When an Angelina County deputy videotapes his own murder, David Mason has to track down the killers. Leading an inexperienced FBI team with Melissa Adams as his second in command, David must overcome his own guilt over the murder.
An East Texas Sheriff and his deputies, a Texas Ranger, and strife inside his own team, all stand in David’s way. As suspects and witnesses die—David believes he has an agent leaking information. He had put his career and reputation on the line to get Melissa on his team. Would she betray his friendship and trust?
His investigative path brings him to a startling conclusion and a suspect that threatens to tear apart David’s moral fiber.
About the Author
The Pineywoods of East Texas have produced many things, including award winning and best-selling author John Foxjohn. Known as the master of pace, Foxjohn is considered a rising star in publishing. Not only has Foxjohn published books in six different genres, but three different ones have become best-sellers. In 2014, Foxjohn’s romantic suspense, Law of Silence, received the prestigious WMP Award of Excellence for the best book of 2014. Despite the book sales and accolades, Foxjohn says, “I’m just a country boy at heart. “I was born and raised so far back in the woods that they had to pump sunshine to us.” With little to do but hunt and fish, Foxjohn’s environment created an atmosphere that fostered imagination and dreams, something he would excel at. At the tender age of seventeen, he quit high school and joined the army. Foxjohn’s six years would see him graduate from jump school, Ranger school, and become the youngest sergeant in peacetime army. A tour of Viet Nam and Germany highlighted an extremely successful stint for Foxjohn. After an honorable discharge, Foxjohn followed that up with ten years in law enforcement, including a long tour as a homicide detective. Fulfilling a promise to his dying mother, Foxjohn graduated from college and began a new adventure of teaching and coaching football. Foxjohn had another of his childhood dreams left to accomplish. When he was twelve, he read a book about Crazy Horse. He said then that one day he would write a book about the fabled Lakota war chief. After retiring, Foxjohn became a writer, and the first book he wrote was an historical fiction titled The People’s Warrior: a book about Crazy Horse. Today Foxjohn spends an enormous amount of time traveling in Texas and across the country, signing books and talking and teaching writing groups about the craft of writing.
Read an Excerpt
Justin Milam sat, fork poised for a bite of his apple pie. Something shattered behind him. Dropping the fork, his hand streaked for his gun. With his heart lodged in his throat, he spun on the restaurant stool.
Maggie stood frozen, eyes wide, broken plate at her feet.
With a sheepish expression, Justin stood, and put his hand on her shoulder. "I'm sorry." He gulped in air. "I don't know what makes me so spooky. Probably the full moon. It brings out the crazies."
He'd known Maggie a long time and he smiled when she put her arms around him and hugged. She reminded him of his mother.
His pie forgotten, he looked at his ticket: One dollar and twenty-six cents. As usual, the restaurant gave him half off as they did all on-duty law enforcement officers. He fished in his pocket, laid a five on the table, and strode to the door, all eyes following him. The clock on the wall showed five till eleven and he had a long night left.
A biting wind smacked him in the face, and he glanced up at an ominous moon casting an eerie glow across the wet highway. Monday night had started slow. Dressed in his starched khaki uniform, polished badge, and glistening black boots, he'd investigated a shoplifting by kids at an Okay store.
The store clerk wrote their license plate number down and Justin wrote his report, titled Misdemeanor Theft. He decided to let the day shift round them up.
He drove to a Huntington residence on a disturbance call, but found all the lights out and the owners asleep. These false calls happened too often, and worried him. He received the majority of them. He thought he knew what was wrong, but didn't want to believe it, and couldn't say anythinguntil he had evidence to back up his theory. Too many people were involved who could ruin his career.
His biggest problem--he didn't believe the person he suspected was smart enough to lead it. The leader had to be someone he didn't know, but he couldn't figure out who.
As he glanced up at the night sky, a light halo surrounded the full moon, forecasting more rain. Shudders surged through him. Apprehension made his legs weak. Full moons had a tendency to bring out crazies, but his uneasiness had nothing to do with the night.
He'd heard an old cop say someone stepped on his grave to explain what sent shivers coursing through him. He shook his head as if shaking off water.
At 11:00, he parked his car in the empty parking lot of the closed Brazos Cattle Company restaurant, a half-mile from the loop. Justin needed fresh air to calm his nerves, but frying hamburger and french fry aromas swam on the cold night air from the nearby Whataburger.
At 11:24, a dark Firebird with one headlight out sliced through water in the right hand lane, and Justin pulled out behind it. When the vehicle turned right on the east loop, he turned on the video camera and his overheads. A moment later, the Firebird pulled all the way over on the shoulder. After parking a few feet behind the car, his driver's side halfway in the street to give him protection from traffic, he checked out with the dispatcher. He told her his location and the vehicle license plate number. He flashed the spotlight beam on the car's license plate to ensure the camera picked it up. He re-positioned the light beam into the back window and rear view mirror.
