Crete Sloan is a walking paradox. An international hit man for the good guys who loves Mozart, a certified marksman who’d rather read Dickens than shoot guns, a lover of women, but never married.
He was born and raised Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where his father worked in a steel mill and ran a small bar and restaurant. Actually, his mother ran the bar, and the family, the three of them, lived in an apartment above it. Sloan had no siblings. When he wasn’t working in the mill, Sloan’s father worked the numbers racket out of the bar and instilled in Sloan a strong sense of independence and loyalty.
One day, when Sloan was five years old, the cops raided the bar, scoured through the joint looking for numbers slips and cash from the betting operation. Sloan sat on a kid’s chair in the corner. His father glared at him. Numbers slips and cash filled the cushion on which he sat. That was the day Sloan learned you don’t rat out the people close to you.
In high school, at age sixteen, Sloan ran numbers for Big Al, the local mob boss. At eighteen, he boxed in the Golden Gloves and worked full time for the mob. Tough guy. Then one of his mob buddies tried to kill him, put six nine-millimeter rounds into him and left him for dead in a back alley in the East Liberty neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Sloan put in for a career change. College, then the police academy, the police force for four years, then a private cop and now a mercenary.
The ancillary benefits of college instilled in Sloan an appreciation for classical music, jazz, and serious literature. However, we would not want to interpret his interest in the arts as a flaw in his otherwise rigid character. He is a hunter, asks no favors and gives them sparingly, is unencumbered by emotional conflicts or self-doubt, will not be harmed, dominated, or controlled by others. He has difficulty with tenderness and vulnerability, loves and wants others but is unable to sustain romantic relationships. The right woman would need to be comfortable with his work, with who he is. A lot to ask, but unless Sloan is himself, his own unique character, there is no Sloan.
He recently moved to an uncharted island in the Atlantic, has a shack on the beach, and hangs out with Stubby Dane, an old friend from Pittsburgh who owns a local watering hole called The Gin Mill.