was also the same one used on the bank’s website. Ingvarsson was in his fifties with gray hair that was cut very short and receding slightly. He was broad shouldered and had the face of a man who gets what he wants. Arvidsson scanned the article and Linn Brexner leaned over his shoulder.

“Interesting, I see he married the daughter of Herr Zetterstrand.”

Stefan Zetterstrand was listed as Chairman of the bank. Although he was retired he was listed as still playing a semi-active role at the bank. Martin Ingvarsson had married his daughter Camilla when they were both in their twenties three years after he had joined the bank. Marrying the boss’ daughter had been good for his career and Ingvarsson had risen rapidly in the bank. However, it was obvious he had talent because he had been running the bank on his own for a number of years now and it had gone from strength to strength under his leadership. Ingvarsson had built Zetterstrand up to be the sixth largest investment bank in Europe. Something in the article caught Arvidsson’s eye. It said that Ingvarsson was a fitness fanatic who liked to walk. He often ate at a restaurant near Östermalmstorg Tunnelbana and then caught the Tunnelbana home. Arvidsson looked at Brexner and saw that she was thinking the same thing.

“If you walked from the Zetterstrand Bank to Östermalmstorg Tunnelbana then you would have passed the spot where the assassin had been waiting. If he hadn’t been shot then it might well be Martin Ingvarsson lying in the morgue right now,” Brexner said.

“All the information needed to set up a hit on Ingvarsson is right there on the web,” Arvidsson said. “You could have set this whole thing up from a hut in the Siberian tundra if you had wanted. The question is who would have wanted him dead?”

“At the moment we have absolutely no idea about that,” Brexner said stating the obvious.

Arvidsson was quiet, sometimes comments like that helped Linn Brexner begin the process of analysis of a case. “I think we should start with who killed the assassin and who paid him or her.” After Brexner’s comments earlier he was careful to leave the possibility open for a person of either sex to have been the killer. Although he personally doubted that the assassin was killed by a woman he could feel his mind opening itself to the possibility and beginning to play with the idea.

“The obvious possibility is that Martin Ingvarsson found out he was about to be assassinated and decided to strike first,” Brexner said.

“It’s possible but not a good idea unless he is about to leave the country. The assassin was just a tool. If someone had enough money to hire one assassin then they very probably have enough to hire two. If I were Ingvarsson I wouldn’t be thinking of walking to Östermalmstorg Tunnelbana from the office anytime soon.”

At that moment the phone rang. Arvidsson picked it up listened and then thanked the person on the other end. “There is a police car outside Martin Ingvarsson’s house. I think we are done for the night. We’ll get together first thing tomorrow.”

 

 

“This is Matti Hälleström.”

“I’m going to come to your house, I’m going to knock you out and then I’m going to tie you to a table and sandpaper your balls off using my Father’s electric sander.”

The key phrase here was “my Father’s electric sander.” Hälleström realized he was talking to a teenager. The kid had to be seventeen at most. “Let’s do this outside,” he said. “There’s a quiet street near me called Tavastgatan. Do you know where it is?”

“Yes I do.”

“Good you’ll get your chance for revenge. Meet me there at ten o’clock tonight. Stand in the middle of the street and wait until you see a green car. That will be me. Raise your hand so I know it’s you and then wait for me. If you’re still alive after I’ve run you over then I’ll tie you to the back of my car and drag you though the streets of Stockholm for ten kilometers. After the road surface has scraped all your skin off I don’t think you’ll give me any trouble.”

There was silence at the other end of the line. At one time Hälleström had tried to reason with people who threatened him when they didn’t like one of his articles but that just made them worse. Now he just threatened them right back. A large hand dropped on his shoulder. Hälleström looked round. His son Erik stood behind him. He pointed at the phone which was set to speakerphone and mouthed the word “who”. Erik was Swedish on Hälleström’s side but half Irish and half Scottish on his mother’s side. His dear mother had died when he was just ten months old leaving Hälleström to care for Erik on his own. Erik was very protective of his father.

The kid tried again. “Hälleström you need to book an appointment with your dentist to get fitted for false teeth. You’ll need a full set after I’ve been to see you.”

While the kid had been talking Hälleström had pulled up the article he had written three weeks ago. In an article about a politician Hälleström had referred to threats made against him by two teens.

Erik looked at the names on the screen. “Is this Gustav Ljunggren or is it Martin Rosling I’m speaking to,” he said. Silence. “Well Gustav or Andreas, I’m assuming that I can find you at the same address as your father’s electric drill. After my friends and I have beaten you up we’ll tie you to the bed and then I’m going to sandpaper your balls off with your own electric drill.”

There was a click as the phone went down. “What’s your first class today?” Hälleström said.

“Philosophy.”

