A Taste for Violence (Michael Shayne, Book 17) by Brett Halliday

By Brett Halliday

Mike Shayne, the fellow with a flavor for violence, tackles corruption, greed, brutality, and homicide in an action-packed 24 hours within the Kentucky mining city of Centerville.

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Sample text

Achim was about thirty, but he had the belly of a man ten years older, pregnant with beer and Wurst. It slowed him down, but it also made him a formidable obstacle. I made myself speak up. ’ ‘I’m not stopping you,’ said Achim, but he didn’t move a centimetre. The passage was so narrow that to be a real gentleman and let me pass entirely freely he would have had to flatten himself against the wall like a gunman in an action movie. Of course there was no question of that. Between that straining belly and the wall there was so little clearance that I fully expected I would be squeezed through the gap like a lump of dough going through the rollers of a pastry machine.

In the end I just dropped my own piece into the box. There was a click as Max closed the lid. ’ asked Jochen. He sounded disappointed. ‘You should say something, Max,’ said Hanna, but she didn’t sound particularly enthusiastic. Even though tomorrow was the first of May, the night was still surprisingly chilly. I guessed Hanna was thinking about going home and warming up. It was an attractive idea, even if in my case the cost of sitting by the living-room fire was probably a monologue about baking from my father.

I had nothing against Klara Klein, nothing at all. It was Max who started it, with his plan to visit the witch’s house. There were six of us: Max and Jochen, both of them tall and well built, but Max sprouting a head of unruly dark hair while Jochen had blond curls; Izabela, who had slightly exotic looks and an accent, both inherited from her Romanian mother; robust, dark-haired Hanna, who went through her life with her chin out; wiry, compact Timo, who had been my boyfriend for three years; and me, Steffi Nett, the shy blonde one.

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