Praise for WOLF'S Inferno
"An intense tale of the far-reaching ties between a Southern California street gang and an international, mafia-style, criminal organization."
-William Patrick Murphy, Detective Sergeant, San Diego Police Department Narcotics Unit
Bonds forged in the crucible of Special Operations are unbreakable—former Navy SEAL Tom Wolf and retired Green Beret Sam McFadden are members of that brotherhood, having served together in the Philippines. Leaving America's elite military fraternity for civilian life, McFadden and his wife have put down deep roots in San Diego. Navy SEAL Tom Wolf, a modern-day rōnin grappling with a future that does not include his beloved military, joins the McFaddens for an extended stay. Turning their world upside down, a hired Manila assassin, working with a local Asian gang, has sworn to eliminate all three—ultimately binding them together as only a near death experience can.
San Diego Police Department Headquarters
Detective Mike McManus, an auburn-haired fourth- generation Irish cop with a broad, freckled face, was on his third cup of coffee, a setback in a two-week battle to wean himself from caffeine. His partner, Bob Mathis, a square- faced methodical investigator fond of spreadsheets, poked his head in McManus's office doorway.
"Bagged your battle with coffee?"
McManus shrugged. "Busted. Gave it a try. What can I say?"
"Not an easy habit to break, Mike." "Don't make excuses for me." Mathis took a seat in front of the desk, one of his charts
in hand. "Tomorrow's a fresh start." McManus drained his coffee and crumpled the paper cup
into a ball. "So, what's the latest on that rumor gangbangers were meeting a VIP at the airport?"
Mathis slouched in the chair. "It's true. Our boys are up to no good as usual."
McManus lofted the crushed coffee cup at a corner wastebasket and missed. "So who's our big shot?"
"Don't know. Came in on the five o'clock from Honolulu.""You might wanna get Rodriguez in on this. He knows all the players."
Mathis folded his sheet in crisp quarters and pocketed it. "He's in LA until the end of the week for that gang workshop the feds are running."
"Right. Let's bring him up to speed first thing when he gets back."
"Will do." "Any video of this guy?" "I've got a call in to the Harbor PD asking about it.
Won't be a problem to get it. If we're lucky they got a face shot."
McManus got up, stretched, and did a few quick knee bends behind his desk to take his mind off coffee. "Do we know who met this guy?"
Mathis plucked a notebook from his back pocket. "One of our guys was working a dog at the airport. He ID'd Biggy Pacheco behind the wheel of the pickup car."
"Biggie, huh? Do we know who else played welcoming committee?"
Mathis shrugged. "He didn't know the guy. Have to wait for the video."
"Okay, let's make sure we follow up. I don't like it. Some out-of-towner arrives and gets a ride with some of our local scumbags."
McManus stood, stretched both arms above his head to loosen up. "Changing subjects. How you coming with that whack job at the fitness club?"
"My stalker? He's got himself a lawyer now. Won't talk. But he's pissing in the wind if he thinks we're gonna cut him loose. We got a search warrant for his computer. Randall's betting we'll have an email trail a mile long."
"Good work. These numbnuts never seem to learn."
"Which guarantees us job security." McManus snorted. "Always the optimist, huh, Bob?" Mathis followed his partner into the hallway where the
two carried their conversation down a stairwell, McManus saying, "Let me know ASAP when you hear about any airport video. I don't like the idea of some mystery man showing up in our town and getting a ride with our bad boys."
"You're repeating yourself, Mike. Maybe your sixth sense at work?"
"Something like that," said McManus. "Or maybe the caffeine."
"We'll have something after lunch," said Mathis. "I'll keep you posted."
McManus paused. "Do that."
Mid-afternoon, Mathis intercepted McManus in the headquarters parking lot. "You must be living right."
"You got something for me, right?"
Mathis held up a disc. "Affirmative. Harbor PD copied us video of that VIP Biggy Pacheco picked up yesterday at the airport."
"We get a face?" "Face and a name." "Outstanding. So give it up." Mathis pocketed the disc and scanned his notebook.
"Ramon Reyes. It matched the cardboard sign that low-life was holding up to welcome him."
"So we got a match. Likely as not it's an alias. You running Reyes through the system?"
"As we speak."
"It's worth a try. We could get lucky, but I wouldn't bet on it."
"I'll follow it as far as it goes."
"Do that." McManus held the door for Mathis and followed him inside. "Good work, Bob. Let's check out the video. Get one of the gang guys in to take a look."
The two went upstairs to McManus's office and popped the DVD in his computer. While McManus watched the screen, Mathis called in one of the street gang officers.
The three viewed the looped video but came up blank on the visitor's face. The fifteen-second clip showed a lesser- known gang member posing with a handmade sign at the bottom of the terminal's escalator. The three laughed.
"Look at that idiot," said McManus. "He probably thought he was going to impress his guest with a sign. Can you believe these guys?"
"At least we have a name," said Mathis.
"Reyes. Probably an alias," said the gang cop. "Worth checking though."
McManus said, "That's what we think. Just make sure you pass the word," said McManus. "Have your guys stop by to look at the video when they have a minute, will ya? Somebody might recognize this guy."
The cop nodded and left.
"Could be nothing," said Mathis, replaying the clip. "Or, could be something about to go down. Maybe some pro muscle from out of town for a sit down."
"Or somebody just passing through."
"Possibly," said McManus. "We could always haul Biggie Pacheco in."
"Waste of time. Nothing illegal here. Biggie's a rock. He'd never roll over."
McManus paused the video, pointed to the clownish figure in the mirrored shades holding the welcoming sign. "Here's our key. Let's ID this tour guide and bring him in for a chat. Maybe we can find out where they took our mystery man."