The Accident Man - By Tom Cain


The night air was weighed down with heat and the sea rippled lazily against the pebbled beach.

There was a guard on the wooden jetty, but it was past ten o’clock with no moon in the sky, so the man with the AK-47 did not see Samuel Carver as he swam beneath the Adriatic waters, didn’t hear him as he surfaced beneath the jetty, didn’t detect Carver’s presence just beneath his feet.

Slowly, silently, Carver made his way up toward the shore, where the water was shallowest. He took off his mask, fins, and the buoyancy vest to which his breathing system was secured. He clipped the mask and flippers to D rings on the side of the vest, then gently slipped the diving gear back into the water, letting it settle on the seabed.

Carver waited till he heard the sound of the helicopter in the distance before he moved to his starting position by the foot of the ladder that led down to the sea at the deep end of the jetty. He was counting on human nature. When the chopper passed overhead, the man would look up. Anyone would, particularly if his boss was onboard.

There were two waterproof pouches strapped to Carver’s thighs. As the noise of the rotors reached its clattering crescendo, he opened one of them and extracted a standard veterinarian’s air pistol. He let the glow from the helicopter’s landing lights pass overhead. Then he took a deep breath, gripped the side of the ladder, and pulled himself upward.

He landed flat on the planking and looked up to see the guard still watching the Bell 206B3 JetRanger as it hovered about four hundred meters away before dropping down to land at the villa’s private helipad. The man’s back made a perfect target for the tranquilizer dart. Carver dashed forward and caught the guard before he fell. He removed the dart and threw it into the water. Then he entered the estate, preparing himself for the job he had to do.

Samuel Carver made very bad accidents happen to even worse people. His current target was a forty-three-year-old ethnic Albanian named Skender Visar. The official term for Visar’s business was people-trafficking, but Carver preferred a more traditional job description. As far as he was concerned, the Albanian was a slave trader.

Visar shipped human beings in containers from China, Africa, and the former communist states of Eastern Europe. He sent men to work as indentured labor in fields and sweatshops, doing jobs that Westerners now felt were beneath their dignity. He bought women from families so impoverished they would sell their own kith and kin; he then beat them into submission, strung them out on drugs, and worked them mercilessly in the brothels, bars, and massage parlors he owned across Europe and the United States. Few slaves lasted more than two or three years. By then they had repaid the cost of their purchase, transport, and pitifully meager upkeep hundreds of times over. And there were always more, countless thousands more.

Slavery was crime’s growth industry, its profits rapidly catching up with those to be made from illicit weapons and drugs. In some ways, the business model was far smarter. You could only sell a gun or a gram of cocaine once you could sell a sex slave ten times a night. But easy money bred tough competition. Visar lived in a permanent state of professional paranoia, constantly on the lookout for enemies, alert to every possible threat to his position, whether real or imagined.

He’d been taking a break on his 180-foot yacht, cruising the Dalmatian coast of Croatia with his family, when he heard that one of his senior lieutenants, Ergon Ali, had been trying to cut a deal with a rival boss. The information was false, planted to deceive, but it had the desired effect.

Visar sent a four-man team to the Berlin strip club that served as Ali’s base. They knocked Ali unconscious with the butt of a Mossberg pump-action shotgun, bundled him into the trunk of an S-Class Mercedes, shot him full of heroin, and hit the autobahn south. Fourteen hours later they arrived in Split, the Croatian seaside town that had once been the favored summer resort of the emperors of Rome.

Visar’s men topped up Ali’s dose to keep him quiet, then drove their Merc onto the ferry to the island of Hvar, sticking it next to a camper van filled with Australian students on a round-Europe tour. They spent the three-hour voyage in the ferry bar, matching