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Eye of the Star Blitz

 

Eye of the Star cover

 

Thriller, Psychic Thriller

 

Published: September 2020

Publisher: Mindstir Media

A prequel in a trilogy of which The StarMind Alert is the second book, Eye of the Star is a story of the Cold War paranormal psychological warfare waged between the United States and the Soviet Union. It follows Detective Jim Sato, a dedicated cop, and Gilda Dobrowski, a small city psychic, in their attempt to find and destroy a super psychic KGB spy, Sergei Verenich, who has chosen Jim and Gilda to find him. He dares them to catch him. He treats them as playthings in a cat-and-mouse game, tantalizing them with clues calculated to confuse, entice and lead them on in a chase ending up in a hotel room in Washington, D.C. where Jim and Gilda find out what he meant by the Final Solution.

 

Eye of the Star tablet

 

Excerpt

The phone rang in its cradle. Detective Jim Sato of the Franklin Police Department, leaning back in his chair, looked at it with a sense of irritation and hoped it was not something urgent that would take more than a few minutes of his time. He needed to go home to his beautiful wife–three years, and it was still a honeymoon–sluice off the sweat of the hot day in a cool shower and get ready to go out to their favorite Japanese restaurant.

He picked up the phone. “Yes,” he said in a voice laden with wet, late-afternoon weariness.

This is Gilda Dobrowski.” Frantic and urgent. “I don’t know if you remember…of course you do. I’m the psychic you worked with on the Linden murder case. Remember? It was several years ago.”

The particularly brutal murder had shocked the small city of Franklin situated at the south end of Morgan Valley, two hours away from Portland, Oregon. The case never was solved. The limbs of the body of the young Caucasian woman had been hacked off; the corpse was stuffed in an abandoned Chevy Impala. In desperation Jim and his partner, Ted Wilson, had consulted the psychic. She was skilled enough to come up with a few leads, but they wound up at a dead end.

I remember you well,” Jim said, picturing the gorgeous features of the young, blond psychic. “What seems to be the problem?”

I need to talk to you. I’ve been getting these…impressions, these what you might call…messages. Just bits and pieces, now and then over the past few weeks, and I’m concerned.”

Is it about the Linden case?”

No. It’s not about that poor woman. It’s about a terrorist.”

Jim frowned with concern. They had been on the alert ever since the Algerian terrorist had been arrested in Washington State to their north. The police were especially worried about the I-5 corridor which would enable any terrorist to gain access to the entire West Coast. Franklin was just one city sitting in its path. Gilda was not one to push the panic button easily.

You did the right thing calling me, Gilda. Tell you what. I’ll leave right now, since it’s almost quitting time and swing by your house. Okay by you?”

The sooner the better, Jim. I’m really scared.”

Be there in a jiffy.”

Ten, fifteen minutes took you anywhere you had to go in the city. It was compact, and a few more minutes landed you in the countryside–farms, seed crops and pastures dotted with sheep and cattle. Jim headed out toward the old Highway 99 and arrived at Gilda Dobrowski’s small but neat quarters in no time at all. When he entered, Gilda smoothed her long, silky, blond hair nervously and took Jim’s hand. She sat him on the sofa while she settled in an easy chair, one that was facing an old TV set in the corner. She made a living as a psychic consultant, but that was about it, a modest living with no frills. In a way, that was the way she was, Jim thought: a no-nonsense person who sought the pith of the matter.

It seems he’s on the loose somewhere in the area,” Gilda said, her eyes wide with alarm. “And he’s trying to make some sort of announcement by tantalizing me with tidbits of information.”

What’s he say? This psychic entity,” Jim asked, flipping open his notebook with his pen poised. He had learned to take her seriously ever since working together on the murder case.

I can’t make it out clearly, because he speaks in fragments, and it comes out in bits and pieces, but it’s always something about microbes, poisoning our water supply, blowing up the courthouse, disrupting air traffic. And he signs off by saying, ‘Beware the Final Solution.’”

You sure this isn’t just…? Something you imagined, something floating around in the air because of the recent scare?” Jim doubted his own suspicions, because he was sure of Gilda’s capabilities. But he had to ask anyway.

No, it’s all so real. And the message keeps repeating itself over and over again.”

You try to find out who it is?” Jim said, taking notes.

I’m a good receiver, but not a good transmitter, so I’m afraid my questions will get all muddled up and maybe make things even more dangerous.”

You got to try to find out who this guy is,” Jim said, running his pen along the spiral binder. “If he wants to make some sort of statement, he might even identify himself, if you can get through to him. You know, flush him out and even find out where he’s hiding.”

You know something about psychics, so you must know that some of us are better than others at doing things, especially receiving and transmitting. I want the police involved.”

But we have nothing to go on, Gilda. No name, place, face. Nothing.” The young psychic sounded desperate, but Jim couldn’t offer more encouragement.

We have to do something. Thousands of lives are involved, and it may not be only our area. Millions of people might die. I can hardly bring myself to think of what might happen.”

