Category Archives: Spy novels

“Shades of Justice” Chapter Fifty-five

Kathy kicked the garbage cans around and then took cover with Shadow. Just as Jack planned, Conrad turned on the porch light and came charging out with a shotgun. When he hit the bottom step and turned toward the scattered garbage, Jack moved out of his concealment behind a five-foot high scraggily Virginia cedar at the base of the stairs, used his left arm to put a neck lock on Conrad’s throat, while his right hand and arm controlled the shotgun. With Conrad helpless, he pivoted to his left and slammed him down on the flagstone walk. Jack shoved the barrel of the 12-gauge up under Conrad’s chin and said, “Your gambling buddy in Atlantic City sent me to talk to you. Now call your woman to come out. Tell her you’ve fallen and hurt your leg. Don’t move from this spot. Even a small movement will get you both killed.”

The back door opened and the woman came down the steps. She saw Conrad down on the walk and said, “What happened? I told you that walk was a menace. How badly are you hurt?” As she reached the halfway point on the stairs, Kathy called, “Stop right there. Put your hands where I can see them.”

The woman turned and started back up the steps. Kathy, with one hand on Shadow’s head, gave him the signal to attack. Shadow bounded up the steps, seized the flowing housecoat and pulled her down the steps. When she hit the ground, he put his front paws on her chest and his huge open jaws inches from her face. Before the woman could even scream, Kathy’s SOCOM was in her mouth, chipping a few teeth.

Kathy said, “Be still and quiet and you might live.”

Kathy rolled her on her stomach, face in the grass and put plastic cuffs on her thick wrists.

Jack heard the cars pull into the driveway. Leaving Kathy and Shadow to guard Conrad and his wife, Jack ran back to the barn. Lou and Sally had helped Kelly get the three other captives ready to move. Jack pulled Kelly and Sally aside and said, “Look, girls forget your empathy for these ladies. We need to get them back into their lives without any of us being involved any further. Kelly, tell them they were freed by a special group that is hunting down the entire human trafficking gang.

If they give testimony to the police or newspapers, they will be putting themselves and their families in danger. Take this envelope. There is enough cash in there to give each of them $4,000 and pay for a motel for a few days. Pick a decent motel, pay cash for two days. No true names. Take the girls right to their rooms or room. Not through the lobby. It might be better for them to be in the same suite or two adjoining rooms. They can call anyone they want. Try to get them to calm down their families, so wailing sirens don’t arrive with news media. Sally’s the only one in decent clothes. She should make the reservations. It will be daylight soon and they’ll be able to take a taxi to a shopping mall and buy clothes, suitcases, etc. If they agree, get them to make their own arrangements to fly home or wherever.

“Kelly, leave no phone numbers and no plans for a reunion or get together. Tell them you were working undercover to take this gang down. Ask them to protect you. No one from this gang will be coming after them but they should low key the whole thing. No media. Take the Flex. Try to avoid cameras at the motel, if any. Kathy and I will see you at home in a few hours. Let’s get going. It will be light in less than an hour.”

Sally said, “There’s a young black lab hanging around in the driveway. May I take him with us?”

“Yes! I was wondering what I could do with him. Either keep him or find him a good home. But not at our house. I think he is terrified of Shadow, and Gideon might think he’s a toy.”

Kelly led the girls off to their ride back to the world. Lou went back to the car to wait with Ted and Warren while Jack cleaned up the scene.

Jack joined Kathy and took Conrad to the barn for a quiet talk. Once inside, Jack told Conrad to sit on a bale of hay. Conrad had recovered from Jack’s takedown and said, “I don’t know who the fuck you think you are or what you’re doing but you’re a dead man.”

Jack said, “Bad start,” and slapped Conrad hard enough to knock him off his seat.

“Okay, Conrad. Can we start over? If not, it will get much worse. I won’t lose any sleep over killing you. I’m listening!”

