A man for most assassinations

images-21Grigoriy Nabutov is a scary guy. He first appeared in The Bloodied Black Heart. He has since become Harry Fingle’s nemesis in The Harry Fingle Collection, and appears in all three books in the trilogy.

To get a flavour of him, here’s an extract from The Bloodied Black Heart.


Grigoriy was thirty-seven. He dressed in expensive clothes, which he bought from the many American and western European designer labels that were available in Moscow. He was fit and lean with a thin, mean-looking face, and sharp, sallow features. He had thick, black hair, which he swept back to show his forehead. His eyes were dark, and he had a penetrating stare. He had small eyebrows and a pronounced, pointed jaw.

He took off his grey jacket, unclipped the black, leather holster from around his chest, and placed it, together with the Dog-1 12.5mm revolver, on the large table, where six other men sat and waited. His four minders stood in the background. They watched the movement and expressions of everyone except Grigoriy. He pushed back the sleeves of his black shirt, then took the handgun out of the holster and placed it close to his right hand. He brushed away a few flecks of dust from the table and looked up. He gazed at the man on his right, and then moved his head to make eye contact, one by one, with the others. He stopped to stare at an older man – in his late fifties – who had short, thinning hair, and seemed nervous.

‘Vadim,’ Grigoriy snapped, and kept his gaze on the man. ‘Speak.’

The man started to talk. His hands shook, his lips quivered, and he didn’t look Grigoriy in the eye. He knocked over the glass of water in front of him. Grigoriy watched and said nothing, and then narrowed his eyes.

‘Have they paid?’ Grigoriy asked, with his eyes locked onto to the man’s pale face, damp from the beads of perspiration that trickled down his cheeks.

‘Yes, Grigoriy. Yesterday.’


‘They paid in three hits, each of $1 million. The last one came in yesterday.’ The man put a trembling hand up to his mouth.

‘For what?’ Grigoriy snapped, and took hold of his chin. One of his minders moved forward. Grigoriy put a hand up in the air. The minder stopped.

‘For coal, boss. We invoiced them for three consignments.’

Grigoriy turned to the young man on his left. He whispered in the man’s ear. The man nodded. Grigoriy held his chin with his right hand, and listened as the man continued to whisper into his ear. Grigoriy looked back to the older man.

‘Enough,’ he said in a gruff tone, and fingered his pistol. He looked up at the minder who’d moved forward. He put up his right hand in the air, pointed to the old man, and nodded, just once.

‘No, Grigoriy, no, please,’ the man pleaded. ‘I did my best. Please, I’m sorry.’ The man’s face, previously grey and pallid, had turned ashen. ‘My wife and family,’ he screamed, as the four minders closed on him. One of them pulled a gag over the man’s mouth. Two of the others grabbed his arms, and dragged him from his seat. The fourth one took out his pistol and smacked it hard, with a loud crack, against the base of the man’s skull. He crumpled to the floor.

Grigoriy remained unmoved. He turned to the man on his right.

‘Your report,’ he said, and flicked through the pages of the art catalogue he’d started to look at in the car. It took an hour for the others around the table to provide Grigoriy an update of each of their responsibilities.


 Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Grigoriy had built up a crime syndicate that had its tentacles in many activities. The money the organisation received from drug dealing, extortion, the sex industry, and smuggling people, had been laundered into many businesses, including energy, construction, property, and retail. Earlier, at the hotel, Grigoriy had met with his oligarchs. Each controlled parts of his domain, and all were fully aware of the dire consequences if they ever stepped out of line. They met monthly at the same time, in the same hotel. No notes were taken. No papers were circulated. They conducted business verbally.

When Grigoriy lived in Moscow, he stayed in a small, modern, well-equipped apartment that he owned in the Beliy Gorod district. The location had two advantages: its proximity to the nightlife, and the armed, government, security guard, responsible for guarding the official building site next to Grigoriy’s apartment. Grigoriy’s men visited the guard each week, paid him, and made sure he understood the consequences to him and his family of not following Grigoriy’s orders. Grigoriy owned other properties in Russia, as well as in London, New York, and Los Angeles.


After the meeting, Grigoriy returned to his apartment. Once inside, he poured a shot of vodka, took a seat at a small table, and returned to his art catalogue. A young, blonde girl, about twenty-two, came in from the kitchen with a plate of smoked salmon and a blini, a bowl of fruit, and a glass of wine. ‘Thanks,’ he said, and watched her as she left the room. Her ass is tighter and neater than the last time I saw her, he thought, and drank down his vodka and started on his lunch.




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