cessna 180 window From Texas to Tennessee, to Maryland and finally to the Poconos. The bad guys on the run have gone to ground right in Sam’s backyard. Now finding them is a race against time and the feds.

From my recently released crime/detective novel, GROUND EFFECT:

Sam was churning it all over in his brain on the short flight from Harrisburg to the farm. The news from the little blonde major added the gold Lexus now as also part of the terrorist bombing and an attempted murder and kidnapping in Tennessee. Somehow the call from the Rangers had left out that part of it. Ozzie got on the phone and pulled his other two CAR troopers out of a CPR class at the Allentown police academy and sent them north to back up Calvin. Sam got the SERT team moving in high gear and called the captain in Dunmore to put his Honesdale barracks on notice.

The 180 got unloaded and rolled into the hangar in record time. Eileen wasn’t home but Sam got re-packed and called her at the store as he was driving away. “I don’t know, not until this is resolved or until I get fed up with the federal help.” Sam wondered if the pun was intentional or just how it came out. “They’ll be scrambling to get their people up here so it could be confusing for a while. I’ll call you again when I know more. How’s Billy?”

“Asleep with Dutch watching over him,” Eileen said from her small desk next to the loading dock. The twins were out front taking turns staring into their phones and ringing up customers. Billy’s portable crib was tucked in the row between stacks of feed for livestock and rolls of fencing. The country store was a one stop grocery and farm supply depot. “Why didn’t you fly up there?”

“Weather is turning against me. I may need wheels to escape if it turns ugly.” Sam ended the call before flowing around traffic and entering the northbound turnpike, his Explorer approaching trooper speed.

Ozzie was not far behind but the kids and Marie slowed him down. That and trying to drive while stuffing a sandwich down his throat. There were several more along with other luscious treats in the cooler on the back seat. He was already plotting how to slow long enough to get at it without stopping. Vehicular gastronomic gymnastics.


Sam took the call while still northbound on the turnpike. He’d finally figured out the Bluetooth system in his state Explorer but still wasn’t comfortable with it. “That’s it, so far. No Lexus no bad guys. Our surveillance teams are watching the location. What’s the story with the Tennessee connection?”

Gerry was only a few miles from Honesdale trying to wrestle the Tahoe around the curvy mountain roads with his phone on speaker. “Well, Lieutenant, our Arab shooters dumped their car and jacked a woman and her kid. We got the information on the Pennsylvania address from the car they left behind.” Gerry left out the rest of it.

Sam got to the point, “Who from the FBI is running their part of it?”

Gerry looked over at Trish and shrugged. “They’re a little behind on this. I can explain it better when we get there.”

Now Sam got that empty sick feeling in his stomach when something bad was about to happen and he had a clue. “Okay, meet Trooper Livingston and I’ll be there in less than an hour.” Sam’s phone beeped with another incoming call. He gave Ranger Santos Calvin’s cell number and switched to the next call.

“Lieutenant Deland.”

“Deland, this is Assistant Director Garvey, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Your Headquarters gave me your name and number as the officer in charge. We have information that the suspects from the San Antonio terrorist bombing may be headed to…” it sounded to Sam like Garvey mumbled something to someone near him. Sam was, by now, exiting off the turnpike and cutting cross country toward Wayne County and needed both hands. “…Honeysdell in Pennsylvania.”

“It’s Honesdale in northeastern Pennsylvania. We already know about it. We have our people on scene and more on the way. What can I do to assist the FBI today?” Sam had varying experiences with his federal brothers and sisters. Most of it routine but every once in a while…

“Deland, we will be sending teams there as soon as we can. These terrorists have killed dozens and we intend capturing them with no more loss of life. If you would just have your people stay back and set up an outside perimeter we will assess the situation upon our arrival.”

Sam thought that sounded rather formal but some of the FBI brass were notoriously short on street cred and it was not surprising.

“When you have a command post established, keep your people out of harm’s way and we will coordinate with you as to our needs,” Garvey said.

Sam had to smile at that. “Certainly, Mr. Garvey. Call when you get into town.”

“It’s Assistant Director Garvey, Deland.”

“It’s Lieutenant Deland, Garvey.” And Sam ended the call.

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