Conrad just stared at Jack. Opened his mouth but didn’t say anything. Jack seized his right fore finger and broke it at the third joint. Conrad screamed. “See, you can talk. Now what do you want to tell me? You have nine more fingers.”

Conrad said, “Go to hell. I’m going to have you killed.”

“Wrong answer.” Conrad hurriedly put his hands behind him. Jack put both hands on his face and pressed his thumbs hard upward under his cheekbones. Conrad tried to scream but couldn’t. Jack increased the pressure. Conrad grabbed at Jack’s hands and screamed when Jack broke his middle finger and said, “Be careful, Conrad only eight left. Now are you ready to start by telling me who you would ask to kill me?”

Conrad shook his head.

“Okay. You win time in the pit.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Action thrillers, Barry Kelly, Books, Spy novels

“Shades of Justice” Chapter Fifty-four

Jack found the recessed handle and locking bolt to the trap door. Making as little noise as possible he slid the lock open and eased the door up. The heavy weight of the door surprised him. Shining the red-beamed light down into the pit, he saw the ladder-access to the ten-foot-deep cavern. Too high for Shadow to jump and Shadow wasn’t friendly with vertical ladders. Jack could hear sounds but couldn’t see anything. Telling Shadow to stay and guard, Jack went down the ladder. The pit was lined with cement blocks, the floor was poured concrete. He saw a light switch but rejected using it. He felt he had to move quickly. He couldn’t believe there wasn’t an alarm that indicated the door had been opened. Along the wall in the back of the 15-by-10-foot chamber, he saw four shapes in cots that were fastened to the wall. Hurrying across the room he uncovered the shapes huddled under blankets on each cot. The last one he uncovered was Kelly. She was awake but was gagged and tied to the bunk. Jack carefully removed the gag and cut the ropes binding her. Kelly immediately sat up, put her arms around Jack and said, “I knew you would come but couldn’t see how you could ever find me here.”

Jack wiped a tear from her cheek and said, “We have to hurry. Can you walk?”

“Yes. Let’s go get these bastards. There are two of them. The woman is the worst. She enjoyed hurting us.”

Jack gave Kelly his knife and said, “Get these other women loose and up the ladder. Here’s my SOCOM. Stay near the barn. We have other people outside. Don’t want any friendly fire causalities. If we’re not back in ten minutes, head out to the road and follow it up the grade. Cars with two of our people are waiting. When I get out of this hole, I’ll call Lou. He and Sally will be here in a few minutes. Sit tight. Get everyone out of this prison and ready to move. Don’t tell them who we are. Just say you don’t know.”

Jack found Kathy and Shadow at the barn door. Jack said, “Got her. She’s okay and ready to go. There are three other women. Be thinking what we should do with them. I don’t want them to be able to identify us. I believe we will find Conrad and his wife still in the house. Be careful with the woman. Kelly said she is bad, real bad. I couldn’t find any alarms. Give me a minute to talk to Lou.”

Lou answered immediately. Jack asked him to bring the cars up. “Kelly is okay and is organizing three other captives. We have to figure out what to do with them. Do not give them any real names and don’t let them overhear our talks. I don’t want them to be able to direct the cops back to this place. We don’t need the cops involved. Maybe later. I’ll send Kelly up with her fellow captives. I’d like them to all be in one car with as little exposure to us as possible. When you pass the word, bring Sally and come down to the barn. Announce yourselves. Kelly is armed and in the barn waiting for you and Sally.”

Kathy heard Jack’s talk with Lou. When he was finished with with Lou, Jack took Kathy’s arm and said, “We have to get them out of the house. Too dangerous to take them in the house. I saw a couple of garbage cans near the back porch when the porch light was on. You and Shadow go make a racket with the garbage cans. They’ll think the young bear came back. The guy, Conrad, will come outside to see what’s going on and to chase or shoot the bear cub. When he comes off the porch, I’ll take him and make him call the woman to come out. She may be armed. Stay under cover and tell her to drop the weapon and come down the stairs. Don’t hesitate to shoot. About that time Lou will be telling Ted and Warren to move the cars up. You organize the move out. I’ll use Kelly and Sally to help with the kidnappers.”

