In The Devil's Shadow, Commander Larry Cole is confronted with the most beautiful and cunning criminal he's ever faced. Julianna Saint has a reputation for getting anything she wants. Her occupation, international thief. Her notoriety has spread from the underworld to the Chicago mob boss, Jake Romano, who has heard that no matter how tight the security, no matter what precautions are taken, Julianna can steal it.
Jake wants her to pull off a nearly impossible heist of the North Michigan Avenue Bank. When the robbery goes awry, Julianna makes a daring escape, setting Larry Cole on her trail. He follows Julianna to a palatial estate in the Caribbean with the intent of bringing her down. But Julianna is prepared and will use everything she has, on her own terms, and on her own turf.
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About the Author
Police Lieutenant Hugh Holton was a twenty-nine year veteran of the Chicago Police Department. He authored several bestselling novels, including, Time of the Assassins, The Left Hand of God, and Violent Crimes. At the time of his death, Hugh Holton was the highest ranking active police officer writing novels in America.
Read an Excerpt
The Devil's Shadow
By Hugh Holton
Tom Doherty AssociatesCopyright © 2001 Hugh Holton
All rights reserved.
DECEMBER 3, 2004 12:10 P.M.
Jacob "Big Jake" Romano sat at his private table in the Pump Room of the Ambassador East Hotel. His bodyguards were seated at a table a short distance away. In order to get to Romano, anyone approaching his table would have to go through them. The bodyguards were licensed by the State of Illinois as private detectives, which authorized them to carry firearms. They were big, brutal-featured men with broad shoulders and heavy fists. Their presence made the maître d' nervous, because they frightened the other diners. However, there was no way that he could ever refuse service to them or the man they were protecting. He was certain that if he did, his life would be in danger. The maître d' at the Pump Room was absolutely right in this regard.
Big Jake Romano was a physically imposing man standing six feet five inches tall and weighing 240 well-fed pounds. He had curly black hair and thick eyebrows, which, before he had them plucked, had extended in a heavy line from temple to temple. At the age of forty, he could be considered marginally handsome. He dressed in tailor-made suits and had his hair styled once a week by a North Michigan Avenue barber. He was well read and had earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Romano spoke with a soft, cultured voice, used very little slang, no profanity, and could have passed for a successful businessman, which in fact he was. However, Jake Romano's business was organized crime, and he was one of the most vicious criminals in the Mafia hierarchy of the United States.
A burgundy-jacketed waiter carrying a tray approached the table, which was set off from the others in a far corner of the dining area. Dutifully the waiter stopped so that the bodyguards could examine the chicken salad sandwich on whole wheat toast and the glass of iced tea the mobster had ordered. The guards had frisked the waiter for weapons before he was allowed to take the order.
Romano was reading the novel Evil Places, by Barbara Schurla Zorin. He didn't even look up as the waiter set the sandwich and glass down in front of him. The mobster was an avid reader and consumed four to five books a week. Now he was three-quarters of the way through the novel and enjoying it so much that he ignored his lunch. The guards continued to maintain their diligence and Jake Romano continued to read.
The tall Englishman was escorted to the bodyguards' table by the maître d'. The new arrival was dressed in a gray, single-breasted suit, gray silk tie, and white cotton shirt. Aware of the drill, he submitted to a frisk under the curious stares of a number of midday Pump Room diners. Finally, his pale cheeks coloring at the indignity he had been subjected to, he was allowed to sit at Jake Romano's table.
"I think ...," the Englishmen began, but the mobster stopped him with an upraised palm.
"I'm almost at the end of the chapter. Just give me a minute." Romano never took his eyes out of the book.
Silently seething, the Englishman crossed his legs and settled in to wait.
His name was Ian Fitzwalter Jellicoe. He had been born into a family of civil servants who had served the British Empire dating back to the Victorian era. Jellicoes had been diplomats and ministers in every generation up to and including that of Ian's father, Sir Charles Jellicoe. It was expected that the Oxford-educated Ian would follow in the family tradition. However, this member of the Jellicoe family had other plans. From a very early age, he realized that he was not going to spend his life as a government employee. In addition to that, he had the temperament and appetites of a rich man. A very rich man. So he decided to use his family contacts to further his ambition. This had led him into the world of crime.
Jake Romano placed a bookmark on the page to mark his place and closed the novel. He laid it down on the table beside his plate, unfolded a linen napkin on his lap, and picked up a segment of his sandwich. Before taking a bite, he said, "What have you got for me, Mr. Jellicoe?"
The Englishman, who had blond hair, pinched features, and gray eyes of such a pale shade as to appear opaque, replied, "Exactly what you asked for, Mr. Romano."
The big man returned the sandwich to his plate and dabbed his lips with the napkin. He took a sip of tea and carefully replaced the glass on the white tablecloth. Romano was making a fairly gallant effort to hide a growing excitement.
