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«Miami Massacre», Don Pendleton

Prologue

Trained by his government to kill methodically and selectively, Sgt. Mack Bolan became a death machine during two consecutive tours of combat duty in Vietnam. An expert sniper, Bolan's specialty involved deep penetration of enemy territory with specific objectives marked for each mission — North Vietnamese field commanders, Viet Cong leaders, important defectors, etc. So successful was the young sergeant in this highly personal brand of warfare that he became known as The Executioner, feared by the enemy, regarded with awe and admiration by his own comrades and superiors.

Toward the close of his second combat tour in Vietnam, Bolan was sent home to bury his own family — mother, father, and teenage sister — who themselves had died by the gun. Police records showed that the elder Bolan, a steelworker, had gone berserk and murdered his wife and daughter, then turned his gun on himself. Mack Bolan, however, became convinced that a sinister underworld design was actually responsible for his family's deaths; it also appeared to Bolan that the police were powerless to act against this "home-front enemy," known variously as The Mafia and La Cosa Nostra.

Executioner Bolan decamped from the Vietnam theater and declared a one-man holy war against "the greater enemy," bringing his jungle-warfare concepts into the American civil community. Noting that the legal authorities were being hamstrung and largely neutralized by underworld manipulation of constitutional rights and judicial processes, Bolan "disqualified" the Mafia from these protections and applied the rules of international warfare to his personal challenge of the powerful crime combine. His plan was simple: seek and destroy the enemy. The execution of this plan was not so simple. Bolan saw it as:

1. Penetration!

2. Target Identification and Confirmation!

3. DESTRUCTION!

In a series of daring strikes originating in his home town, Sgt. Bolan put his battle plan to the test in challenging the awesome might of the Sergio Frenchi Family.1 His lightning tactics and contempt of death resulted in the virtual extinction of that Mafia arm and set up reverberations throughout the syndicate.

Bolan was himself operating outside the law, and though many lawmen were sympathetic to his cause, he quickly became one of the most wanted "criminals" in America. He was also marked for death by the most powerful and pervasive criminal organization in existence, with a $100,000 price tag on his death certificate. Sought by virtually every law enforcement agency in the nation and hounded by murder contractors and a horde of underworld bounty hunters, Mack Bolan turned up in Los Angeles where he quickly formed a "death squad" of former Vietnam buddies.2 The Executioner was not retreating; he was attacking to the rear, as the Mafia family of Julian DiGeorge, Southern California Capo, immediately learned. Bolan and his highly skilled band of Vietnam heroes came to grief in Los Angeles, however, thanks largely to Detective Captain Tim Braddock and his special "get Bolan" detail. Seven of Bolan's squad fell to the Mafia guns and the other two were apprehended by the police, but not before the DiGeorge Family had suffered grievous wounds which would prove to be fatal.

DiGeorge himself escaped The Executioner's wrath, however, and went into seclusion at a secret Palm Springs retreat, regrouping his shattered forces with an all-consuming determination to "once and for all smash this bastard Bolan!"

Mack Bolan now knew with a grim certainty that he was running out his last bloody mile of life. With the full resources of the Los Angeles Police Department geared to his apprehension and an enraged criminal "invisible second government" vowing his extinction, he sought refuge in the professional abilities of another former Vietnam friend, plastic surgeon Jim Brantzen. Brantzen gave Bolan a new face3 and a new lease on life, but Bolan refused to pick up the option on that lease. His new face opened a new identity and a new set of tactics for his one-man war on the Mafia, and he infiltrated the DiGeorge Family as Franky (Lucky) Lambretta, triggerman and almost heir-apparent to DiGeorge himself. This gambit ended in the complete disintegration of another Mafia arm, and at least one federal agency was beginning to see Mack Bolan as perhaps a godsent answer to the spreading menace of syndicated crime.

There was little comfort in all this for Bolan himself, however. The influence and power of La Cosa Nostra was still on his head every day he lived increased the odds against his living another day. His new face was now well known by the police and the underworld alike. Every step he took was echoed by the sounds of pursuing feet, every place he touched down was quickly jarred by a determined pouncing by the hounds of hell, and every hand stretched out to him in friendship was immediately severed by the forces arrayed against him.

There was nothing left for Mack Bolan but unending warfare. He had no illusions regarding the ultimate outcome. One man could not forever persevere against infinite odds. Mack Bolan, however, did not waste much time in contemplating his own death. He merely acknowledged that he was travelling his last bloody mile, and he was not conceding a single step to the enemy. Mack Bolan's war with the Mafia was to the death.

Chapter One

Skirmish in Phoenix

Mack Bolan waited until the last possible moment, then viciously swung the wheel and powered into a screaming turn, his attention evenly divided between the isolated desert road ahead and the receding images in his rearview mirror. A heavy car braked into the intersection behind, swinging broadside and overshooting the turn to careen into the shallow ditch at the side of the road. The pursuing vehicle quickly regained the blacktop and the twin headlights once again began crowding Bolan's mirror. Bolan smiled grimly and pushed his accelerator pedal into the floorboard, then removed a Luger from concealment, thumbed off the safety, and placed the weapon on the seat beside him, fully aware now that he had tarried too long in Phoenix.

The shadowy outlines of an industrial park loomed above the desert horizon. Bolan's mind leaped ahead to the implications thus presented; the road very probably terminated in that cluster of buildings. If so, he could only hope that the complex was unfenced — otherwise, he was trapped on a dead-end road to an executioner's hell. Almost too late, at 95 miles per hour, he flashed past the warning sign and saw the light-reflectors on the heavy chainlink gate just ahead. His mind still racing furiously forward, Bolan hit his brakes and his headlights at the same instant and fought the little car to a fishtailing halt, coming to a broadside rest just inches from the barrier. Then he immediately backed off onto the powdery soil, halting again well away from the blacktop. He left the engine running and jumped out, Luger in hand, and ran to the gate. The chase car's headlights were spotting the road less than a hundred yards distant when Bolan finished smashing the gate reflectors with the butt of the Luger.

Seconds later, Bolan was back alongside his vehicle and leaning in with one hand on the headlamp switch. The heavy car of his pursuers was eating the roadway in smooth gulps when it passed the warning sign, then seemed to falter momentarily halfway to the gate before nosing down in a squealing spasm of locked brakes. Obviously aware that the sliding vehicle could not be halted in time, the driver made a last minute effort to turn away from the impact. The big car slammed into the fence broadside, sheared a steel post, teetered into a sideways roll, then was shudderingly righted and flung back by the tensile strength of the heavy fencing. Both doors on the side nearest Bolan were popped open by the buckling contraction, and a man was flung from the rear seat to flop out onto the roadway.


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