“Do you walk around all the time with plans in your head?” Kathy whispered.

“More than I want but I need people like you and Lou to make them work. You could make even a bad plan work.”

“Husband, you are incredible, but please be careful.”

“I will. The tricky part is getting the three other captives back into safe hands without anyone being able to identify us. Now move out!”

Leave a comment

Filed under Action thrillers, Barry Kelly, Books, Spy novels

“Shades of Justice” Chapter Fifty-three

Four hours later, Kathy spotted the Ford Flex at the meeting site near the intersection of routes 15 South and 704 West and pulled her rental Cherokee behind the Flex. Storm was in the Flex. When Jack had called in the address of the farm Conrad was using to hold captive young women for onward movement up the human trafficking chain, Storm put together a package of commercial photos and maps, including suggested parking areas for the cars and after-action mobile pick-up alternatives.

Jack got in the Flex, listened to Storm going over the map and imagery data and then he briefed the team on the action and assigned responsibilities. Within ten minutes he was back in the Cherokee. Kathy pulled out, following the Flex. Sally and Shadow had transferred from the Flex to the Cherokee. Shadow sensed action was coming and was staring intently out the window. Storm was driving the Flex and Kathy followed her when she made a right turn on to Route 704 followed shortly by a left turn onto Route 797. Jack went over the plan with Kathy and said, “In a few minutes we will be stopping 100 yards or so from the target on Hogback Mountain Road. Storm believes there will be room for both cars in the parking site.”

Ted and Warren, with one of the three short-range radios, stayed with the cars. Kathy followed ten paces behind Jack and Shadow. Lou, with the second radio, and Sally set up firing positions 30 yards from the house where they could cover the house and barn with the night optics scopes on the Winchester .22s loaded with long rifle hollow points. The late night air was warm and crickets and frogs were serenading their world. First light was less than an hour away. Jack wanted to be out of there before it got light and people started their day’s work. He and Kathy stopped behind a low hedge some 15 yards from the front of the house. Jack whispered to Kathy that he was worried there was probably a dog in or outside near the house. They moved closer. Shadow alerted and a dog began to bark. Jack released Shadow and he charged away into the night. Seconds later the sounds of a dogfight split the night, followed by a dog yipping. The back porch light lit up the yard and the back door opened. Jack used the silent whistle only an animal could hear to recall Shadow. No sooner had Shadow rejoined Jack and Kathy then they heard a male voice say, “No wonder Sammy was yipping, I just saw a young black bear going over the fence. Don’t let Sammy out until it gets light. That bear is probably long gone by now. No! I’m going back to bed. No way I’m going to look for a bear in the night. That young one may not be alone.” The door slammed shut and the porch light went out.

Jack patted Shadow and whispered, “Good boy. You’re not only a fighter but an actor.” Kathy agreed. “Shadow, you are wonderful. Now any noise we make they will think is the bear cub still prowling around.”

Jack held Kelly’s panties for Shadow to smell and whispered, “Go, find!”

Jack whispered into his throat mike to Lou that they were moving to the barn. Kathy trailed Jack, watching his back. Shadow moved swiftly back and forth across the ground and was at the barn door whining when Jack got there. The barn ‘people door’ was locked. Jack checked for alarms. He found none and moved aside for Kathy to work on the lock. She was faster than he was. A minute later the three of them slipped inside the barn. It had the lingering smell of sheep and hay mustiness. The red light from Kathy’s flashlight showed long unused and rusty equipment and a derelict tractor littering the ground floor. Shadow started looking for Kelly as soon as he got inside. Jack heard him digging and using the light from Kathy’s flashlight they threaded their way through the junk and stacks of boxes. Shadow was rapidly scratching with his powerful front paws at wooden trap door, partially screened by the rusting John Deere and a 10-foot high stack of heavy bales of hay. The trap door had been covered with loose hay before Shadow cleared it away.

