BY: JOHN ANDES
Tony Sattill has retired a captain from the NYPD Manhattan Crime Analysis Team (CAT). He lives well with his wife, Melissa, and their three children in the penthouse of his wife’s former husband. He lectures on the value of CAT to out-of-town police departments. With the killing of a former CAT member, Tony jumps back into his familiar aggressive police mode. Over the course of the next weeks, there are several seemingly unrelated murders. Working with the remaining members of his CAT, Tony connects the dots. The Archangels Motorcycle Club and four paroled Ethiopians are visible elements of a criminal cabal. Tony requests of the NYPD that he be the “go to guy” in determining the goal of this complex and violent group. In his ego-driven quest, he receives help from Paul Tybor, who works from the shadows. Tony’s two sons and daughter are growing up, as evidence by their school activities. The closer Tony gets to the truth about the cabal, the more violence rains. Starting with a massive fire fight in the Colorado desert, this violence culminates in the kidnapping of his children. He attempts to rescue them, but with chilling results…
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Vengeance by John Andes, Tony Sattill of the NYPD is back. He has retired as a captain, but when bodies start piling up associated with an old case, Tony wants back in. He is married now and has three children, and his involvement puts his family in danger. Can he solve this new case before more innocent lives are taken?
Like the first book in the series, this one is intense, fast paced, and chilling. You won’t be able to put it down.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Vengeance by John Andes is the story of Tony Sattill, a captain in the NYPD, whom we first met in Hidden Agenda. Tony has retired from the force, has married, and has a family. He has three children, a beautiful wife, and life couldn’t be better. Then members of a team he worked with on a case fifteen years ago start dying. As the team members continue to be murdered, Tony demands to be let in on the case, putting his own life and those of his family at risk. Has he gotten more than he bargained for this time?
Well written, fast paced, and full of surprises, Vengeance will thrill even the most hardened police procedural mystery fans. A really great read.
The strange alarm clock ring stirs Tony. Then the voice bridges the gap between sleep and awakened reality.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the captain has turned on the fasten seat belt sign. Please make sure your seat belt s fastened and your tables and seat backs are in their upright positions as we approach our final destination, LaGuardia Airport in New York City.
How many times has Tony heard that request? He wonders if the young woman on the speaker system is the daughter or niece of the first woman he heard give the same instructions. Gawd, he has been flying too many years. To unfold his body, he stretches his legs and back, tilts his head to both sides, and bends forward at the waist while counting to ten. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes and blowing his nose completes the ritual. He needs a hot towel for his face. No such luck.
“The cabin crew will be passing through the aisle to collect any cups, glasses, and paper trash you may have. Thank you for your cooperation.
Somehow sleeping in a seated position on an airplane is not relaxing. He is anxious to get home to his own bed and his own wife. Reports are due tomorrow. More importantly, he must spend time with Antonio, Bartheleme, and Cassandra when their school day is completed. Should dad take them to the Cone and Scoop and ruin their dinner, thus garnering the mock wrath of their mother. The family will eat at seven-thirty not six, and Tony will perform some form of adult atonement. Jesus, he is already planning tomorrow, without consulting Melissa. That approach is doomed from the start. He must wait to hear her plans for the day.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is Captain Wessells. We’re making our final approach to LaGuardia Airport. Please be sure your seat belts are securely fastened. We’ll be on the ground in eight minutes. For all of us on the flight deck and in the cabin, we know you have air travel choices, and we’re pleased you chose American Airlines for this trip. In the future, if your plans call for air travel, think American first. Thank you and have a pleasant rest of your stay in the New York area or wherever your final destination is. Cabin crew, cross check”
Make sure his bag is still beneath the seat in front of him. Extract it. Open the outer zippered pocket and insert lecture notes.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we will be on the ground momentarily. Please look around your seat to be sure you have all your belongings. Upon landing please remain seated until the captain has turned off the seat belt sign and the airplane is safely docked at the gate. Do not stand to retrieve your bag from the overhead compartment. There will be plenty of time to retrieve your bag once we are docked. For all of the cabin crew, it has been a pleasure serving you. In the future, if your plans call for air travel, think American first. The local time is eleven fifty-five p.m. Eastern Standard Time. Have a pleasant evening.”