Erik was very protective of his father. Sometimes the Celtic blood he had from his mother could make him aggressive and unpredictable, especially if anyone threatened his father. Father and son exchanged a glance and then a smile. “Don’t forget my sword is hanging on the wall if you need it,” Erik said.

The previous year Erik and three of his friends had taken the ferry from Norway to Scotland. While they were in Scotland they had been to the Highland Games at Inverness. All four boys had brought swords back with them that they had bought from a vendor at the Games. The swords were deliberately blunted but Erik and one of the other boys had found someone who would sharpen theirs. While Hälleström was out one day they had had a swordfight in his apartment. They had not realized how sharp the swords actually were. After he had gotten the blood cleaned out of his carpet Hälleström had sent both boys to sword fighting lessons. After several weeks both boys had lost interest but Erik still had a very sharp sword hanging on his bedroom wall. Hälleström knew that if he pressed the point Erik would just dig in and want to keep the sword anyway so he hadn’t said anything about it.

Today was an exception. Hälleström was very rarely threatened in his job. He had once worked as a journalist for Aftonbladet but when his wife Caitlin had died he had resigned from Aftonbladet and gone freelance while he cared for his son on his own. Times had been hard at first but after a few years Hälleström had built up a reputation as a journalist who could be called at short notice and could be relied upon to produce a one thousand or two thousand word article in just a couple of hours. He did that by always keeping ahead of his regular work so that he could drop everything if he needed to.

As Erik became older Hälleström could have gone back with a regular newspaper but he liked the freedom of being freelance and being his own boss. Hälleström’s name was known in publishing circles all over Stockholm. Once a year or so, Hälleström would crack a really big story and these were the stories that gave him an adrenaline rush and made it all worthwhile. The last one had been the Kristoffer Nilsson case. Five years ago Nilsson had been a rising politician who was destined for high office when his wife, Maria developed cancer. There were headlines on and off in the newspapers about Nilsson’s wife and Nilsson had received a lot of favorable press for his caring attitude. The cancer had gone into remission only to come back with a vengeance three years later. Stories began to run in the press about how Maria Nilsson was fighting her cancer and about how supportive her husband was being. Around this time Hälleström had received a tip off that Kristoffer Nilsson was carrying on an affair with a woman fifteen years younger than him. To Hälleström this did not seem right at all, in fact he became extremely angry thinking about it. It was inevitable that some people would have affairs but to have an affair while your wife is being treated for cancer was, in Hälleström’s opinion, the lowest form of selfish behavior. Hälleström determined then and there that Nilsson was going down. He built his story over a period of three months, partnered with a freelance photographer he could trust to stay silent and at the end of that period Hälleström broke the story in the quarterly magazine “Liberation”. Liberation Magazine was run by Mona Forseke, an editor Hälleström had worked with closely for many years. The story ran next to a picture of Kristoffer Nilsson kissing a very heavily pregnant Inger Mannig. Hälleström followed up the story with interviews on national television later in the day. The following day Nilsson resigned in disgrace.

Hälleström decided to get busy with the day’s work. The first job was to send an article to a magazine in England. The magazine was for women. One of the regular columns was written by “Jill” who was a busy lawyer bringing up a small girl on her own. As far as the readers knew, Jill had been widowed when her daughter was less than a year old. In actual fact, Jill had been created four years ago by the editor of the magazine, an Englishwoman in her late forties. After she had created Jill all the editor had needed to do was find a journalist to write a monthly column. Only the editor and Hälleström knew that Jill was not an English female lawyer at all but was really a Swedish man in his forties. Hälleström had been surprised to get the job, several journalists from England had submitted trial articles but he was the only applicant with any real experience of looking after a small child on his own and his articles had a depth about them that the other articles lacked. The initial contract had only been for six articles but to both Hälleström and the editor’s surprise the series had taken off. The English editor ran “Jill’s” website even going so far as to use fake pictures. Erik was quite amused to find himself described in Hälleström’s articles as a young girl called Emma and this was something he had kept very quiet about when talking to his friends. After realizing how successful his articles were, Hälleström had renegotiated his contract. At the moment he was required to produce two articles a month for the “Jill” series and he was six articles ahead. Jill’s daughter Emma was now four years old and Hälleström sat for a moment thinking about when Erik was four years old. After a couple of minutes his fingers were flashing across the keyboard. An hour and a half later, including a quick break for coffee, Hälleström had the next article in the series finished.

