At the height of World War II, the famous writer Ernest Hemingway sought permission from the U.S. government to operate a spy ring out of his house in the Cuban countryside. This much is true.…
It is the summer of '42 and FBI agent Joe Lucas has come to Cuba at the behest of J. Edgar Hoover to keep an eye on Hemingway. The great writer has assembled a ragtag spy ring that he calls the "Crook Factory" to play a dangerous game of amateur espionage. But then Lucas and Hemingway, against all the odds, uncover a critical piece of intelligence-and the game turns deadly.
In The Crook Factory, award-winning author Dan Simmons expands a little-known fact into a tour de force of gripping historical suspense set in the sensual Cuban landscape of the early 1940s.
Release date: February 5, 2013
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Print pages: 560
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The Crook Factory
—Dallas Morning News
“A literary thriller that is sure to win Simmons another batch of readers and place him on the short list for more awards…. A remarkable blend of fact and fiction… filled with just the right amount of action, humor, suspense, and compassion…. In the end, what resonates deepest are the characters…. Readers will come away from this book feeling as if they actually lived alongside the great writer…. A tale that will echo in the mind long after the last page has been turned… The Crook Factory exemplifies the kind of fiction that Hemingway held in high esteem, writing that is ‘truer than true.’ ”
“The essence of good historical fiction is not being able to tell where history ends and fiction begins, and in this The Crook Factory succeeds extraordinarily well. Simmons adds to this a brilliantly realized portrayal of Hemingway—a daunting and difficult task—and embeds it all in a straightforwardly gripping narrative: the result is a wonderful read.”
“A gripping read from start to finish…. Dan Simmons is, in many ways, the reincarnation of Robert Louis Stevenson…. The Crook Factory, a fast-paced spy thriller rooted in recent history, is yet another milestone in the career of one of America’s finest writers.”
—Des Moines Sunday Register
“A carefully wrought and immensely entertaining espionage yarn that manages to involve Hemingway and his motley crew in the machinations of the FBI, the OSS, the Abwehr, the Gestapo, British and Russian military intelligence, and corrupt agents of both Cuba and Brazil.”
—Charleston Post & Courier
“A first-rate espionage thriller that can do nothing but enhance Simmons’ already considerable reputation as a storyteller.”
—Denver Rocky Mountain News
“Dan Simmons makes you truly feel that you are with Hemingway in one of his real-life adventures as the great writer hunted Nazi agents and chased German U-boats off the coast of Cuba in 1942. Every Hemingway fan will love this book, as will every fan of espionage novels that tell it the way it is.”
—David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of First Blood and Creepers
“Exciting… entertaining… amazing…. Novelist Dan Simmons has uncovered perhaps the most eccentric chapter in Mr. Hemingway’s life.”
—Detroit Free Press
“A gutsy speculation on Ernest Hemingway’s exploits in wartime espionage…. As vividly depicted by Simmons, pre-Communist Cuba is an exotic locale whose volatile wartime intrigues are comparable to those of the cinematic Casablanca. It’s the perfect milieu for Hemingway, whose larger-than-life evocation must be accounted one of Simmons’s sterling literary achievements.”
“Extraordinary entertainment… laced with amazing historical vignettes…. I was mesmerized by Dan Simmons’s brilliant and unique period thriller.”
—Philadelphia City Paper
“An excellent thriller…. Simmons skillfully builds his story into the ambiguities in actual history through solid writing and research…. The result is fiction true to the spirit of Hemingway and his times.”
“A real page-turning espionage story complete with corrupt police officials, double agents, secret codes, and multiple murders. Simmons offers one of the best fictional portraits of Hemingway without falling into hero worship…. A fun read for both Hemingway aficionados and spy novel enthusiasts.”
“A sophisticated historical espionage thriller… ambitious and thoroughly researched…. A born storyteller… Simmons has over the last decade repeatedly shown himself to be one of the most versatile, intelligent, and unpredictable novelists around.”
“This fabulously compelling and humorous rendering of the little-known war operations and secret agent skullduggery in the Caribbean in the summer of 1942 will surely charm readers who love history, suspense, and intrigue.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“Hemingway would like this thriller.”
—Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Abwehr: German Military Intelligence—oldest of the various intelligence services—headed in 1942 by Admiral Wilhelm Canaris. While charged by Hitler to work in cooperation with Heinrich Himmler’s SD/RSHA Nazi political intelligence wing, the two agencies were deadly enemies.
RSHA: Reich Nazi internal security agency—Reichssicherheithauptamt—headed by Heinrich Himmler. Himmler, who was also in charge of the SS and eventually the SD, had as his primary goal the destruction of Canaris and his Abwehr network: actual espionage and counterespionage came second.
SD: Sicherheitsdienst. The intelligence and counterintelligence wing of Himmler’s RSHA, headed (until his assassination in May 1942) by Himmler’s ruthless protégé, Reinhard Heydrich. Upon Heydrich’s death, Himmler took direct charge of the SD as well as the SS and overall RHSA.
AMT VI: “Department 6”—the division of the RHSA’s SD devoted to conducting espionage in foreign countries.
Department D4 of Amt VI: Commanded by Grüppenleiter Theodor Päffgen, the section responsible for SD/RHSA political espionage in Latin America.
SS: Schützstaffel. Unit of Nazis originally created to serve as a personal bodyguard to Adolf Hitler and whose responsibilities, under Himmler, were widely expanded to include intelligence, internal security, policing action, and the extermination of undesirables. Some antique typewriters in Germany still have the “twin-lightning-bolt” key denoting the SS.
Gestapo: Dreaded secret police of the Third Reich. Actually RSHA Amt IV controlled by Himmler.
Marine Nachrichtendiest: German Naval Intelligence. As with the Abwehr, an independent military intelligence service not directly controlled by the Nazi political wing.
Vertrauensmann: German Abwehr secret agent or “V-mann.”
micropunkt: microfilm used by Abwehr agents, developed at the Institute of Technology in Dresden.
MI6: British Foreign Intelligence.
MI5: British Internal intelligence/counterintelligence.
XX Program: Literally “Double Cross”—British intelligence’s highly successful attempt to “turn” enemy agents. By the end of the war, all German agents in England were working for the British.
NID: Naval Intelligence Division. Headed by Admiral John Godfrey, who personally hired the young ne’er-do-well, Ian Fleming, who excelled in espionage and rose to the rank of commander in the NID.
Assault Unit 30: One of Ian Fleming’s many outrageous and successful ideas—a group of felons and misfits trained for wildly improbable missions behind German lines. Later the basis for the film The Dirty Dozen.
BSC: British Security Coordination. A branch of MI6 run out of New York City to provide counterintelligence operations in North and South America. Its secret goal prior to Dec. 7, 1941, was to help draw the United States into the war. The BSC was headed by William Stephenson, code-named “Intrepid,” arguably the most successful secret agent of WWII.
Camp X: BSC special training and operations center near Oshawa in Canada. Many FBI/SIS counterintelligence operatives were also trained there by British experts. The plot to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, head of the German SD, was worked out at Camp X.
FBI: Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar Hoover, Director.
SIS: Special Intelligence Service: counterintelligence division of FBI created during the war, especially involved with Latin American operations (“Joe Lucas’s” special area of expertise).
COI: “Coordinator of Intelligence”—foreign intelligence and counterintelligence service of the U.S. created and headed by William “Wild Bill” Donovan. The COI (later the OSS and eventually the CIA) was known for its bold operations and for hiring “unlikely” secret operatives—such as Marlene Dietrich, Julia Child, famous American writers, etc.
OSS: Office of Strategic Services: name change for Donovan’s COI in June of 1942. According to an arrangement made that year, the OSS was to be in charge of “foreign intelligence”—i.e., overseas spying—while the FBI/SIS was to retain jurisdiction over all counterintelligence operations in the Western Hemisphere. In reality, the two agencies clashed constantly. J. Edgar Hoover’s goal was nothing less than total control of all U.S. intelligence operations, foreign and domestic.
CIA: Central Intelligence Agency: descended directly from the OSS, one of many agencies now charged with gathering intelligence for the U.S. government. Bill Casey, the head of the CIA during the Reagan era, was a protégé of Bill Donovan’s.
ONI: Office of Naval Intelligence. Early in 1942, the ONI was very concerned by an illicit affair between one of its young intelligence officers in Washington—John F. Kennedy—and an older woman under suspicion of being a Nazi secret agent. Kennedy was transferred overseas.