Jack patted him and told him to stop. He checked the trap door for alarms and booby traps. Jack turned to Kathy and said, “I didn’t find anything but go to the door and watch for anyone coming. Shadow could have set off an alarm I can’t find.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Action thrillers, Barry Kelly, Books, Spy novels

“Shades of Justice” Chapter Fifty-two

“About a week ago, some guy Jim knew in the past, when he was training the guy to be a sniper before he went to the Marines, came out to see him and scared Jim shitless. He said this guy is real bad. I’m beginning to think you are the bad guy. If you are, I have something to tell you but I want some assurances first.”

“It doesn’t work like that.”

Jack put the cloth bag back over Dom’s head, tied his body and legs to the chair, and tipped it back. Jack held Dom’s head still while Kathy poured a thin stream of water on the cloth bag. Dom began to struggle immediately. Jack motioned for Kathy to keep pouring. The struggles grew faint and Jack said “enough” and took the bag off Dom’s head. Jack set the chair upright and within a few minutes Dom stopped choking.

Jack said, “Enough or do you need another session?”

With his chest heaving Dom said, “No! No more! Are you trying to kill me?”

“No, Dom, you’re trying to commit suicide. No assurances. Just answer my questions. The next session will be much worse. Let’s start again. What were you going to tell me?”

“Conrad told me the day before yesterday that Eddie told Jim to send a team to this guy’s house to pick up the brunette woman who was with the bad ass who visited Jim’s camp in Montana.”

Kathy left immediately to call Kelly in McLean. Jack said, “Dom, you have five minutes. Give me details now or you go into the ocean.”

Dom said, “I don’t know who or when. A team is usually three or four people.”

“Okay, tell me where the women are held by Conrad and Jim.”

“Bobby keeps them in an abandoned mine on Jim’s property that he fixed up. I’ve never seen it but it can’t be more than a 15-minute walk from the shooting camp. Conrad has an old farm five or six miles south of Leesburg on Route 15. I’ve been there twice and can sketch out the directions. The holding area is in the barn through a hidden trap door.”

“I’m going to give you 15 minutes to draw two sketches that I can understand and follow. If you’re successful, you will live. One wrong move and one of two things will happen. The first is I’ll send this recording to Eddie. The other is that you will go for a boat ride. Agree?”

“I swear I never want to see you or that woman again. Eddie would be even worse. He enjoys killing.”

“When you go back explain your absence by saying you laid the blonde who left with you. Use another story if you have one. But no mistakes. Don’t even think about tipping off Eddie or anyone else. I can get to you no matter where you go. You will never know what happened.”

Jack put a cleaned up Dom back in the trunk. Kathy got behind the wheel and said, “We have to get back fast. Kelly and Sally went to Tysons Corner Shopping mall to pick up some things. Kelly went to bring the car up while Sally waited with the packages. The car never came. Sally went out and the car was still there but no Kelly. Conrad’s crew must have picked her up. She had her own keys and drove home and told Lou and Storm. Lou has his team together.”

“Okay, we’ll drop Dom near the casino. There’s an alley a half block away where I can get him out of the trunk without anyone seeing us. We turn the rental in and drive home. I thought about the plane but driving will probably be just as fast.”

Kathy pulled into the alley. Jack jumped out and helped Dom out of the trunk. Jack said, “Dom, you’re really not a bad guy. Why don’t you just retire before something really bad happens to you? You keep quiet and no one will ever find out what happened tonight.”

Dom said, “Strangely, I feel good. Thank you for letting me live. I’m done with this stuff. Hope I don’t see you again.”

“Don’t worry, Dom. You won’t see me if I come back.”

Dom walked off and Jack got back in the car. Kathy looked at Jack and said, “Never mind the chit chat, we need to get moving.”