The lights from the ground rush up to meet the plane as it approaches a tall building above the tarmac. Two small bounces and he is home. Then the long and labored taxi ride to the gate. It seems his gate is in Hartford. Two bells indicate he has safely arrived, but still the seat belt sign is lit. Some people stand, open the overhead compartments, and retrieve their bags. Then the seat belt light is extinguished. The mad house of hurry up and wait is in full swing. Hell, he gets out when he gets out. No earthly reason to stand and wait. First class exits immediately, then business class—that’s him—and finally those in steerage. The entire process takes twelve minutes. But with anxiety levels high, some feel as if it takes an hour.
Up the ramp to the staging area. Turn right and walk deliberately down the long hall. The plane arrived at Gate A-1. Ground transportation is down the stairs from Gate A-32. Pass by the ubiquitous shops that sell newspapers, candy, and magazines, Aunt Fannies Pretzels, and “I Love New York” T-shirts and trinkets, as well all manner of fast food eateries. They are all closed for the night. The shoe shine booth is locked. The many doors marked “Do Not Enter. Alarm Will Sound. Employees Only.” Each door has a button key pad at its side that will open the door and deactivate the alarm.
The maintenance personnel are sweeping, vacuuming, and dusting to make ready for tomorrow. Music plays softly and the aroma of people and fast food fills his nostrils. The only people in the hall are walking out. But there are people at the gates’ staging areas. They are resting on the floor or reading. They are waiting for the first flight out in the morning. Did they miss the last flight? Their countenances are vaguely reminiscent of the Jews in concentration camps. A blank expression of resignation. Waiting and enduring are components of their fate. Gawd, he’s taken this way too far.
The escalator ride to ground transportation opens the vista of a milling but quiet mob. There is Adolfo. He recognizes Tony, smiles, and waves politely. Tony nod. He takes the bag. Not so heavy that the passenger could not carry it easily, but Adolfo is mindful of small niceties. He opens the rear door to the Mercedes stretch. The large leather seats and the solid door closing are comforting. It smells familiar.
“How was your trip, Mr. Sattill?”
“Pleasant because it was short and my audience was interested in what I had to say. Three days is long enough. I miss my family. I miss New York. It is good to see other cities, so that I can compare them to mine. Los Angeles has great weather, worse traffic than New York, and air that you could cut with a very dull knife. It is good to be home. Tell me—any crises? ”
“None that I know of, sir.”
Adolfo was hired soon after Tony’s marriage to Melissa. Tony wanted her and Antonio to be safe and comfortable as they moved about Manhattan. Safety was a critical factor for the family of an NYPD captain. Melissa luxuriated in the pampering. And as Bartheleme and Cassandra appeared, grew, and wanted all sorts of transportation, Adolfo and the stretch were a necessary household expense. Adolfo was hired as a favor to the Colucci family in Brooklyn. He was just out of prison. The eight-year aggravated assault and battery hitch was over. According to the state, he had been rehabilitated and was permitted to re-enter society—with certain restrictions. The boss, Franco Colucci, felt Adolfo needed a break and reached out to Tony, a fellow Brooklynite. Franco is known as “The Face” because of his very good looks. The capos and the police call him The Face, while everyone else calls him Mr. Colucci. Adolfo was well-taken care of and very loyal. His ties to the family had been severed. Hopefully.
It is a nice to enjoy the perks of the Razdarovich money without the hassle of the Razdarovich family. The retired captain never lost sight of the irony that he helped put an end to the family’s influence on the city. To the victor belong the spoils. The ride is an effortless thirty-five minutes. The doorman greets Tony and takes his bag to the elevator. The key to his private floor is inserted. With one turn of the key, the door closes and the chariot begins to carry the tired traveler home.
As the elevator doors open, she, in all her beauty stands before him. She is wearing her silk pajamas. She knows how much he likes her in her silk pajamas. Melissa wraps her arms around his chest and kisses him deeply. There is something good in store for both of them.
“How are the children?”
“The little darlings have been a pain in the ass. I’m not sure I, or they, will live through the prepubescent and puberty years. The hormonal rushes are like a curse from some very nasty god somewhere. Antonio’s the worst. Girls and guy stuff occupy his every waking minute. Were you like that?”
“No, I was a perfectly behaved altar boy. May we get adult beverages from the kitchen and continue this conversation in the bedroom? Then you can tell me all that has happened during my three-day absence. Oh, and by-the-by, Retired Captain Anthony Sattill’s West Coast tour went well.”
