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Payback: A sniper seeking revenge terrorizes the mob (Assassin Series Book 1), page 1

 

Payback: A sniper seeking revenge terrorizes the mob (Assassin Series Book 1)
 


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Payback: A sniper seeking revenge terrorizes the mob (Assassin Series Book 1)


  Payback

  Book 1 in the Assassin Series

  A Novel

  By

  David Nees

  Copyright © 2016 David E. Nees

  All rights reserved

  This book may not be reproduced in whole or in part, by electronic, mechanical or any other means, without the express permission of the author.

  Payback is a work of fiction and should be construed as nothing but. All characters, locales, and incidents portrayed in the novel are products of the author’s imagination or have been used fictitiously. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  Please visit my website at http://www.davidnees.com

  For Carla

  Your support and faith in me makes all this possible.

  My thanks go out to Eric who has been a source of encouragement and help. Thank you Diana, Ed, Chris for your insightful beta readings. Thanks go to another Ed for your Brooklyn insights. A special thank you to my son, David, for your insights in improving the front part of the story. Thank you, Lynnette Nees, for your great cover…as always. And, again thanks to all my family for putting up with my endless soliloquies about the story.

  Switching genres (from post apocalyptic to thriller) is a bit scary. It’s like starting over. But everyone’s positive review of the story gives me courage. I hope you, the reader, will find this a good beginning and join me for the ride; many adventures to come.

  Table of Contents

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  Chapter 23

  Chapter 24

  Chapter 25

  Chapter 26

  Chapter 27

  Chapter 28

  Chapter 29

  Chapter 30

  Chapter 31

  Chapter 32

  Chapter 33

  Chapter 34

  Chapter 35

  Chapter 36

  Chapter 37

  Chapter 38

  Chapter 39

  Chapter 40

  Chapter 41

  Chapter 42

  Chapter 43

  Chapter 44

  Chapter 45

  Chapter 46

  Chapter 47

  Chapter 48

  Chapter 49

  Chapter 50

  Chapter 51

  Chapter 52

  Chapter 53

  Chapter 54

  Chapter 55

  Chapter 56

  Chapter 57

  Chapter 58

  Chapter 59

  Chapter 60

  Chapter 61

  Chapter 62

  Chapter 63

  Chapter 64

  Payback

  “There are two races of men in this world...the 'race' of the decent man

  and the 'race' of the indecent man." —Victor Frankl

  “Beware the fury of a patient man.”—John Dryden

  For more information about my writing, please visit my website at http://www.davidnees.com

  Chapter 1

  Dan Stone lay on the rooftop under camouflage netting five stories up from a Brooklyn street. He looked through the scope of his rifle down the six blocks to the Sicilian Gardens restaurant. The restaurant didn't have a garden, but it was Sicilian. Owner Vincent Salvatore was a mob Capo and ran his crew out of it.

  It was a good day, bright with no wind. In a corner of the rooftop, he could not be seen from the street, and from the air, with the netting, he would look like a pile of debris collected by the wind. Dan had been in position since early that morning. Ignoring the accumulated grime of decades that had collected on the roof and the parapet, he had settled down to wait. Dirt and grime didn’t bother him, neither did the waiting. He would wait for as long as it took.

  Below, the streets were busy. Store owners had rolled up their metal screens, unlocked their doors, and some had even swept the sidewalk in front of their establishments. From a nearby bakery Dan could smell the enticing aroma of fresh baked pastries. Trucks were pulling up to make their deliveries. People began their shopping. His Brooklyn had come to life.

  He studied the restaurant through his scope. The few tables outside were not for customers, but for Vincent and his boys when they wanted to sit in the sun and enjoy the respect and deference they got from those in the neighborhood. Dan was waiting for someone special to show up. Someone he would send a deadly message to.

  He had a Remington 700 SPS rifle set up with a bipod. It was one of the best shooting rifles one could buy on the civilian market. It was chambered for a .308 cartridge, almost identical to the 7.62 NATO round. The .308 was a good long distance cartridge capable of delivering a lethal hit out to a thousand yards. After acquiring the rifle, Dan had purchased a heavier match barrel which had been bedded in and floated during the installation. The trigger had been reworked to a light, two and a half pound pull. He had equipped the rifle with a Surefire muzzle break and suppressor. He was using a Leupold 3-20 power scope. The result of these modifications was a quiet and very accurate, lethal weapon. From six stories up, no one would hear a shot over the background street noise.

  Now he lay and watched and waited. He had been a sniper in Iraq, so he knew about patience, about waiting. The day before, Dan had climbed to the rooftop and had lasered the distance to the restaurant. He had set the scope adjustments from his shooting notes and was confident in getting the shot right. It was what he had been trained for in the Army: one shot, one kill.

