Jeremiah O’Connell made his name solving problems in London and now does the same in LA. The problems other people can’t or won’t touch? They’re the ones that end up at Jerry’s door.
Suddenly Jeremiah has problems of his own when he sets out to right a wrong and finds himself on the hitlist of one of LA’s most feared drug gangs.
As the stakes rise, so does the body count, and Jerry has the fight of his life on his hands. Now, with high-class escort Noah in tow, Jeremiah must revisit his old London stomping grounds and assemble his team in order to wage all-out war on the streets on Tinseltown…
Jerry ambled towards the strip club entrance, pulled open a
door and moved into a vestibule area, where a doorman sat
on a bar stool looking at his phone. Jerry tried to hide his
contempt, resisting the urge to tell the guy to get his arse
outside, which was where he should be. Standing. Watching.
Being a fucking doorman. Not sitting inside texting like a
The guy looked up at Jerry, down at his phone and then,
in a double take, back at Jerry. In the next second, he was
scrambling to his feet, broadening his shoulders and narrowing
his eyes. ‘What up?’ he croaked.
From behind him came the muffled thump of the strip
club music. The phone went away, hands into the pockets of
his bomber jacket. Making it clear to Jerry where he kept his
weapon – whatever that might be.
‘All right, mate?’ said Jerry. ‘You open for business, are
you?’ He was taking the piss, but it went clean over the head
of the doorman.
‘Always, always,’ nodded the doorman, ‘just as long as
you’re not after trouble . . .’
Jerry held up his hands. ‘Just here for the booze and the
The doorman held the door open for him and he moved
through into the foyer. A woman in a booth took his money.
He passed into the main club and took in the scene: dancers
gyrating at poles on a central stage; sleepyeyed
a clientele who looked like part of the furniture. The overall
feel was one of lethargy, boredom. The afternoon after a
heavy night when the world has nothing more to show you.
He took a seat, ordered from a waitress who introduced
herself as Ashley, and then, when she returned with the
bottle, asked her, ‘You got a girl here called Commodore?’
Commodore. Fucksake. What a stupid name.
‘Yeah, Commodore’s here,’ replied Ashley warily. ‘Who
wants to know?’
‘A fan. I’ve been told her dancing is utterly sublime,’ said
affecting the voice of a connoisseur.
Taking the piss again. He kissed his fingers. Grinned.
Ashley wasn’t having it. ‘She’s new.’
‘Word travels fast.’
‘All right. Well, you’re in luck, she’s on soon.’
Jerry sat back, drank his beer in three long slugs and then
ordered another one, Ashley even more wary now, which
was just as he intended. Sure enough, from the corner of
his eye, he watched the arrival of a guy he decided was
probably the duty manager. Jerry knew the type: scrawny
little guy with a wispy beard, cheap, shit suit and shoes that
didn’t match. The kind of guy who’d take advantage of the
In turn, the duty manager beckoned to Ashley to join him.
They spoke briefly, the waitress glancing over at Jerry, nodding,
before the manager was joined by a bouncer in black
‘You’ve got a girl here called Commodore, yeah?’ began
cargo pants and trainers. More conversation. More glances
towards Jerry. Ashley departed to go about her business. The
Jerry. ‘Don’t answer that, it’s a rhetorical question. I know
bouncer and the duty manager remained, just at the periphery
of Jerry’s vision but staring his way.
Now Jerry looked over, maintaining eye contact. Next,
he stood, turned and very deliberately repositioned his chair
so that instead of facing the stage, it now faced the two men.
He regained his seat, lifted his beer bottle and saluted them,
They gave no response, just stared. The manager said
something to the bouncer. The bouncer nodded and made
his way over to Jerry.
He was a big guy: goatee beard, thick dark eyebrows.
Probably knew his way around a fight. As he arrived at Jerry’s
table, Jerry stood, reached for a chair, pulled it out. For a
moment or so, the two men faced one another, and then the
bouncer sat, Jerry doing the same.