The Latin American division of ONI was run in 1941–42 by a hunchbacked dwarf named Wallace Beta Phillips, a consummate spymaster who left Naval Intelligence after his work there in cooperation with the BSC was constantly compromised by the FBI. He later joined the OSS.
G2: U.S. Army Military Intelligence. In 1942, G2 was spending much of its time and energy following, wiretapping, and investigating such probable enemy agents as the Vice President of the United States, a former Secretary of State, Eleanor Roosevelt, and young Lt. John F. Kennedy.
SDI: Intelligence service of the U.S. State Department.
NKVD: Narodnii Kommissariat Vnutrennikh Del—the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs—Stalin’s intelligence service and de facto secret police, run by the psychopath Lavrenty Beria.
GPU: Soviet internal secret police until 1935, later the MVD.
DOPS: (Delgacio Especial de Ordem Politica e Social) Brazilian political police specializing in counterintelligence, often in liaison with the FBI/SIS.
HE FINALLY DID IT on a Sunday, July 2, 1961, up in Idaho, in a new house which, I suspect, meant little to him, but which had a view up a valley to the high peaks, down the valley to the river, and across the valley to a cemetery where friends were buried.
I was in Cuba when I heard the news. There was some irony in this, because I had not been back to Cuba in the nineteen years since my time with Hemingway. There was more irony in the fact that July 2, 1961, was my forty-ninth birthday. I spent it following a greasy little man through greasy little bars, and then driving all night—still following him—as he drove three hundred and fifty kilometers out into the boondocks, out beyond where the armored train in Santa Clara marks the road to Remedios. I was out there in the cane fields and palm forests for another day and night before my business with the greasy little man was done, and I did not hear a radio until I stopped at the Hotel Perla in Santa Clara for a drink. The radio there was playing sad music—almost funereal—but I thought nothing of it and spoke to no one. I did not hear about Hemingway’s death until I was back in Havana that evening, checking out of the hotel near where the U.S. embassy had been until Castro had kicked the Americans out just a few months before, in January.
“Did you hear, señor?” said the seventy-year-old bellman as he carried my bags out to the curb.
“What?” I said. The old man knew me only as a businessman from Colombia. If he had personal news for me, it could be very bad.
“The writer is dead,” said the old man. His thin cheeks under the gray stubble were trembling.
“What writer?” I said, glancing at my watch. I had to make a plane at eight P.M.
“Señor Papa,” said the old bellman.
I froze with my wrist still raised. For a brief moment, I found it hard to focus on the dial of my watch. “Hemingway?” I said.
“Yes,” said the old man. His head kept bobbing up and down long after the single syllable was uttered.
“How?” I said.
“Gunshot,” said the bellman. “In the head. By his own hand.”
Of course, I thought. I said, “When?”
“Two days ago,” said the old man. He sighed heavily. I could smell the rum. “In the United States,” he added as if that explained everything.
“Sic transit hijo de puta,” I said under my breath. A polite translation might be “There goes the son of a bitch.”
The old bellman’s head snapped back on his scrawny neck as if he had been slapped. His servile, usually rheumy eyes flashed a sudden anger bordering on hatred. He set my bags down on the floor of the lobby as if freeing his hands to fight. I realized that the old man might well have known Hemingway.
I raised my right hand, palm out. “It’s all right,” I said. “It’s something the writer said. Something Hemingway said when they threw Batista out during the Glorious Revolution.”
The bellman nodded, but his eyes were still angry. I gave him two pesos and walked out, leaving my bags near the door.
My first impulse was to find the car I had been using—and had left abandoned on a street just outside the Old Section—and drive out to the finca. It was only twelve miles away. But I realized that this was a bad idea. I had to get to the airport and get out of this country as soon as I could, not go wandering around like some goddamned tourist. Besides, the farm had been confiscated by the revolutionary government. There were soldiers standing guard out there right now.
Standing guard over what? I thought. Over his thousands of books that he hadn’t been able to get out of the country? His dozens of cats? His rifles and shotguns and hunting trophies? His boat? Where was the Pilar? I wondered. Still berthed in Cojímar or pressed into service of the state?
