Book excerpt: “Heat 2” by Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner


One of the most acclaimed films by Oscar-nominated writer-director Michael Mann is his 1995 crime thriller “Heat,” in which a police detective and a thief play cat-and-mouse on the blood-spattered streets of Los Angeles. Now, Mann has teamed up with Edgar Award-winning suspense novelist Meg Gardiner for “Heat 2” (William Morrow, to be published August 9), a prequel and sequel to the events of “Heat.” It expands the backstory of characters (played in the film by Al Pacino, Val Kilmer and Robert De Niro) and the repercussions of their dangerous dance with death.

Read the excerpt below, and don’t miss Seth Doane’s interview with Michael Mann on “CBS Sunday Morning” August 7!


William Morrow


The sun is beating down when Hanna and SWAT crash into the Blue Room. The bar is a dark neighborhood throwback bar on a faded commercial street.

The search warrant came through at one p.m. Hanna, his team, uniforms, and SWAT approached from the streets behind. They blocked both ends of an alley with black-and-whites. They eliminated a surveillance camera.

If Shiherlis is here, he’ll be armed to his fingertips. Who else may be inside?

Hanna, in a ballistic vest with a Benelli semiauto twelve-gauge at port arms, is in the precise scrum, stacked up within the SWAT unit in the tactical ballet, bodies to bodies, precisely aligned feet. He nods to the SWAT team leader, who holds an automatic rifle across his chest, barrel high. The man raises a hand and counts down on his fingers. Silent entry. He reaches zero, aims his hand at the door like a hatchet, and goes.

The door is unlocked. They’re in. In an instant they cover and command the space. A long bar runs along the wall on the left, mirror behind it, bottles glowing in the dim light. A few early drinkers stand at the rail or sit at wobbly tables. “Gangsta’s Paradise” thumps from the jukebox. The bartender turns.

Hanna shouts with the others, “Freeze. Show me your hands.”

A SWAT officer bellows at customers. “Up against the wall, hands behind your heads.”

A second team moves tactically up a staircase.

The bartender steps back and raises his hands overhead. A customer dodges for the front door. When he slams it open, Drucker clotheslines him. He and Casals, with a Remington 870, enter.

Hanna arrows toward the tall guy standing at the bar, hands in plain view, one holding a coffee cup. He’s who Eady had described. Older SoCal hard case, stringy gray-blond hair, chill eyes watching Hanna in the mirror.

“Hands on the bar,” Hanna says.

The guy complies. He smells like Brut and dry-cleaned polyester. He eyes Hanna in the mirror with a subzero gaze. He’s frisked. A SWAT team member tosses his keys and wallet on the bar.

Hanna flips open the wallet. The same ice-blue eyes stare from the driver’s license.

Hanna reads the name. “Nathan. We’re going to talk about a mutual friend.”

Nate turns, his face neutral. “I know you?”

“How the f*** do I know if you know me? I know you. And I know one guy you know. Neil McCauley.”

Nate’s expression is a total blank. “Who?”

“Your pal.”

“Does not ring a bell.”

“What kinda bell? Like ding-dong, Avon calling? That bell? Security camera out back? Does it put you and McCauley together at the rear entrance? What are the odds?”

Upstairs, one of the SWAT officers calls, “Clear.”

The SWAT team leader comes down the hall. “All clear.” Chris Shiherlis isn’t here.

“So happens, the odds are zero,” Nate says.

Hanna feels the black scorch of anger. Outside, he smiles like a reaper’s scythe. “Good. ‘Cause rewinding and erasing evinces what we call ‘consciousness of guilt.'” He looks around, all-seeing. “Since others have laid eyes on you and your meeting him.”

Drucker says, “Why lie? You wanna lie, lie about something maybe we can’t prove. Lie about Neil? That lie is a loser. Why lie about that?”

Nate looks around, surveys his LAPD-occupied bar with disdain. “So far, up to now you are eluding me.”

“Eluding?” Hanna shrugs. “Shiherlis, Christopher. I figure you’re the middleman-slash-fixer. Right now, at a minimum, you’re looking at accessory after the fact on the armored van robbery with three associated homicides and a bank robbery, including the murder of an LAPD sergeant during its commission, one of my partners, and three uniformed officers. The killing of Roger Van Zant and, in addition to that aforementioned … carnage … the killing of an asshole named Waingro”—he leans close—”by Neil, your pal, who told me in person that he was never going back. And he is not.”

Nate’s cold blue eyes, set within the pink blotching of burst capillaries, drift across Hanna, barely registering him. “Robbery-Homicide Division. RHD. Try your showboat act somewhere else.”

Hanna’s cool, like still water. “Shiherlis on the run may or may not elude me. You will not. For you, I’ve got a lotta time.”

Nate glances away skeptically, then looks back at Hanna squarely. “If you got cause, arrest me. If not, your presence is discouraging my midday business.”

“Yeah, yeah …” Hanna, suddenly focused elsewhere, glances behind him. Officers are searching the back office. That could take hours. Hanna nods Drucker aside.

“Waste of time,” Hanna says sotto voce. “This guy’s like talking to last week’s roadkill.”

“What’s the play?” Drucker says.

“Him? Haul him in. Old-school ex-con? Assign someone young to wear him down. They won’t get to first base. Chris Shiherlis …” He considers it. “Casals hit Shiherlis above the vest. Clavicle. He’s too f****d up to risk commercial air travel. Maybe not enough time for Mr. Fix-It over there to lay on a private plane, file flight plans, look legit, all that. Shiherlis is running, but he’s on the ground.”

“BOLO’s out to every agency in California,” Drucker says. “Driver’s license photo and mug shot.”

Hanna thinks about it. “He won’t look the same.” He eyes the alley through the rear door, tapping his hand against his leg. “He’ll get rid of the surfer dude ponytail. Cut his hair short, maybe dye it dark. Get our artist to put together a sketch. New BOLO.”

“If he’s got no time,” Drucker says, “he’s heading for Mexico.”

“And he ain’t backpacking through the desert,” Hanna says. “Hit the border crossings. Send the new sketch and BOLO to Customs, Border Patrol, Mexican immigration, and Baja, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas Judiciales. I want every goddamn border crossing from San Diego to Brownsville wallpapered with his picture.”

A SWAT officer comes in the back door from the alley. “Lieutenant?” Hanna turns.

The man jerks a thumb over his shoulder. “There’s a detached garage out here. You want to see this?”

Hanna follows him into the alley and rounds a corner. The door of the garage has been rolled up. Hanna stops, staring in. A fresh oil stain, not yet soaked into the concrete. Someone left. Recently.

From “Heat 2” by Michael Mann and Meg Gardiner, published by William Morrow. Copyright © 2022 by Michael Mann Books, LLC. Reprinted courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers. 

       
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