Book Excerpt from Duke City Desperado



Book Excerpt

A plastic tote bag on the floorboard contained two dozen garage-door remote controls Doc had collected in burglaries over the years. They’d spent the past few weeks driving up and down residential streets, pushing buttons on the remotes. Only so many frequencies in use for garage-door openers, so once in a while they’d get lucky and a door would glide open. They’d back the rusty white van up to the garage and load up anything of value. Be gone in minutes.

A good scam, but fences paid only pennies on the dollar and you could burn a lot of expensive gasoline before getting a hit. And the prowling was tedious, particularly for a man like Doc, a high-wire act surviving on a diet of fast food and amphetamines and Mountain Dew.

Dylan handed over a remote, an anonymous gray plastic box with two buttons on the top.

“This’ll do fine,” Doc said.

The blue station wagon drove away.

“This is crazy, Doc. Don’t screw around with this teller.”

“I’m about to show you how it’s done.”

“They take this shit seriously.”

“They should! I’m serious as a heart attack.”

“Come on.”

“I’m serious as cancer.”

“You’re gonna get us busted.”

“Shut up. I’ll do the talking.”

Late-afternoon sun glared through the windshield. Doc let the van creep forward, trying to get into the shade of a flat awning that jutted above the drive-through teller window.

Dylan pulled up the hood of his favorite sweatshirt, an oversized gray pullover that had “Dukes” scrolled across the front in black. The defunct Albuquerque Dukes minor-league baseball team had been named after the Spanish duke from whom Albuquerque gets its name. The Dukes were replaced years ago by the Isotopes, so now anything that said “Dukes” was considered retro and cool. Dylan still wasn’t sure what the hell an “Isotope” was supposed to be. He pulled the hood close around his face, trying to hide.

“They’ve got cameras everywhere, Doc. They’re taking our picture right now. They’re recording our license plate.”

“I don’t give a shit. This ain’t my van.”

That gave Dylan a brain stutter. “It’s not?”

“Hell, no. You think I’d pay good money for a piece of shit like this?”

“We’ve been driving around for weeks in a stolen van?”

“Stop distracting me.”

Doc rolled down his window, letting in a gust of cool October air scented with auto exhaust.

Dylan peeked out of his hood just enough to get a look at the teller. She was a plump brunette in her mid-forties—around the same age as Doc. Her black dress and lacy white collar made her look like a judge.

“Good afternoon, sir.” Her voice sounded tinny through the speaker set into the thick glass. “How may I help you today, sir?”

Dylan whispered, “Don’t. Please.”

If Doc heard, it had no effect on him. He held up the gray garage-door opener for the teller to see.

“This is a holdup!”

Dylan groaned.

“I’ve got a bomb,” Doc yelled. “Hand over the money or I’ll push this button and blow us all to kingdom come.”

The plump teller pursed her lips.

“Sir, that appears to me to be a garage-door opener.”

Doc twisted his scowl even tighter and shouted at the woman, “It’s a detonator! This van is loaded with explosives! I’ll level this entire goddamned block!”

“All right, sir. There’s no need to curse. If you say you have a bomb, I’ll have to take your word for it.”

“Goddamned right,” Doc growled. “You’ve got one minute to round up the cash and hand it over. Any longer than that, and we all die here.”

“Yes, sir. I understand the situation, sir. I’ll get right on it.”

As the teller turned away from the window, Dylan muttered, “She’s not buying it.”

“Shut up,” Doc said through clenched teeth. “It’s working.”

“No, it’s not.”

“I’ve got her buffaloed.”

“They’re calling the cops.”

“I said shut up.”

“This is crazy.”

Doc looked over at him, his eyes on fire, a muscle twitching in his cheek. He still had his bony finger poised over the button.

“Drive away,” Dylan whispered. “Right now. Before it’s too late.”

“Shut up, you little prick. You’re gonna ruin my play.”


The teller was back at the window.


“The money bags won’t fit through this drawer. Those zippered deposit bags are as big as we can go. Unless you want me to haul it outside—”

“Use the zippered bags. Hurry up. You’re almost out of time.”

“Yes, sir.”

As she turned from the window, Dylan heard the quick whoop of a police siren. Maybe a mile away.

“Screw this.”

He unsnapped his seat belt and popped open the door.

“What the hell are you doing?”

Dylan didn’t answer. He was too busy running.

About the Book

Duke City Desperado_AustinTitle: Duke City Desperado

Author: Max Austin

Genre: Thriller

For fans of Breaking Bad and the bestselling fiction of Don Winslow and George Pelecanos comes Max Austin’s latest fast-paced, rollicking “Lawbreakers Thriller” of criminals and lovers, malcontents and madmen–all within the treacherous city limits of Albuquerque, New Mexico

Under a sky full of stars, Dylan James lies sleeping on the roof of a pueblo-style house. Everyone in Albuquerque seems to be looking for him. A murderous Mafia prince wants to kill him. Two FBI agents want to cuff him. A Goth girl wants to make love to him. And a fierce, sexy Chicana just wants to clean up the mess Dylan made. The trouble started with a drug-addled career criminal named Doc, and a bank robbery staged with a garage-door opener. And it all goes off the rails after a little misunderstanding with Dylan’s ex-girlfriend and her jealous, gun-toting new beau. When the sun comes up, this sleepy, scrawny desperado is going to show the world what he is made of–all for a one-in-a-million shot at walking out of Duke City alive.

Author Bio

Max Austin is the pseudonym of writer Steve Brewer. He lives in Duke City (Albuquerque), New Mexico.


Penguin Random House: Penguin Random House

Amazon: Amazon

Barnes and Noble: B&N

iBooks: iBooks

Google play: Google Play

Books a Million: Books a Million

Goodreads: Goodreads

Kobo: Kobo


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