Rico Stays is a new crime thriller by Ed Duncan. It was released in May 2020, published by Next Chapter. Genre: Crime / Fiction / Thriller
After enforcer Richard
“Rico” Sanders stepped in to protect his girlfriend from a local mob boss’s
hot-headed nephew, all hell broke loose.
When the smoke
cleared, the nephew had vanished, but three goons who had tried to help him lay
dying where they’d stood. Fighting for
his life, Rico was alive but gravely wounded.
Out of the hospital
but not fully recovered, he needed a place to crash – a place where he wouldn’t
be found by men who surely would be looking.
A place like the cabin owned by lawyer Paul Elliott, whose life Rico had
saved more than once. Trouble was,
Paul’s girlfriend hadn’t forgotten Rico’s dark history. Or Paul’s fascination with him.
Using Rico’s girlfriend as bait, vengeful killers soon would be coming for him. The only question was whether he would face them alone or with help from Paul.
Cosgrove, however, hadn’t finished venting and didn’t appreciate Koblentz’s gesture. “You want some of this, old man?”
“I was just –”
Cosgrove interrupted him with a vicious slap to the mouth that drew blood. Koblentz fell to one knee, head bowed, and was silent.
“You bastard!” Jean yelled. She glanced at Rico, who was still in his car in front of her some ten yards away. She wasn’t sure how much he’d seen because his expression, as usual, was utterly inscrutable behind his aviators. She sprinted to Koblentz’s side and knelt beside him. “Are you okay?”
Cosgrove glared at her, then a cruel smile lifted his mouth. She was a mouth-wateringly gorgeous woman and his mouth watered. Taunting her, he pressed one foot against Koblentz’s back and slowly forced him to the ground. Jean’s eyes flashed and she straightened up and slapped him hard enough to make his head turn. At once surprised and enraged, he immediately drew his arm back to retaliate. Jean closed her eyes and flinched in anticipation. Cosgrove reached far behind him to increase the momentum of his blow and then he launched his open hand toward her as hard as he could, creating a swoosh of air as his hand traveled forward to meet Jean’s face.
But it never reached its target.
Rico had appeared seemingly out of nowhere and, with one hand, had grabbed Cosgrove’s wrist from behind, stopping his hand mere inches from Jean’s face. Now he stood behind Cosgrove holding his wrist in a vice-like grip from which there was no hope of escape. Slender and soft, Cosgrove was around five feet ten inches tall and weighed about one hundred and seventy-five pounds. Rico stood six feet two, weighed over two hundred pounds, and was solid muscle.
He was a killer, but not your run-of-the mill killer. He was exceptional at what he did, but he was not only that. He was also a killer with a conscience. He didn’t kill kids, he killed women only as a last resort, and he only killed people who “had it coming.” Or at least that was what he told himself, because sometimes it was a close call. But at least he tried. And that made him unique, as nobody else in his business gave a hit a second thought.
Cosgrove tried to turn to face him, but with just one hand holding his wrist, Rico prevented him from even budging. After Cosgrove stopped squirming, Rico twisted the man’s arm behind his back and wrenched it upward until he yelped in pain. Then he thrust his free forearm under Cosgrove’s chin and applied just enough pressure so that Cosgrove, with some effort, could still breathe and talk. Just.
Cosgrove squealed, “What the –”
“Shut up,” Rico said and turned to Jean who was helping Koblentz to his feet. “You all right?”
“Fine.” Her worried eyes met Koblentz’s. She smiled. “Are you okay?”
Gingerly wiping the blood from his face, he nodded and smiled back.
“Wait in the car,” Rico said.
“What are you gonna do with him?” Jean asked, a little apprehensively.
“Wait in the car.”
Jean started to press him but by now she knew the drill. She collected her shopping cart and she and Koblentz headed for the car. The boy, still on his back resting on his elbows, scrambled to his feet and stood staring at Rico in awe. Rico said, “Kid, get outta here.” Dejected, the boy slowly started to walk away. Raising his voice an octave, Rico said to the other gawkers, “That goes for everybody else, too.”
The edge in his voice did the trick. No one objected and no one lingered. Except the boy. He turned around after he’d taken a few steps and, in a voice just above a whisper, said, “Thanks, mister.”
The slightest hint of a smile appeared on Rico’s face. “Nice catch, kid.” That brought a grin to the boy’s face. He pounded the ball in his glove and hurried away.
