flowers 2015 big pot front left

He’s worried about being due in Federal Court tomorrow and trying to enjoy his day off when it turns ugly once again. State police Corporal Sam Deland leads his team of troopers into the drug and gang underworld to find the bad guys turning his peaceful upstate community into a tempest of violence.

ROPE BREAK is the second novel in the SAM DELAND CRIME NOVEL series and is due out this spring. The drama of SINK RATE, the first book, is cranked up a few notches dragging Sam and his crew along for the bumpy ride.

Bad guys being bad. From ROPE BREAK:

From where they sat on the small street between two big car dealerships, they could see the front of the garden center a quarter of a mile down the highway. A few customers had come and gone and a few were still milling about. “That’s the husband with the wheelbarrow,” Toby told Flathead. Toby handed the binoculars to McCall who took a long look and then caught sight of a matronly woman carrying a tray of flowers out to her green van in the parking lot. When she left, there was only one vehicle left in the lot and it was twenty minutes past the closing time.

“Straggler,” McCall mumbled. He was back on the binoculars again and saw the husband wave as a young guy drove out from the back lot in a beat up Corsica and went past them on the highway heading for Allentown. “Help’s leavin’. Just one more customer to go.”

After several minutes, a blonde in tight jeans marched out of the pole barn dragging a screaming two year old boy. She manhandled him into a car seat in the rear of her Explorer and after digging in her purse, found her keys and drove the opposite way toward the new homes out in the country.

“Finally,” McCall mumbled again and put the field glasses on the floor between the seats. “Give it fifteen minutes for them to clean up, then we move. Get the stuff outta the bag, Turd.”

Toby reached behind him and zippered open the athletic bag. He handed one of the big hooded sweatshirts to McCall and then tried to get into the other one himself. Somehow he managed to get the sleeve twisted inside out and struggled while Flathead looked at him like he was crazy.

“Too complicated for your meager brain,” he snarled. Each took a pair of the dark amber tinted ski goggles and slipped them over their heads and around their necks where they could pull them up quickly.

McCall adjusted the silver automatic resting on his right side and pulled the Toyota out onto the road and drove toward the target. As he drove past, he could see the man standing inside the main building talking to a small woman. Toby leaned across and said, “That’s her. It’s just the two of them now. Pull past and turn in the side lot behind the piles of mulch. There.” He pointed toward a small driveway angling into the property and McCall pointed the black SUV into the gravel and stopped behind the brown musty piles.

They both quickly got out and Flathead had to grab Toby by the dangling hood of Toby’s sweatshirt and force him to put up the hood and slip the goggles onto his eyes. Toby fumbled the old revolver out into his right hand and Flathead pulled the automatic. The only sound was of the grit crunching under boots as they went through the open back entrance to the pole barn.

Flathead’s vision went dark. He took one more step and crashed into a display rack of seeds, knocking it over to his left. Toby was right behind and didn’t see McCall stop. Toby piled into the big man and let out an “Oohff!” They hadn’t figured on the tinted goggles being so efficient at blocking the light.

The interior of the barn wasn’t really that dark, but the goggles were meant to block out glare off the snow. Flathead reached up and tried to pull the goggles down where he could see and finally got his bearings. He could see movement at the front of the building and realized the two figures advancing on him were the man and the woman. Flathead sidestepped to his right between two aisles and found the man facing him at the other end about fifteen feet away. He couldn’t see the woman and didn’t know where Toby was either.

“Freeze right there!” Flathead yelled, pointing his gun at a very surprised Hank. Hank was in mid step and it took two more steps before he registered what was happening and managed to get stopped. Debbie appeared behind him and stared wide eyed at the looming figure in front of them.


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