  He stood six feet tall and weighed one hundred, eighty pounds. He had a youthful looking face with brown hair and hazel eyes that seemed to darken when he got angry or tense. He was lean and fit and could stand out or fade into the background depending on how he projected himself. His fingers were long and his hands strong and solid, making powerful fists when he balled them up. Growing up in Brooklyn, he had needed to use them many times.

  Hours earlier he had gotten up in his Queens apartment, put on his Levi jeans, a black pullover shirt and running shoes. A blue windbreaker completed his outfit. He had a beard, fake glasses and his hair was colored much darker than normal.

  He had packed his disassembled weapon and gear in a guitar case he carried on his shoulder. In addition, he had a book bag strapped to his back. To anyone noticing he looked like another marginally employed musician, heading off to try to find some work for the day.

  With no direct route available, a circuitous subway ride, into and then out of Manhattan had brought him near to his old Brooklyn neighborhood. He had walked the last few blocks to the building he had chosen. He had let himself into the back stairs doorway at the rear where he had broken the lock the day before.

  He moved with a cat-like grace that evidenced balance and power. He was not heavily muscled, rather had a body made strong through a balanced development of core muscles. He looked average, but was more powerful, than men much larger than himself.

  Dan’s thoughts wandered as he waited. This act was going to change his life. He had plotted revenge for months. The seeds of his decision had been
formed after the fire. Now he was at the point of action. A line would be crossed. But, he thought with more than a trace of bitterness, a line had already been crossed when the mob killed his wife, Rita and their unborn child. Still, today would set him on a path of no return. Would he wind up dead or on the run for the rest of his life? In all the months leading up to this point, he hadn’t been able to think through that question. Nothing seemed real beyond this act. He still couldn’t imagine what might come next when he finished his mission.

  What he was going to do was enough. Take the mob apart. No one makes them pay for what they do. Now I’ll bring a bill to them, and they’ll pay it in full.

  A small group began to assemble outside the restaurant. Dan studied the men through his scope. With its magnifying power, he could easily see their gestures and smirks as if he was standing next to them. He settled on Joey Batone, one of Vincent's up and coming men. He was brash and aggressive, a soldier working part of Vincent's territory. Joey had directed the group that firebombed the restaurant Dan and Rita had opened.

  Standing next to Joey was Angelo “Snake Eyes” Ricci. Balding, in his late thirties, he had the body of an athlete gone to seed—getting paunchy and out of shape but still wielding a lot of power. His squinty eyes gave him a permanently nasty look. The look told you much about his personality. Angelo worked directly for Vincent. He helped provide muscle with Joey. Whenever Joey had something serious to do, he took Angelo along. The word on the street was that Angelo was the one who threw the fire bomb into the restaurant that fatal night.

  Dan suppressed the surge of anger that rose up in him. You’re the one. You threw the bomb.

  The group was enjoying the warm spring day sunshine. Through the scope, Dan could see Joey's darting eyes, always looking around to see if anyone was smirking at him—looking for any insults. There was Angelo, looking down at Joey. The others standing there were of no interest to Dan. His scope passed over them without stopping. Then he returned to Joey.

  Time for you later. I want you to feel me coming for you.

  The cross hairs slid over to Angelo. Dan's world closed in around him; there was nothing now but a tunnel, viewed through the scope. He and Angelo were now linked in a deadly connection. It was as if a thread was attached from his rifle to his target. That thread would be the path his bullet would take. Dan could visualize the track of the bullet from his muzzle to Angelo's head. The world around him faded. There was nothing but him, Angelo, and the deadly link between them.

  With the suppressor, the loudest noise would be the sonic boom of the bullet traveling faster than the speed of sound. The bullet would arrive just before the crack of sound. That sharp report would not give any evidence of its source. He slowed his breathing along with his heart rate. He waited as his body settled down so nothing could disturb the rifle’s deadly connection to the target. Then he exhaled part of his breath and in between the slowed beats of his heart, he gently stroked the trigger with his index finger. The rifle fired with a kick and a muffled pop. The back of Angelo's head exploded, splattering the pavement behind him with his brains and blood. His body collapsed, the legs going limp as he fell backwards.

  Joey dropped to the ground, pulling out his .45. He looked down the long, straight street from side to side. The slight boom didn't register with the pedestrians. It was just one more generalized city noise assaulting their ears each day. But close to the restaurant, people screamed and ran across the street to get away from the body lying on the sidewalk. Fearful of another shot, Joey and the others ran inside. Someone apparently called the police and within two minutes a siren was heard coming toward them.

  Dan picked up the spent casing, took his rifle apart and packed it up, along with his camouflage netting. He carefully made his way to the stair entrance, went down the back stairs to the rear door. Reaching the alley, he walked away from the direction of the restaurant with guitar case in hand, headed down a cross street, and in three blocks was down into the subway, catching the train to Manhattan. He looked like someone going about his business, just like thousands of other pedestrians in the city. From Manhattan he created a maze of stops and transfers, finally emerging in Queens, near the north part of Brooklyn. Quietly he let himself into his building and went up to his apartment.

