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Authors: Tod Goldberg

The Bad Beat

BOOK: The Bad Beat
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Table of Contents

Title Page

Copyright Page




Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16



Praise for the Novels and Stories of
Tod Goldberg
Finalist for the
Los Angeles Times
Book Prize



“Well plotted and deftly written. . . . Goldberg serves up heaps of Miami’s lush lifes and low lifes while exposing its drug and arms underworld.”

—The Huffington Post


“A keen voice, profound insight . . . devilishly entertaining.”

—Los Angeles Times


“Goldberg’s prose is deceptively smooth, like a vanilla milk shake spiked with grain alcohol.”

—Chicago Tribune


“[A] creepy, strangely sardonic, definitely disturbing version of Middle America . . . and that, of course, is where the fun begins.”

LA Weekly


“Perfect . . . with all the sleaze and glamour of the old paperbacks of fifty years ago.”

—Kirkus Reviews


“Striking and affecting. . . . Goldberg is a gifted writer, poetic and rigorous . . . a fiction tour de force . . . a haunting book.”

—January Magazine



Praise for the
Burn Notice


“Likably lighthearted and cool as a smart-mouthed loner . . . cheerfully insouciant.”

—The New York Times


“Brisk and witty.”

—The Christian Science Monitor


“[A] swell new spy series . . . highly enjoyable.”

—Chicago Tribune


“Violence, babes, and a cool guy spy . . . slick and funny and a lotta fun.”

—New York Post


“Smart, charmingly irreverent . . . pleasantly warped.”

—Detroit Free Press



—Entertainment Weekly


“Terrifically entertaining . . . neat and crisp as citrus soda.”

—Seattle Post-Intelligencer


“Breezy cloak-and-dagger ingenuity. [A] nicely pitched action-comedy hero: handsome, smart, neurotic, tough, funny, sensitive . . . Michael Westen is Jim Rockford and MacGyver filtered through Carl Hiassen. Entertaining, in other words.”

LA Weekly

Burn Notice

The Reformed

The Giveaway

The End Game

The Fix


Published by New American Library, a division of

Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 375 Hudson Street,
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Penguin Books Ltd., Registered Offices:
80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published by Obsidian, an imprint of New American Library,
a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

First Printing, July 2011


TM & © 2011 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

OBSIDIAN and logo are trademarks of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.


Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.

Publisher’s Note

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for

author or third-party Web sites or their content.


The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions, and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

eISBN : 978-1-101-51637-9

For Wendy


I am, as ever, indebted to Matt Nix for allowing me to bring Michael Westen to the page. I have enjoyed working with Matt over the course of these five books and have always appreciated his willingness to let me interpret his characters as I see fit. A better freedom a writer could not ask for. Thanks also to my brother Lee Goldberg for his sage advice, my agent Jennie Dunham, and my editor Sandy Harding for shepherding these books so well. And, as usual, I’d like to remind readers not to attempt to build any incendiary devices based on what you’ve read here, nor should you attempt any covert (or overt) operations using the tactics outlined herein. You’ll blow up.


When you’re a spy, repetition becomes second nature. Spend ten days in a cave in Afghanistan staring at the same tent waiting for something,
, to happen and you either learn how to avoid the perils of boredom or you risk blowing your mission or, worse, getting yourself killed. So you learn how to play games with your mind. You catalog. You assess. You occasionally see if you can remember every song you learned at Silver Spur camp that one summer you and your brother were sent there for “accidentally” blowing up your neighbor’s Fiat. And then, when your shot comes, you take it, get out and move on to the next repetitive exercise in some other foreign land. Because when you’re a spy, you live for the five seconds of adrenaline that result from weeks of paper preparation and solitary scouting.

Which is why, against my better judgment, I agreed to go with my friend Sam Axe on an errand. It was the kind of errand that required me to bring a MAC-10 with me, which was fine. It’s always better to be overprepared than underprepared in these situations.

We pulled up across the street from an office park on Northeast Fifth Street, just a few miles from my loft. It was one of those 1970s-era one-story bungalow-style office parks where businesses could actually hang a sporty shingle advertising their notary services, just as Grayson Notary & Associates had done. It was quaint, in a way that was being eradicated from Miami one Coconut-Grove-mauve-colored-open-air-shopping-district at a time.

I’d agreed to go with Sam on his errand primarily because he’d shown up at my loft looking more vexed than usual, as if maybe he hadn’t had his proper number of mojitos yet, which, for a Saturday, was troubling. More troubling, however, was that he asked me if there was an extra MAC-10 around that he could borrow for the afternoon. And also that he was dressed in a navy blue suit.

“An extra?”

“Yeah,” he said. “I let Fiona borrow my favorite one a couple weeks ago when we shot it out with those bikers.”

“Which bikers?”

“You know, the murderous ones. Not the vengeful ones. Or the ones who kidnapped that kid. You remember. The bloodthirsty, evil, murderous bikers bent on killing.”

“Ah, yes,” I said.

“Anyway,” he said, “I’ve got a little thing I gotta do today that would be helped along with a MAC-10.”

“Why don’t I come with you?” I said, figuring, naturally, that if I came there was less of a chance that Sam would actually use the MAC-10.

“Oh, Mikey, this isn’t anything you need to be mixed up in. It’s just a favor for a buddy of mine. Some freelance intimidation of a bad guy.”

“You don’t need to pay me, Sam,” I said.

“That’s great news, Mikey,” Sam said, “because I’m actually a little short right now.”

“Really,” I said. I’d known Sam Axe for the better part of the last twenty years and during that time he’d almost always been a little short. But since I returned to Miami a few years ago (minus my cover, my spy credentials burned, my life thrown into regular tumult as I looked first for the people who burned me and then, later, for a way out of their net of deception), Sam has been in a slightly better financial situation. As a former Navy SEAL, he has skills, along with those of my ex-girlfriend (and occasional gunrunner) Fiona, that have allowed the three of us to earn a better-than-government salary helping people solve rather
problems. “I’m happy to help, Sam. Makes me feel needed.”

“Thing is, Mikey,” Sam said, “it’s just one of those jobs that really feels beneath your time. You’ve got bigger fish to fry. This fish, it’s like a rainbow trout, and I feel like you’re out there fighting a barracuda on the line. One of those boys with big old snapper teeth.”

“Sam,” I said, “whatever it is you’re attempting to avoid telling me? It’s not making me want to help you. And that means I don’t want to lend you my MAC-10, either.”

“See,” Sam said, “the point of that last bit? I was hoping you’d just give me the gun and then later on, when things got bad, I’d call you and ask for help and then you couldn’t ask me any more questions, because it would be too late. It’s how we do business, Mikey, and it works. This is messing up my whole plan.”

“Fine,” I said. I left Sam in my kitchen, went upstairs and then came back with a duffel bag filled with guns. “Here,” I said and handed the bag to Sam.

BOOK: The Bad Beat
6.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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