“I’m going to call Lou and have him bring his team, Shadow, and Sally to Leesburg. They can meet us in town at the corner of Route 15 and 7. Sally can dig into Kelly’s hamper and bring a piece of her underwear so Shadow will be sure of what we want him to do.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Action thrillers, Barry Kelly, Books, Spy novels

“Shades of Justice” Chapter Fifty-one

There were no boaters or fishing people near the boathouse or 50-foot pier when Jack led a hooded and cuffed Dom out to the boathouse. Kathy slipped inside to get, as she said, “untarted.” Jack said to Dom, “Good, so far you’re following instructions. Remember no yelling, no attempts to escape, and to speak only when told to. We’re going into a small building. I’ll guide you to a chair. You may have something to drink if you continue to behave. Understand?”

Dom nodded his hooded head and sat when Jack pushed a chair behind his knees. Jack said, “Okay, let’s begin. Tell me about your role in the kidnapping of young women to be sold in the Middle East and Asia as sex slaves. Jim Marshall has talked to me. The sniper you used is dead. Unless you cooperate fully you will soon be weighted and dropped in the ocean. Now do you feel like cooperating?”

Dom responded with a muffled but clear yes. Jack heard Kathy coming down the pier and waited for her. When she came in Jack said, “Just in time to begin our question and answer session. I should warn you, Dom, that we know the answer to many of the questions. If we don’t think you’re giving us good answers, we’ll introduce you to the science of water boarding. You should know I don’t care much if you die during our questioning session. On the other hand we would rather let you live if you convince us of your willing cooperation, now and days from now. Bottom line is you don’t have to die. This session will be recorded and sent to your friends if you don’t convince us we can trust you. I’m going to turn the light down and then take off your hood so I can see your face.”

Kathy switched off all but a dim overhead light. Jack pulled off the hood and said, “Okay, tell us how you met Jim and Conrad.”

“We were all 18-year-old recruits getting our combat infantry training at Fort Bragg before going to Vietnam in November of 1970. We became good friends and hung out together. We saw some combat together but not much. The war for us was beginning to wind down. Everyone knew we would be pulling out soon. No one wanted to get killed in a war that lost its meaning. I got assigned to work in an enlisted men’s club when I hurt my knee in a pickup touch football game. Made a contact with sergeant who was skimming from the club’s funds. After the war I looked him up and returned the favor by introducing him to my family. My family had very long and deep ties to the Jersey mob.”

“I asked you to tell me the story of you, Conrad, and Jim and the kidnapping scheme. I don’t want your life story.”

Jack nodded at Kathy and said, “Bring in a bucket of water. I remember seeing one just outside the boat entrance. Dom, the salt water is to remind you water boarding is in your future if you don’t tell me a straight story. Salt water because I don’t want any fresh water in your lungs in case you ever get to be autopsied.”

“This guy, Eddie Hawkins, is the whole story. He is now a Chief of a Police in Baltimore. I take orders from him and pass them on to Conrad who contacts Jim. I’ll tell you now, I’m afraid of Eddie. Even with my family connections, he would kill me in a heartbeat if he thought I was a danger to him. My family would do nothing. Eddie is responsible for many many kills. He likes to kill. Men, women, kids it doesn’t matter to him. It’s all business. I have enough money and would be out of here but Eddie makes me stay here to run his spotting of young women who come into the local casinos. I pass the names and descriptions on to Jim who is Eddie’s boss of the hard stuff. Jim is also scary. He was a hitman for years before Eddie switched him over to trafficking in young women. Jim and Conrad both have holding areas for the women before putting them in the transportation chain. Jim’s wife runs the holding pen. You said they were sent to Middle East and Asia. I didn’t know that. Why the fuck are you messing with me? You know more than I do.”

“Keep talking Dom, and mind your manners. I ask the questions. Your part is the answers. Maybe you need a taste of the water treatment. If I stop messing with you, you stop breathing. Now move on with the story. I want some detail.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Action thrillers, Barry Kelly, Books, Spy novels