Dirty Harry 06 - City of Blood

BOOK: Dirty Harry 06 - City of Blood
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Winos burtally slain on San Francisco’s skid row. Beautiful young women butchered in the act of sex by a perverted killer. The acts of two men—or one? Not even Dirty Harry knows. But he’s going to find out, if he has to break every law to do it. From ’Frisco’s sexual underground to the boardrooms in the city’s sky, Harry plunges into a blood-streaked manhunt that will leave only one survivor.


The driver managed to elude him and began running down Castro, zigzagging to evade the rounds he expected Harry to send after him.

But now there were two police cruisers, side-by-side, speeding up the street in his direction.

Trapped, the terrorist turned to confront Harry.

For one brief instant the two looked at each other. Harry remembered the terrorist, and the terrorist remembered Harry.

As if they were actors in a Western, the two men faced off, both with guns raised in their hands, knowing that in this duel one or the other, maybe both, would have to die.

The terrorist opened up just as Harry threw himself to the ground . . .

Books by Dane Hartman

Dirty Harry #1: Duel For Cannons
Dirty Harry #2: Death on the Docks
Dirty Harry #3: The Long Death
Dirty Harry #4: The Mexico Kill
Dirty Harry #5: Family Skeletons
Dirty Harry #6: City of Blood
Dirty Harry #7: Massacre at Russian River
Dirty Harry #8: Hatchet Men
Dirty Harry #9: The Killing Connection
Dirty Harry #10: The Blood of Strangers
Dirty Harry #11: Death in the Air
Dirty Harry #12: The Dealer of Death

Published by


Copyright © 1982 by Warner Books, Inc.
All rights reserved.

Warner Books, Inc., 75 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, N.Y. 10019

A Warner Communications Company

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN: 0-446-30051-9
First Printing: May, 1982


The Beginning

t four-thirty in the afternoon the Tocador Hotel is a quiet place. The street that adjoins it, in the Union Square area, is virtually devoid of traffic, so none of the residents of the hotel are obliged to suffer the rumble of passing cars or the occasional wail of a siren, signaling disaster of one sort or another.

As its name would indicate, the Tocador has a certain unpretentious Spanish ambience. You enter through filigree gates into a courtyard where ailanthus trees keep the unused and unusable fountain perpetually in shadow. There is a certain air of obsolescence about this place; the courtyard, with its cracked stone surface, and the lobby, with its chipped and broken tiles on the floor and the paint fading on its walls, all testify to the gentle ruin time has been responsible for.

The clerk who sat at the desk of the Tocador, with a registry larger than a Guttenberg Bible stretched open before him, was a man who had aged along with the hotel, growing a bit moldy himself. His skin seemed vaguely greenish and exuded a smell of faint decay that was probably the result of weeks without a shower.

The Tocador was largely a residential hotel. The people who lived there had been living there for years, cooking in the kitchens most of the apartments contained, which explained why no restaurant could be found in the establishment. The clerk knew the great majority of the residents; they were older than he and shambled rather than walked, relying on canes and walkers to get from the lobby’s entrance to the elevators that were more cranky than the people who went up in them. It was always with some surprise that he greeted a guest who wished to be put up for only one or two nights. No guide book, save for the most thorough ones, even bothered mentioning the Tocador.

But the mere appearance of an unfamiliar face was not enough to startle the clerk, who passed most of his time on duty viewing soap operas and reruns of
The Million Dollar Movie
on the fuzzy black and white television mounted behind the counter. Most of those who sought temporary lodging in the Tocador were men who were down on their luck but who had yet to acknowledge the fact. Rates at the hotel edged on twenty dollars a day; it was generally more than the transients found they could afford, so they moved out before long, dragging suitcases that weighed half as much as they did.

This afternoon, however, as the big white clock in the lobby announced with a single chime that four-thirty had arrived, the clerk did have cause for surprise. More than surprise: utter astonishment.

For there, standing before him, were two of the most beautiful young women that he had ever had occasion to lay eyes on. Not that he had much basis for comparison. A widower, he did not get out much, but from what he had seen in magazines and on the television, which now was turned up way too loud to compensate for the clerk’s failing hearing, these two were something else.

One was taller, leaner, a bit perkier in manner than the other. She wore a suede jacket edged with silver fox, and her long tan legs emerged from a velvet skirt. The other wore a cloche hat, a black leather jacket that was open to reveal a magenta silk skirt that was open in turn to reveal a slash of white skin, and black jodphur-like bloomers that extended to the upper perimeter of her ankles. Her toenails, peeking out of white sandals, he noticed were coated a bright lavender.

The taller one had black hair cut pageboy fashion so that her long and graceful neck was available for inspection. She seemed perpetually about to laugh, and her brown eyes were alive with the excitement of knowing something nobody else did. Her companion, by contrast, looked a bit quizzical, almost sullen, as though she were attempting to come to grips with some immense and troubling problem. But there was no question of the delicacy of her features, the sensuality of the lips, the flare of her nostrils, and the startlingly blue incandescence of her eyes.

The clerk rose to see what they wanted. He supposed they must be tourists who had gotten lost and were seeking directions. He felt years younger just to be in their presence and wished that he could persuade them to remain. But that, he realized, was unlikely; neither girl possessed any luggage, only their expensive handbags.

“What can I do for you?” he asked, clearing his throat, adjusting his glasses so that he could see them with greater clarity.

“We would like to register,” the taller one said, almost giggling at this request. “That is unless you’re full up.”

Was their accent English? Maybe she was simply being affected. The clerk couldn’t judge. But his astonishment was so great that he did not respond for a moment. Then he shook his head, as if to free himself from his daze.

“Full up? Oh no. Not at all.” He turned the registry so that they could sign it.

“Is your luggage out in the car? I can bring it up to you.”

The shorter, serious girl shook her head. “No, no luggage.” Then she added gratuitously: “No car.”

“No bags, no car,” the clerk repeated wonderously. Then he remembered his responsibility: “That will be thirty-five dollars in advance. For a double?”

The taller girl who had just put her name down as Mary Nold said that a double would be just fine and from her pocketbook uncoiled a roll of fifties. “You do have change, don’t you?”

“Oh, of course, I do.” The clerk stared stupidly at the display of money. He did not know what to make of it.

The other girl signed the name of Doris Paine. Both she and Mary gave their address as Palm Springs.

“Come quite a way,” the clerk noted, inspecting what they had written.

“That’s right,” Doris said, seeming a bit annoyed. Obviously, she was not one for small talk. “Can we have the key to our room now?”

The clerk apologized. He wasn’t thinking. “The key. Of course, the key.” He produced one, a cumbersome thing with a brass ornament attached, upon which was inscribed the name of the hotel. “Room 358. It looks right out on the courtyard. I’m sure you’ll be happy there.”

“I’m sure we will,” said Mary, taking it from him.

They turned from him and went to stand by the elevator.

The clerk called to them, suggesting that they might want to consider taking the stairs. The elevator could not be counted on, and the two girls looked to be fit enough to conquer two flights without trouble.

He kept his eyes on the stairs until their quick light footsteps no longer registered in his bad ears. Only then did the thought cross his mind that these two were prostitutes, that that was why they had so much money on them. But then he could not adjust the image he held of a prostitute (fading looks, a body gone to seed, an expression of indifference frozen on her face) and match it to these two lovely, seemingly uncorrupted, young women. And even if they were prostitutes, of the high-priced kind he had heard about and only rarely seen, why would they choose to do business in a hotel such as this where no potential john could be expected to have the kind of money that they would demand for their services?

BOOK: Dirty Harry 06 - City of Blood
7.1Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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