Shell Scott. He's a guy with a pistol in his pocket and murder on his mind.
The crime world's public enemy number one, this Casanova is a sucker for a damsel in distress. When a pair of lovely legs saunters into his office, he can't help but take the job, even when the case is a killer.
He's south of the border and crackin' down on crime. There's a fierce crime wave running rampant throughout Mexico that's got Shell in the mood for some hot tamales, wet tequila and justice. But who would have guessed that the police are involved in the scam
Shell's got his work cut out for him, but that doesn't mean there's no time for some sexy se ' oritas
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September 20, 2004
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Excerpt from Pattern For Panic by Richard S. Prather
I RESTED what seemed to be left of my head against the comparatively cool steel door of my cell and cursed Mexico, Mexico City jails, Mexico City cops, and a sad old horse's behind named Shell Scott -- me. My hair is blond, almost white, and usually sticks up in the air about an inch; now it seemed likely the cops had pounded it down into my skull. I felt again to make sure I still had it. It was there, among my bumps.
There is very little to be said for jails in any part of the world, but the charitable thing to say about Mexican jails is that they leave much to be desired. What I actually desired was to get out, but from all the signs this might be my home from now on -- one hell of a home for a Los Angeles private detective. I couldn't even explain that I wanted a lawyer, or a writ, or a gun, because I talked in English and everybody listened in Spanish.
My cell was dark and damp, exactly three paces long and three paces wide, made homey by a rickety cot -- complete with blanket and some odd little bugs -- placed near one cement wall, a comfort corner that was about the most uncomfortable corner I'd ever seen, and one small round window six feet over my head in the back wall. I was lucky; I had a cot. The cell door wasn't barred; it was of solid steel with a foot-square opening in it through which I could look. I could hear evening traffic outside on Calle Londres; a newsboy was selling his copies of El Universal; a man laughed, then shouted something in boisterous Spanish. It was Saturday night, and happy people were out on the town.
I cursed everything some more, and about the time I got around to one particular cop, he came walking down the corridor that led from the front office and open-air patio outside back to the cell block here. He stopped before my cell and grinned in at me through my steel window. In the dim light from the one unshaded bulb in the corridor, I could see the empty space in his mouth where I had knocked out two of his teeth. Even with all his teeth he'd been no prize: tall and thin, with protruding eyes, the skin too tight over his cheekbones, and an expression that said more plainly than words that this boy was not bright.
"Hello, you stoop," I said. "I hope you swallowed those teeth and they bite hell out of you. I hope you get the Tourist Disease and bleed to death. Come a little closer. I like to hit cops." He couldn't understand English, so it was O.K.
"Gringo bastard," he said. "Keep it up. I kill you."
I blinked at him. "How come nobody speaks English till now? And where in hell is the other guy, that slick-looking slob who started the whole thing? And how about letting me use the phone?"
He stared at me blankly and slapped a long wooden billy against the palm of his hand. I should have known better, after what had already happened, but I had one hand curled around the edge of my little window. I saw his eyes flick toward my fingers, but I was too slow. He swung the billy in a short arc and cracked it against the knuckles of my left hand. It felt like he'd busted something.
I stepped away from the cell door and said, "Friend, I won't be in here forever." He moved closer, still grinning. "Yes," he said, "you be in here forever. I make sure. You be here forever." He wiggled his billy at me and walked back down the corridor leading to the front office.
I didn't like the confident way he'd said it, but I didn't like much of anything right now, including me. I should have known that not even six feet two inches and 206 pounds of ex-Marine was a match for seven cops and one civilian. That miserable civilian was going to be a dead miserable civilian if I ever got out of here. My head hurt and it was hard to think straight, but I still had the impression that those other six cops had thundered up in a surprising hurry. There was something screwy about it, about the whole mess.