The Avenger 34 - The Glass Man

BOOK: The Avenger 34 - The Glass Man
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THE GREATEST CRIME FIGHTER
OF THE FORTIES RETURNS!

IN THE ROARING HEART OF THE CRUCIBLE, STEEL IS MADE. IN THE RAGING FLAME OF PERSONAL TRAGEDY, MEN ARE SOMETIMES FORGED INTO SOMETHING MORE THAN HUMAN.

IT WAS SO WITH DICK BENSON. HE HAD BEEN A MAN. AFTER THE DREAD LOSS INFLICTED ON HIM BY AN INHUMAN CRIME RING, HE BECAME A MACHINE OF VENGEANCE DEDICATED TO THE EXTERMINATION OF ALL OTHER CRIME RINGS.

HE TURNED INTO THE PERSON WE KNOW NOW: A FIGURE OF ICE AND STEEL, MORE PITILESS THAN BOTH; A MECHANISM OF WHIPCORD AND FLAME; A SYMBOL TO CROOKS AND KILLERS; A TERRIBLE, ALMOST IMPERSONAL FORCE, MASKING CHILL GENIUS AND SUPER NORMAL POWER BEHIND A FACE AS WHITE AND DEAD AS A MASK FROM THE GRAVE. ONLY HIS PALE EYES, LIKE ICE IN A POLAR DAWN, HINT AT THE DEADLINESS OF THE SCOURGE THE UNDERWORLD HEEDLESSLY INVOKED AGAINST ITSELF WHEN CRIME’S GREED TURNED MILLIONAIRE ADVENTURER RICHARD BENSON INTO—THE AVENGER.

THE GLASS MAN

A NOTED SCIENTIST DISAPPEARS IN THE SOUTHWEST. THEN, IN THE SAME AREA, AN “INVISIBLE MAN” APPEARS AND BEGINS A KILLING SPREE. IS THERE A CONNECTION BETWEEN THE TWO? CAN THE AVENGER FIND THE PATTERN BEHIND THE CRIMES AND SOLVE THE RIDDLE OF THE GLASS MAN?

SOMETHING HAD GOT HOLD OF PRICE!

He seemed to be struggling with someone, beating his knobby fists against something.

But there was no one there.

Price was bent back, fighting against something unseen. His pipe went flying from his mouth to crack in the gutter. He began to gasp now, as though invisible fingers were tightening around his throat.

A grocer came running out of a small shop. “What is it señor?” He came closer. “Perhaps a glass of water?” He couldn’t think of anything else to offer.

A powerful blow struck him in the chest. A voice rasped, “Get away, fool!”

The Samaritan went tumbling back and fell against a crate of tomatoes, a helpless spectator to murder as Price breathed his last gasp.

Out of thin air came the voice saying, “This is for Rusty.” The voice of THE GLASS MAN.

Also In This Series

By Kenneth Robeson

#1: J
USTICE
, I
NC
.
#2: T
HE
Y
ELLOW
H
OARD
#3: T
HE
S
KY
W
ALKER
#4: T
HE
D
EVIL

S
H
ORNS
#5: T
HE
F
ROSTED
D
EATH
#6: T
HE
B
LOOD
R
ING
#7: S
TOCKHOLDERS
IN
D
EATH
#8: T
HE
G
LASS
M
OUNTAIN
#9: T
UNED
FOR
M
URDER
#10: T
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MILING
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#11: R
IVER
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#12: T
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REATHERS
#13: M
URDER
ON
W
HEELS
#14: T
HREE
G
OLD
C
ROWNS
#15: H
OUSE
OF
D
EATH
#16: T
HE
H
ATE
M
ASTER
#17: N
EVLO
#18: D
EATH
IN
S
LOW
M
OTION
#19: P
ICTURES
OF
D
EATH
#20: T
HE
G
REEN
K
ILLER
#21: T
HE
H
APPY
K
ILLERS
#22: T
HE
B
LACK
D
EATH
#23: T
HE
W
ILDER
C
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#24: M
IDNIGHT
M
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#25: T
HE
M
AN
FROM
A
TLANTIS
#26: R
ED
M
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#27: T
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P
URPLE
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#28: D
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#29: T
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IGHTWATCH
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#30: B
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HARIOTS
#31: T
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#32: T
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#33: T
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LOOD
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OUNTESS

WARNER PAPERBACK LIBRARY

WARNER PAPERBACK LIBRARY EDITION
F
IRST
P
RINTING
: M
ARCH
, 1975

C
OPYRIGHT
© 1975
BY
T
HE
C
ONDÉ
N
EST
P
UBLICATIONS
, I
NC
.
A
LL
R
IGHTS
R
ESERVED

T
HIS
W
ARNER
P
APERBACK
L
IBRARY
E
DITION
IS
P
UBLISHED
BY
A
RRANGEMENT WITH
T
HE
C
ONDÉ
N
EST
P
UBLICATIONS
. I
NC
.

