A Favor for a Favor by Dwight Geddes

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When does the price of gratitude become too big of a bill to pay?

Blake Casson is used to being hired for assassination work, but when he's asked to do a recovery job of a kidnap victim he doesn't want any part of it. The problem is, the man who saved Casson's life previously is the kidnap victim's father, and he's determined to bring Casson in on the job.

Soon, Casson finds himself caught up in a game of cat-and-mouse throughout New York City in an effort to recover the abducted woman. When the investigation leads to a dramatic showdown, Casson discovers he may not live to see his end of the favor upheld.

A work of crime from our Fingerprints line.


“I don’t do recovery work.”

The manner was curt, the tone final. The speaker’s stare was fixed on the face of the man seated across the table, the annoyance and displeasure evident. The hurried pace of autumn in New York City was playing itself out on the other side of the bay window next to their table, but neither man appeared to be moved by it.

They were seated in Il Bellisimo, the newest and trendiest restaurant in the newest and trendiest neighborhood of New York City—the meatpacking district. An area that a decade before was known for cross-dressing hookers by night and slaughterhouses by day had metamorphosed into the “place to be and be seen” of not only haute couture, but also the young and fabulous of New York City.

Il Bellisimo had opened with much fanfare a few months ago; a lot of the press coming for the architecture and glitziness, not to mention the buzz surrounding the bold manner in which the owners had spent lavishly to bring aboard the chef from the Central Park Ritz Carlton. The restaurant was a two-story spiral glass Bauhaus/minimalist creation that was nothing short of magnificent in structure and breathtaking in design. And of course, it came with the requisite ridiculously expensive menu.

Blake Casson saw all of it and none of it, his eyes locked on the face of Bernhard Mueller. They had been seated for a couple of minutes; neither man the type to engage in idle chatter when there was business to be dealt with. Blake had come to the meeting dressed casually; slacks, loafers and a buttoned sweater. His ever-present Sig Sauer .40 caliber P226 was in a holster strapped to his torso, but hidden from view.

Mueller presented a sharp contrast to Blake. He was dressed like a model for a sophisticated European clothing line, his silver hair cut short and fashionable, black Ralph Lauren Purple Label suit perfectly complemented by his light green shirt and dark green tie. His striking Teutonic features bespoke his Northern European heritage, but his English was spoken with a tinge of Eton. The restaurant was half-empty on this mid-afternoon weekday, with patrons scattered around the expansive dining room and the scarce wait staff moving at a less than hurried pace. Mueller responded to Blake’s stated disinclination to the job.

“My client fully understands your reluctance to handle work of this nature and advised me that your initial response would be negative, but my instructions were clear—you and only you were to be contacted.”

The contract from Mr. Mueller had come through the usual channels. Since the death of his friend and business partner Marty Blake a few years before, Blake had set up a three-man network of trusted intermediaries to screen all business coming to him. These three people worked autonomously of each other, and they only dealt with known entities. Referrals were accepted after a thorough screening process, and every job came with an upfront, nonrefundable $25,000.00 fee.

  • Published by: Untreed Reads

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