Taking the last sip of coffee, he pulled up his emails. The first email was from Anders Larborn, editor of Larborn Travel Magazine on Sankt Eriksgatan. Hälleström and Larborn went back a long way, Larborn was gay and one of his first acts when he and Hälleström started working together had been to ask Hälleström if he would like to go to bed with him. Hälleström had politely and gently declined explaining that while he liked Larborn he was only interested in women. After a few awkward months Hälleström and Larborn had built an excellent working relationship and had become lifelong friends. Larborn was the sort of man who seemed to know everyone in Stockholm and he was friends with many politicians including quite a few of the gay ones. Occasionally Larborn sent potential girlfriends Hälleström’s way and Hälleström had had a very close relationship with a female politician, Gabriella Halring, a few years ago. She was five years older than Hälleström, they were still good friends and occasionally she would call Hälleström and come and share his bed for the night. Hälleström had met Gabriella at one of Larborn’s legendary parties and after an introduction from Larborn they had hit it off. Meeting a woman at one of Larborn’s parties had been a novelty, usually the party goers were mostly gay men and Hälleström was usually propositioned four or five times at each party. Hälleström had two stock replies, firstly that he was straight but sometimes he found that would be a challenge and the guy would try even harder. His second stock reply was to say that he had a gay lover he was very fond of who would be heartbroken if Hälleström ever slept with another man so he was staying faithful. He had found this to be a far better reply if he really wanted to be left alone. He went to the parties simply because they were so much fun and there was usually so much gossip to be had that he often found himself with an article to write after the party, albeit from an anonymous source.

Larborn’s email said that he wanted to meet and did Hälleström have time to drive over to his office during the morning. Hälleström emailed back that he would be there in less than an hour. Grabbing his jacket and laptop he left his apartment after first making sure that Erik had a ride, he had classes at the university later in the morning. Half an hour later Hälleström was looking for a parking spot on Sankt Eriksgatan. The Larborn Travel Magazine office was located above Café Eken at Sankt Eriksgatan 9. Eken is one of the few cafes in Stockholm that never closes. At night, it turns into a hangout for taxi drivers and if they were working late, Hälleström and Larborn would often go down to the café and chat with the taxi drivers. It was amazing how much the drivers knew about who was seeing who in Stockholm. Hälleström had once had a major story dropped right into his lap just because a taxi driver at Café Eken mentioned that he had picked a rowdy prostitute up at four in the morning from the house of a captain of Swedish industry. At the time Hälleström thought nothing of it but it just so happened that the man’s wife died in a tragic accident at home a few weeks later. The wife’s death was ruled an accident but Hälleström thought otherwise and six months later he had the evidence to prove it. The man was arrested by the police just hours after Hälleström’s story broke.

Hälleström walked into the Larborn offices, he waved a greeting to Birgitta, Larborn’s ever resourceful secretary and receptionist on the front desk and then walked into Larborn’s office. Larborn was on the phone with his partner, he chatted for another minute or so before hanging up and exchanging greetings with Hälleström. Larborn was an engaging man who always acted as though he was genuinely pleased to talk to everyone who came across his path. Hälleström had noticed after a while that this was actually the case, Anders loved talking to people and he was a very congenial host.

“I know you’re familiar with Montreal, Matti. I’m looking for a gay friendly article basically aimed at both gays and straights but including information about “The Village” and then with maybe a side trip to Quebec City.”

The Village was the gay area of Montreal and was one of the best gay areas of any North American city. Whenever Hälleström was in Montreal it was always one of the places he visited, it was a very relaxed, friendly and casual place both for gays and straights.

“I can do that, I’ll mention some places to go and restaurants in the village, probably add a walk up Mont Royal and suggest they take the train to Quebec City because that’s a fun way to travel.”

“How are the trains over there?”

“The Canadian ones are great. They’re comfortable and reliable. They’re not as fast as European trains but they get there and there is some nice scenery between Montreal and Quebec City, especially as you get closer to Quebec City.”

“What’s the best time of the year to go?”

“If you go in July you can hit the Montreal Jazz Festival which I have heard is really good. The only drawback is that you have more expensive hotel rooms but Montreal has such a good metro you could stay on the outskirts of the city at a cheaper rate and just take the metro in. Each trip is about CDN$2.50 wherever you go in the city so it’s reasonably priced. Another great thing about Montreal is that it’s safe. You can walk on the streets just about anywhere at 2:30AM and you wouldn’t get mugged. Try doing that in New York and you’d be in trouble in less than ten minutes.”

“What’s the night life like?”

“It’s buzzing, I stayed on the French side of the city and one night I woke up at 4:00AM and there were still loads of people walking on the streets. When I left to go back to the airport I had an early flight so my taxi picked me up at 7:30AM. We stopped at a traffic light and there were two young French Canadian girls still dressed in their little short black party dresses sitting on a set of stairs smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee. It was a great way to remember the city. When do you need the article by?”

“Either the issue in three months or the one after that. If you happen to do it earlier then I might squeeze it into next issue but I’ve really asked you later than I should have done.”

“No I have some spare time,” Hälleström said. “If you need it I can do it. I can let you have it in two days.”