At any rate, I knew for a fact that the Finca Vigía had been closed up for this past year with a battalion of former orphans and beggars receiving military instruction on the grounds. Word in Havana was that the ragtag militia was not allowed in the house—they slept in tents near the tennis courts—but that their commandante slept in the guest house, almost certainly in the same bed that had been mine when we ran the Crook Factory out of that same building. And I had film in the false lining of my suitcase that showed quite clearly that Fidel had stationed an antiaircraft unit on the patio of the Steinharts’ home on the hilltop next to Hemingway’s farm—sixteen 100-millimeter Soviet AA guns to defend Havana from the heights. There were eighty-seven Cuban gunners at the site and six Russian advisers.
No, not the Finca Vigía. Not this hot summer evening.
I walked the eleven blocks down Obispo Street to the Floridita. Already, just a year and a half after the revolution, the streets seemed empty compared with the traffic I remembered here during the early ’40s. Four Russian army officers came out of a bar across the way, obviously drunk and singing very loudly. The Cubans on Obispo—the young men in white shirts, the pretty girls in short skirts—all looked away as if the Russians were urinating in public. None of the whores approached them.
The Floridita had also become property of the state, I knew, but it was open this Tuesday evening. I had heard that the bar had been air-conditioned in the ’50s, but either my informant had been misinformed or the cost of cooling the place had become prohibitive after the revolution, for this evening the shutters were all up and the bar was open to the sidewalks, just as it had been when Hemingway and I drank there.
I did not go in, of course. I pulled my fedora lower and looked away for the most part, glancing in just once when I was sure my face was in shadow.
Hemingway’s favorite bar stool—the one on the far left, next to the wall—was empty. This was not a surprise. The bar’s current owner—the state—had ordered that no one could sit there. A goddamned shrine. On the wall above the empty stool was a bust of the writer looking dark, amorphous, and ridiculous. Hemingway’s kiss-up friends had given that to him, I had heard, after the writer had won the Nobel Prize for that stupid fish story. A bartender—not Constante Ribailagua, the cantinero I had known, but a younger, middle-aged man in dark-rimmed glasses—was mopping the bar in front of Hemingway’s stool as if expecting the writer to return from the baño any moment.
I turned back toward the hotel on narrow O’Reilly Street. “Jesus Christ,” I whispered, mopping the sweat from under my hatband. They would probably turn Hemingway into some sort of pro-communist saint down here. I had seen it before in Catholic countries after a successful Marxist revolution. The faithful were kicked out of their churches, but they still needed their fucking santos. The socialist state always scrambled to provide them—busts of Marx, giant murals of Fidel, posters of Che Guevara. Hemingway as the patron saint of Havana. I smiled as I hurried across a connecting street so as not to be run down by a convoy of military trucks with Russian drivers.
“La tenía cogida la baja,” I whispered, trying to pluck the phrase from half-forgotten bits of Havana slang. This city, above all others, should “know his weak points”—see the code under the surface.
I flew out of Havana that night, thinking more about the implications of my visit to the camouflaged camp south of Remedios than of the details of Hemingway’s death, but in the weeks and months and years to come, it was those details, that solitary death, which grew to an obsession with me.
The first reports from the AP said that Hemingway had been cleaning one of his guns when it had accidentally discharged. I knew immediately that this was bullshit. Hemingway had cleaned his rifles and shotguns since he was a young boy and would never make such a mistake. He had—as the news reports soon confirmed—blown his own brains out. But how? What were the details? I remembered that the only fistfight Hemingway and I had ever had came as a result of his demonstration at the finca of how to kill oneself. He had placed the butt of his Mannlicher .256 on the rough rug of his living room, pulled the muzzle near his mouth, said “In the mouth, Joe; the palate is the softest part of the head,” and then pressed the trigger down with his big toe. The hammer had dry-clicked and Hemingway had raised his head and smiled as if awaiting approval.
“That’s fucking stupid,” I had said.
Hemingway had propped the Mannlicher against the ugly floral chair, balanced on the balls of his bare feet, twitched his fingers, and said, “What did you say, Joe?”
“That was fucking stupid,” I had repeated. “And even if it wasn’t, putting the barrel of a firearm in your mouth is something only a maricón would do.”
“Fag” or “queer” is too-polite a translation for maricón. We had gone outside by the pool and fought then—not boxed, but gone at each other with bare fists and teeth.
