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Looking west to the Gulf of Mexico out the infamous Cross Florida Barge Canal, plagued by a history of ill-fated plans and starts beginning with King Philip of Spain in1567 and officially receiving the kiss of death in 1971. Originally designed to be a direct cross-state short cut from the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, it began at the mouth of the St. Johns River, intended to join the Oklawaha River, then dug in sections of ditch to Lake Rousseau, the Withlacoochee River and into the Gulf. Many years later the Crystal River Nuclear Power Plant was built nearby the western end of the canal, the condensation plumes from which can be seen in the distance, featured as landmarks used by Jake McCall in the adventure novel, CARTEL CONNECTION.

Looking east at the beautiful Withlacoochee River, a wilderness waterway originally to be connected by manmade ditch and become a part of the westernmost portion of the Cross Florida Barge Canal, a long-lasting and sporadic project spanning over four hundred years of Florida history. The northern version of the Withlacoochee originates in Georgia and flows south to eventually merge with and lose its independent identity to the Suwanee River, whereas the southern Withlacoochee flows from the south and into the Gulf of Mexico after its manmade merger with the barge canal near Inglis, both versions named originally by the Creek Indians. The old and original river plays a prominent role in the discovery by Jake McCall and his FBI associate, John Reed, of their double agent counterpart, born and raised on the river in the closely knit small community of Yankeetown, through which the river flows.
A sampling of the old Cuban homes above which line the streets in the small fishing village of Mantua, south and west of Havana, where Jake McCall, John Reed and the dangerous double agent, known to the Mexican cartels only as El Toro, find themselves trapped between a violent gun battle with the Mexicans and a fear that the Cuban militia will invade. Hiding in these homes are residents of the village, some of whom were held hostage by the cartel gang while others had hoped for escape to America.
Example of the "go fast" hull design perfected by the legendary Don Aranow which came to be the vessels of choice by both the drug smuggling crowd and the law enforcement agencies, DEA, Coast Guard and ICE, which pursued them. Aranow was killed in 1987 near his office on "Thunderboat Row" in Miami, allegedly by some strain of the Mafia upset because he had designed and built the "Blue Thunder" boats for the government which were faster than the boats he had built and sold to the smugglers, variations of which continue to be used today by the cartels, as chronicled in the various Jake McCall series of adventure novels. Speculation about Aranow's assassination continues today in heated blog exchanges which have become their own saga about the reason for the killing and the actual perpetrator, notwithstanding long past arrests, convictions and allegations of political reasons for the death of an exciting and charming genius who befriended presidents, criminals or anyone who shared his passion for fast boats.
The narrow mangrove "tunnel" through which the Mexicans led Jake and the Magnum into Mantua de Arroyos, the only way in and out of the small fishing village and the perfect setting for an ambush by the psychopathic killer, Francisco.
Looking back east down the narrow shellrock alleyway in the little Cuban village of Mantua de Arroyos where John Reed and the double agent, el Toro, are led after they find themselves ambushed by the Mexican cartel killers while Jake remains trapped on the Magnum. The alleyway runs behind the homes where the villagers have hidden from the gunfight.
View of the nuclear power plant condensation plumes from the junction of the old Florida cross state barge canal and the Withlacoochee River, near the spot where Jake and John Reed discover the home of the infamous double agent, el Toro.

 A South Florida Adventure Novel

 by Don Beverly


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Previous Releases by Don Beverly

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'Cartel Connection'



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'How to talk Western'

Non-fiction humor


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'Operation Everglades'



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'The Ripple Effect Murders'



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'Bite The Hand'


Available now

'Birmingham Boys'



New and Recent Releases


The fifth in the Jake McCall Adventure novel series

Birmingham Boys


The sixth in the Jake McCall Adventure novel series

Ponzi: The Shell Game



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