“That would be great,” Larborn said. “I was let down at the last minute by a new writer who was due to provide me an article on gay cruises. I won’t be working with him again.”

“You should have told me that earlier,” Hälleström said. “I’ll let you have the article this afternoon, I know that you are close to deadline. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“I didn’t want you to feel pressured,” Larborn said.

“Anders you have done a lot for me over the years. I’ve got your back when you need it. I’ll email it over this afternoon.”

 

 

Inspector Håkan Arvidsson called the meeting to order. Present was Inspector Linn Brexner who worked closely with Arvidsson and who had been with him the night before when the assassin’s body had been found. Also present was Fredrik Olofsson who was in his early fifties with short gray hair. Olofsson sat very erect and had a formal manner. He was a very good detective and Arvidsson usually worked with him when he could. The fourth member of the team was Oliver Siemsen who was in his early forties. Siemsen dressed very stylishly, had blond hair and was a little under average height. To Siemsen’s left sat Stephanie Lundström. Lundström was in her mid thirties with long blond hair and an easy smile. Outside work she was known to be a serious computer gamer and she had won several competitions.

Arvidsson had called the other three members of the team the night before. He had gotten hold of Olofsson and Siemsen and had requested they come in an hour early to get a good start. He hadn’t been able to get hold of Stephanie Lundström and had left her a message. She had seen Arvidsson and Brexner on the news pictures in the morning, listened to her messages and made it in with minutes to spare. Arvidsson had coffee on his desk. After Stephanie entered he shut the door and poured coffee.

“You have all seen the news pictures.” It was a statement not a question. They all nodded agreement. “The man who was shot was from Germany. His name was Dieter Köhler. We know that because he carried a European Union driving license in his wallet. It is very likely that Köhler was an assassin if that was his real name. He was armed with a Magnum 37 gun with a silencer and had two knives on his person. It was his bad luck that somebody got to him first. Had he shot his target and gotten away we would be looking at quite a different crime.”

“Do we know the target?” asked Stephanie Lundström.

“Yes we do.” Arvidsson opened a folder and pulled out the printout with the photograph of Martin Ingvarsson from Zetterstrand Investment Bank. His name and the address of the bank were printed under the photograph. “Essentially we have two crimes to investigate here. We need to know who shot Dieter Köhler and equally importantly if not more so, we need to know who sent a German assassin to shoot the head of the biggest investment bank in the Nordic Region.”

“Is it possible or more likely probable that Ingvarsson found out that he was going to be hit and decided that he would hit first?” Fredrik Olofsson asked.

“That is probable. The first thing Linn and I will do after this meeting is to go and interview Ingvarsson. We’ll be watching his body language very carefully.”

Linn Brexner interrupted. She looked at Arvidsson. “I didn’t have time to tell you this yet but I already called Germany this morning with the number on Köhler’s driving license. It matches a man who lives in the city of Stuttgart in southern Germany. They gave me the number of the police station down there and I spoke to a detective who will call me back and send me an email detailing what he can find out about Köhler.”

“Good work,” said Arvidsson. “As you know it’s important we make some progress quickly with this case so that we can keep Prosecutor Bergekrans off my back. He will no doubt want to hold a press conference as soon as possible. This is going to be a convoluted and complicated case and I have no doubt that we will start with one hypothesis about what happened and then end up with a different one as the case progresses.”

Arvidsson didn’t always play by the rules. He followed his instincts and sometimes went off at a complete tangent but he had the best record of any inspector in the building. He could be difficult and didn’t always care who he upset but his staff were extremely loyal and he had gone out on a limb to protect more than one of them in the past. If it wasn’t for the fact that he had such a good record on solving cases he would no doubt have been shunted off to a small police station in a quiet part of Sweden. He didn’t like it if a case he was working on appeared to be going nowhere and at times like that the team knew they better put in as many extra hours as were needed. Linn Brexner was more level headed than Arvidsson and they made a good team. She was good at seeing the whole picture and warning him when he was overstepping the mark and it drove her crazy when he ignored her advice and went ahead anyway. However, she wanted to work with no other inspector. Arvidsson was a great believer in letting his team use their own initiative, other inspectors in the building would have had her get permission from them first before calling Germany but Arvidsson trusted her enough to let her go ahead with sometimes some quite major decisions.

Arvidsson was talking again. “I’ve made a list of action items with names against them. We’ll go through them now.” He picked up another folder and gave a handout to each person in the room keeping one for himself. “The first task is to speak to Martin Ingvarsson. Linn and I will do that together, I really want to know whether he lies to us today. I’m keeping an open mind but I will not be surprised if he does. Fredrik, the car license number and the name of the car hire company are on the sheet. We found maps from the hire company in the glove box. Go and talk to them, find out what information they have on him.”