Staying behind the driver's door, he turned sideways to offer less of a target, his right hand close to his gun butt. Needle pricks danced up his spine.
He relaxed when the driver's window rolled down and a young female with dyed blonde hair asked, "What's the problem?"
For the life of him, he couldn't figure out what made him so jumpy. A veteran cop, he'd stopped thousands without a problem. He took a deep breath. "Ma'am, I'm Deputy Sheriff Justin Milam. I stopped you because you have a headlight out. Can I see your driver's license?"
She nodded and reached for her purse. Justin moved closer to watch her hands. She was alone in the car, but his hand trembled near his gun.
She handed him the license. "I'm sorry. I didn't realize I had a broken light. This is my daddy's car."
"Hold on a minute ma'am." Justin strode to the back, called the dispatcher on his walkie-talkie, and asked her to check registration on the car and warrants on the driver.
While he waited, he asked permission to search the vehicle, which the driver granted. He spent fifteen minutes going through a quick search--looking in all the usual hiding places, but didn't believe he'd find anything. She was local and not the drug running type. When he received a negative report from the dispatcher, he gave the woman a verbal warning to get her headlight fixed and let her go.
When she pulled away, he sighed, getting back in his heated car and driving to his spot. With light traffic, several minutes passed before the next vehicle approached with a noticeable traffic violation. This one didn't have a front license plate.
He pulled behind the car, which turned east on the loop, and followed the same procedures he always did--turned on the camera and his lights. This one didn't stop right away, and he hit his siren before they pulled to the shoulder. The car had a male driver and two other passengers, one in the back seat.
He didn't believe they were drug runners, either. Mules didn't operate in threes. When he exited the patrol vehicle, a car passed, blowing cold air through his open jacket. Justin took two steps toward the driver's door and froze. His heart thundered--pulse throbbed at the temples. Frowning, he took a deep breath. His gaze scanned the car, locking on the license plate. Static hairs stood on his neck. He touched his gun.
Nothing out of the ordinary, but he knew something was wrong--what?
Shrugging, he licked his lips. Routine. Just a routine stop. He took a tentative step forward.
He stopped when a young black male opened the driver's door and stepped out. "What did I do wrong? I wasn't speeding."
Justin's gaze darted from the driver to the passengers, back to the driver, as he kept his distance. "Sir--I stopped you because you're missing the front license plate on your vehicle. May I see your driver's license?"
Reaching into his back pocket for his wallet, the male frowned. "It's against the law not to have a front license plate?"
Justin extended his left hand for the license, scrutinizing the male. Warning signals flashed in his mind, but he didn't know why. Wary, he snapped, "Yep."
Something was wrong with this car and the driver. He wasn't paranoid. But what? Maybe he should call for backup. Naw. Everyone in the city would respond and what would he tell them?
He asked the driver to take a seat back in his car. He hurried to the rear and called the dispatcher for the usual check, but this time he asked her to check the driver's criminal history.
His radio cracked, sounding like a gunshot in the quiet night air. She advised him that the computer was down and she couldn't get his criminal history check.
"Damn computers," he mumbled. "They're down more than they're up." He trooped to the driver's side and asked permission to search the vehicle.
Exchanging a glance with the passenger in the back seat, the driver shrugged. "Sure. I ain't got nothin' to hide."
Justin pushed his felt hat back. "Why don't you open the trunk?"
Another vehicle passed on the highway, throwing a fine film of water on them. Justin adjusted his jacket, while the driver inserted the key and lifted the trunk open. Metal popped like a clock ticking when the black male opened the trunk.
With Kel light in his left hand, Justin shined the beam in the trunk. A tarp covered a large bulk.
The two passengers opened their doors and stepped out. Justin shuffled sideways, his breathing stopped. He pointed his light at them. "Both of you get back in the vehicle!"
Both black males, one tall and the other short, smiled. As the tall one took a step toward Justin, he said, "I don't think so, idiot."
Justin's hand darted to his gun. He'd violated a major survival rule. An explosion slammed him forward. He landed on his face, half in the trunk. He drifted in and out of consciousness.
Someone jerked his gun from his holster, and he couldn't move. His head snapped back when a hand seized his hair, yanking him backward. Lights shattered, and his vision blurred when his head struck the concrete.
He shut his eyes tight, but snapped them open. Looking past the gun pressed against his forehead, his vision cleared and his eyes widened. The short male sneered.
Justin recognized the expression instantly, then the face. He was right about the boss. How had he missed the obvious? Through a clogged throat, he choked out, "You'll never get away with this."
The boss laughed. "Wanta bet?"
Justin never heard the gun explode.