Marvin Palaver dies at the worst possible moment in life, just when he is coming out even with his nemesis, fellow scrap seller Sidney Minsk. He is so close. The contract is signed and Sydney has just bought back his own scrap, the deal of a lifetime. Marve knows happiness supreme. But as the tears of joy make his eyes swim, there comes a bump in his chest, and he is dead before he hits the floor. But death doesn’t stop Marvin. His masterful schwindel must be complete.
Matty Matthews has been to the town of Forza d’Aguil before. Stationed there with a small group of soldiers during WWII, it was here that Matty fell in love with Rosanna. It was a sweet, short-lived affair until the soldiers unexpectedly got orders to pull out. Matty never got to say goodbye. Now he’s back in Sicily, drawn to the mountain town after all these years. But the citizens of Forza d’Aguil are easy to offend, and when Matty inadvertently crosses Pino, the Mafioso sabotages his leaving.
There was a robbery that went bad and a girl was accidentally shot dead. Just an accident. But to John Bunting, it was the end of all his hopes. The girl was his fiance. What could he do? The cops weren’t looking. He had to find the killers himself. And that’s when he ran into Linda. She had lost her husband, had stopped caring. But she knew the men responsible for the killing. She could get Bunting close to them while he figured out who fired the actual shot.
Sam Jordan never lets emotion interfere with his work. He is a precise and ruthless killing machine, dealing out death for hire. But his last job had ended wrong for Jordan, and now Sandy is sending him out again - without a break, yet - to take care of someone named Kemp. Hell, he even has to case the job himself. The whole thing feels jinxed. That’s when Jordan meets Betty, who works at the diner. To her he is Mr. Smith, a button salesman. But to Jordan, Betty is a sweet moment in his life, a safe haven.
Waler Lippit makes music all over town. He owns the juke boxes that play the tunes that keep the bars and the diners hopping. Jack St. Louis works for Lippit, smoothing the customers and keeping the nickels coming. But then along comes Benotti and the Chicago syndicate to louse up the operation. It's everything Jack can do to stay one step ahead. One step ahead of Benotti's gang, Lippit, and Lippit's willing wife Patty, who wants to be a singer and is convinced that Jack can make that happen too.
Jack Jesso knows that Gluck wants him out of the syndicate. Still, when Gluck sends him on an errand to find a missing guy named Snell for a shady client of his, Johannes Kator, Jesso doesn’t figure it to be anything more than a test. He finds the guy alright - sick and rambling - but Gluck double-crosses him, and tosses Jesso on a Europe-bound steamer with Kator’s crew, their orders to kill him. Jesso quickly realizes that he holds the key to a big money deal in Snell’s ramblings.
Jimmy Gallivan is only three-and-a-half weeks from his prison release for trying to kill his wife’s lover seven years ago. But fellow-inmate Rand has other plans for Gallivan. A break-out is engineered, and now they’re hiding out in a sanitarium. But the whole set-up seems suspicious. Rand’s boss wants Gallivan to help him with his drug operation. But is that all there is to it? Because it begins to seem like the whole escape was engineered just for him. And what about Jesse? Where does she figure in all of this?
Punching Dixon had gotten Jake Spinner thrown in jail, but now that he’s out all he wants is a fresh start back on his farm. Suddenly Dixon is dead and Spinner is on the run, escaping town in the getaway car with Dixon’s assassin in the back seat! He knows the cops won’t believe his innocence. He knows his only chance is to keep the cold, clubfooted little killer known as Loma with him. Because Loma is his ticket to a new life. His respectable life shattered, Spinner figures the only ones who’ll take him in are the guys who hired Loma.
Benny Tapkow has worked as a crime boss Pendleton’s chauffeur for seven years, but he’s itching to get ahead. He feels like he serves a piece of the action, but Pendleton won’t budge. So Benny strikes a deal with Big Al Alverato to kidnap Pendleton’s daughter Pat to get him in with the rival gang. But the snatch doesn’t come off as planned, and now Benny is stuck with Pat, a hellion with a temper and plenty of mood swings. Pendelton’s men are after him and he has to dope her just to keep her in line.
Anthony Wheeler didn’t want the job. When Major Pitt called him into the London office, Wheeler was trying to track down his old mentor, Fairchild. It had been Fairchild who had pulled him into the business. Not everyone is cut out to be a spy - Wheeler excelled at it. And Pitt would simply not accept his refusal. Now he is off to Kaden in North Africa, where three Arab chieftains who had been feuding for years are suddenly acting very friendly. Wheeler’s mission - find out why.
Quinn thought he had all the angles figured. After all, taking over the Organization should be a piece of cake for such a smart guy. But what he didn’t figure was that boss Ryder would stuff him in a large crate with enough food and water to sustain him - and ship him around the world. When the freighter ports at the North African town of Okar, the captain of the boat decides it's time to unload the box. It's starting to make noises, and it smells bad. What emerges from this wooden coffin looks barely human.