Arvidsson checked that off on his list. He spoke again. “Oliver and Stephanie, you two find out where Köhler was staying. Start with the bigger hotels near the Zetterstrand Investment Bank and work outwards. My guess is that Köhler would have gone for a larger hotel to remain more anonymous. Check if the hotel has a record of who booked the room and if they have a phone number. Köhler may have booked the room himself but it is equally possible that someone booked it for him. When you find out where he was staying get into his room and bring everything back here. Fredrik once you have got the information from the car hire company take some police officers and start knocking on doors near the assassination site to see if anyone saw anything.”

Arvidsson turned to Linn Brexner. “Can you find out when the autopsy is? If it is possible I’d like for us both to attend. If it happens before we’re finished with Ingvarsson then we’ll stop by and get the results.” He turned to the other three. “I need profiles built for Martin Ingvarsson and Dieter Köhler. As soon as Linn receives the email from Germany she will forward it to all of us. And when information starts coming in we need to build a profile for whoever shot Köhler. I think that’s it for now.”

Arvidsson put his checklist down next to the picture of Martin Ingvarsson. He noticed something. “This picture of Martin Ingvarsson, it’s a different size from the rest of the paper. It’s not standard European A4 sized.” He picked up the sheet of paper with Ingvarsson’s picture on it, he was trying to see if anyone had cut it shorter. He held it up to the light and noticed Daniel Ålund from IT walking past. “Get Ålund in here,” he said. “He might know what this means.”

Siemsen left the room and went running after Daniel Ålund. A moment later the two men stepped into the room. Ålund was in his thirties with dark hair and a muscular build. He looked more like a bodybuilder than someone who worked in IT, which in fact he was. He liked computer gaming but he would much rather spend two hours lifting iron than sitting in front of a computer. He spent his whole day in front of computers, at night he wanted something more physical.

Arvidsson showed Ålund the sheet of paper with the photograph of Martin Ingvarsson on it. “This is not A4 sized,” he said.

“Do you have a ruler?” Daniel Ålund asked.

Arvidsson opened the top drawer of his desk and took out a ruler. Ålund measured the sheet of paper. ‘This is twenty one point six centimeters by twenty seven point nine centimeters. That corresponds to eight and a half inches by eleven inches. This was printed in America.”

“Why?” asked Stephanie Lundström.

Ålund misunderstood her. “I don’t know,” he said.

“I wasn’t looking for an answer,” she said. “This case has just gotten bigger.”

“Do you need to know where in America this photograph was printed?” asked Ålund.

“That would be great. Are you going to wave a magic wand and tell us?” Arvidsson said.

“I don’t know about a magic wand but it’s quite possible I can get you the IP address of the printer that the photograph was printed on.”

“How do you propose to do that?” Arvidsson asked.

Ålund answered the question with a question of his own. He pointed at Arvidsson’s Canon printer. “Does your printer have a built in scanner?” he asked.

“Yes, it does.”

“Does your scanner scan at 600 dpi or better?”

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Arvidsson said.

“How long have you had your printer?”

“Less than a year.”

“In that case it should be fine. Will you put the photograph on the glass, scan it and then save it as a pdf file please.”

Arvidsson scanned the photograph as requested. The scanner warmed up, hummed and then scanned the image. He saved it as a pdf and then looked at Daniel Ålund. “What now?” he asked.

Ålund took charge, this was his area. “Okay, everybody come round and look at the image please. See that it is on 100% resolution. Look at Martin Ingvarsson’s name typed under the photograph. You will all agree that the name looks as though it is typed in black ink.”

“It looks as though it is typed in black ink because it is typed in black ink,” Siemsen said.

Linn Brexner smiled. “What you are about to tell us is that it only appears that Martin Ingvarsson’s name is typed in black ink.”

“You are absolutely right,” Ålund said. “There is almost certainly an American government security code hidden in the pixels that make up the type. It should give us the IP address of the printer that printed the photograph.”

“Why would they do that?” Brexner asked.

“Because the American government is obsessed with spying on its own citizens. However, in this case this will work to our advantage.”

“How do you know this?” Brexner asked.

“In 2005 a San Francisco based privacy organization called the Electronic Frontier Foundation found secret yellow dots on most printers they tested. They were able to decode the yellow dots on Xerox printers but not on other printers. I believe each printer manufacturer has been given a different code to use. Since then hackers and IT guys in the United States and other areas of the world have been working to decode the dots. A few years ago you had to use a blue light and a strong magnifying glass, now a good scanner will show you the codes.”

“Okay,” said Arvidsson. “Let’s have a look.”

“Change the size of the page on the pdf file to 3,200% and then move to find Ingvarsson’s name.”

