Tuesday, February 2
Boone Drake awoke before sunup with little recollection of the previous two days.
Oh, he knew the basics --- where he was, that he was fortunate to be alive. Two uniformed officers still guarded his door. The noises and odors invaded his room at what everyone still called Cook County Hospital. And slowly, it all began to come back.
Boone, a detective in the Gang Enforcement Section of the Chicago Police Department, had masterminded the most massive sting in CPD history, bringing down the heads of not only the biggest street gangs in the city but also the Outfit --- the old crime syndicate.
Key to the operation had been the secret spiritual conversion of gang kingpin Pascual Candelario --- and his becoming an informant.
Candelario had been processed at central booking, then spirited to a secure location until he was due to testify before the grand jury. The story became the biggest in Chicago in decades, and the priority of the CPD became to protect Pascual at all costs until he was transferred to begin his testimony.
Two nights before, Boone and four undercover cops had ushered PC out and made their way to an unmarked van. As the group passed a security guard, Boone glanced back to find the man in full crouch, reaching behind his back. Boone had bellowed, “Gun!” and moved between the shooter and Candelario.
The man produced a .45 caliber Glock and squeezed off one deafening round from fifteen feet away. The slug hammered into Boone just below his left clavicle and knocked him to the floor. He felt his left lung collapse.
Two officers emptied their service revolvers into the man while the other two hustled Pascual into the van. Boone lay there knowing Pascual was safe and that every Chicago cop in the vicinity would respond to an officer-down call. Boone had felt himself go woozy and fought to remain conscious.
“Suicide shooter?” he rasped. “Had to be an inside job.” And he felt himself drifting, drifting. An injection. Floating.
Then roughly slid into the back of an ambulance for the trip to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital. Being bathed for an operation, anesthetic drip, the sweet relief of unconsciousness. Boone had awakened midmorning the next day, screaming pain in the shoulder, exhausted, achy all over, his mouth cottony. His former partner and now boss, Jack Keller, leaned close. “You got questions?”
“We got a traitor?”
Jack whispered, “That or a real smart gangbanger.”
Boone had had another miserable night, and not only because of the constant interruptions to check his vitals. He had been nearly shot dead, and to the best of his recollection he was on heavy doses of Percocet and OxyContin, not to mention a morphine drip. Maybe that’s why the activity in his private room the day before now ran together in his mind, a jumble of incomprehensible images --- including one he would never forget.
Excerpted from THE BETRAYAL: A Precinct 11 Novel, Book 2 © Copyright 2011 by Jerry B. Jenkins. Reprinted with permission by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.