Book #1 in the Michael Sykora series
For Michael Sykora, killing started as blind rage. Then it became something he's good at. To most of those who know him, Michael is a software designer, a smart but average guy with a workaholic nature. To a chosen few, Michael is a part-time hit man whose specialty is eliminating hard-core criminals.
Michael has managed to keep his two personas separate. Until now. When Nicki, a close friend, gets into trouble, Michael steps in to help. Having lost his fiance to a brutal crime, Michael will do whatever necessary to keep from losing another woman in his life.
This is book #1 in the Michael Sykora series.
Book #2: Beyond Salvation
Book #3: Killing Instinct
Short Story: The First Kill
Information on all 3 books and the short story available on one page: Michael Sykora Novels
Excerpt: Chapter 1
Let him laugh. One more hour and he’d be dead.
Michael Sykora put the
binoculars down on the empty passenger seat. The man he’d soon be killing went
by the name Alan Nystrom, an alias, of which he had three others. His real
name, the one he hadn’t used in over 20 years, was Bruce Renwick.
More laughter. Good to know that
Renwick was enjoying his last day. Soaking up the sun on the golf course,
making jokes with his buddies. Would Renwick, if given the choice, pick golf as
his last hurrah? Doubtful, though the choices people made often baffled him.
Michael was being paid $40,000
to dispose of Bruce Renwick. Twenty of that had already been deposited into his
offshore account. The other half would be received upon completion. His price
had been a little higher for this job since the client had chosen the method of
death. An indulgence Michael had allowed this time. Though after what he’d
found while rummaging through Renwick’s home last night, Michael would gladly
take this trash out for free.
Calling Renwick an animal would
be a grave insult to the non-human world. Renwick was a pedophile. A predator
of the lowest sort. The last child he’d raped, an 11-year-old boy, had hung
himself afterward because the shame and trauma had been unbearable. That boy
had not been Renwick’s first victim. He would, however, be the last.
The next day Michael had been
contacted. The boy’s father did not want Renwick given the chance to walk away.
Not ever. He had to be wiped off the earth before the police finished their investigation.
That call had come five days ago. Michael had inside information that a warrant
would be issued for Renwick’s arrest tomorrow morning.
Renwick would be dead this
Bruce Renwick, as Alan Nystrom, strode confidently toward
the clubhouse. The man had an odd stoop, like he was training to be the
hunchback in a play or something. His hair was that shade of brown that women
called mousy and his eyes were covered by small round glasses reminiscent of
John Lennon. He wore tan shorts and one of those polo shirts in blue. To all
the world he appeared as a harmless geek.
The locked metal storage unit in
his garage had told a different story. Michael had checked. He liked to be sure
before he killed. Death wasn’t something he could take back. The pictures had
confirmed more than he’d needed to know. Renwick would not be a mistake.
Michael set his binoculars on
the seat beside him and did his best to stretch in the cramped car. He’d been
sitting in this parking space for eleven minutes, having moved once Renwick had
finished the 18th hole. Now he had a perfect view of the clubhouse, as well as
Renwick’s silver Saab.
The clock continued to tick on
Eighteen more minutes passed.
Then Bruce Renwick, golf bag slung over his shoulder, emerged from the
clubhouse. One of his golf buddies walked beside him. They headed toward the
The other man, a forty-something
balding executive type, parted company with Renwick as they moved toward their
respective cars. Michael turned the key in his ignition. He pushed the gear
into reverse, kept his foot on the brake.
The executive climbed into his
car. A bright yellow Volkswagen. He tooted once, then pulled out. Renwick
lifted his hand in a wave as he kept walking. Fortunately for Michael’s purpose,
Renwick liked to park his Saab in the back of the lot, far from everyone. He
was also one of those guys who parked diagonally across three spaces at the
grocery store so that no one would ding his car when opening his or her door.
Michael glanced around him. The
strip mall had been fairly busy this morning. Right now, however, he was alone.
No one had parked close to him. No one was outside. The timing couldn’t have
been better. He tucked the binoculars under his seat. He would no longer need
His heart sped up. Just a slight
increase but enough for him to notice. His breathing remained even. He watched.
Bruce Renwick held his key
chain. He pressed the button on his remote to unlock his doors. The alarm
chirped off. Then the trunk popped open. He slid the golf clubs off his
shoulder and placed the bag inside the trunk. Then he pushed the trunk lid
Back around to the driver’s
side. Renwick reached out, gripped the door handle and pulled. A grimace,
probably from the heat inside the car. He smoothed his hair back, adjusted his
glasses, then slid inside.
Michael eased his foot from the
brake. Renwick yanked his door closed. A moment passed. The engine caught. Then
a deafening blast that shook the pavement. The vibration reverberated through Michael’s
hands as he gripped the steering wheel. Thick smoke, orange flames. Bits of
metal rained down around the blaze that had once been Renwick and his car.
Screams from the golf course.
Michael calmly backed out of his parking slot. No one looked his way. The
billows of smoke were far more entertaining.
Once out on the main street,
Michael took his cell phone from his pocket. Not his usual phone but the
disposable one with the prepaid card. The boy’s father had one just like it.
Michael dialed his number. When the father picked up, Michael said, “It’s
The squeal of young children
playing sifted into the silence through the connection. The father had taken
his advice, making sure he had a solid alibi. Yesterday he and his wife had
driven up to Georgia to stay with family. They had told police that they needed
to get away from their house and the memories. No one could blame them. Their
son had hung himself in their garage.
Now the father said, “Good.
Thank you.” A pause, then, “How did it go?”
His voice had that gravelly
quality that came from too many cigarettes and sleepless nights. There was also
something sadly robotic in the way he pronounced his words. Michael had killed
the monster but he could never bring the child back. The man and his wife would
never be okay.
Michael said, “You don’t want
details. It’s better that way.”
The client hadn’t been after the
usual vengeance of extreme pain and suffering. He’d wanted Renwick’s body
ripped apart. Shredded, was how the client had put it. He’d wanted to be sure
there was nothing left for Renwick’s family to mourn over.
Michael would have liked to give
the man the details. He deserved that much. But he’d explained from the start,
knowing too many details wasn’t a smart idea. The cops would inevitably question
him. After all, Renwick had raped his son. Caused his suicide. Therefore, the
less detail he was sure of, the easier it would be to lie.
“Right,” the father said. He
cleared his throat, probably wiped away tears. Then, “The balance will be taken
care of today.”
From the client’s offshore
account to Michael’s. No paper trail for the police to trace. “Thank you,”
Sirens wailed in the distance.
Michael said, “I’m sorry. I hope you find peace.” Then he flipped the phone
shut and rode the rest of the way in silence.