Jim knew Gilda to be a level-headed person, not one easily panic. “I’ll try to think of something,” he said, checking his watch and getting up. He needed more information to act. He had nothing yet to involve law enforcement. “In the meantime, jot down everything you receive. I’ll need specifics, if we’re going to get involved…you know, a place, a name, anything.”

Jim left the tidy cottage and made his way home which was in a middle-class neighborhood in the north of Franklin. A glow of crimson tinted the clouds hanging over the coastal range of mountains to the west. The sky overhead was clear, and the Kaskin Hills to the east stretched out hazily in the inversion layer that sometimes accumulated at the end of the valley. Everything appeared as it usually had, but his senses were sharpened and the feeling that settled in his chest was oppressive. He entered his home, his thoughts heavy with preoccupation.

What? Not even a ‘hello’?” Judy said, throwing her arms around his neck. Her bright smile lit her beauteous oval face. Her features were perfect, and her crimson lips were parted in a natural, sensual smile. Everything about his wife exuded sensuality, from her expressive Asian eyes to the way she walked.

Hi, honey,” Jim said, as if awakening from a trance, and kissed her. “Sorry I’m a little late.”

Last minute detail?”

Something like that.” Jim was reluctant to elaborate. Premonition aside, he felt that perhaps somebody was trying to pull off a mind-to-mind hoax, and Gilda, a popular and gifted psychic, was the bait.

I’m ready as soon as you are, dear,” Judy said, smoothing her clinging, red dress.

I’m going to jump into a shower real fast and wash the hot day’s work off,” Jim said, loosening his tie and unbuttoning his damp shirt. Franklin was not known to be as hot as some of the other cities in the southern part of the state, but the temperatures could soar above the 100’s in the middle of summer.

You sound as though you were out in the hot sun digging ditches instead of sitting in an air-conditioned office,” Judy called as he headed toward the bathroom.

Jim wanted to say that what had come up at the last moment made him sweat–a cold sweat. But he said nothing. Stepping into the shower, he let the water wash away his concerns for the moment. When he was finished, he wiped himself off with brisk strokes of the towel and splashed an ample amount of cologne on his muscular body. Going out with his beautiful wife, coveted by so many other men, was a pleasurable experience for him.

The drive to Mikasa was short with the traffic flowing smoothly. Upon entering the Japanese decor of the restaurant, Jim was struck with a momentary feeling of his own Japaneseness which took him back to the times when he heard stories of his great grandfather coming to America at the turn of the Twentieth Century. It seemed like ancient history. But the smell of the food and studying the kimonos the waitresses wore reminded him of his unique heritage that he always meant to study more, at least back to the Second World War when his grandfather, Hank Sato, fought in Europe. He needed to explore his more recent moorings.

Seated on the floor of a tatami room, Jim and Judy faced each other at a low table and chatted about the events of the day while the waitress busied herself setting up a butane stove and a deep pan. Judy worked in Records in the department and related the latest ongoing saga between a co-worker and a musician of a popular rock band in town. Most of the bets were on their finally getting together in the on-again, off-again relationship, marrying and staying in Franklin to raise a family. Her only event of the day was a paper cut. She produced the offended finger wrapped in a flesh-tone bandaid.

Jim took her hand and kissed the finger. His wife laughed at his antics. Though they had been married for three years already, they still acted like newly weds. For his part, Jim said little of his work at the office except that it was his day to catch up on paperwork. He did not mention his visit to see Gilda Dobrowski.

With the sukiyaki pan simmering on the hot plate in the center of the table, Jim piled on the thin slices of marbled beef, leafy spinach, green onions, mushrooms and tofu and added more shoyu and sugar to the beef-laden broth. A beaten raw egg in a bowl accompanied the rice. Whenever they ate soul food, they used chopsticks. At the restaurant, it was, of course, a must. Jim felt a little ashamed that he was awkward at using chopsticks. Otherwise, it was the usual fork, knives and spoons with the pot roasts, stew, spaghetti that interspersed their diet. Jim ate hungrily and for the moment put Gilda’s suspicions or messages out of his mind. But they kept returning like annoying insects.

After dinner he and Judy lingered over a dish of green-tea ice cream. Jim’s mind was already a thousand miles away, and he barely listened to his wife’s happy chatter, though he interjected an appropriate grunt now and then so as not to offend her. Normally he would listen to her, gazing into her eyes, content to be with her.

Back at home they sat in front of TV watching one of their favorite programs. But Jim stared at the set unseeing and only half listening to the dialogue. He knew he had to act on Gilda’s concerns and not just dismiss them as a form of hysteria. He knew her to be basically imperturbable and perceptive. And her fears alarmed him. He wanted very much to discuss the matter with his wife, to get another woman’s point of view of female premonitions, but he dare not for fear of frightening her. That went for anybody, as far as he was concerned. He had to have more to go on, and still it would all remain problematic. Who would believe a wild story pulled out of the ether? They would be tagged as mental cases. And yet the police were not entirely hostile to the idea of applying the talents of psychics to solve crimes, although there existed a cadre of die-hards who saw the practice as unprofessional.