Jellicoe could tell that his client was pleased. For the money Romano would be paying for the service, only complete satisfaction could be tolerated.
"When can I accept delivery of the merchandise?" the mobster asked.
Ian Jellicoe's icy front did not thaw one degree as he responded. "Whenever you pay the balance of my fee."CHAPTER 2
DECEMBER 4, 2004 2:15 P.M.
Chief of Detectives Larry Cole, a tall, handsome black man, returned to police headquarters after attending the funeral of former First Deputy Superintendent Terrence Jonathan Kennedy. Terry, as he was called, had been in poor health since his retirement from the department and had suffered from a number of lingering ailments complicated by a brain tumor and a stroke. Finally he had succumbed to a heart attack in his sleep.
Cole was accompanied by Lieutenant Blackie Silvestri and Sergeants Judy Daniels and Manny Sherlock, all in uniform. When he had put the blue suit on this morning, Cole smiled because it fit the same as it had when he had purchased it sixteen years before. That was right after his promotion to the rank of commander. Now he wore the silver stars of a division chief on his shoulder epaulets.
Blackie, a heavyset man cut in the mold of macho actors Sean Connery and Anthony Quinn, had been a plainclothes officer for most of his police career and hated uniforms. This was obvious from the scowl on his face and the way he kept tugging at the bill of his cap, which never seemed to fit properly on his head. Judy and Manny also looked odd to Cole simply because he was not used to seeing them like this. Especially Judy, who, as the Mistress of Disguise/High Priestess of Mayhem, appeared in a different guise just about every day.
Inside his private office at the police headquarters complex on Thirty-fifth Street, Cole removed his navy blue overcoat and cap with the gold "scrambled eggs" ornamentation on the bill. Going behind his desk, he scanned the telephone message slips that had been left for him by the Detective Division headquarters desk officer. One in particular caught his eye.
"Chief Cole, please call Jamal Garth at 555-8256. Urgent!"
Jamal was a mystery writer, who had helped Cole apprehend diabolical serial killer Margo DeWitt. Cole hadn't seen him or his fellow author Barbara Zorin since that past summer when they had almost been killed in a plane bombing. Now the chief wondered what could be so urgent. He picked up the telephone.
Half an hour later, Cole and Blackie, still in uniform, knocked on the door to Jamal Garth's penthouse condominium in the Presidential Towers complex just west of the Loop. The author answered the door.
"Thanks for coming so quickly, Larry," said Garth, a distinguished-looking black man with white hair. "Good to see you again, Blackie."
After the greetings they took seats in the living room. Garth's companion, Angela DuBois, a stunning black woman who appeared ageless, came in from the kitchen to say hello and offer the policemen refreshments. She left to get them coffee.
Garth appeared worried, and it took him a moment to compose his thoughts. "The reason I asked to see you was actually to get some advice on a matter that I didn't wish to discuss over the telephone."
"No problem, Jamal," Cole said. "We'll do anything that we can to help."
Angela returned with a silver coffee service on a matching tray, which she set down on the cocktail table before leaving them alone.
"Are you in some kind of trouble, Jamal?" Blackie asked.
"It's not me, Blackie," Garth responded. "Have you ever heard of an author named Greg Ennis?"
"Yeah," Blackie said. "He writes about the Chicago Mob. Some pretty good stuff if you ask me."
Cole smiled. "Coming from someone who was raised around Mob types, that's quite a compliment."
"Greg is very thorough with the research he does for his books," Garth said. "Maybe too thorough."
"How so?" Cole asked.
"He takes a lot of risks, Larry. He frequents Mob hangouts and cultivates gangland types as sources for his fiction. He's even started talking and acting like a Mob guy."
"So he's a Mob groupie," Blackie said. "There are always a few guys and gals like that hanging around outfit types. The dentist who got whacked in the St. Valentine's Day Massacre was a Bugs Moran Gang groupie and it cost him his life."
"Did the Mob types ever have any objections to what Ennis writes about?" Cole asked.
"No," Garth said. "He usually associates with fringe players, who probably exaggerated their importance and really couldn't tell Greg anything that would be threatening to the outfit. In fact, he told me a couple of times that some of the soldiers he hung out with were actually flattered when they recognized themselves in his books. That is, until recently."
The cops waited.
"Yesterday Greg received an anonymous death threat on the telephone. He believes that it came from someone in the Mob."
"Why?" Cole asked.
"He didn't say and he wouldn't tell me the substance of the threat. I don't think that it had anything to do with his writing, but I'll tell you one thing, he's scared to death. He has an office in the Metropolitan Bank Building on Michigan Avenue, where he writes and operates something called Ennis Enterprises. I went down there this morning to try and talk to him, but he's locked himself in and refuses to see anybody."
"You want us to talk to him?" Cole asked.
"Would you please?"
"What do you think is going on with this Greg Ennis, boss?" Blackie asked as they drove down Congress Parkway heading for the Metropolitan Bank Building on Michigan Avenue.
