The Mercenaries (1960) – Random House

The first novel published under his own name, Don’s preferred title was The Cutie. Instead, it was also published as The Smashers. He finally got his way when Hard Case Crime published it again in 2009.

I had a feeling I knew what Ed would have to say. If somebody had set Billy-Billy up to take a bum rap, he had done a fine job of it. A murder charge isn’t all that easy to fix. And with somebody like Billy-Billy Cantell, it just isn’t worth the effort.

Which doesn’t mean that Ed would tell me to leave Billy-Billy for the cops. Far from it. Billy-Billy was, after all, a junkie, and he was also a member of the organization. He knew too much about the narcotics business, sources of supply, delivery points, names of retailers. Put him in a cell for twenty-four hours, and he would say anything about anybody. All the cops would have to do is promise him a needle.

So I had a feeling I knew what Ed would have to say when I filled him in on Billy-Billy’s problem. It was standard operating procedure. I give Billy-Billy a fatal accident, and leave the remains for the cops. Then John Law is happy, because a case has been closed. And the organization is happy, because things are calm and peaceful again. And I’m happy because I can go back to Ella. Everybody’s happy but Billy-Billy, and he isn’t worried about anything anymore. So maybe he’s happy, too.


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One thought on “The Mercenaries (1960) – Random House

  1. I am looking for a book I read in 1964 and which was very funny. I know the author’s name started with a W and I think it was Westlake. Starts with married couple in bed and husband waiting to go to jail the following day.

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