Today I’m joining the blog tour for The Atenisti. I’m sharing an extract from the book with thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour and to the author for providing the extract.
‘The Atenisti’ is a global rollercoaster ride of murder, the quest for justice, and retribution through the eyes of a conscience-driven assassin.
Travelling under numerous aliases, Ricci, a member of a secret organisation, finishes a mission in London. Apparently followed, he escapes to Italy. Seeking to avenge the kidnap, rape and murder of a young girl, he is plunged into a battle against a worldwide paedophile ring of extraordinary extent and power. This battle leads Ricci from Italy, through Germany, to India and beyond. Can he take on the might of this criminal network which seems determined to eliminate him?
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…I didn’t like to dwell on past jobs, but London was a distraction. The kill had been quick and clean, the evidence on the computer easy to install, so how had those guys turned up? I needed to put them out of my head, move onto the next project.
I picked up the first of the newspapers I’d bought at the station. It was the Corriere della Sera. I didn’t have to look far to find the diversion I sought. The headlines were enough.
BAMBINA DI 10 ANNI VIOLENTATA E ASSASSINATA
A ten-year-old girl, raped and murdered.
Outside the window, the Coliseum tourists were milling around in their hundreds. Mopeds and small motorcycles, the favoured transport of young Romans, weaved intricately and dangerously between cars, ignoring traffic lights and pedestrians.
The restaurant’s triple glazing protected me from the cacophony of horns and shouting, but the general mayhem, gesticulations and internationally-offensive hand and arm signals were all clearly visible. The Eternal City’s monumental ruin with huge columns and violent history held a fascination for me. Gladiatorial sacrifice for the entertainment of the populus.
‘Let the games begin,’ I said, and toasted myself with the glass of Brunello Carlo had placed in front of me without my asking. Carlo knew exactly what I liked to eat and drink and that was more than almost anyone else alive would ever get to know.
All of the papers led with the same story. Kiki Jachenholz, the daughter of a holidaying German lawyer, had gone missing while out sightseeing with her parents in the Piazza del Duomo in Milan. Three days later, yesterday, her body had been
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found at the bottom of a hill beside the via Cristoforo Colombo, on the road from Bellagio to Como. Early reports suggested she may have been thrown from a car travelling along that road. No-one had seen or heard anything.
That of course was a lie.
The murdering, rapist scum had seen and heard everything. Did the bastard act alone? I asked myself. Most killings of this type are by men acting in secret and without help – most maybe but by no means all. The number I preferred to deal with generally was two; one to die uncomfortably, and the other to give all the appearance of committing suicide due to remorse or, more frequently, fear of capture. More times than not, a suicide note pointing the Police in the right direction would be left. That was neat and tidy.
Giacomo had always liked neat and tidy, he would not have liked his own crime scene photos. There is nothing neat about having your face chewed off and throat ripped out by dogs.
The meal was wonderful, ossobuco alla romana, a simple veal dish cooked with celery, carrots and peas, just enough tomato sauce to permit a scarpetta – the traditional Italian way of using bread to wipe up the sauce on the plate. The plate cleaned, using the bread slipper, the bill arrived, cash was exchanged, Carlo gratefully accepted his usual hefty tip.
‘Molto gentile, come sempre, Signor Matteo,’ he said, deftly folding the crisp fifty euro note and sliding it into a pocket.
In Rome cash opens doors better than any key. The small apartment I used in Rome, a welcoming ten minutes’ walk away awaited me.
I studied the newspapers and watched the news. Each small detail lodged in the file inside my head. I booted up the computer and gained entry to the Police system. I’m not a hacker and wouldn’t have a clue how to break through even the simplest of firewalls, but I had the access codes, updated regularly and informed to
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me through a well-established system. Being a member of The Atenisti had its advantages, a group formed several decades ago by Giacomo.
Like many things about the Atenisti, its precise date of formation was a mystery, even to me. Perhaps there were others like me, other groups; I neither knew nor cared. I would carry out my work for as long as I was able, or motivated, and then die or simply disappear and live out my days in one of the forty-two properties in seventeen countries to which I had access.
Giacomo, a former soldier and diplomat with a passion for Egyptology, was meticulous. Fascinated by the Amarna period of the Eighteenth Pharaonic Dynasty, he had created this group, the name inspired by the ancient worshippers of the sun disk and financed by a multi-billion dollar inheritance.
The fourteen Atenisti, each one representing one of the sun’s rays in the hieroglyphics of the period, bought three properties where they believed they would be most useful. The Aten’s rays covered the world, so did the Atenisti. I bought the cottage in Northumberland as a safe haven, this apartment in Rome and the lakeside 1960s style boathouse on the Lecco side of Lake Como. That’s where I would be heading tomorrow, across the lake from where the girl’s body had been found.
The police information soon gave me what I was looking for; the current list of known predatory paedophiles in the area of the kidnap, rape and murder. My own list was not always up to date. The police intelligence gathering over the last three days was exceptional. Scrolling through pages of details, the words I dreaded ended the report; ten letters divided equally into two words,
The bastards had filmed the rape and murder, no doubt to sell for large sums on the dark web. Impressively a copy was already on the police files. They must have
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agents permanently scanning the dark web for such things. Even knowing it to be essential that I watch this film, my hand refused to move the cursor to the icon…
The Atenisti is available from Amazon.
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