‘What can I do for you?’ asked the bouncer. His gaze was
steady, but light glanced off a line of sweat on his forehead.
you have. Thing is, she’s leaving with me, so I’d appreciate it
if you’d let Commodore know that we’re going, like, now.
Tell her to pack a bag, take anything that’s hers. She’s not
coming back.’ Jerry checked his watch, the flash of his gold
Rolex not lost on the bouncer.
The bouncer regarded him. His expression barely changed.
‘Fallen in love, have we?’ he said.
‘It makes not a blind bit of difference to you why I’m taking
her. Just: I’m taking her.’
The bouncer pulled a face, shook his head. ‘Commodore’s
not free to leave. We set her up here, which means she works
for us until such time as she’s paid off her front money, and
she’s nowhere near doing that. What I’m saying is, she ain’t
Another bouncer had appeared and was standing a few
tables away, hands clasped in front of him, still as a statue.
Jerry gave him the onceover,
reflecting that you could
always tell if a geezer knew what he was doing by the way he
held his hands. Behind his back or down by his sides? Forget
it, guy was an amateur, you might as well have them in your
pockets. In front was a bit better, but the real pros had them
up high to make it easy to deflect.
Meantime, the girls on the poles were still dancing, but at
the same time were looking across. Even the few customers
had raised their eyes, their attention arrested by something
that was only slightly less commonplace than the sight of
‘And now,’ said the bouncer, as though he had regained
naked flesh and the taste of warm beer – the threat of imminent
A moment passed. Their eyes locked. Jerry didn’t move.
‘I’ll tell you what, I’m going to give you my card,’ said
the upper hand, ‘I’ll have to ask you to go.’
Jerry. It was already on the table. He slid it over.
‘Just says “Jeremiah O’Connell”, and a number,’ said the
bouncer without picking it up.
‘That’s all you need,’ said Jerry. ‘Make a few calls. I’ll wait
for you to speak to whoever you need to speak to.’
It took about ten minutes or so. Then the bouncer with
the goatee returned. ‘Commodore will be out in a moment,’
he said flatly. His eyes betrayed nothing, but Jerry saw the
tension in his shoulders. A vein that stood out on his neck.
Both tells that Jerry knew well – signs of one predator sizing
‘Well done, mate,’ replied Jerry.
The bouncer gave him an appraising look, seemed about to
say something, but thought better of it and then moved away.
Moments later, Commodore appeared, pale and drawn. Her
eyes were tired, and she wore streetwalker clothes.
‘They say I have to come with you,’ she said blankly.
‘They’re right, darlin’.’
Hope for the best, plan for the worst – that was what they
always said. He was prepared for a fuss. Tears. Screaming,
maybe even fists, and he was ready to carry her bodily out of
the door if needs be.
Instead, she just looked at him with tired, darkrimmed
eyes that no amount of caked on
She might be beautiful again, maybe, at some point in the
future. But right now her world had robbed her of looks and
life. Drugs had brought her low, and when she asked, ‘Did
my father send you?’ and he told her yes, the look on her face
was one of relief.
In short order, he made the call, drove to The Saddle
Ranch further along and delivered the girl into the grateful
arms of her father. An envelope was handed over. ‘There’s a
lot of money in there,’ said the father.
Jerry shrugged. ‘Price was agreed. Twenty grand for her
safe return. You got her back, you pay up. Simple as that.’
His face darkened. ‘Not planning on quibbling about it now,
The man seemed to remember himself, shook his head,
and when he handed over the envelope, it was with a look of
gratitude, of relief. He watched as Jerry stowed the envelope
in his inside jacket pocket, got in the car and took off.
For his part, as he took off along Cedar Tree Avenue in
the shitty Prius, Jerry was looking forward to a drink at the
Naughty Pig on the Strip.
Which was when it happened.