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Don Pendleton

Sicilian Slaughter

Prologue

Besides panic, death, destruction, and total disorganization of local mafiosi, The Executioner left oceans of blood behind in Philadelphia, including too much of his own.

By the time he crossed the George Washington Bridge in 'Wild Card' John Cavaretta's forty-thousand-dollar Maserati, Mack Bolan felt his strength and vitality at a dangerously low ebb.

He had gunshot wounds in the left leg, his face, and — most dangerous of all his wounds — Bolan still carried a slug in his side. With gently probing fingertips, he could feel the damned thing. The wounds in his leg and side still leaked red. Bolan had seen men die of shock, knew its symptoms intimately, and finally acknowledged to himself he must have help — fast.

As though his condition were not problem enough, he also sat behind the wheel of an automobile so distinctive and readily identifiable the Maserati might as well have been painted Day-Glo orange.

The man from hell ground wasn't worried about the cops so much as the Taliferi, the New York City 'Family' whose soldiers had invaded Don Stefano Angeletti's Philadelphia estate. The same people who'd sent 'Wild Card' Cavaretta to Philly for the express purpose of eliminating Mack Bolan from the face of the earth.

But Johnny Cavaretta's headless body now lay in Don Stefano's basement, along with the bodies of almost thirty other dead soldiers, and the don's son had stupidly and treacherously gone off to the Commissione with the Wild Card's head in a sack, to sell it as Mack Bolan's and collect the $100,000 bounty that was the standing offer that had been put on The Executioner's head soon after Sgt. Mack Bolan, formerly of the United States Army, declared his personal war upon the Mafia.

Sergeant Bolan had been in Vietnam on his second tour of duty, a weapons specialist, incredibly adept at infiltrating VC and NVR lines for 'taking out' high ranking officers, political commissars, spies, and double agents. His invariably successful missions earned him the title of The Executioner; then he was abruptly given emergency leave and sent home ... to bury his mother, his father, and beautiful younger sister, and arrange for the care of his permanently maimed younger brother.

Mack Bolan's father — a steady, sensible, hard-working man — had one night suddenly gone totally berserk, gotten out his old Smith & Wesson revolver, killed his wife, Elsa, his seventeen-year-old daughter, Cindy, and shot his son, Johnny. Then he'd gone into the bedroom and killed himself.

Sgt. Mack Bolan could not live with it. He'd known his father too well. When he talked privately to Johnny, Mack discovered how right his feeling had been. The old man had fallen into the clutches of local Mafia shylockers — loan sharks; and through illness, fell behind in his 'vigorish,' the fifty percent plus hike on his loan.

The local Mafia prostitute recruiter enticed Mack's sister, Cindy, into his call girl racket as a 'way to help out the old man.'

The old man discovered Cindy's activities and blew his stack. He left a dead wife and daughter, a crippled son, and extinguished his own life.

In the journal Sgt. Mack Bolan kept, he wrote: 'It looks like I have been fighting the wrong enemy. Why defend a front line 8,000 miles away when the real enemy is chewing up everything you love back home? ...'

So Sgt. Mack Bolan gave himself a discharge from the United States Army and declared his personal war upon the Mafia.

He made no excuses for himself or his totally unlawful acts. Unlawful according to the books. But the books kept the Law from liquidating the Mafia. With their limitless financial resources — illegally gained from extortion, prostitution, gambling, shylocking, takeovers of unions, and drug smuggling and distribution — the Mafia Families diverted billions of dollars into their secret coffers, many of them legitimate fronts. First, because the ruthlessly all- powerful Capone in Chicago got flattened by the income tax guys. Then the man whom all mafiosi thought utterly untouchable — the Main Man who had the fix in— got busted, Charley Lucky Luciano. Thirty years in the joint. Yeah — he made a deal, which still makes plenty of people wonder, but he got out, only to be deported. That he remained the Main Man until his death no one with any knowledge of the Mafia doubted.

But the survivors learned their lessons fast. Get a front, get nine fronts — a couple restaurants, parking lots, laundries, best of all a junkyard. Anything that does a lot of cash business, with a minimum of paper . . . like canceled checks!

Because the Law, tied in knots by the books, rules, restrictions, court decisions, could not get the job done. The Executioner, therefore, dedicated himself to unrestricted warfare. That he fought his war, with total commitment, absolute and unwavering belief, made the difference. War is very personal to the fighting man.

It may be logistics, strategy, tactics, or rolls of bum-wad to rear-echelon types, but to the man at the point of the spear assaulting the blockhouse, dodging the sizzling hot steel, coming hand-to-hand with the enemy, war has no restrictions if the man expects to survive. The man kills . . . any way he can: stabs, shoots, burns, poisons, ambushes, garrottes, backshoots with a shotgun, or snipes from concealment. That is what war is: to be fought relentlessly and without compromise, and former Sgt. Mack Bolan — The Executioner — was an expert in personal, man-to-man warfare. He would fight his enemy as it had never been fought before.

To that, the Mafia could testify . . . those left alive in Pittsfield, Los Angeles, Frisco, France, London, New York City, Chicago, Vegas — even in their private hideaways on privately owned Caribbean islands. Boston, even the nation's capital, Washington, D.C., San Diego, and utter panic in Philadelphia.

But Mack Bolan had learned something in Philly that scraped his guts hollow.

The Executioner had not been notching his gunstock, keeping score; but he had eliminated well over one thousand mafiosi. He'd believed he'd started thinning them out, only to learn Frankie Angeletti, Don Stefano's faggy 'legless' son had imported — smuggled into the U.S. — seventy-five Sicilian gradigghia: seventy-five trained, disciplined, badass dudes straight from Sicily; also called malacarni. No dictionary defined the word, but Mack Bolan knew what it meant. They were guys who'd shoot your guts full of holes while grinning in your face, and kick your head off as you fell to the ground.

Some old stud capo named Don Cafu was supposed to be recruiting, then training these soldiers up to high proficiency and then teaching them some basic English-language skills before shipping them Stateside. Homeplate, Bolan knew, rested somewhere in the Sicilian province Agrigento. The name meant nothing to Mack Bolan. Sicily and the city of Palermo were but dots on a map. It ail needed research, he thought hazily.

His first need, though, was medical attention and, even before that, disposal of the sharklike Maserati ... if he didn't pass out from shock and loss of blood.

1

The doctor

The doctor Mack Bolan knew never asked questions. His business consisted of tending people able to pay for his professional services. The fees were extremely high, for the doctor .edged himself beyond the law every time he admitted a patient to his rooms. His license to practice medicine had long since been lifted. Curiously, he'd been kicked out of the medical profession and convicted of a crime that was no longer a criminal offense in the state of New York, abortion. During the short tune he spent in the joint, he'd become acquainted with every type of criminal felon, from baby rapers to safecrackers, hijackers and dope pushers, cheap thieves who popped open soft-drink machines for nickle and dime change, and loft burglars who'd made $200,000 scores hitting a fur vault.

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