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Series: Kevin Markinson, Book 3
Release Date: March 2016
Author: J.E. Seymour
ISBN Paperback: 978-1-941295-41-0 ($13.95 USD)
ISBN eBook: 978-1-941295-42-7 ($5.95 USD)
LCCN: 2016932940
Edited by: Colleen Romaniuk
Pages: 196

Former mob “troubleshooter” Kevin Markinson returns for a thrilling game of cat and mouse in Book 3 of the Kevin Markinson series. Markinson has finally settled back into prison life, hoping to serve out his sentence and return home to his family. Unfortunately for Markinson, fate has other plans.

Mob boss Jerry Remora has decided that it’s time for his ex-wife, Lucy Remora, to go… preferably before she can testify against him in a federal racketeering trial. When he orders his right-hand man to hire the best hitman in the business to take her out, a plan is hatched to break Duke Markinson out of prison to do the job—whether he wants to or not.

U.S. Marshal Sally Barnard has tracked Markinson down before, and when she learns that he has escaped from prison again, she immediately volunteers to bring him in. Lucy Remora also hears about Duke’s escape and panics, running away from protective custody to escape what she knows will be certain death from Markinson’s gun.

In the cold and snow of a New Hampshire winter, the deadly chase begins. Can reluctant hitman Markinson find a way to get out of the contract and avoid a return trip to prison?

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“A solid, captivating thriller. The reluctant hitman with a past is the kind of bad guy you can’t help but pull for, but he’s only one of a cast of fully-realized, fleshed-out characters that pull you in and keep you reading to find out what happens next. A definite winner.”J.D. Rhoades, bestselling author, attorney, and award-winning newspaper columnist

“In her third novel involving Kevin Markinson, a hitman with a troubled and challenging past, the talented J.E. Seymour revisits a hard-boiled time when the burdens of family are ever-present, and when violence or a fired gun can break out at any moment. The writing is crisp and clear, the characters are achingly three-dimensional. This series deserves praise and wide-spread recognition.” — Brendan DuBois, author and multiple award-winning and three-time Edgar nominee, Lewis Cole series

“Take one ex-Marine/CIA assassin turned mob hitman, add an inept crime boss who wants his wife dead, stir in a U.S. Marshal who plans to stop it, and sit back for a New England Fargo. Kevin Markinson is back for a third installment of J.E. Seymour’s series and the last thing he wants another mob job. He reluctantly agrees and soon finds himself on the run; dodging bullets, his old nemesis U.S. Deputy Sally Barnard, and double crossing criminals, all the while trying draw a bead on his target.” — Ricky Bush, Author, Crime Fighting Bluesmen series

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September 1997
Central Falls, Rhode Island

The day Lucy Remora left her husband she emptied the cash out of his safe. He wouldn’t give her a decent settlement, so she took it herself. She knew he wouldn’t call the cops.

She found herself an apartment in an old triple decker just off Broad Street in Central Falls. Not quite the standard of living she was accustomed to. Far enough away from his Providence home to make her feel safe, but still in familiar territory. A week after she moved out, she came home from shopping to find her cat lying in a puddle of blood in the living room. Her first reaction was to wonder how on earth she was ever going to get that blood out of the white carpet.

That was the last straw. She marched herself down to the Federal building in Providence, found her way to the FBI office and started talking.

December 1997
Providence, Rhode Island

“How are you going to keep me safe?” This time Lucy was pacing the office of an Inspector in the US Marshals Service.

“We’ll put you in the Witness Security Program.” He fingered the knot in his tie.

“You don’t understand, he’s nuts. He’ll find me, or he’ll send someone else to find me, he’ll kill me.” She thought of her ex-husband’s bodyguard, an ugly man with skin like a lizard, and felt nauseated. She stopped pacing for just a moment. “He killed my cat, you know that?”

The man nodded, showing no emotion at all.

She’d learned that these guys never showed any emotion. It was like they were made of wood. She’d given up trying to get a rise out of them. “He paid three and a half for that cat—three thousand five hundred dollars. It was a purebred Persian. I named him Mel, you know, after Mel Gibson. Jerry knew I loved that cat, and he killed it.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“So who are you going to get to protect me?”

A slight smile appeared on his face. “Don’t worry about it. This is what we do.”

