Happy Tuesday everyone! Today I’ve got an extract from Mark Dawson’s second John Milton novel Saint Death.
Many thanks to Maddie Dunne-Kirby of Welbeck Publishing Group for inviting me on the blog tour and the extract from Saint Death
John Milton has been off the grid for six months. He surfaces in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, and immediately finds himself drawn into a vicious battle with the narco-gangs that control the borderlands. Milton saves the life of an idealistic young journalist who has been targeted for execution but the only way to keep her safe is to smuggle her into Texas. Working with the only untouchable cops in the city, and a bounty hunter whose motives are unclear, Milton must keep her safe until the crossing can be made.
But when the man looking for her is the legendary assassin Santa Muerta – Saint Death – that’s a lot easier said than done…
Adolfo looked up at the hills. He knew Samalayuca like the back of his hand. His family had been using this spot for years. Perfect for dumping bodies. Perfect for ambushes. He’d put three of his best snipers up on the lava ridge half a mile away. They had prepared covered trenches and hid in them overnight. He could see them coming down the ridge now. The sun shone against the dark metal of their long-barrelled Barretts and reflected in glaring flickers from the glass of the sights.
He approached the nearest Range Rover, his automatic cradled at his waist. Things happened. Miracles. It paid to be careful. He opened the door. One of the Italians, slumped dead over the wheel, swung over to the side. Adolfo hauled his body out and dumped it in the dust. Bad luck, pendejo. There were two more bodies in the back.
Adolfo went around to the back of the truck. There was another body behind it, face up, mouth open. Vivid red blood soaked into the dirt. A cloud of hungry flies hovered over it. He went to the second truck and looked through the window at the driver. This one had tried to get away. He was shot through the head. There was blood on the dash, the seats and across what was left of the window.
He walked on to the third vehicle. Two men inside, both dead. He walked back to the first truck to where the body lay. He nudged the man’s ribs with his toe. The man moved his lips.
The man wheezed something at him.
Adolfo knelt down. ‘I can’t hear you.’
‘Basta,’ the man wheezed. ‘Ferma.’
Too late to stop, cabrón,’ Adolfo said. ‘You shoulda thought of that before.’
He put the automatic down and gestured to Pablo. He had the video camera and was capturing the footage that they would upload to YouTube later. Leave a message. Something to focus the mind. Pablo brought the camera over, still filming. Another man brought over a short-bladed machete. He gave it to him.
The dying man followed Adolfo with his eyes. Adolfo signalled, and his men hauled the dying man to his knees. They dragged him across to a tree. There was blood on his face and it slicked out from the bottom of his jacket. They looped a rope over a branch and tied one end around the man’s ankles. They yanked on the other end so that he fell to his knees, and then they yanked again, and then again, until he was suspended upside down.
Adolfo took the machete with his right hand and, with his left, took a handful of the man’s thick black hair and yanked back to expose his throat. Adolfo stared into the camera. He went to work.
Who Is Mark Dawson?
Mark Dawson has worked as a lawyer and in the London film industry. His first books, The Art of Falling Apart and Subpoena Colada, have been published in multiple languages. He is currently writing three series. The John Milton series features a disgruntled assassin who aims to help people make amends for the things that he has done. The Beatrix Rose series features the headlong fight for justice of a wronged mother—who happens to be an assassin—against the six names on her Kill List. Soho Noir is set in the West End of London between 1940 and 1970. The first book in the series, The Black Mile, deals with the (real-life but little-known) serial killer who operated in the area during the Blitz. The Imposter traces the journey of a criminal family through the period; it has been compared to The Sopranos in austerity London. Mark lives in Wiltshire with his family.