31 Dec

Thirty-eight years old, divorced, stuck in a dead end job yet the best spy catcher in the US Atomic Energy Commission, Agent Rocco Mancuso turns to beer and an occasional cocktail to fill the holes in his life.

Raised in a Providence, Rhode Island, Federal Hill slum by a widowed mom, Rocco fought his way out, helped by Dino Ricotti, a gangster who took a liking to young Rocco and who later became the Godfather of the New England mafia. With his perpetual five o'clock shadow and a scar that ran from his left eye to his jaw, Mancuso figured he looked like a mafia hit man. That wasn't the job he wanted. The scar was from finding himself in the middle of a gang war between a Sicilian gang and a Calabrese gang when he was twelve. A Calabrese kid, several years his senior, slashed his cheek with a straight razor.

After high school, Mancuso joined the marines where he caught a Japanese Arisaka seven millimeter rifle bullet to his chest on Okinawa. Following the end of WWII, Mancuso used the GI Bill and financial help from Ricotti to obtain a bachelors degree and law degree from Brown University. Mancuso joined the Atomic Energy Commission after law clerking and entered the Office of Security and Intelligence. He married Carol and was immediately let down when she refused to start a family though she wouldn't say why. His days were torture under his boss, Vic Zanotti, was from northern Italy. He hated Italians from southern Italy, claiming they were only one step from apes. Mancuso's grandfather immigrated from Sicily so he became a target for Vic's hatred.

After long days spent dealing with spies trying to steal nuclear secrets and materials while being berated by a bigoted boss, Mancuso had a few beers at night to help wash it all away. Carol spent five years nagging him to quit drinking and then walked out on him. That left a scar as well--a scar called guilt.

Now, his chest aches when it's going to rain or snow or when stress levels become too high--something that happens frequently when tracking down armed spies and being harassed by a verbally violent boss.

Meeting Elise made his days more bearable. But then he had to face Ty Rettig, a powerful psychopath who saw Mancuso for who he was--a dangerous enemy.

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