Shower after unpacking, which really means tossing some clothes in the laundry hamper and the socially acceptable clothes in the dry cleaner bag. Running shorts and Brown University T-shirt are regular sleeping clothes. The couple sits on the big bed and sips the remainder of the Balvenie.
“Now, tell me, how bad were the children?”
“I guess they were typical fifteen, fourteen, and twelve-year-olds. It’s just that they miss you, and they take out their frustration on me. And, as an only child, I had not been prepared for behavior like that. You’ll see it at breakfast. Squabbling, picking, bitching, whining, and some physical interaction. Meals are like feeding time on the Savannah. Hopefully, now that papa lion is home, the pride will behave or, or least, listen to me, knowing I have your visible support. That’s enough about my days. How was the lecture?”
“Many large city police departments have a CAT squad or something similar. Therefore the lecture attendees are interested in any nuances they can glean from my experiences. The Q and A part of the lectures are the most telling. I learn of cases on which they are working. Particular issues they face. Conundrums they can’t solve. Sometimes I can help. Sometimes not. It seems the LAPD is struggling with a serial killer, who targets Yuppies after they leave their gyms or spas. No specific time of day. Just after they leave their health clubs. And not the same health clubs. Never their homes. The health club business is declining so rapidly, here is fear that it will die off completely if the police do not solve the murders. I can’t go into more detail. This is where confidentiality becomes a force.
San Diego is experiencing a rash of brutal, near-death muggings of men and women in the financial sectors. Bankers. Stock brokers. Insurance executives. Never death, just beatings. The executives have hired bodyguards and drivers. This makes them obvious in the populace. San Francisco has murders that look like they were by one of the Chinese gangs. This, I think, is a case of deflected responsibility. But who is doing the deflection? Enough. Enough. Enough.”
The Balvenie is working its magic, muscles are relaxing, eyelids are getting heavier, and lust is growing in two loins. Lights are turned off and bodies are turned on. Kisses that start sweet and tender take on urgency. Hands slide over two bodies. Sleeping clothes are gently, but firmly removed, and bodies become engaged. Horizontal thrashing morphs into rhythmic wave like motions. Bliss is reached and breathing becomes deep and normal.
“I love you, Melissa.”
“Back attatchya, Anthony.”
Well-deserved slumber is crashed by two caterwauling off-spring. Banging on the sanctuary door as they open it, they give barely enough time for the adults to pull on tops. Bartheleme and Cassandra leap onto the big bed and scream, “Daddy’s home.”
Tony gets hugs and kisses from Cassandra and guy-to-guy shoulder punches from Bartheleme. Melissa is ignored. She does not feel slighted. She has time and space to pull on her thong and pajama bottoms.
“Okay. Okay. Okay. I missed you guys, too. Where is Antonio?”
“That lazy bum is still asleep in the upper bunk. He calls it his aerie. You know an eagle’s nest that no other bird can attack.”
“Well, Bartheleme, shall we attack the eagle’s nest and get big bird out? Cassie, you have first turn in the bathroom, while we roust the raptor.”
Four bodies leave the bed—Daddy and Bartheleme to the boys’ room, Cassie, to the children’s bathroom, and Melissa to the kitchen. Children need food and adults need coffee. The two males charge through the door of the boys’ room. Tony jumps up to see the denizen of the top bunk, while Bartheleme climbs the ladder at the foot of the bunk.
“Arise Antonio and join us for breakfast or suffer the consequences.”
“Leave me alone, Dad. I’m tired. I don’t feel well. I may be coming down with something.”
“Back in my days on the force it was called the Blue Flu. It was a bogus sickness related reason to avoid work. The epidemic most often occurred during contract negotiations. If the negotiations were not going the PBA’s way, the Blue Flu was a tactic to show New Yorkers how valuable their police force was and dangerous the city would be if the police force was treated badly. The ploy never worked then and it won’t work now. Get your butt out of the sack or I will climb up there and cover you with kisses until you flee your nest screaming.”
“Rats! You win. Give me two minutes, and I’ll be in the kitchen.”
Morning tumescence dissipates rapidly in young teens.
