Real life has intruded on the writing schedule lately, but the draft is still over 75,000 words. Also, the Kindle Preorder is up on Amazon. Release date is now June 23. He is called “El Duque.” No one knows his real name. Only vague descriptions and fuzzy photos of him exist. What is known about him is that he is the up-and-coming power in the converging underworlds of guerrilla warfare, spies, terrorists, and organized crime. He is known to have ties with Islamist extremists, Communist guerrillas, drug cartels, gun runners…if it is involved in global chaos, he has a hand in it. Now Praetorian Security has been contracted to hunt him down. Jeff Stone and his team pick up the scent in northern Mexico. But the closer they get, the more elusive El Duque seems to become. Jeff and his compatriots have long since learned that in the shadowy world of modern conflict, little is ever exactly what it seems. But as the manhunt leads them into some of the darkest, most lawless corners of the Western Hemisphere, they come upon an explosive revelation that changes everything. No one is coming out the other side of this mission the same.
A lone sheriff’s department vehicle showed up just ahead of the Harmon-Dominguez trucks. The firefight had been over for just over an hour. There were fire-trucks and ambulances just behind the sheriff’s vehicle. The deputy pulled up, got out, took a look around at us, walked over to the shattered cars and trucks full of bloating MS-13 corpses, and went back to his car without a word. The other first-responders went to deal with the overturned semi. The wrecker was half an hour behind the ambulances, who ended up just bagging up the bodies and driving away. When the Harmon-Dominguez convoy finally got there, they slowed way down and hesitated for close to five minutes, hanging back a good hundred yards from the scene. When they finally crept forward to the crashed box truck, they were slow, hesitant, and gave off the appearance of staring fearfully at the sheriff’s department vehicle. I just shook my head. We’d been contracted because some of the people Renton works with thought that Harmon-Dominguez was a front company for Mexican cartel interests. They wanted some inside reconnaissance, and we were it. And maybe my perception was colored by that knowledge. But these guys just
As soon as he hung up, I dialed The Ranch. Clyde answered after only three rings. “Get Package Fifty heading to Tucson, Clyde,” I told him. “Most ricky-tick.” “It’ll be on the way within the hour,” he replied. I hung up and pocketed the phone, walking back toward the overturned box truck. Nick and Jack were standing near the front, shotguns slung in front of them and eyes out.
I topped off my 870’s tube as I walked toward the lead box truck, where it was lying on its side in the median. Harold Juarez, the senior Harmon-Dominguez rep on this little convoy, had crawled out once the shooting stopped, and was already on his phone. The driver was shakily pulling himself out. I went to help the driver get down off the sideways cab. Harold was standing in front of the truck, talking earnestly and quickly. I’ll admit I took the opportunity to listen in, as I helped the driver down to the ground. The poor guy was shaking, and looked a little sick. Good thing he’d had the transmission between him and the shooting; he really wouldn’t have liked what had happened only two lanes away. I steered him away from the carnage as I got him down.