The next morning he swung over to Gilda’s neat little cottage and confronted her with an idea that he had worked out during the sleepless night. A new kind of terrorist on the loose. A figment of Gilda’s imagination? Hardly. Jim had worked with her long enough to know her reliability, and he leaned toward supporting her suspicions. At least he was willing to humor her and even nurture her intuitions lest he overlook a lead.

You say you’re not a good transmitter,” Jim began as soon as he entered her house. “Maybe you are and maybe you aren’t, and it could be that you’re afraid to try to contact this entity. What if you used me as a medium, as some sort of channel? Could that be done?”

Yes,” Gilda said, “I’ve heard of work that’s been done through channeling.”

That way I would be in direct contact with whoever has been accessing you and find out more about him and what’s going on, that is, if you’re right about him wanting to talk.”

I’m sure that he wants to communicate something, something terrible. There’s such a sinister tone to his voice.”

I have to ask this, Gilda, before we go any further,” Jim said, “and I hope you don’t take offense.”

Go ahead. We’ve known each other long enough.”

Have you been under any unusual stress or been bothered by something personal or had something happen to–”

Not at all. Everything is normal, everyday is the same and I go about my business and all of a sudden I get these throbbing pulses of pain in my head and then the messages follow. He’s trying to get my attention. I’m sure of it, and it’s so frightening. I’ve never had this happen before.”

All right,” Jim said, sitting on the edge of the sofa. “Here’s what we do. You put me in a trance or whatever you do to get a person ready to make psychic contact with another entity.”

I don’t know, Jim, it could be dangerous, to make contact with another source of bioenergetic force. It’s like reaching out into the empty ether and colliding with a mysterious form of life.” She spoke with real fear quavering in her voice.

Do you think we have any choice?”

“No… I don’t think we do, not if we want to save lives, and that’s what concerns me, because the voice sounds so dead serious. It wants to be heard, to make some kind of point.”

Then let’s do it.” Jim shrugged out of his coat.

All right, then stretch out on the sofa, and I’ll get you ready.”

Jim untied his shoes and kicked them off and loosened his tie to make himself as comfortable as possible. He didn’t know much about Gilda’s work, but at least he knew that he was going to have to loosen every muscle in his body and let his mind take over without any distractions or annoying sensations. He prepared himself as though he were a tool, figuring that a medium was nothing more than a conduit from what he had read so far.

Gilda put on a tape of the seashore: the rolling surf punctuated the muffled cries of the gulls. The sounds of the waves were soughing whispers of sighs that nature often offers up when rushing water rolls pebbles and the wind fingers through the branches of the trees.

I want you to relax totally.”

Got you.”

And concentrate on what you think of as the mind of a terrorist, sinister, hidden, hard, trained and evil. You have to tell yourself we’re dealing with a form of evil.”

I can try. I’ll give it my best shot.”

No, no, that’s not the idea. The idea is to relax and focus at the same time to make the contact as effortless and natural as possible. I want you to slide right into him. I’ll call to him and you just let the words filter through your consciousness by repeating them softly in your mind. It’ll take a few minutes before you’re ready.”

Will you know when?”

Yes, I will. I’ll keep an eye on your breathing while I guide you. Just listen to my voice. But I want you to be careful…not careful, I mean, too careful as though you were afraid to approach him…I personally would be. But I want you to be natural.”

The tape repeated itself over and over again, and Jim felt himself slipping into a nether world that was half way between being awake and asleep. He became aware of Gilda’s nearness to him. The side of his face picked up the warmth of her body. He was determined to remain focused.

You are floating in the warm sea,” she intoned. “The water is caressing your body and the slow, rolling motion is putting you in a wakeful trance. You can see the deep blue of the sky. It is endless and the more you gaze at it the more it deepens and draws you into the universe of the void, deeper and deeper into the emptiness of the ether.”

There was a pause. Gilda’s voice whispered into his ear: “Are you in the void?”

Yes,” Jim answered in a voice that did not seem like his own. He felt as if he were out of his body, floating freely in an unfamiliar medium. He quelled a momentary pang of fear and willed himself to relax and give free rein to the new sensation.

Good,” Gilda said softly. “Now concentrate on my words: The terrorist who seeks to speak to me, tell me what you intend to do. Who are you? What are you known by, what is your name, where do you come from? Why do you want to harm us? Why do you hate us? You speak of germs and explosions and wreaking havoc…why? We are a small city…why did you pick us…why are we so important to you? Please answer me, please speak to me. I need to know more about you, since you seem to want to talk to me.”

Jim concentrated on the words whispered in his ear, softly, gently, smoothly, designed as they were to lure out a specter from its hiding place. Minutes passed. Gilda kept talking, calling coaxingly into the spaceless ether, repeating her words over and over again.

Then, suddenly, a voice spoke. From Jim’s lips it spilled forth in a thick, guttural accent.

So you have found a way to contact me, my dear.”

You know who I am,” Gilda said, “so please talk to me. Who are you? What is your name?”

I am pleased to have this conversation,” the voice said. A smile appeared on Jim’s lips. It was the entity’s. “My name is Sergei Verenich.”

Where do you come from?”

I entered your country from Russia, but all that in good time, my dear. I know you are a beautiful woman and a gifted psychic. Why haven’t you contacted me directly?”