Rico scanned the area in a 360-degree arc and, seeing no one besides the steadily retreating onlookers, released the choke hold on Cosgrove’s neck but maintained his grip on his wrist. Then he placed his free hand on the back of Cosgrove’s neck and, mimicking what Cosgrove had done to Koblentz moments earlier, he slowly guided him to the ground, face down. Rico knelt beside him.
Cosgrove coughed and drew in several sweet breaths of air now that the pressure on his windpipe had been relieved. “Your ass is mine, motherfucker,” he hissed under his breath.
“I don’t think so,” Rico said as he patted Cosgrove down. “I’m pretty attached to it.”
The pat down yielded a Smith and Wesson Model 10 .38 revolver in Cosgrove’s belt under his jacket. Searching him had been a basic precaution, yet Rico hadn’t expected to find a gun and when he did, he immediately regretted leaving his own in his apartment.
“Shit,” he said out loud, but it was in the same tone of voice he might have used if he’d walked down three flights of stairs only to find that he’d left his cell phone upstairs in his apartment. In other words, he was irritated but not alarmed – yet. After all, this was only one guy with a .38 – no, one guy who used to have a .38. And so far, there was no evidence that he had company.
But there was no evidence that he was alone, either.
Rico tucked the gun in his own belt next to his belly, and with his free hand he reached down and turned Cosgrove’s face toward him. He had a question. He knew he couldn’t trust Cosgrove’s answer but the inflexion in his voice might give him a clue. “You alone, smart ass?”
Cosgrove said nothing.
Rico increased the upward pressure on Cosgrove’s arm which was still pinned behind his back. Cosgrove gritted his teeth. Rico increased the pressure again until Cosgrove could stand it no longer. He yelled, “Help!”
Maybe it was just a primal cry to the heavens, but Rico thought it was directed toward someone. Maybe more than one person. Who knew? He relaxed the pressure on Cosgrove’s arm but continued to hold his wrist in a vice-like grip. With his other hand he checked the .38, engaging the cylinder release, snapping the cylinder free, spinning it with his thumb, then snapping it back in place. It was fully loaded. Six rounds. A picture of his Sig Sauer with its twelve-round capacity magazine flashed across his mind. This will have to do.
Ed Duncan lives outside of Cleveland, OH. He is a graduate of Oberlin College and Northwestern University Law School. He was a partner at a national law firm in Cleveland, Ohio for many years.
Ed Duncan is the author of the Pigeon-Blood Red trilogy. The first book in the series Pigeon Blood Red was released in September 2016, followed by The Last Straw, the second book in the series, released in December 2017. The third book in the series Rico Stays was released in May 2020, published by Next Chapter. Each book in the series can be read as a standalone.
“It’s always been said that you should write what you know. I am a lawyer – as is a pivotal character in the novel who is being pursued by a hit man – and I’m excited to be able to use my legal training creatively as well as professionally,” says Duncan.
Praise for the Pigeon Blood Red Trilogy:
“…It rips along like a .45 bullet rushing past your head….a crime novel in a style you don’t … see too often… a juggernaut of a story that just won’t quit.” – Monkey’s Book Review
“A fast-paced read with complex and morally ambiguous characters that leaves you on the edge of your seat!” – AllieReads.com
“Readers in search of a tight, well-written…crime/action/adventure will find…an engrossing story that will keep them involved to the end. And like me, they will find themselves eagerly awaiting the next installment.” – Mike Siedschlag’s Review
“This charming, classically-told crime thriller
is a must for noir fans…refreshingly old-school pulp, inhabited by a familiar
cast of gamblers, con men and hustlers found in Dennis Lehane and Elmore
Leonard novels” – 5 Stars, Best
“This Chicago set thriller is a pacy
read, written with an edge and style… Ed Duncan’s series will sweep up fans as
it goes along.” – Crime Thriller
“With danger looming in every chapter…
Duncan skillfully draws the reader into a complex web of characters… A few key
twists within the storyline keep the reader intrigued… an outstanding crime
thriller…” – 5 Stars,
Red City Review
“…suspense from start to finish… a fast-paced read… Entertaining, Gritty and Nailbiting.” – The Bibliovert
For further information or to request a review copy, please contact Kelsey Butts at Book Publicity Services at Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com.
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