Arvidsson increased the size of the display. They were looking at the top left hand corner of the page. Arvidsson scrolled down until they found Ingvarsson’s name. The screen showed different colored pixels hidden among the name with some individual pixels set slightly away from the letters. There were yellow pixels, blue pixels, brown pixels and purple pixels in among the letters.

“Are you sure that is not just the way they print the letters?” Brexner asked.

“Look at the last ‘n’ in Martin and the first ‘n’ in Ingvarsson. The colored pixels are in different places. Look at the two “s” letters together in Ingvarsson. Again the colored pixels are in different places. Look at the pixels above the “s” letters. Again they are in a different pattern. What you are looking at is the American government spy code.”

Arvidsson was big on civil liberties. I hope our government isn’t involved in this and spying on Swedish citizens,” he said. “You know if America had caught the Chinese government doing this they would be screaming about how the Chinese government was taking away the freedoms of the Chinese citizens. I hope to God the European Union does not allow this in Europe. How can the Americans force all those manufacturers to put codes on their printers? I could see them forcing American manufacturers to do it but what about the Japanese printer manufacturers. Where are their balls?”

“It’s interesting you should pick Japan,” Ålund said. “If North Korea wants to fly an aircraft over Japan who do you think they have to ask permission from?”

“The Japanese government or the Japanese Aviation Authority.”

“Wrong, the North Koreans would have to ask the American Military Governor of Japan or whatever his title is for permission. The Japanese don’t even have control of their own airspace. It is controlled by the American Government. That’s why the American government can order the Japanese printer manufacturers around although I suspect all companies importing printers into America have to have those codes.”

“Can you crack this code?” Arvidsson asked.

“I can give it a good try,” Ålund said.

“How will you crack it?” Stephanie Lundström asked.

Arvidsson held up his hand to stop the conversation. He suspected that Ålund would have to contact a hacker. He didn’t want anyone to talk about that in the meeting. Arvidsson wanted that code cracked. If they had it then they would know who sent the assassin. It might not be admissible as evidence because of the method used by Ålund but if they had a name then they could probably find other evidence. Another inspector would have played it safe and played it by the book, not Arvidsson.

“I’ll email you the file Daniel,” he said. “Get on it as fast as you can please. Then report back to me. Okay, we all have something to work on. Let’s get to it.”

 

 

Stockholm, July 1994

 

Anatoly Kazikov looked at the young woman who had just been shown into his office. He wondered if she knew that at most she probably had only a few hours to live. She shouldn’t even be here. She should not be in his office and she should not have gotten this far. Kazikov was going to be nice, he intended to pump her for information and when he had that information he was going to have her killed. If she was just a fool who had talked her way into his office on a whim then her death would be simple and uncomplicated. If she was in any way a police plant or associated with the Stockholm police in any way then she would die a most horrible death. Two of his men stood guard outside the door. Kazikov had decided to see her on his own, firstly he didn’t think she was dangerous and secondly, in the unlikely event she was dangerous then his GRU training would easily allow him to get the better of her. Kazikov was wrong on the first count. The woman sitting patiently in front of him was dangerous, in fact in a world where time did not exist he would have been sitting opposite the most dangerous woman in the world. However, it would be another five to seven years before she reached her full potential. On the second count Kazikov was correct, his GRU training would allow him to take this woman if she chose to attack him but that was only because he was highly trained and had been first in most of his classes. It was time to start the questioning. He planned to start slowly and gently and once she began to contradict herself he would go in hard.

“Tell me why you are sitting in front of me?” he said in Swedish.

She surprised him by replying to him in fluent Russian. “I represent a business opportunity. You can make a lot of money out of me. You should listen very carefully and pay attention to everything I say.”

Kazikov sat back in his seat. This woman was certainly confident and assured. No doubt about that and yet she couldn’t be more than twenty-two years old. She had short blonde hair but Kazikov was certain she was wearing a wig. There were two ways he could deal with this, he could belittle this woman or he could assume she was here for a legitimate reason. Kazikov was highly intelligent and he did not have much of an ego. Therefore, he did not feel insulted by the way the young woman was talking to him. He was about to reply but the woman spoke first.

“I am well aware that should you so choose I will not leave this room alive. You may have already made this decision or you may make it as we talk but I would ask one thing.”

Kazikov kept his face impassive. She was exactly right in what she said. The chances of her leaving his office alive were limited. “What is the one thing you ask?” he said.

“I would ask that you listen to what I have to say. At the end of that you may decide to kill me or you may want to employ me. All I ask is that you listen to what I say.”

“Okay,” Kazikov said. “You have the floor. Tell me why you are here and I will listen to what you have to say.”

“Since the fall of communism the Russian mafia has proliferated throughout western Europe. Crime syndicates from other communist countries have entered western cities too but the Russian mafia is by far the most well organized and the most dangerous.”