I’m not a good transmitter and–”

Nonsense. You cannot lie to me. You are afraid. I have been studying many of your kind throughout the country, and you are one of the best in the many places we have targeted.”

Targeted? I’m afraid of what you are up to.”

You should be.” A long pause, then: “Sergei is going to destroy the country!”

A catch of breath and a pause. “But why us? Why Franklin? We’re not a strategic city.”

You have been chosen because of your rivers, mountains and coastline.”

Who is behind all of this?”

Ah, you want to know everything. I desire that you should know everything. I am the protégé of Vladimir Kuzmich, head of the former Soviet Psychic Investigation Unit under KGB. He is a very powerful man. He and I are going to get even with America. We are going to get our revenge for your having spread confusion, fear and panic in epidemic proportions through remote-viewing, telekinesis and telepathy that brought about the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Central Intelligence Agency worked with President Reagan to ruin our country and people and now we will destroy you and enact the Final Solution. You will no longer own your country. It will collapse. Transportation, communication, commerce, trade, banking, defense, medical facilities will all be thrown into chaos, and you will be busy for a millennium just sorting through the pieces.”

But you will be killing millions of innocent people.”

That is why you must find me.”

Find you? A needle in a haystack…is that why…you are using us as a plaything?”

Hah! After what you have done to my country, you think I’m not going to indulge in a little fun? Hah, hah, hah.”

Why us?”

It is up to you two to save your beloved country. Sergei has chosen you. You are the anointed ones, and I know you love your country and the people so much that you will dedicate yourselves and even die for your beliefs.”

How do we find you?”

I will give you clues to see if you are smart enough to figure them out. You will then report everything you know to the authorities…FBI, CIA, DIA, NSA, all the intelligence agencies and police departments in the country. Everybody you can think of.”

They may not believe us, they may merely call us mental cases.”

Ah, how do you say…truly a ‘Catch-22′. You will have to try to convince them.”

If they will listen, maybe we will convince them.”

And maybe, my dear, you will go crazy trying. Hah, hah, hah.”

I will get other psychics to help me…we will organize ourselves into a force…Ow!”

Jim jerked his whole body involuntarily but remained in a deep trance.

You see,” Sergei said. “A throbbing pulse of pain to the head. That is my calling card, my gentlest touch to get your attention. I could do far more harm if I wanted to but you are my conduit and I wouldn’t want to hurt you permanently. You can forget about organizing other psychics. I know they will be too afraid to take me on, just as you were afraid to contact me on your own. You have no idea how well trained I’ve been over all these years. Vladimir Kuzmich is a modern-day reincarnation of the famous Rasputin. He can even bend forks with the power of his mind, and you have no idea how powerful he is when he is hooked up to his psychotronic enhancers. I could crush your skull, my beauty, with his concentrated bioenergy focused through me but, of course, I would never do such a thing to you, Gilda Dobrowski, my chosen messenger. I would miss looking into your green eyes.”

You can see me?”

Yes, of course. We have also perfected remote-viewing, and I know what you look like, even what you smell like when you step out of a shower, and I know what your house looks like and how much you like your friend, Jim Sato. Let’s see if the two of you can figure out how to catch me before the FINAL SOLUTION.”

What do you mean by the Final Solution?” her voice quavering in Jim’s consciousness.

That is for you to find out and perhaps even witness.”

Give us one of your clues. You promised to give us a clue.”

In time. All in good time. First, the water supply of Franklin is the Titus River, is it not?”

Oh, my God! You’re going to wipe out the entire city! But why us?”

You’ve been selected as a demo…isn’t that what you call it?”

A demo?”

A demonstration, an example…of what I can do with Vladimir at the controls. For us it will be…how do you say…’a walk in the park’. You are totally unprotected and unprepared. Your coastline, for instance, is totally unguarded.”

Where are you going to strike first?”

That is for you to guess. It could be the Titus River or the bridges or even your federal courthouse. I could instigate your local disaffected radicals and have them disrupt traffic in your city. Guess, my dear. The fate of Franklin lies in your hands…the fate of the country will lie in both of your hands. Find me, Gilda dear. Now I have told you all you need to know. I will now terminate transmission.”

Jim felt a form of energy slowly withdraw from his body and mind, and he opened his eyes to gaze at the ceiling where he could almost make out an outline of a face as he blinked his eyes against the whiteness.

Did you see what he looked like?” he asked Gilda immediately.

“No, I couldn’t. I kept trying to image him, but he threw up a barrier, and all I could see was a fuzzy face with a mustache and full beard.”

He can disguise himself like that?”

I think he is trained to do anything.” But Jim didn’t think the facial hair was fake.

You think Sergei Verenich is his real name?”

That much I think is true,” Jim said with instinctive certainty. “He wants us to find him, but he’s going to play with us first. We have to report what we know. The chief or maybe Frank Flanagan of the FBI. Somebody higher up. FBI headquarters, CIA.”

Do you think, Jim, that we can go waltzing in and tell them what we found out and have them listen to us?” Gilda was being the even-keeled one now.

