Dirty Harry 08 - Hatchet Men

EAST MEETS WEST
IN A BLAZE OF FURY!

From the hills of San Francisco to the towers of Chicago, a savage struggle for power rages between Japanese and Chinese mobsters, expert killers with hand, sword, or gun. Then they kidnap Harry Callahan’s beautiful, part-time lover. Enter the dragon, Dirty Harry—Magnum blazing!

THE PAUSE THAT KILLS!

Inagaki grew absolutely livid, his whole body quaking. “You may have destroyed the Kozure Ronin!” he shouted, “but you will not save Suni! I will slit her throat right before your eyes!”

Harry’s finger was already depressing the Nambu’s trigger when he saw Suni’s eyes and mouth snap open. She quickly grabbed her brother’s sword hand and sank her teeth into it. Tetsuya screamed, dropped the blade and reared up. For a second, Harry had the man dead to rights, caught smack dab in the middle of a 9mm gun barrel across a bedroom.

But at the last possible second, he pulled the gun up, unfired.

Inagaki stared bulging eyed at him for a split second before making his move . . .

Books by Dane Hartman

Dirty Harry #1: Duel For Cannons
Dirty Harry #2: Death on the Docks
Dirty Harry #3: The Long Death
Dirty Harry #4: The Mexico Kill
Dirty Harry #5: Family Skeletons
Dirty Harry #6: City of Blood
Dirty Harry #7: Massacre at Russian River
Dirty Harry #8: Hatchet Men
Dirty Harry #9: The Killing Connection
Dirty Harry #10: The Blood of Strangers
Dirty Harry #11: Death in the Air
Dirty Harry #12: The Dealer of Death

Published by
WARNER BOOKS

WARNER BOOKS EDITION

Copyright © 1982 by Warner Books, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Warner Books, Inc., 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10019

A Warner Communications Company

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN: 0-446-30049-7
First Printing: August, 1982

DEDICATION

To Christopher Kelly Browne,
who has the soul of a teddy bear
but the mind of a grizzly.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

 

For Larry Hama of
Crazy Magazine,
who warned and informed me.

For F. Jacques von Schneden and his brother, who packs a .357.

For Kevin Kelleher, a.k.a. Mort Duck, the Phantom of San Francisco.

For John Butler of Hansen & Co., Gunsmiths, who smiled patiently.

For Anthony F. Slez, Jr. and family.

For Barbara, Chris, and all the other dark mysteries.

For Melissa, the light at the end of the tunnel.

DIRTY HARRY  #8
HATCHET
MEN

C H A P T E R
O n e

B
y all rights, Jay Kuong Chien should have died with the rest of them. When the Japanese kid came into his uncle’s store and pulled the VZ61 machine pistol out from under his coat, Jay should have been sitting on the stack of Chinese comic books next to the curtained door on the back wall. If he had, it was certain that he would have been killed with his uncle and the one store patron in the first sweep of the gun’s ten 7:65mm bullets.

As it was, the ten-inch Czechoslovakian auto-pistol spit out the rounds in little more than a second, three hunks of lead perforating the owner’s chest as he stood on the platform in the middle of the right-hand wall, five bullets stitching across the periodical-lined walls, and the last two thudding into the back of a patron. Jay’s uncle hopped up as the rounds punched him. He opened his mouth to shout, but his lungs gave out at the same second his legs did. He crumpled behind the cash register, his eyes still open.

The patron stepped forward, surprised, then terrified as the searing pain in his back spread throughout his trunk and he fell helplessly forward. He felt further pain as his forehead collided with a shelf on the back wall just before his entire body went numb. As he closed his eyes and died, his weight pulled the shelf down after him. He slammed belly first to the floor, a shower of Chinese magazines raining over him like a multicolored shroud.

Without pausing, the Japanese youth with the Czech gun hefted the three-pound weapon, pulling out its empty clip even before the last of its spent, ejected shells clattered off the wall behind him. He slid another full clip into place and strode quickly toward the curtained back door. Moving forward, he heard the front door swing open and jangle the hanging metal wind chime. He knew it would be another Japanese youth with another gun. They were covering the store too well for it to be anyone else.