Hemingway would not have needed the barrel in his mouth in Idaho that July day in 1961. Within days of his last wife’s report of death by accident, it became clear that he had used a shotgun to kill himself; a double-barreled twelve-gauge Richardson. His first biographer reported that it was the double-barreled Boss twelve-gauge with the slow choke, Hemingway’s favorite gun for pigeon shooting. I think it was the Boss. The Richardson with its gleaming barrels was a beautiful show gun, but too flashy for such work as blowing the top of one’s head off. I remember once on the Pilar, Hemingway reading a piece in a two-week-old New York Times about the twin pearl-handled pistols which General George Patton carried. Hemingway had laughed: “Patton will be pissed off. He’s always correcting these shit-stupid journalists. They’re ivory-handled pistols. He says that only a pimp would carry pearl-handled revolvers, and I agree.” The silver-barreled Richardson would come too close to that for serious work, I think.
But as the weeks and months and years passed, I realized that it had not mattered so much which gun he had used that morning as did the other details.
In the months before his death, Hemingway had become convinced that the FBI was bugging his phones, following him, and preparing a tax case against him in collusion with the IRS which would ruin him financially. It was this delusion of FBI persecution, above all others, which had prompted his fourth wife to decide that he’d become paranoid and delusional. It was then that his wife and friends had taken him to the Mayo Clinic for a series of electroshock treatments.
The treatments destroyed his memory, his sex drive, and his writing ability, but they did not free him from his paranoia. On the night before he killed himself, Hemingway’s wife and friends took him out to dinner at the Christiana Restaurant in Ketchum. Hemingway insisted on sitting with his back to the wall and became suspicious of two men at a nearby table. When his wife and a friend, George Brown, called over the waitress, named Suzie, and asked her to confirm who the strangers were, Suzie said, “They’re probably salesmen from Twin Falls.”
“No,” said Hemingway. “They’re FBI.”
Hemingway’s sometime friend A. E. Hotchner wrote about an almost identical incident in the same restaurant, but eight months earlier, in November 1960. Hemingway had previously explained to Hotchner that he was being following by the FBI and that his phone was tapped and his house and car were bugged. Hotchner and Hemingway’s wife, Mary, had taken the writer out to dinner at the same Christiana Restaurant. Hemingway was in the middle of an amusing story about the days when Ketchum was a wide-open gold rush town when he suddenly stopped in midsentence and said that they all had to leave. Their meals were unfinished. When Hemingway’s wife asked what was wrong, he said, “Those two FBI men at the bar.”
Hotchner had gone over to a nearby table where an acquaintance—Chuck Atkinson—and his wife were having dinner and asked if Atkinson knew the two men. “Sure,” said the Ketchum native. “They’re salesmen. Been coming here once a month for the last five years. Don’t tell me Ernest is worried about them.”
I know now that the two men had been coming to Ketchum for the five years previous to that day, where they went door to door in the area, offering encyclopedias for sale. They were FBI men, special agents out of the Billings office. As were the two other men on that Saturday evening in Christiana’s on July 1, 1961. They were following Hemingway. They had tapped his phone. His house was bugged, but not his car. Earlier that winter and again in the spring, other FBI agents had followed Hemingway as he was flown in a private plane to Rochester, Minnesota, where the writer was to receive his electroshock treatments. On that first trip, in November 1960, just two weeks after Hemingway’s “paranoid delusions” in the restaurant, the FBI men landed in a private plane just minutes after the Piper Commanche carrying Hemingway and his doctor had set down. But four agents from the Rochester office had already followed the Hemingway party into town, using two unmarked Chevrolets—one ahead of and one behind the car transporting the writer and Dr. Saviers.
On that first trip in November 1960, according to the “unfiled” FBI report—one of the thousands of J. Edgar Hoover’s Personal OC Files (“OC” for “Official/Confidential”) “lost” in the month after the death of the FBI director in May 1972—the FBI men tailing Hemingway had followed the writer into St. Mary’s Hospital, where he was admitted under the alias of George Saviers, but they had stopped at the door of the Mayo Clinic when Hemingway was transferred there. They did not stay outside for long. Later files show that the FBI had interviewed Dr. Howard P. Rome, the senior consultant in the Section of Psychiatry who was in charge of Hemingway’s “psycho-therapeutic program.” Those same files show that Dr. Rome and the FBI men had discussed the advisability of Hemingway’s electroshock treatment even before the writer or his wife was presented with the option.