What choice do we have?” Jim said. “We have to alert the police department of Franklin, at least, at the very least, to start looking for–”

Where and who? All we have is his name. For all we know, he might be transmitting from the East Coast.”

We have to chance it.” Jim’s first experience in the ether was unnerving, and the effects of the eerie encounter caught up with him.

Of being ridiculed, put down and dismissed?”

Yes. The Chief of Police, Daniel Starkey, is a fair-minded man. I’m sure he’ll listen.” A frenetic quality, rare for Jim, crept into his voice.

But not do anything.”

I don’t know, but we’ve got to try to mobilize what resources we have.” Jim was feeling all the more frantic, a sense of urgency knotted in his stomach.

That much I agree to, but I have my status to think of, too,” Gilda said with a note of caution creeping into her voice. “I don’t want to be laughed out of town. That sounds selfish, I know…and I’m very concerned at the same time. This Sergei Verenich means business, there’s no mistaking the tone of his voice. So I guess it’s up to us to stop him. We don’t have much of a choice.”

Buttoning his shirt and cinching his tie, Jim said, “I’ll set up a meeting with the chief right away. I know he’s a sympathetic man, that is, I know he’s always willing to listen to his men and their complaints or opinions, and this one has got to be brought to his attention.”

I want to be on hand to back up everything you say.”

Of course. I would want you to be. I’d be helpless without you.”

Do you remember everything Sergei said?”

Yes, I do. It’s burned into my memory…the fact that he wants to play with us first.”

Jim Sato left Gilda’s shaken by his experience serving as a medium. He felt weak throughout his body, and his mind was filled with the exchange between the two psychics, a conversation that took place in the nowhere. As soon as he arrived at the office, he trooped into Daniel Starkey’s office, arranged a meeting for the next morning without revealing the contents. He only said it was about apprehending a dangerous criminal on the loose after consulting Gilda and confronting her suspicions and spent the rest of the day taking phone calls, finishing reports and forcing himself to think of a way to persuade the Chief of Police to commit their resources to tracking down Sergei. Jim wasn’t even sure if he could convince him that the contact had been genuine, to begin with. His partner, Ted Wilson, sitting opposite him, commented on his preoccupation, but he did not tell him what was on his mind.

He left the office early. He was anxious to get away and be by himself to organize his thoughts. He desperately wanted to confide in his wife, both to tell her what he was getting into (he knew it was going to be a total commitment) and get her read on the psychic business of communicating with a menacing entity. But he knew he could not. It was as top secret as any classified information meant for only certain eyes and ears. He was alone. He and Gilda were thrown together by the circumstances created by Sergei Verenich and the master psychic, Vladimir Kuzmich.

When Judy walked in through the front door after returning from work, Jim took her in his arms longingly, as though holding his beloved wife was the only real thing he could embrace at the moment.

You’re home early,” Judy said.

Had some thinking to do and needed to be alone,” Jim said, almost letting slip Sergei’s name and knowing that if he did, he would have to explain prematurely the whole business to his wife.

You seem to be working on something important. Another murder case?”

Not this one.” Jim did not trust himself and immediately changed the subject. “Why don’t you let me make dinner, darling. You must be exhausted, and I’ve sitting around doing nothing. How’s my brand of spaghetti and meatballs sound, with lots of seasoning?”

You must have been a bad boy today,” Judy joked, “and have to make up for something.”

If my being wicked makes me more attractive to you, then I’ll let you think so, but I just want to treat my wife well. Is that such a crime?”

No, Detective Sato. I think your idea of cooking dinner is just fine.”

After dinner Jim helped with the dishes, driven by a desire to be helpful–also by a tinge of guilt–and forced himself to be interested in TV with his arm around Judy’s shoulders. He killed an urge to surf the Internet to locate organizations and institutes that could possibly help him in tackling Sergei Verenich. He would just be scattering his shots, like firing into the dark. And if he made the wrong move, he might provoke Sergei. For all he knew maybe Sergei was sinking his eyes into his mind even as he was thinking about him. A gut-twisting, unsettling feeling, being watched by a trained psychic entity. He pulled Judy closer to him.

That night they made leisurely love. Her body was supple and smooth, and he loved to gaze upon her perfect breasts. When they were bound together, seeking each other, his mind was lost in the moment, and the millions of dead that he saw floating in the rivers vanished into a corner of his consciousness where the nightmares were hidden.

 

About the Author

Born in 1932, R. H. Kohno grew up in LA and its environs until the outbreak of WWii when his mother and he were evacuated to the concentration camps. His father was arrested by the FBI for possessing a fishing boat–he was suspected of contacting enemy submarines–and put into separated detention centers. After the war, they repatriated to war-torn Japan, Kohno as a shunned American lookalike, and he managed to return to America in 1959. He got married and went to college where he excelled, earning a spot on the honor roll and being elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He was editor-in-chief of the campus literary magazine at the University of Washington and taught briefly at the college level. He is the author of a number of works, the most recent of which include Westward Lies The Sun, written under his real name–Robert H. Kono–and Eye of the Star and The StarMind Alert, written under his pen name, R. H. Kohno. His website is http://www.rhkohno.com/.