“What does that have to do with me?”

“Your business is a blend between legitimate and non-legitimate. I am guessing an 80 / 20 split.”

She was close, the split was nearer 70 / 30. His non-legitimate interests helped keep his legitimate business afloat and contributed money for expansion. He had paid cash for his warehouse which was something he could never have done if his business had been solely legitimate. Unless she had something useful to give him she had just signed her own death warrant of course. The police probably suspected he was Russian mafia but they could not prove it. “Who gave you this information,” Kazikov said.

“I’m not going to tell you. Let’s just say I became his girlfriend and I tricked the information out of him. I did it because I was looking for someone like you although I did not know you existed before I began looking.”

Okay she was beginning to intrigue him. “What do you mean by that statement?”

“I mean that I was looking for a Russian in Stockholm who could connect me to the Russian mafia in Europe.”

“You are playing a very dangerous game and probably a very stupid one. Why the hell do you want to be connected to the Russian mafia in Europe?”

“I have noticed through reading the newspapers that the Russian mafia is responsible for quite a lot of deaths in Europe, especially in Italy. It is obvious from the way that most of the victims died that the Russian mafia is using professional executioners. However, it is also obvious that the Russian mafia has no female executioners.”

Instantly she had Kazikov’s attention. He saw where this was going and he also saw the potential in it. He saw now why she was here and he also saw why she needed him. She needed a Russian mafia connection. “So you want to kill men for the Russian mafia. How do you propose to do that?” Again she surprised him.

“Let’s do some role play.”

“What?”

“Let’s pretend you have just been targeted by the Russian mafia in Milan and I have been selected to execute you.”

“Go on,” Kazikov said.

“The price is $2,000. For that you get sex in any position you want and I also stay the night.”

“Okay, I see how that would get you into my house. Now what.”

“You spend the night with your hooker. Twenty minutes after you fall asleep I garrote you.”

“I’m a big man. As soon as you put the rope around my neck I will punch you or throw you off.”

“No you won’t because I will have my knee in your lower back and the garrote around your neck. Even a small woman can kill you if she gets in that position.”

She was right. Get your knee at the base of a man’s back and a garrote around their neck and they are screwed. Unless you make a mistake they will never throw you off. “Is that the only way you can execute a target or are you more versatile?” he said.

“I am a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and I have studied other eastern martial arts. I know how to kill a man that way too. If necessary, I can also pick up a stool and bash a man’s head in with that too.”

“Why do you want to do this?”

“I work in a menial job and I live in a small and crappy apartment. I do not want to wait ten years before I earn enough for a halfway decent apartment and I do not want to have to marry a man just to have a better standard of living.”

“Both good reasons but I do not exactly have women swarming to me asking to be professional executioners. What makes you different?”

“I have killed three men. All three have wronged me in some way. The thrill I got from killing them was exquisite.”

Something in her eyes gave Kazikov pause. “Do you believe you are fully sane?” he said.

“How many of us are really fully sane?” she said. “And yet many of us are able to function in normal society. To answer your question if I were ever to be locked in a mental home and then assessed they might never let me out again but I am able to function as a normal member of society. Is that a problem for you?”

It was not. Kazikov had already ascertained that this woman was a little different. She was obviously intelligent, he could tell that from her speech. The question was whether she was a weapon he could shape and use or was she just an idiot who had walked in off the street. A part of Kazikov’s mind was already tending towards the former option. His plans to kill her had already been shelved, for the moment at least but he might still have to kill her. “If I send you out to kill someone in another country how do I know you won’t panic at the wrong moment?”

“You are far more formidable than most of the men I will kill. I am wary of you and I know that I could die a horrible death at your hands but you do not scare me. I doubt that is the case with any other people who have been in danger from you.”

She was right with that comment. Kazikov had killed plenty of people in his days in the GRU. He had never tortured anyone, that was not his style but if his bosses in Moscow had told him to eliminate someone he had followed orders. “What if I call my men in now and have you killed right now. Will you be so brave then?” he said.

She called his bluff. “Call your men in if you wish. I just ask one thing before they kill me?”

There was no fear in her eyes. This woman was cool as ice. “What do you ask before we kill you?”

“I ask that you put your face near mine so I can spit in your eye.” She looked him right in the eye as she said that.