It was a small, thin establishment filled with the stench of black newsprint and red death. On the plank lining all four walls were the latest newspapers and magazines imported from the Orient. On the wall shelves were the Chinese-language American papers as well as monthly and back-issue periodicals. Crammed in between the reading material was blank paper, ink pots, pens, art supplies, and other gimcracks Jay’s uncle thought were necessary.

These things did not concern the two Japanese boys. They headed right for the door in the left corner of the back wall. As they approached, they did not notice the wrinkled, smudged comic book atop a stack next to the curtained doorway. They had no way of knowing that this was Jay Kuong Chien’s regular seat. The seat he occupied as the store’s official “lookout” man.

As Jay had no way of knowing that this, of all nights, was the one when he was really needed. It was nine o’clock on a cool Monday evening in San Francisco’s Chinatown. It was the slowest night of the week for the establishments that catered to the tourist crowd as well as the places that entertained the area’s twenty-five thousand inhabitants. So Jay’s uncle saw no harm in letting the eager, capable young man spend his last minutes on duty among the gamblers in the back. Especially since he was going out on a late date with his girl right after.

Seconds later, Jay’s uncle saw nothing, period, ever again. He died with no way of signaling the men inside the smoky, dank back room. He had no electric warning system in his store, no button under his desk, no buzzer in the back. His was a small gambling operation that used Jay as a combination lookout and bouncer. He was well equipped for both roles. As a black belt in karate, working up to the second “Dan” or level of proficiency, Jay seemed to have eyes in the back of his head and limbs like greased lightning.

Blind luck had saved him from the first attack. That and his skills saved him from the second. The thick soundproofing had kept the noise of the double store murder from the ears of the intent gamblers in the back room. Jay was watching the men ply their near-professional skills around the one large table as the door behind him burst open.

He reacted instinctively. As the new hail of bullets slashed across the room, Jay Kuong Chien dropped and rolled. The door flying open was the only signal he needed. He tried to adapt to the sudden situation as he scrambled for cover.

The first Japanese youth had stuck a twenty-round clip into his VZ61 so there were more 7.65mm bullets burrowing into the walls, furnishings, and gamblers. His partner in murder was fanning the room with an Ingram MAC 11, its thirty-two 9mm bullets messing up whatever the VZ missed. Since both guns were so small, their accuracy wasn’t the best, but with the wealth of targets in the small enclosure it hardly mattered. Cards, chips, coins, bills, and pegs flew toward the ceiling as several men did a macabre death dance out of their chairs, blood gouting out of their bodies.

Those who weren’t hit immediately scrambled for the one window, situated high up the back wall. It emptied out into a garbage-strewn courtyard between three buildings. The gambler who reacted the fastest got to the window first. He hesitated before the dirty, opaque beige-colored glass for a millisecond, but the weight of the desperate men scrambling behind him pushed him right through the glass. The bullets did not kill him. The long shard driving into his chest as the others barreled over him did.

The first gambler was bent double over the windowsill, a piece of glass wedged in his chest, as two others tumbled out into the small courtyard and what they thought was safety. As they leaped to their feet, they saw three blank walls and another Japanese youth standing in between them. In his arms he cradled an Israeli Uzi sub-machine gun. The Chinese on the right saw the small, vicious machine cut down his fellow just before it was turned on him. The left gambler tried to leap toward the courtyard’s entrance to his left. The Uzi chattered, installing five spears of metal from his face to his waist. The 9mm shells destroyed his head and internal organs. With a horrid wrenching sound, he twisted in mid-air and fell, his blood splashing after him.

The right gambler had a choice. He could dive back into the gambling den or charge the Uzi holder. He charged. The Japanese swung the eight-pound Uzi to bear and decorated the gambler’s front in crimson as he stepped casually to the side. The gambler saw the gun buck as a gigantic invisible hand clamped down on his insides. Then a wet, hard fist smashed into his face and he felt nothing. He didn’t even feel himself land face first on the hard courtyard ground next to the indifferent Uzi user.

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