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UNDERCOVER—THE ONE JOB WHERE THERE IS NO BACKUP

 

A series of home invasions . . . Police officers gunned down in broad daylight . . . A call for help to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement . . . the Special Police and Law Action Team is assigned . . . SPLAT—cops who shoot first, ask no questions, and steal what isn’t nailed down.

 

What happens to a good cop who has to adjust his moral compass when he goes undercover? That’s the dilemma Danny Phillips faces when he joins SPLAT. Can Danny to resist the temptation to return to his free-wheeling days of scams, blondes, and bourbon?!

 

At the same time, Mike Zaragossa, The Gypsy Hunter, is back solving the cases of a kidnapped Gypsy girl, arson, and a Gypsy-aided terrorist plot to destroy the Kennedy Space Center.

 

As in all of Beachside PD novels the crimes are reality-based, so be prepared for the hot action of the hunt, as the bad guys are tracked down and brought to justice.

 

 

1

 

BEACH ISLES, FLORIDA BUSINESS DISTRICT

DECEMBER, 2014

 

THE BEACH ISLES police car pulled into an empty parking spot on the corner gas station. Before she turned off the motor, Julia Fernandez called dispatch to let them know they would be on their lunch break. Stevie Basilio, her partner, reached under his seat and grabbed a bag of Cheetos with orange stained fingers.

 

Partners on the job and friends off it, they were lucky that their spouses understood their relationship and were friends as well. Their weekends were often spent at one house or the other, with the children happily splashing in the pool while the parents barbecued.

 

Family vacations were taken together and adult vacations were taken separately—time to renew marriage vows. There was always some teasing from their fellow officers but they took it gracefully. Life was good for these two young officers. They were relaxed and ready for lunch.

 

But for the heat, the day would have been pleasant; the humidity was low and the sky a clear blue. Fernandez was laughing at Basilio’s latest imitation of their sergeant as she reached the front door of the restaurant. With a crash, three masked men carrying shotguns burst out of the check cashing store next door. The second man through the door, spotted the surprised officers and he fired at Fernandez. His aim was high and Fernandez’s face exploded in a spray of blood, bone, and tissue. Her bright eyes, smile, and throaty laugh—gone for all time.

 

Basilio reacted quickly and was reaching for his weapon, but the third man snapped a quick shot at his midsection. The blast shredded Basilio’s hand and he dropped his weapon as he was knocked to the ground. The Cheetos burst into an orange mist that surrounded him. Fortunately, his vest absorbed the deadly blast, but the first gunman stopped and stood over him. Basilio looked up at the gunman, he wanted to plead for his life. But he never had the chance, as the gunman put the barrel of his shotgun to Basilio’s neck, and pulled the trigger, almost decapitating him.

 

The three gunmen jumped into a waiting Lincoln Town Car and the driver asked, “What the hell happened?”

 

“Couldn’t be helped. We came out and there they were.”

 

The driver looked back at the two bodies on the sidewalk, blood pooling around them and some of it running in rivulets to the curb and onto the street. People slowly approached the dead officers—it was like TV or a movie—but the smell of blood on the hot pavement made the experience real and many of them recoiled and stepped back—several vomited, polluting the crime scene. There was the faint sound of a siren in the distance growing louder.

 

“Shit,” said the driver as he put the car in gear and slowly pulled away. He was cautious and trying to avoid attention. It didn’t matter if anyone took down the plate number; the Lincoln and plates were stolen separately. He drove it to an abandoned warehouse where a Lincoln Navigator SUV was waiting. Grabbing the money bag, he opened the SUV’s back door electronically. He took out three pairs of sneakers as the other men stripped off their masks, coveralls and shoes.

 

That all went into the stolen car’s trunk along with their weapons. Two of the men emptied gallon cans of gasoline into the trunk, on the front and back seats and the last can was poured onto the concrete floor under the car, and then led away for a fuse-trail.

 

The three gunmen got into the Navigator as the driver lit the gasoline trail that led to the stolen car. Forensics? Nothing would survive.

 

BEACH ISLES POLICE Chief, Eric “Dink” Sinclair looked at the bodies of his two dead officers and his rage spilled over at the newly arrived Crime Scene Unit.

“Damn it, can’t you put the tent up and cover them before the media shows up.”

 

“Going up right now, sir.”

 

“Make it fast,” Sinclair shouted and then turned to the officers on the scene and said, “Arrest anyone who tries to take cell phone photos.”

 

“Yes sir.”

 

Sinclair reached for his cell phone and called his longtime friend and fellow Beachside PD chief, Joshua Chamberlain—Julia Fernandez and Steve Basilio were transfers from Beachside PD.