  He lay on his bed with his hands folded under his head, staring at the ceiling.

  Now it begins. Stretching his arms over his head, he sighed. He didn't know where this path would finally end up, but he had started on it. There would be no turning back.

  Chapter 2

  Dan married Rita Colletti, his high school sweetheart, right after graduation. Her parents did not approve. They wanted her to marry an Italian boy, preferably from the neighborhood, live only a few blocks away, and provide them with lots of grand children. Marrying Dan changed those plans. Yes, Dan and Rita would live nearby and would have children, but to Rita’s parents it was not quite the same.

  Shortly after their wedding, Dan’s parents were killed in an auto accident in Florida. His only sibling, Lisa, lived out west, having just married her college boyfriend. With his parents gone and his sister half a continent away, Dan felt a deep sense of isolation. His loneliness was softened by his marriage; it gave him a wife and a family. This sense of connection, to Rita and her parents, deepened his love for his wife. She was more than his sweetheart, since his parent’s death she had become his lifeline.

  He liked cooking and got work at a local restaurant. However, after a few years and feeling stuck with lousy job choices, he joined the army. He and Rita went where the army assigned him. During basic training, his talent with a rifle emerged and a sergeant encouraged him to try out for sniper school.

  Dan took to the school and excelled. He mastered the art of camouflage and the intricacies of computing long range shots. The physical part, although challenging, did not slow him down. He had been an excellent high school football player and enjoyed the physical preparation for sport. He had played outside linebacker. He was small for the position, but played with a ferocity that gave him the impact of a much larger player. He had enjoyed the contact and relished taking down larger opponents on the field. During high school he worked tirelessly on his conditioning, forgoing the traditional strength training which focused on the large muscle groups. Instead he adopted a training regime which developed his secondary and tertiary muscles along with the larger ones. The result was a deceptively strong, agile body that resisted injury while being able to deliver devastating blows on the football field.

  After graduation from sniper school, he was sent to Iraq. Rita, like many military wives, went back to live with her parents.

  In Iraq, he came up against the hard reality of working amongst a population where it was nearly impossible to pick out the combatants from the civilians. Everyone blended in and only his own soldiers stood out, often lethally so. Dan quickly felt the pressure to keep the men on the street safe. Shooting from upper windows and rooftops, he felt responsible if any of the enemy in his field of action was able to strike the men below him.

  This sense of responsibility gave him motivation to feel disengaged from his targets. They were the bad guys. They were trying to kill his buddies. They were responsible for the misery of the civilians.

  There was a day, however, when a line was crossed.

  He had been on a roof, setting up through a break in the parapet. His field of fire was the street ahead of him for six blocks. His team had cleared the street to the point where Dan was now positioned. His job was to look for bad guys as the men moved down the street. There was activity at the corners; people peeked around the buildings, but the street remained empty.

  Suddenly a woman emerged from a doorway. She had a child by the hand, a girl about six. Through his scope, Dan saw a belt wrapped around her as the wind blew open her chador. She walked towards the men in the street.

  Dan’s spotter looked over at him. “You see what I just saw?”

  “Some kind of belt?


  “What it looked like to me.”

  “Call it down to the lieutenant,” Dan said. The radio crackled.

  The men in the street started shouting at the woman, gesturing for her to stop. She kept coming, one hand up in a pleading gesture, one hand holding on to the child with her.

  “She’s gonna blow herself and the kid up,” Ben declared.

  Dan grabbed the radio. “Permission to take out the target.”

  “We can’t tell if she’s got a bomb strapped to her. You sure you saw it?” the lieutenant said.

  “There’s something under her cloak, we both saw it,” Dan responded.

  “You sure?”

  “Christ! How can I be sure, we just got a glance, but we saw something.”

  “I don’t know…”

  “She ain’t stopping is she? Something’s not right.”

  “Yeah, but if you’re wrong, we got a shit storm on our hands,” the lieutenant replied.

  “We got to do something, she’s getting closer,” Ben muttered.

  “Call it up the line,” Dan told the lieutenant.

  “Got to get lawyer’s permission, back in the states to fight this friggin’ war,” Ben muttered.

  “Maybe they can decide here in HQ, before she blows anyone up.” Dan watched through his scope. “Damn.”

  “What?”

  “Someone’s calling to her from the doorway she came from. See him? Looks like he’s gesturing her to go forward.”

  He was right. The woman had stopped momentarily and looked around, as if confused. After she looked back at the man, who seemed to be shouting and gesturing her to go forward, she turned and shuffled towards the troops.

  “She’s using that kid to give her cover.” Dan’s voice was almost a grunt as he watched through his scope.

  He reached for the radio again. “Lieutenant, permission to take this target out. She’s going to kill that kid as well as blow some of you up.”

 
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