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Storm Warning Blitz

 

Storm Warning cover

 

Davenport Series, Book 6

 

Conspiracy Thriller, Action Thriller, Thriller

In this book, the Rickter Plague has descended onto the world, wiping out populations across the globe. Civilizations are no more. Some people are naturally immune. Most are not. A serum is on every survivors mind. But without laws or the ability to enforce them, the lawless have also descended onto the world. Some have even planned for it. Before unleashing the plague, Stan Rickter had purchased several properties—outposts—all across the United States. These staging areas, like the abandoned Roosevelt Island Smallpox Hospital in New York State and the Seaside Sanatorium on the Connecticut coast, would be the starting points for a new world controlled by his extremists. Guided by a manifesto, and with the dollar value all but decimated, these rebels have established trade markets. Nothing is off limits. As their growth grows, they continue to acquire more resources and properties. One, though, they don’t have, but very much want. The grow fields—once controlled by the New York Syndicate for decades and hidden in the rugged Debar Mountain range—has produced billions in revenue in growing illegal drugs over that span. It would also be a key piece of revenue in the future, given the state of the world and its lack of replenishable medicines. Maria Kaylor knows this too. The sixteen year old is in charge of the grow fields, her knowledge of growing the illicit drugs unmatched, and her clever mind, unprecedented. To acquire the coveted property, Mel Belegore, one of Rickter’s extremist’s, will do anything, including kill, to get what he wants. A battle ensues: Maria and her ragtag group against a powerful juggernaut with extensive resources, including men, guns, ammunition, and even helicopters. This will bring Tom Spears, her father, an assassin known as the Shadow, out of retirement to find her. He has one goal and cares little about who gets in his way.

 

Storm Warning tablet

 

About the Author

Author – Brett Diffley

Born in Anchorage, Alaska

Raised in Tri-Cities, Washington

Attended Finley High School

Living in Covington, Washington

Adventure lurks in the soul of each of us to varying degrees, and there are some of us that seek it out, making us better for it. It’s his experiences that give him insights as a writer, and it’s his overwhelming creativity that makes him a great story teller. He’s a fixed-wing pilot, commercial helicopter pilot and flight instructor, and also has been a commercial diver, professional dog trainer for retrievers, self-employed entrepreneur (patented his own line of water toys, and also a wakeboarding trainer-board), commercial crab fisherman in Alaska, and commercial fisherman in several areas. Most recently, he is the author of the Pinnacle Award winning Davenport Series. His 6 books include: Perfect Plan, Perfect Plan II, Black Tide, Black Dawn, Safe Passage and Storm Warning.

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Spychip Armageddon Blitz

 

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Thriller

 

Published: June 2020

Is the Spychip the world’s final salvation or the prophecy of Armageddon the Bible warns us about? Best friends and low-level U.S. Government Immigration employees Jackson LaPointe and DaQuan Nelson are determined to find out after stumbling upon a top-secret document that thrusts them unwittingly into the middle of a worldwide conspiracy. Follow Jack and Quan as they crisscross the country and delve into the inner workings of corporate greed, power, and corruption. Can they avoid the dangerous operatives who are out to silence them and their loved ones? Will they succeed in exposing the diabolical plot of an elite group of international power brokers who are determined to take over the world? Read “SpyChip Armageddon” and decide for yourself. The future is NOW!

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About The Author

Ray Perkins is a retired middle school Social Studies teacher who began writing along with his students early on in his teaching career. He has written and published three books for young readers in the “B.T. and Jimmy Adventure Series. “Spychip Armageddon” is his first attempt at adult fiction. Growing up in the wilds of northern Vermont has had a tremendous influence on his writing. His teaching experiences and knowledge of the area help him craft characters unique to this part of New England.

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The Collectors Blitz

 

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Suspense, Thriller

 

Date Published: December 15,2020

Publisher: BHC Press

Pierce Danser is on the hunt for his soon-to-be ex-wife, the actress Pauline Place, who’s disappeared from the Black Island film set in the heat swarmed waters off the Mexican coast. A wealthy “collector” with a black heart and dangerous, evil mind has kidnapped her, planning a forced marriage to complete his manage of twisted museum pieces.

As Pierce starts down the winding, dark, and deadly path in pursuit, his journey is a roller coaster through a horror show. No matter the grisly and dangerous obstacles, he is determined to rescue Pauline, even if it means the loss of his own life. The clock is ticking, his resources are slim and he’s up against a man of great means as well as a twisted, cruel vision.

 

About the Author

Greg Jolley earned a Master of Arts in Writing from the University of San Francisco and lives in the very small town of Ormond Beach, Florida. When not writing, he researches historical crime, primarily those of the 1800s. Or goes surfing.

 

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The Switch Blitz

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Mystery, Thriller

 

Date Published: November 2020

Walker and Munoz return to the scene of their first investigation. But this time it’s a cold case, and many of today’s modern investigative tools won’t help them solve it.

As they make some painstakingly slow progress, additional challenges stymie their efforts. And then a new present-day crime, precipitated by the revelations surrounding the cold case, force them to shift their focus entirely.

When the investigation begins to stall again, they get new information and evidence from two unlikely sources. But can they use it … or trust it … and will it be enough.

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Excerpt

CHAPTER 2

Detective Dave Munoz had the day off.

And then he didn’t.

He pulled his car over and parked next to the front gate of Monument House, a huge structure that closely resembled the “painted ladies” that populated Newport, Rhode Island, a little more than twenty-five miles to the south.

There were six of these Victorian mansions on the block, all of which had monstrous iron gates at the front entrance – originally constructed with the intent of keeping the riffraff out. The street on which these “painted ladies” wannabes were situated had been aptly named Abbott Boulevard. “Abbott” after the builder’s last name and “Boulevard” – as opposed to the more mundane street, road, or drive – to conjure up a sense of grandeur.

The architect of the project, Augustus Abbott, had even arranged for some mature trees to be planted, anticipating that the overhanging cathedral-like look of the thoroughfare would complete the effect.

And while Abbott had boasted that the six mansions were just the beginning, whatever further grand expansion he had envisioned was curtailed by the stock market crash of 1929. Abbott was fortunate that he had already sold the six behemoths that had been constructed. Building any more would have been foolhardy. With a depression on the horizon, who would buy them? Even the most patient long-term investor could see that Stanfield, Massachusetts would never develop the cachet of Newport, Rhode Island.

Fortunately for Abbott, five of the mansions were paid for upfront; the sixth went into foreclosure less than a year after the crash. Abbott and his family moved into that one, and his descendants still resided there. The Abbott mansion sat next to what was now called Monument House. In truth, Monument House was actually more regal than all the others. Abbott’s plan had been to build an even more spectacular home for himself and his family during the next phase of construction. But that phase never materialized, so he had to settle for the foreclosed-upon house next door.

Dave Munoz knew hardly anything about the block’s history. What he did know was limited to how the mansion in front of him had come to be called Monument House. Less than a year ago, the owner – the original owner’s daughter – had passed away at the age of 90. With no close relatives, or at least none that she cared about, she “bequeathed” – that was the actual word she insisted be written in her will – her homestead to the Monument Foundation.

The Monument Foundation was a charitable organization that primarily gave aid and assistance to special needs adults, especially those who had no family caregivers, and who were unable or unwilling to live independently. The foundation decided that the newly willed mansion would make an ideal group home. It had eight bedrooms, a large dining room, and even a library. While the front foyer and the marble staircase were a bit much, everything else about the mansion seemed more than suitable. It sat on three-quarters of an acre of land and had a wrought iron fence that surrounded the property, as well as a huge front gate. It was private and secure.

The ink on the deed to transfer the property wasn’t even dry before NIMBY – Not in My Backyard – reared its ugly head. Evidently, it’s a lot easier to be socially “woke” when it’s not in your backyard, or more precisely in this case – next door. A couple of the neighbors led by Mrs. Abbott, who literally did live next door, attempted to get restraining orders; they challenged zoning laws; they even tried negating the will, citing the mental incompetence of the “bequeather.”

None of it worked, and six months ago Monument House was born.

Shortly after the first residents moved in, there were a couple of instances of vandalism – mainly graffiti on the Monument House sign on the front gate. Detective Munoz was sent out to investigate. That’s when he met Jenny Squires, the newly hired director of Monument House.

Although Munoz quickly determined that the vandalism was most likely kids, and didn’t pose any real threat, he said he’d check in periodically to make sure everything was all right. True to his word, he did visit at least once a week, and then twice a week, and then more often, sometimes even on his day off. If he hadn’t been a police officer, his frequent visits to Monument House would definitely have qualified as stalking.

Munoz wasn’t what you’d call shy, but he was way out of practice with anything resembling dating. He had been engaged shortly before he transferred to Stanfield from Boston. The transfer was to some degree precipitated by the engagement. More to the point – his fiancée had concerns that her future husband being a cop in Boston might lead to early widowhood.

After a few months in Stanfield both Dave and his bride-to-be realized it probably wasn’t about where he was a cop; maybe it wasn’t even about being a cop. They separated after a little over a year. Dave had changed jobs to please her, but even after it was over, he didn’t really resent her for it. He was able to throw himself into his work and came to like Stanfield even more than Boston.

Stanfield hadn’t been without its challenges, however. During his first four years on the job, he’d been involved in three high profile investigations, even partnering with a retired FBI agent to solve the crimes. The last several years had been much quieter, and he found his professional life very rewarding. His personal life was another matter.

He had dated a few times right after the separation, but quickly realized that he wasn’t ready. He started up again a few years after that, but nothing serious came of it. Stanfield wasn’t exactly Boston, or even Providence for that matter. The Stanfield dating scene was basically nonexistent, especially for a police detective. There weren’t too many pickup lines that came trippingly off the tongue when you were investigating a possible crime – “You believe someone broke into your apartment ma’am? Is there anything missing? Cash, jewelry, your boyfriend?” Or while investigating a fender bender where one of the parties left the scene of the accident – “Would you like to go out sometime? – After your arraignment, of course.”

Although Dave drank moderately, the bar scene, however limited, held no interest for him either. And online dating was a nonstarter. He had resigned himself to a probable life of bachelorhood

And then Jenny arrived.

