The Last Gig
by Norman Green
GENRE: Mystery (detective)
A teenage runaway from the Brownsville projects, Alessandra Martillo lived with an indifferent aunt who had taken her in when her mother killed herself, and later, after more than a year on the streets, a caring uncle found her, took her in, and showed her she had a chance. That was many years ago, and now Alessandra’s all grown up, working for a sleazy P.I., repossessing cars, and trolling for waitstaff on the take. The cases aren’t glamorous, or interesting, but the work pays the bills. And she’s good at it---if there’s one thing she’s learned since leaving the streets, it’s how to take care of herself around life’s shadier elements.
When an Irish mobster named Daniel “Mickey” Caughlan thinks someone on the inside of his shipping operation is trying to set him up for a fall, it’s Al he wants on the job. She’s to find the traitor and report back. But just a little digging shows it’s more complicated than a simple turncoat inside the family; Al’s barely started on the case when she runs into a few tough guys trying to warn her away. Fools. As if a little confrontation wouldn’t make her even more determined.
Marty Stiles, elbows on the table, watched the dancer at the other end of the stage. She didn’t look half bad, at least not from that distance. Be careful, he thought. You’ve had too much to drink to night to be able to think regular . . . He didn’t look at Daniel Caughlan, the man sitting next to him. “I’d love to do it for you,” he said. “Problem is, Al is the best man I got. I put her full time on this, I gotta hire another broad for the office, then I gotta find another guy to do what Al does out in the field. You know what I’m sayin’? So it ain’t like I just gotta replace the one guy. An’ I don’t know where I would get somebody else like her. This business takes a special kinda person. Al has a real feel for it.” He finally glanced in Caughlan’s direction. Fucking guy, Marty thought, he’s watching me like a cat watching a parakeet.
“I’ll make it worth your trouble,” Caughlan said.
Marty Stiles shivered. He had known Daniel “Mickey” Caughlan for years. Stiles had been a rookie cop when he’d first run across the guy. Caughlan had been one of the few to survive the immolation of the Irish gangs that had once haunted the neighborhood of Hell’s Kitchen on Manhattan’s west side. He had been just another body back then, just another face. Perhaps smarter and without question luckier than his betters, he had survived, left alone at the reins of something called Pennsylvania Transfer Corporation when his silent partners all wound up dead or serving long prison sentences. The last of them, Patrick Donleavy, had disappeared without a trace. Donleavy had been Caughlan’s friend and patron, but Rudolph Giuliani, then a prominent DA making his bones on the backs of the mobsters in New York City, had been hard on Donleavy’s trail, and if Donleavy had fallen, Caughlan would have been next. After Donleavy’s disappearance, the hounds had snapped at Caughlan’s heels for the next six months or so, but the
trail was cold, and eventually they wandered off to seek other amusements. Stiles had no direct evidence of what may have happened to Donleavy, but he knew what his gut told him. What he did know for a fact was that in the years since, Caughlan, using the ruthless tactics taught to him by Donleavy and his compatriots, had built Pennsylvania Transfer into a major interstate shipping firm.
Caughlan stared back at him, his face blank. “Look,” he said, “I got a situation and I gotta do something about it, Marty, but I can’t have you stomping around in my life with those big feet of yours. No offense, but you got the finesse of a hippopotamus with a bad case of hemorrhoids. I’ve heard about your girl Alessandra, and she’s the one I want. Don’t worry, you’ll be working this, too. There are some elements to this that are gonna require your special talents. You got the contacts and you got the moves. And there might be some serious money in it.”
Stiles could hardly hear him over the noise of the music and the shouted conversations going on around them. That’s why he picked this place, Marty thought, his stomach turning over. The FBI could have a bug stuck right up Caughlan’s ass, but they still couldn’t hear a word, not over the roar in this place. What ever Caughlan wants done, it can’t be anything good. He thought for a second or two, wondering how bad he wanted Mickey Caughlan’s money.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Norman Green is the author of six crime novels, most recently Sick Like That. Born in Massachusetts, he now lives in New Jersey with his wife.
Interview with Norman Green
- Where do you get inspiration for your stories? People on the street
- How did you do research for your book? Life is research enough
- Do you have another profession besides writing? I’ve had a lot of different jobs, and they’ve taken me a lot of places that maybe I wouldn’t have gone, otherwise. I think it would be strangling, to be stuck in one place, doing one thing for too long.
- If you could go back in time, where would you go? It’s pretty amazing to be alive right here and right now.
- What is your next project? I’ve got a few things going on. I just finished a story about a drug addict/thief who’s not sure if he wants to recover or not, and I’m working on a sequel to that, and I’ve got a memoir in the works but I don’t know if I have the intestinal fortitude to finish it
Norman will be awarding a digital copy of The Last Gig to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour.