From International Best Selling Authors Lynn Sholes and Joe Moore
Retired OSI special agent Maxine Decker returns in THE TOMB, her most dangerous mission to date: prevent the assassination of a Supreme Court justice.
After capturing the world’s most wanted drug lord, Maxine comes across a photo of an object recently found in the Colorado River, an object tied to a WWII plot to send a submarine up the Colorado and destroy the Hoover Dam. Identifying the object as an earthquake machine based on the turn-of-the-century design of Nikola Tesla, Max soon becomes the target of two groups: the designer of a modern version of the device and the Mexican cartel bent on revenge for the killing of their leader. Her mission becomes critical when she discovers that the lives of all nine justices, and perhaps millions of others, are at risk.
Chapter 1 – Most Wanted
sat in the backseat of the unmarked SUV and watched the armor-plated Mercedes limo pull up in front of La Pampa, an Argentinean steakhouse a block away. “Is that his car?”
“Yes, Agent Decker,” said Colonel Marquez from the front seat as he studied the limousine through binoculars.
Marquez headed a special unit of the Mexican Federal Police whose mission was to capture Pablo Garcia, the man at the top of the most wanted list and ranked by Forbes Magazine as one of the richest men in the world. Besides being responsible for the lion’s share of all drug trafficking in North America, Garcia collected priceless art objects, most of which were stolen and moved through the black market. That’s why I was involved—a former OSI agent and now a consultant for the FBI, I was often requested by foreign governments to help in the recovery of missing antiquities—my specialty.
Marquez turned to the driver. “Tell all units to stand by.” The officer relayed the message into a hand-held radio to the police commandos positioned throughout the surrounding business district.
“Agent Decker,” Colonel Marquez said, “just a reminder that once I give the order to move in, you are to stay here and wait until the all-clear. Do you understand?”
“You are here to identify the stolen art objects at Garcia’s home—not to get involved in this capture operation.” He looked at me using the mirror on the back of the sun visor.
I nodded. He’d already reminded me of my role several times earlier, and his constant recaps irked me.
“There,” the driver said and pointed.
Marquez raised the binoculars. “That’s Ernesto Cesar, Director of Banco de Nacional. Most of the cartel’s money is laundered through Cesar.”
“Can I see?” I asked. Marquez turned toward me, paused and frowned, but he handed me spare binoculars. We both watched the two men, obviously bodyguards, who had already exited the limo and stood curbside. The one Marquez identified as Cesar was a slim, well-dressed man who strolled into the restaurant. A moment later, a second man, short, pudgy, dressed in jeans and open collar shirt, stepped from the limo. He held a cell phone to his ear that partially blocked his profile, and wore a pulled-down baseball cap. Unlike the banker, he moved briskly into the restaurant.
“That’s our mark,” Marquez said.
“Are you sure the second guy is Pablo Garcia?” I put the binoculars down. “Seems his face was too obstructed. What if he’s a decoy?”
Marquez didn’t answer but kept his focus on the entrance to La Pampa. Finally, he said to his driver, “Tell all units I’m going in for a positive identification.” Again his eyes met mine in the visor mirror. “Stay here, Agent Decker.”
Dressed in civilian clothes, the colonel and the driver got out and casually crossed the busy city street, heading for the restaurant. I knew I had placed enough doubt in the colonel’s mind that he had to confirm it was Garcia before giving the order to begin the takedown.
I grabbed the binoculars again. Marquez and the driver moved as if they were tourists, pausing to glance in the storefronts. There was serious doubt back at the FBI Task Force in Dallas that the Mexicans were on the up-and-up when it came to corruption, payoffs, and taking down a man as powerful as Garcia. So far, they appeared to be as tight and focused as any law enforcement organization I’d dealt with. But they hadn’t captured the drug kingpin yet.
I rested the binoculars on the seat and glanced in several directions to see if I could spot any sign of the commandos. Nothing. Only tourists and others moving along the sidewalks. That’s when I spotted the Cadillac Escalade pulling to the curb thirty meters behind our SUV. A dark-skinned man got out, opened the side door, and retrieved a slender object about a meter long, wrapped in what looked like brown butcher paper. Too big for a gun. He moved across the sidewalk, opened the door of a building and disappeared inside.
A second man stepped from the Escalade and surveyed the sidewalk in both directions. As he turned in my direction, I saw the thick curly head of hair, the round, boyish face with a bushy mustache, and small black eyes set too close—those distinctive features I had memorized from a photo of him during the flight down to Mexico. I watched as Pablo Garcia followed his friend through the door and into the building.
I put the binoculars to my eyes and searched in the other direction for Marquez and his driver. They were standing a block away in front of La Pampa Restaurant with their backs to me, the colonel talking on his phone. If I called him, he’d see my caller ID and no doubt ignore me. For all I knew he was giving the command to start the assault. I thought of blowing the car horn to attract his attention, but that would also draw the attention of the two targets in the restaurant—the same problem if I got out and started yelling for the colonel’s attention. With no other choice, I pulled up the right leg of my jeans and removed the Walther PPK strapped to my calf. Slipping out of the SUV, I moved at a swift pace to the door on the side of the building Garcia had entered. I reached for the knob, determined to follow the most wanted man on the planet.
Lynn Sholes & Joe Moore are the #1 Amazon and international bestselling authors of THE GRAIL CONSPIRACY and THE PHOENIX APOSTLES. Their thrillers have been translated into 24 languages.
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