The breakfast table is set for the darlings. Cassandra, café mocha skinned, is beginning to look exactly like her mother. She will be drop dead gorgeous soon. That will be an issue when puberty hits. Bartheleme, café con leche in color, is a blend of his mother and father. His mother’s slender build and his father’s nose and chin. His mind and body are still fighting over his outcome. Antonio, except for his color, is my child. His chest and legs are beginning to develop. He is already five feet ten inches, his face is Mediterranean, and his hair is soft and wavy.
Melissa has reminded Ton numerous times that he has to have “the talk” with him before it is too late. She has indicated that his phone seems to be permanently attached to his hands. If he is not texting, he is conducting a spy-like conversation. Recently she accidentally came upon him gazing wantonly at a photo attachment to an e-mail from a girl in the grade above him. Dad can read the signs. Soon, “the talk”. Tony would rather have his teeth drilled by an angry Nazi dentist, but he owes it to Melissa, Antonio, and his marriage.
The three enter together. All are talking at once and each attempts to talk above the others. The cacophony is nearly ear shattering.
“Whoa, strangers. In this saloon we speak with civility and we don’t interrupt. If these rules are not followed, the saloon keeper and his wife will toss you out into the muddy cattle path. Understand?”
Begrudgingly, they acknowledge the demand.
“Who wants cereal? Who wants a muffin?”
Melissa has devised a simple breakfast plan—a protein drink, an orange or apple, a glass of two-percent milk and either cereal or a muffin. These latter two are the same ingredients, just different delivery systems. The kitchen is not her comfort zone.
“Anthony. Bartheleme. Get ready for school. You may take your muffin into your room. Adolfo will be here in ten minutes.”
Actually, Adolfo will be here to drive them the ten blocks to Heavenly Rest Academy in twenty minutes. But, like dogs and cats, young children have no real sense of time. The front door opens. It is Carmelita, here to ensure that the house is clean and orderly, and that the larder is filled with the needs of her adopted family.
“Good morning to you, Mr. Sattill.”
Our greeting is interrupted by the thundering herd as they head to the elevator and lobby.
“See you guys after school.”
“Tony, can we have a civil cup of coffee in the sunroom?”
Tony brings the small wooden box that contains the unopened family correspondence. He is always amazed at how trash mail arrives in my absence. Many of the envelopes contain bills. Retiring with a captain’s pension and a personal investment accounts, plus lecture fees have afforded a nice individual income. Nothing like Melissa’s. She got tons from the Latchazar Razdarovich estate. When Melissa and Tony were married, they agreed to share, on a pro rata basis, expenses insofar as their incomes would allow. The division of income seems equitable, because it makes him feel less like he is being kept, and she absolutely loves spending Lucky’s money.
“What’s on your agenda for the day?”
“The spa at ten, then to the shelter to serve lunch and a board meeting. I’ll be there until four. And, you?”
“I want to work on my notes, and try to incorporate some of the questions posed during my recent trip. Plus, I need to answer requests from several cities for speaking engagement. I’ll try to schedule them in clumps to cut down on the day trips. I want to get in a run. I am rusty after three days on the lecture circuit. Then a nap. Remember, I am retired. There is no urgency to my work.”
“What would you like for dinner? I need to tell Carmelita, so she can buy the food and cook it before she leaves.”
“Pulled pork, Spanish rice, and black beans.”
“You are so predictable.”
“But I love it, and Carmelita’s is fantastic. Beside that way you don’t have to cook, and I will clean up. I am just making life easy for my adorable wife.”
“Did I also mention that you are so full of it that your eyes are brown?”
“I love you, too, sweetie.”
“I hate to gulp and bolt, but Sven, my new trainer, gets pissed if I am late.”
“Should I be jealous of Sven?”
“Only if you find a seventy-year-old threatening.”
“Before you go, do we have time to—”
“No! Save that thought for tonight.”
The early morning sun is beginning to warm my space under the sky that is protected from the elements. Tony settles into opening the bills. The ringing of his phone interrupts the reverie.
“Captain, this is Brendan.”
“Lieutenant McLaughlin, how are you?”
“Have you read the paper or watched TV this morning?”
“The transit cops and Homeland Security discovered the body of a woman, who had been killed at LaGuardia. She was found in one of the stair wells. Her throat was slit and she had been molested.”
“Yes. What has that to do with you and me?”
“It was—she was Jamie, Jamie Lanno. She was one of us. Now she’s dead. Slaughtered. What can we do?”
© 2018 by John Andes