September 1998
Dannemora, New York

When Kevin stepped through the door of the infirmary, the buzzing caught his attention. Everybody was talking at once. The conversation seemed to be centered on the heavy-set young nurse, Jessie. The group of women broke up their huddle when they saw him.

“Markinson, Kevin,” the corrections officer on his heels announced in a monotone. He read off a number.

“Thanks Dave.” Jessie offered a weak smile.

Kevin sat down in the chair next to the scale and stuck out his right arm. Jessie wrapped a blood-pressure cuff around it, and sniffled.

“What’s wrong?” Kevin asked.

“Nothing.” She wiped a tear from her cheek.

“It’s nothing you can help with anyway,” one of the other nurses said.

“How do you know?”

“You’re in prison.”

He shrugged his shoulders. “Okay.”

“It’s my older brother. We just found out he needs a bone marrow transplant.”

“Uh-huh. What does that involve?”

“We have to find a match. We’ve tested all our family members, and haven’t found one.”

Jessie removed the cuff. “100 over 60.”

Kevin got to his feet. “Your brother, ay?” He stepped onto the scale.

She moved the counterweight. “You’ve lost weight. Down to 150 pounds. The doctor isn’t going to like that.”

“Why don’t you do a donor drive?”

Jessie looked up at him. “What? A donor drive?”

“You get people to register. Find a match that way.”

“Maybe even have one here,” said one of the other nurses. He couldn’t see which of them it was.

Jessie lifted her head.

“I’d be willing to be a donor.” Kevin stepped off the scale.

One of the other nurses snorted.

“Why would you do that?” Jessie asked. “You don’t even know my brother.”

Kevin nodded as the woman guided him into the exam room. “I used to have a big brother.”

Jessie stopped. “What do you mean, used to?”

Kevin sat down on the edge of the exam table, and glanced at Doctor Anderson, washing her hands in the sink. “Cops killed him.”

The doctor turned around now. “Tradition in your family?”

Kevin shook his head. “He wasn’t in any trouble. This was in the sixties, when I was a teenager. He was protesting the Vietnam War. They tried to arrest him, he resisted, and he fell back and hit his head on the pavement. Died instantly.”

“That’s awful,” Jessie said.

The doctor frowned. “That doesn’t make any sense. Did he have some kind of pre-existing condition?”

“My younger brother said it was an aneurysm. In his brain.” Kevin cleared his throat. “Pure coincidence. I think they just said that to cover it up.”

“Ah, a conspiracy.” The doctor shook her head. “You think everybody’s out to make your life miserable, don’t you?”

“Just you and the rest of the management here.” He looked at Jessie. “How hard could it be to set something like that up?”

“What are you talking about?” The doctor paused. “Take off your shirt.”

Kevin pulled the dark green tee shirt over his head and carefully turned it right-side-in again before folding it, and setting it on a chair. He did the same with his undershirt.

“He says we should do a marrow donor drive for my brother.”

“Does he really?” The doctor placed her stethoscope against Kevin’s chest. “Take a deep breath for me.”

He obeyed, clamping his jaw shut at the last, fighting the pain in his chest, letting the air out through his nose, stifling a cough.

“How long have you been coughing like that?”

“I always cough.”

The doctor frowned. “I think we need to get a chest x-ray. Again. Let me go ahead and schedule that.” She turned and wrote something in Kevin’s thick folder. “We’ll get you started on a round of antibiotics. You’ve probably got pneumonia.” She flipped through the files. “Related to the broken ribs, no doubt.”

He nodded, pulling his shirt back on.

“Wait, let me look at that arm.”

He pulled his left arm out of the shirt. She studied the upper biceps, where the wound still red and angry.

“This is a mess.”

He shrugged.

“You get the PT I ordered?”

“No ma’am.”

She frowned. “Did they just not tell you about it, or what?”

“I think they cut it out of the budget.”

She looked over at Jessie, who shook her head. “I haven’t seen a physical therapist here in a long time, Mara.”

The doctor focused on her patient. “Let’s get back to that pneumonia. You ever have an HIV test?”

“No.”

“Ever been an intravenous drug user?”

“No.”

“What about sex? Unprotected sex with multiple partners, especially men?” She looked at his chart again. “You’ve been in prison a long time.”

He rolled his eyes. “No. Are we done?”

“What about a TB test?”

“Had one last year.”

