propane Texas Ranger Gerry Santos has the grim job of tracking down the murderers of a young Texas State Trooper. But it is only the beginning. The bad guys have moved on to take more innocent life and it’s not over yet.

From the latest Sam Deland Crime Novel, GROUND EFFECT:

There were cars parked everywhere. The streets leading out to the golf course were just a little narrow but Ghali managed to get the truck through it all and onto the grounds. Serving tents had been erected in the space between the colonial style clubhouse and the eighteenth green. Well-dressed men and women floated among young men with metal legs and arms. The golf tournament was raising money for the disabled vets and the brunch was about to be served. Nine holes was enough for most of the vets and the senators both had other places to go.

Ghali weaved through the parking lot and nosed the truck into the loading zone at the back of the tent where a full field kitchen was cooking eggs and bacon for the hungry crowd. Six full size propane tanks fed the grills and cooktops where white coated chefs worked the pots and pans. No one questioned the appearance of a truck of replacement propane tanks stopped just behind the tent.

Ghali slipped the Sig into the back of his belt and covered it with his shirt. The dark blue work shirt over another plain shirt had a white oval over his right pocket with “Harvey” written in red script. Walid was “Tom” for the day.

They both got out and went to the back of the truck and let down the hydraulic rear gate. Walid rode it back up and worked a propane bottle, almost as tall as him, loose and walked it back to the lift gate. Ghali let the gate with Walid and the tank down to the parking lot and then pulled a wheeled dolly from the passenger side of the stake bed and slipped it under the tank, wheeling it over to the tent.

Walid jumped back up onto the back of the truck and began opening valves. Each valve was only opened just enough to let out a slow stream of the very flammable gas. Ghali wheeled the tank up next to the other six at the back of the tent and opened the valve. He took the wrench and loosened the tops of three of the other tanks and took the dolly back to the truck.

Walid could smell the gas now. He found the safety switches on the detonators in the backpacks sitting down between the tanks and set them hot. Walid went to the rear and jumped down next to Ghali. Without more than just the nod of a head they turned and walked out of the parking lot and into the street. Ghali pulled a cell phone from his pocket and ordered a ride from an internet taxi to meet them at the gas station just two blocks away. He hoped the cooking fires didn’t set off the gas before…

In Spanish, Ghali said, “Bus station.”

The driver nodded and pulled out onto the street. Ghali held the cell phone on his lap, punched in another number and hit “send”. As the car turned a corner, the sound of the explosion rolled over them.

The driver said, “Sonic boom from the base. Not supposed to do it over the city.”



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