senseless rape and murder of his wife by a quartet of
drug dealers who also leave him for dead, a former law
school classmate of Jake McCall's vows to do two things.
Build a memorial in the Rockies to his beloved wife,
then track down and kill the assassins. After the
formation of an elaborate and cunning plan for revenge,
it becomes apparent that a combine exists between the
Mexican cartel, las Zetas, and an international network
of Islamic extremists who have acquired American
businesses as fronts for laundering drug money intended
to ultimately be used to fund terrorist activities in
Islamic devotees peddling drugs as a means of
subsidizing Allah's presence and fanatically driven to
kill all Christians, Jews and Americans as infidels has
emerged a converted American extremist, eager to prove
his worth by orchestrating an airborne attack on Disney
World. Blind to the reality that his American heritage
and freedom enables him to plot and conduct such an
attack, he and his fellow zealot steal aircraft and take
off in the middle of a raging thunderstorm to fly a
suicide mission into the Magic Kingdom. Sheer
coincidence alerts Jake and John Reed to the plan,
producing a courageous and wildly dangerous adventure
with the F-18s from nearby McCoy.
leads them and their New York FBI counterparts on a long
distance chase into Manhattan and across to New Jersey
where a shootout occurs in a Teterboro hanger. Hard
police work and evidence from New Jersey then enables
Jake and his associates to flush out the Dade County end
of the connection which has accumulated the money and
sophisticated armament intended to be used for a massive
stadium bombing and attack on the Goodyear blimp
When a huge
and hidden supply of the plastic explosive C-4
unexpectedly becomes the prize, a suicidal contest
begins, indiscriminately destined to kill either some or
visitors left, Kendall walked over to the post where he
had left his chain saw, picked it up and carried it to
the barn where he put it away for the night, a night
which had turned chilly as the sun set while he was
inside the cabin with his guests. When he exited the
barn and began the short walk back to the cabin's warmth
the moonlight in the cloudless sky made him stop, stuff
his hands deep in his pockets, ignore the cold and, for
the hundredth time, stand and gaze in utter awe at what
God had done.
It was at
times like these that building this place for Kate made
complete sense, perhaps to no one other than Kendall,
but it had been their dream together and he had vowed to
Kate it would happen. Even though she was now long gone,
the promise was still in his head and Kate was still in
his heart. The years had passed but their passage had
changed nothing. Now the cabin was complete and the
promise had been kept.
remained the second promise which had been made as Kate
lay dying before him while the grotesque faces of her
killers became forever and indelibly etched in his
brain. This promise also had to be kept before Kendall
could ever rest, although it was one which would prove
difficult and dangerous to keep.
As much as
his loss of Kate, it was the second promise which had
kept him from allowing other relationships to develop
and compelled him to select a desolate location for the
cabin, likely not a spot he and Kate would have chosen
together. Matter of fact, she would have thought him
deranged for even considering such a site, far away from
everything as it was and over ten miles from the nearest
grocery store or gas station, not to mention the more
important things to Kate, like ski lifts and Starbucks.
But Kendallís second promise required that he now have a
place like this which he could share only with Kate
while completing his remaining pledge to her.
This was a
place where Kendall could disappear and now he was ready
to do so. He had begun the process of becoming
invisible the minute he left Florida months before.
reason for placing title to the land and cabin in the
name of a Nevada corporation, all of the stock in which
was owned by another corporation with an address in the
Cayman Islands which led nowhere. The Nevada corporation
had a name, Rocky Top, Inc., which was likewise
meaningless, and an address which was simply a post
office box number in Alma, the tiny, high-altitude
village considered by some to be near the end of
civilization and agreed upon by the rest to at least be
on the way there.
Kendall had a
single cell phone which he had purchased from Wal-Mart
on a no-contract, prepaid plan for less than thirty
dollars. He had not even bothered to memorize the
number. After the cabin was finished, Kendall felt there
were too many who had been given the cell phone number
during the construction process, so he threw the phone
into the fireplace one night and a few days later picked
up another thirty dollar phone with a new number at the
Wal-Mart in Frisco.
intervening two years, Kendall had eliminated almost all
mail except junk stuff which came to the corporation,
had closed his bank accounts and cancelled his credit
cards. Other than his real estate taxes and monthly
power bill, all of which went to the corporationís post
office box, he had no need for those things and
cashierís checks could always be bought for cash to pay
he needed to extend his exercise in anonymity for at
least several more months until his trail had grown even
colder and his friends, few though they had become, had
simply given up on him as his hermit lifestyle appeared
to become obsessive after Kateís death. He purposely had
made it impossible for them to find him.
actually been somewhat surprised at how rapidly and
easily he had been able to disappear from the so-called
mainstream and how little effort, in most cases none,
had been expended by those he had considered friends to
track him down or even inquire about his welfare or
whereabouts. When no more invitations and calls came,
Kendall would know the time had come to do what he had
patiently waited for years to do in order to avenge
Kate's death. He had four people to kill!
thing Kendall had anticipated or wished for would have
been two carloads of gracious families and their friends
arriving at his doorstep with a baked ham and two little
girls who now considered him a hero and would spread his
name and the tale of their rescue everywhere. They would
unwittingly be leaving behind a profile whereby everyone
in the community would now know his identity and where
he was living, way the hell up toward Mosquito Pass
where he had thought it unlikely that anyone would ever
On the other
hand, there was no way he could have bypassed the danger
the two girls were in when their car careened into the
freezing rapids of the North Platte. Reflexively, he had
reacted in precisely the same way he always had in times
of danger, almost always involving threats to someone
other than himself.