“All right. But you need to quit smoking, you understand? You won’t have any lungs left in a couple of years if you keep going the way you’re going.”

He nodded again.

“Word on the street is they’re going to make smoking in prison illegal in the next few years anyway. It’d be a good time to quit.”

“Sure. Easy for you to say.”

The doctor shone her pen light in his eyes. “Still getting headaches?”

“Not so much.”

She sighed. “You were in rough shape a couple of weeks ago. Glad to see you’re doing better.”

He shrugged. He didn’t want to be reminded about the beating he had taken, standing up to gang members to keep a CO safe.

Dave cleared his throat. “Are we done here?”

Kevin looked at Jessie again. “I’m serious. You can do a blood test, whatever you need. I’d be a donor.”

The CO snorted. “You’ve certainly got nothing better to do.”

# # #

“Markinson.”

Kevin looked over the top of his reading glasses at the CO standing outside the cell. “Yeah?”

“You have an appointment with the warden.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah.”

“What for?” He set down the book, took off the glasses, and folded them before placing them on top of the book.

“I don’t ask those kinds of questions. I was told to come down here and get you. We need to put these shackles on and go to the warden’s office.”

“Shackles?”

“Yeah. Now are you gonna make this hard?”

“No, sir.” Kevin stepped to the door and held out his hands.

It was a long walk, with the shackles and the multiple locked gates.

The CO cleared his throat after they passed through the first set of locked doors. “What are you reading now?”

“Heart of Darkness.”

“Really? What’s that about?”

“Africa.”

The CO nodded.

When they arrived in the office, the warden stood up. “Mr. Markinson. We’ve met before.”

Kevin nodded. “Warden Hayes.”

“You know Doctor Anderson.”

Kevin acknowledged the doctor and perched on the edge of a leather upholstered chair, keeping his attention on the man at the huge desk in front of him, instead of on the man behind him with the automatic rifle.

The warden rubbed at his chin. “So this bone marrow drive thing, this was your idea?”

Kevin shrugged. “I guess so.”

“That’s what Jessie Coleman says.”

“Sure, I mentioned the idea to her.”

“So we had two hundred volunteers in here, did the cheek swabs, and we have one match.”

“That’s great. I’m betting you’re thrilled to have DNA samples from all those guys too.”

“You’re a spot on match for her brother.” The warden leaned back in his chair and sighed. “That raises all sorts of difficulties. Her brother lives in the Northwest corner of Massachusetts. The closest hospital that can do this sort of thing is in Hanover, New Hampshire. You need to do bloodwork and tests before we even get to the donation stage. Which is a logistical nightmare.”

“Yes sir. No other matches?”

“No. Odds are one in five hundred. I couldn’t believe it myself. You should be playing the lottery.” He sighed. “So I guess we start with the basic question. Are you still willing to do this?”

“What’s involved?”

The warden motioned to the doctor. “Doctor, you can take that question.”

“We’ll do some blood work, make sure you’re healthy enough to donate. The procedure itself is surgery, you’ll get general anesthesia. While you’re out, they’ll use a large needle to remove some bone marrow from your pelvis. You’ll be sore for a few days, maybe a little disoriented for a day or two, but you won’t even have to stay in the hospital overnight.”

“Where will I stay?”

The doctor looked at the warden.

“There’s a county jail a couple of towns away. We’ll put you up there for the night before the procedure, then bring you back here after. It’s about a three hour drive.”

“So you’re going to let me out for this?”

“We’re not letting you out. You’ll be under supervision.” Hayes shifted in his chair, and pulled at the knot in his tie. “You’ve proven yourself to be, well, fairly trustworthy, despite your record of escapes. Saving that CO’s life last month made you look pretty good in the eyes of the administration.”

Kevin scratched his chin. “And if you didn’t allow me to do this, after I volunteered for it, you’d look like a monster.”

Hayes squirmed again.

Kevin wanted a cigarette, but didn’t think the warden would be excited about him smoking in this office. “Yeah, I’ll do it.”

The doctor smiled. “I’ll schedule the tests. It’ll probably be four to six weeks before we can get the actual surgery done.”

The warden got to his feet. “Thank you.” He started to hold out his hand to shake Kevin’s, but pulled it back at the last second, as though he realized the absurdity of trying to shake hands with a convict wearing shackles.

“Sure.” Kevin got to his feet, and turned to the door.