C
OVER
I
LLUSTRATION
BY
G
EORGE
G
ROSS

W
ARNER
P
APERBACK
L
IBRARY
IS A
D
IVISION
OF
W
ARNER
B
OOKS
, I
NC
.
75 R
OCKERFELLER
P
LAZA
, N.Y. 10019.

A Warner Communications Company
ISBN: 0-446-75802-7

Printed in the United States of America

THE
GLASS
MAN

CHAPTER I
Out of Nowhere

He wasn’t expecting death.

The narrow street, the low, whitewashed adobe buildings, the bright-painted shop signs, all looked pleasant and calm in the growing twilight. Laughter came drifting out of the café near the corner, guitar music from the little barber shop. The Mexican barber was sitting up in his own chair, a big guitar across his lap. A gray cat watched passersby from the mouth of a shadowy alley.

Byron Price crouched in front of the cat. “Don’t you belong to anybody, fella?”

The scrawny cat looked up at him and meowed hopefully.

“Hungry?”

The cat suddenly yowled, its tail blossoming. It scrambled over a cardboard carton and went scurrying off into the darkness at the back of the alley.

Standing, Price glanced around. There was no one behind him, nothing that could have frightened the animal. Shrugging, he continued on his way.

Price was a tall, thin man, nearly thirty-five. He’d been nearly bald since his late twenties. From the crowded pocket of his lightweight sport coat he extracted a pipe. He thrust it between his teeth, leaving it unlit.

He’d lived here in Nolansville, New Mexico, most of his life. Even when he went away to college, he’d gone only as far as San Norberto. Married, with two young sons, he wasn’t eligible for the draft. He taught mechanical drawing in Nolansville’s high school. Not the most challenging job in the world, especially in wartime. Sometimes, times like tonight, when he was alone and roaming over an old familiar section of town, he thought about the plans they’d all talked about in college. But that was fifteen years ago, and besides, after what had happened . . .

Price shook his head. “Let the past stay past,” he told himself. He slowed, glancing back over his shoulder. He thought he’d heard the scrape of a foot close behind him, but there was no one there.

His wife always took the kids over to her mother’s on Thursday nights. The two boys were a lot fonder of Grandma than Price was. So on Thursdays he always went out to dinner, usually with one of his friends among the high-school teachers. Tonight he was meeting old Ackroyd, the dramatics teacher.

They were meeting at the Casa Enojado restaurant. It was up at the next corner. Hanging from its sign was the decorated clay pig known as a piñata. He and old Ackroyd were to meet beneath that.

“If he starts in on his recollections about touring with Maude Adams . . . well, it’s better than Ruth’s mother nagging me about my lack of ambition.”

Price shook his head negatively at a grinning old woman who was offering him a husk-wrapped tamale from her glass-walled street cart.

An instant later the woman screamed.

Something had gotten hold of Price.

It must have been that.

He seemed to be struggling with someone, beating his knobby fists against something.

But there was no one there.

Price was bent back, fighting against something unseen. His pipe went flying from his mouth to crack in the gutter. He began to gasp, as though invisible fingers were tightening around his throat.

“Madre de Dios!”
cried the old woman as she got herself and her wheeled cart out of there.

“It’s a fit. He’s having a fit.” A grocer came running out of a small shop.

Price was stretched out on the sidewalk, legs thrashing. His head was at an odd angle, the way it would be if someone were holding his neck in choking hands. The thin man was struggling more feebly now.

“What is it, señor?” asked the grocer, approaching cautiously. “Can I help you?”

Price could not answer. All his attention was concentrated on prying those invisible fingers from his throat.

BOOK: The Avenger 34 - The Glass Man
10.07Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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