"Beats me, but Jamal isn't the type to go sounding the alarm unless there is something very wrong. All we can do at this point is ask Mr. Ennis himself and see if we can find out."
They were on Michigan Avenue traveling north less than a block from the bank building when it happened. Both Cole and Blackie saw it at the same time. Initially they thought it was a bird. However, it was too big and was not flying, but falling. As the two cops looked on in amazement, the body of mystery writer Greg Ennis smashed into the sidewalk in front of the Metropolitan Bank.CHAPTER 3
DECEMBER 4, 2004 3:06 P.M.
The Metropolitan Bank Building stood thirty-two stories tall. Greg Ennis's office was on the twenty-first floor. He had either jumped or been pushed from one of the windows of that office. Now his body, or what was left of it, was splattered all over the sidewalk of North Michigan Avenue.
Cole and Blackie were the first police officers on the scene and were forced to keep the crowd of curious spectators from stomping all over the dead mystery writer. On impact Ennis was completely pulverized. One of his legs had been dislocated and was stretched across his body, with the left foot next to his right ear. His eyes had exploded from his head and were lying at separate locations some distance from the body. One of his arm bones had been ejected from the body to smash into the back door of a Yellow Cab, which was waiting for a fare in front of the bank. A dent was visible in the door. Then there were the pedestrians who had gathered.
The original handful of bystanders grew into a throng standing at least four deep surrounding the corpse and straining forward to catch a glimpse of something to haunt their nightmares. Against this onslaught, Cole and Blackie battled to keep the crowd back. Two women fainted and were nearly trampled by those surging forward. A young student, carrying a Roosevelt University book bag, became violently ill and barely made it to the curb before he vomited. And still the crowd continued fighting to see the body. Finally reinforcements from the First Police District arrived to help Cole and Blackie.
A rubber sheet was thrown over the body; however, an ever-expanding pool of blood covered a substantial part of the sidewalk surrounding the point of impact. When enough policemen had been put in place, Cole and Blackie, accompanied by a uniformed sergeant, moved over to the entrance to the Metropolitan Bank Building, which was next to the bank.
"I know your people are stretched a bit thin, Sarge," Cole said, "but I want this building sealed off until we can take a look upstairs and try to find out what happened."
"Sure thing, Chief," the short, rotund sergeant said. "You think that this guy met with foul play?"
Cole shrugged. "You never can tell."
Leaving the sergeant on the street, they entered the lobby to find it deserted, because everyone was outside. An elevator whisked them to the twenty-first floor, where they followed a directory to the office of Ennis Enterprises in suite 2132. The business name was stenciled on the frosted glass pane in the upper door panel. The door itself was unlocked.
Ennis Enterprises consisted of three rooms: a small reception area; a private inner office equipped with a computer, fax machine, file cabinets, a laser printer, and a desk with matching chair; and a bathroom equipped with a shower. There was also an army cot and a hot plate, indicating that Greg Ennis had lived in this place before his death. The window overlooking Michigan Avenue was open and the office had been ransacked.
"We'd better get the crime lab up here, Blackie," Cole said. "This is starting to look like a homicide."
Without a word, the lieutenant pulled a compact radio from his uniform coat pocket and made the call. The investigation of the murder of mystery writer Greg Ennis had begun.
The two broad-shouldered men got off the elevator and crossed the lobby toward the Michigan Avenue exit. They walked rapidly until they spotted the pair of uniformed police officers blocking the doors. A few people attempting to leave the building had also been stopped by the cops. The building had been sealed. The two men slowed their pace and looked around for an alternate route to escape the building. The only place they could go was into the bank, but they would still be trapped, as there was another pair of cops blocking that exit as well.
Briefly they considered using force, but there were too many cops around, both inside and outside of the building. So they would just have to wait and hope.
The crime lab technicians arrived at suite 2132 of the Metropolitan Bank Building within minutes of Blackie's call. As they moved in to begin processing the scene, Cole and Blackie returned to the elevator.
As they descended, Blackie said, "This was a hit, boss. Whoever Ennis was afraid of caught up with him and tossed him out that window."
"It's obvious that they were looking for something in his office," Cole said. "There's also the possibility that they didn't find it."
They stepped out into the lobby.
"So you've got to figure that this was a Mob execution, right?" Blackie said.
"I would agree with that."
"Then we need to talk to those two gentlemen standing over there."
Cole followed Blackie's gaze to the people at the lobby exit, where the policemen stood guard. The two men, who looked like pro football middle linebackers, were very noticeable. However, Cole didn't recognize them.
Blackie filled him in. "That's Joey Randall and Pete Debenedetto. They're enforcers for Jake Romano. Have a reputation for killing people in exotic ways like hangings, burnings, and ..."
Cole completed the statement for him. "And tossing them out of skyscraper windows."
Excerpted from The Devil's Shadow by Hugh Holton. Copyright © 2001 Hugh Holton. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
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