As I mentioned earlier, J. Edgar Hoover’s Personal File sections of the OC files—all twenty-three file cabinets’ worth of them—were “lost” in the days and weeks after the director’s death, at age seventy-seven, on May 2, 1972. That morning, less than an hour after the discovery of the director’s death, Attorney General of the United States Richard Kleindienst, after conferring with President Nixon, summoned Assistant to the Director of the FBI John Mohr to the attorney general’s office, where Kleindienst ordered the assistant director to seal Hoover’s office and to keep all files there intact. A little after noon on the same day, Mohr sent the attorney general the following memo:
“In accordance with your instructions, Mr. Hoover’s private, personal office was secured at 11:40 A.M. today. It was necessary to change the lock on one door in order to accomplish this.
“To my knowledge, the contents of the office are exactly as they would have been had Mr. Hoover reported to the office this morning. I have in my possession the only key to the office.”
Within the hour, Kleindienst reported to President Nixon that “the files were safe”—meaning the “secret files” that everyone in official Washington presumed must exist in Hoover’s office.
What John Mohr had not told Attorney General Kleindienst, however, was that Hoover kept no files in his office. All of the FBI’s most secret files were kept in the office of Hoover’s secretary of fifty-four years, Miss Helen Gandy. And even by the time Hoover’s office was being sealed that morning, Miss Gandy had begun reviewing the director’s Personal OC Files, separating them, culling them, shredding many, and placing the others in cardboard boxes to be hidden in the basement of Hoover’s home at Thirtieth Place NW.
With six weeks, those secret files would be moved again, never to be seen again by anyone within the FBI or in official Washington.
But I am ahead of myself. What matters at this point are the events on the morning of July 2, 1961, my forty-ninth birthday and Ernest Hemingway’s last moments on the planet. Those events made me vow to do two things before I died. The first of those—to track down and liberate the FBI’s secret files on Hemingway and his counterespionage ring in Cuba—would take me more than a decade of effort and would entail danger to my life and liberty. But the second promise I made in July 1961 would be, I knew even then, infinitely harder to keep. That was to write this narrative. In spite of the thousands of case reports I had written over the decades, nothing prepared me to tell this story, in this manner. Hemingway the writer could have helped me—indeed, he would have been wryly amused that I was finally forced to try to tell a story using all of the sneaky tricks in a fiction writer’s repertoire. “Fiction is a way of trying to tell things in a way that is truer than truth,” he said to me that night along the coast as we waited for the German U-boat to appear. “No,” I had said then. “Truth is truth. Fiction is a pack of lies masquerading as truth.”
We shall see.
The events of the morning of July 2, 1961, in Ketchum, Idaho… Only Ernest Hemingway knew the truth of those few moments, but the results seemed obvious enough.
According to the testimony of his fourth wife and many friends, Hemingway had made several clumsy efforts at suicide in the months before and after his second series of electroshock treatments in May and June. Once, as he was returning to the Mayo Clinic, he had tried to walk into the spinning propeller of a small plane warming up on the tarmac. Another time, a friend had to wrestle a loaded shotgun away from Hemingway at his home.
Despite all this, Mary Hemingway had locked the writer’s guns in the basement storage room but had left the keys to the room in plain view on the kitchen windowsill because “no one had a right to deny a man access to his possessions.” I thought about this for years. They—Miss Mary and friends—had felt that they had the right to authorize a series of electroshock treatments which all but destroyed Ernest Hemingway’s brain and personality, but she decided that she could not keep his guns locked away from him when he was depressed to the point of suicide.
That Sunday morning of July 2, 1961, Hemingway awoke early, as he always did. This morning was beautiful, sunny and cloudless. Miss Mary was the only other occupant of the Ketchum house, sleeping in a separate bedroom. She did not awaken as Hemingway tiptoed down the carpeted stairs, took the keys from the windowsill, went down to the storage room, and chose—I believe—his faithful Boss twelve-gauge. Then he went back upstairs, crossed the living room to the tiled foyer at the foot of the stairs, loaded both barrels, set the butt of the shotgun on the tiled floor, set the muzz
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