A month or so into their non-courtship, Jenny decided that she needed to take charge of the situation to move things forward, but Dave surprised her. “It’s been a while for me, and obviously I’m not showing up here just to make sure everything is okay.” Jenny half smiled, as Dave continued. “So, I was wondering …” He paused. “You know what I’m going to say, right? … You could make this a little easier you know.”

Jenny’s smile broadened. “Where would be the fun in that?”

Dave smiled back. “Fair point. Anyway, would you like to have dinner sometime?”

Jenny hesitated, and then, “I’d like that.”

I should quit while I’m ahead, but why did you hesitate?”

I was considering doing my best Scarlett O’Hara – ‘I do declare’… speech, but it seemed a little forced, despite my Atlanta roots.”

I didn’t know you were from Atlanta. You don’t have an accent.”

Jenny shrugged her shoulders. “For some reason I never really had much of one, and then after four years at Boston College, I think any remnants pretty much disappeared.”

Dave nodded. “So, how about we continue this discussion tomorrow night over dinner?”

Sounds good, but it’ll have to be an early one. I have to be back here by eight. Tomorrow night’s one of my nights to sleep here. We take turns, but at least one of the staff has to be here 24/7.”

That’s okay. How about I pick you up here at 5:30?”

It’s a date.” She smiled. “Actually, it is, isn’t it?”

That conversation occurred two months ago. They’d seen each other at least twice a week ever since. Today they had planned to go bike riding and then to a pitch and putt course about five miles away. It felt like something a couple of teenagers might do, but for the last few months Dave had felt more like a teenager than a 38-year-old.

He was just about to get out of his car and go to the intercom mounted next to the gate when his phone buzzed. He glanced at the screen, swiped the green icon, and put the phone to his ear. “Hi, Chief. What’s up?”

Sorry to bother you on your day off, Dave. We’ve got a situation at the Stateline Mall, actually at the parking garage. One of the workers unearthed what he thinks is a human bone. I’ve sent a couple of uniforms over to secure the scene. It might be nothing, but I need you to go take a look. See what’s what. Keep me posted, okay?”

Right, I’ll head over there now.”

Good, thanks.”

Dave ended the call, paused for a moment, and then tapped in Jenny’s number. She answered on the second ring. “Hey, you. Are you on your way? I was just about to go get the bikes and bring them around front.”

Actually, that’s where I am. But I just got a call from Chief Atkins. Something’s going on at the mall. He wants me to check it out.”

What is it? It’s not a shooting, is it?”

In the split second before he spoke, Dave’s brain registered how much he hated this new reality – that when he mentioned a situation at the mall, the idea of a shooting was the first thing that came into Jenny’s mind.

He raised his voice more than he intended. “No, no, nothing like that.” And then more calmly – “It’s just that one of the construction workers found … something.” He paused, not wanting to mention the possibility of it being a human bone and re-triggering her anxiety. “Anyway, I’m sorry, but I’ve got to go take care of this.” Keeping his voice calm, he added, “Pitch and putt is going to have to wait.”

Jenny seemed reassured, as her voice lost its edge. “Tell me this isn’t some grand scheme to weasel out of this? You know that you were going to lose, right?”

The bike race to the pitch and putt course, or the actual golf game?”

Both.”

You’re dreaming.”

We’ll see; that is if you don’t chicken out again.” She paused. “Give me a call later, okay?”

Sure.”

On the drive over to the Stateline Mall, Dave’s mind traveled back eight years. He had only been on the job in Stanfield for a little over a year when he caught the first of the three high-profile cases he had investigated. It was ironic, he thought, the Stateline Mall was part of that first investigation too.

He thought of how much his life had changed over the past eight years. And now with Jenny part of it, how much more it was likely to change. And then his mind shifted back to the mall, and the fact that it had undergone a number of transformations, as well. He wasn’t even sure what this latest one was – something to do with refurbishing the parking garage, maybe. He wondered if that was where the bone was found.

He was self-aware enough to know that he was doing it again – Speculating about something, rather than simply waiting the ten minutes to find out the answers for sure. He had always been like that, even before he became a cop. Did it help him in his job? He didn’t know. But it really didn’t matter. That’s who he was; that’s how he was hard-wired. That wasn’t going to change.

He forced his thoughts back to the discovery of the bone. Making an identification, even if there was a full skeleton, was going to be a challenge. But he was pretty sure the mall had only been there about fifteen years, so less of a challenge than if the remains were from before DNA databases were created. That was a plus at least.

As he pulled into the parking area that led to the garage, he had a flash-back to the scene eight years before, which had been in almost the same exact location. The memory faded away, as he saw the two uniformed officers guarding the site.

About the Author

Thomas Hall is a former English teacher and middle school and high school principal. Two of the schools where he was principal received national recognition for academic excellence. Following his retirement, Mr. Hall began two endeavors which he continues with today – playing senior softball and writing.

This is his sixth novel, and the fourth in his mystery/thriller series.

He and his wife Marcia live in central Massachusetts. They have three adult children and six grandchildren.

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