Kazikov almost lost it at that point. He was within a hairsbreadth of calling his men in. His emotions said kill her but his mind took over. He slapped her once in the face. The slap was hard. Kazikov watched her reactions in astonishment. She had seen the slap coming and had begun pulling her face back and then changed her mind. Instead she put her face back in the path of his hand and took the blow on her cheek and then rolled with it. Although the sound of his slap echoed around the room he was not sure how much he had really hurt her. What did astonish him was how fast her reactions had been. He was still thinking about that when she slapped him. He didn’t even see the slap coming it was so fast. With a roar he leapt to his feet and turned the desk over. She was already on her feet dodging back. His desk missed her by inches. The door behind her burst open and his men shot into the room. One of them drew his gun. Kazikov silenced him with a look. He came round the desk and squared off against Lisa Molin. What happened next astonished both his men. For a start they had assumed Kazikov although still fit was slightly out of shape. They saw that he was not by the way he charged the girl. At the last minute they realized his charge was a feint and then he aimed a rain of blows at the girl. Some of them hit her but she blocked most of them and then she went on the attack herself. Kazikov was backed right up against the wall by the attack that was directed at him. All of a sudden he was fighting for his life. She broke through his defenses and a disabling blow came right at him that would have broken his cheekbone and quite possibly put bone fragments into his right eye. She pulled back at the last moment. Kazikov jerked back and was already on the attack only realizing that she had pulled back as his mind reviewed the situation. Then she was coming at him again and again. He blocked a rain of blows and only managed a few in return. She punched him in the liver but the blow stopped right as she connected. Kazikov knew that if she had not pulled back he would be lying on the floor in agony now. She attacked him again but she made a mistake and this time it was Kazikov’s turn to aim a disabling blow and then pull back at the last moment. She looked at him and smiled and then she stepped back and bowed. Kazikov bowed back automatically but his mind was in turmoil. If this girl had wished it he could have been lying on the floor dead or disabled right now but she had done it in such a way that his men did not even realize.

Kazikov smiled at her. “I am going to lock you in a secure room for twelve hours with food water and toilet facilities and then I am going to make some calls. If there is interest in what you have to offer then we will work out the details.”

The girl looked him in the eye. “And if there is no interest?” she said.

“Then you know what will happen,” he said.

She nodded but there was defiance in her eyes. She allowed them to lead her to a soundproofed room in the warehouse. The room was hidden and would not be noticed by anyone casually inspecting the warehouse. She was provided with food and water. The room contained bathroom facilities in one corner.

In his office Kazikov began to make phone calls to his contacts in the Russian mafia around Europe. He made eight calls over a period of three hours. He was astonished at the interest shown. It appeared that some of his colleagues had a list of very wary targets that they were having trouble getting to. At the end of that period he had one definite booking for the girl’s services and three more provisional bookings. Two other mafia bosses showed interest but wanted to see how the girl did on the first two or three hits.

When Kazikov and his men went down to the hidden room and opened it they found it was in darkness. The light bulb had been unscrewed. Kazikov signaled his men to pull back. He spoke into the darkness. “I have work for you but if you kill one of my men then I will kill you. Step out now.”

“If this is a trap you will all die.”

“You will have to take my word on that,” Kazikov said.

“If you are lying you will die first.”

The light bulb was screwed back in and Kazikov walked into the room. The bed and chair had been dismantled, broken down and turned into crude weapons. He looked at the girl in front of him and held out his hand. She took it. “You owe me for a bed and a chair,” he said. “I’ll take it out of your first pay check.”

For a moment she looked at him like she wanted to kill him and then Kazikov smiled and she hesitated a moment and then smiled back. Her smile lit up the room and it was at that moment Kazikov realized how dangerous she would be as a hired executioner.

 

End of excerpt from The Banker With a Face Full of Evil by Mike Ward – if you enjoyed this excerpt you can download the book from your favorite ebook retailer

 


Lisa Molin Assassin - A Quiet Kill in Interlaken

Lisa Molin is a freelance Swedish assassin working for the Russian mafia in Europe. When a male assassin can’t do the job the Russian mafia sends in Lisa. Her favorite method of execution is the garrote and she also uses the Japanese jutte which is a foot long bar of solid iron with two hooks on the side that can be used to rip flesh and dislocate joints. She is an expert in taekwondo and has killed many men that way. In Korean “tae” means to strike or break with the foot and “kwon” means to strike or break with the fist and she is an expert at both. She is the last person that more than 120 men have seen before they departed this Earth and usually they departed the planet by extremely violent means. Lisa Molin travels to Interlaken in Switzerland to carry out an assassination contracted for the Russian mafia in Zurich. There is a difference to this kill. The man due to be assassinated has put this hit on himself and he wants to spend the day with Lisa before she kills him. She is meeting him in the Japanese Gardens next to the Hotel Interlaken at dawn. There will be nobody about at that hour. Should she just dispatch him in the Japanese Gardens or should she acquiesce to his wishes and spend the day with him. Read on and find out.

  • Author: Mike Ward
  • Published: 2016-03-03 20:05:09
  • Words: 19397
Lisa Molin Assassin - A Quiet Kill in Interlaken Lisa Molin Assassin - A Quiet Kill in Interlaken