Kate's case his intervention was ill-fated and came too
late, resulting in her death and what her killers had
thought had been his as well. They had both been left
for dead after the brutal attack by four men who made no
effort to disguise their identity or purpose, assuming
their departure would leave behind no witnesses.
It had been a
simple crime, if crime can ever be adequately described
as simple. Rape, robbery, and when Josh walked in from
work and reacted, it turned into what the four invaders
thought had become a double murder.
attack and a one-sided and bloody fight, the four
barbarians casually loaded up their bounty and left,
laughing at the mess they had made and tracking blood
from one end of Josh and Kate's home to the other.
During the brief but violent fight, Josh had clearly
seen the faces of the four and later heard two them
calling each other by name and discussing whether to "go
home to Lake Worth" or, as two of the men kept
insisting, "go to the Dixie Bar for a few drinks and
celebrate," all the while thinking they had just
committed a double homicide and would get away with it.
It had taken
Josh almost two years of medical artwork and therapy to
recover from the damage done to his body during the
beating he received from the four killers. He had been
in and out of consciousness for over two weeks and
physically unable to attend the burial of his beloved
his mind and memory were two graphic images.
One of Kate, still alive and with her eyes open as she
screamed and fought the serial rapists before she was
slaughtered as Josh lay helpless and semi-conscious
within feet of his dying young wife.
image was of faces belonging to men who he would spend
years locating and tracking until he knew more about the
four than they knew about themselves.
As he lay in
the hospital, his obsession had grown to an intensity
which became directly proportionate to his ability to
function, mentally and physically.
ultimately informed that law enforcement had been
unwilling or unable to achieve any meaningful success
with their investigation, notwithstanding the multitude
of finger, hand and foot prints all over the ransacked
house. DNA testing also proved unproductive and the
conclusion ultimately reached, correctly as it would
later turn out, that the four were in the U.S.
illegally, with false papers of every kind from
passports to driver's licenses, pretending to operate a
lawn maintenance service which they used as a cover to
obscure their real business of bringing in cocaine from
the west coast of Florida where it was delivered
directly to them by the Mexican drug cartel, Las Zetas.
before Josh would learn even that, he had to retrain his
body and brain to again function efficiently. He had
suffered a severe concussion resulting from the
battering to his head, which, by all neurological
standards, should have left him dead, mentally
incompetent, partially paralyzed or some crippling
combination of the above.
he was later told he had come into the emergency room as
"an orthopedic surgeon's dream," suffering from a
fractured humerus in his left arm, four broken fingers
in his left hand, a broken jaw and nose, and damaged
rotator cuff in his right shoulder resulting in complete
severances of two of the four primary ligaments and one
of the two biceps tendons, rendering his right arm
useless and causing excruciating pain even when he
attempted to write.
earlier years of rodeo, football and serial injuries in
Iraq as a Ranger, Josh had endured pain before. Even
without the motivation of what had now become a goal for
survival and recovery, his vow to avenge and his
training and experience in Army special undercover
operations would enable him to do so.
four had left his home thinking him dead and it had
taken many months for him to again become functional, he
had acquired the precious element of surprise, another
item on the Ranger checklist of how to gain an advantage
over an enemy.
By the time
Josh had recovered from surgery and was able to use his
laptop some months later, he had outlined in his mind a
game plan for revenge, had repeatedly reviewed and
revised it and when his fingers would allow, began
reducing his plan to written form, to be further edited
in order to accomplish his personal mission under the
radar of ineffective law enforcement.
In the Middle
East he had operated in an undercover world of shadows
and darkness for over two years in special ops and had
found it to be a strangely comfortable place,
particularly since in this mission he would not be
encumbered by such things as protocol, policies and
shift changes. He was less concerned about discovery or
interference by the law than invading the underworld of
the drug business, a world where even law enforcement
often feared to venture.
he would have a huge advantage if he could simply avoid
discovery. He would not be intimidated by fear and his
experience with secrecy would be his ally.
of his plan would capitalize on the inbred gang
mentality of the killers, whereby they would always
blame other known enemy gangs for any criminal act they
were unable to explain.
Within that framework and like a puppeteer, Josh refined
a plan to use those very gangs as his personal weapons.
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