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A Private Retaliation is the ninth case of the main Trese series and the first of five cases published in Trese: Mass Murders.

Plot[]

Janette Lucero was performing in a club when the proprietress, Mama Lan, approached her, whispering that she was requested to one of the private rooms. Upon entering the room, she met four men, all expectant to see her. Just as the group began to get frisky, Ramona appeared at the entrance. One of the men briefly mistook her for another sex worker, however, he quickly realized who she is.

Two hours later, Captain German and Sergeant Guerrero reported to the crime scene, finding Janette and the four men dead. Anton Trese arrived accompanied by his daughter Alexandra, at her insistence. German explained that an unidentified woman entered the room and left after a few minutes, and that the men were Scout Rangers for the Philippine Army. He also informed them about the men's missing hearts and comparatively, the woman's intact chest, as well as footprints on the ceiling.

Anton and Alexandra analyzed the crime scene, surmising that it could neither be the work of baby aswang or tiyanak, and concluded that some type of ritual feeding took place. Resorting to using the identity of the woman as a lead, the duo used a spell to acquire the imprinted image of Ramona, handed it to German for photocopying.

Puti and Bantay arrived late due an altercation with cats. They detected the woman's scent, identifying her as someone hailing from the jungle, as well as the presence of her children who were not aswang. Anton asked German to track down the commanding officer of the murdered men, while Puti led his pack to track down Ramona's scent.

The pack ended up in a meat factory outside Farmer's Market, where the butchers deflected their inquiries. Bantay found a gun hidden inside one of the hanging meat, revealing the gun smuggling operation of the butchers that transformed into aswang and attacked Puti's pack, who turn into their segben forms and eventually overwhelmed them.

The next morning, German and Guerrero reported to Anton in The Diabolical. With the help of the military, the deaths of Janette and the men had not been reported in the paper. German explained that the men were known as the Skeleton Crew in the mountains, commanded by Sergeant Scullion. The general they served under, Lieutenant Hidalgo, was recently promoted to General. The Skeleton Crew gathered in Manila to celebrate his promotion with the exemption of Corporal Raul Lanares, who was confined in the National Mental Hospital.

Puti's pack arrived shortly after, reporting their encounter. They explained that the aswang confessed to providing the woman and her men with a substantial amount of weapons. Anton realized that the woman was preparing to attack Hidalgo's celebration, but German answered that the partygoers would be well protected inside Hidalgo's house in Fort Bonifacio. Nevertheless, German still went to alert them of the possible attack as Anton ordered Puti to take his pack to Bonifacio to investigate further.

Anton went to Alexandra's room, where the Great Santelmo was telling her a story. Anton interrupted them and ordered Alexandra prepare herself to go with him to the asylum.

Trivia[]

  • This is the first case to show Anton Trese as well as Puti and his pack.
  • This is also the first case to show Captain German and Beau Guerrero when he was still a sergeant.
  • German and Guerrero's opening dialogue mirrors Guerrero and Tapia's in At the Intersection of Balete and 13th Street.
  • This is the first depiction of the Diabolical during its time as a cafe.
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